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Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Laura Greenday-Ness, This Is Your Life! Oh, Wait, No, It Isn't. This much we know is true: Laura Greenday-Ness is the head of a small music school in a Dallas suburb. But nearly everything else in the Texas composer's resume appears to be patently false. According to her school's promotional materials, Greenday-Ness is a two-time winner of the national Composer of the Year award, is in residence with the Dallas Symphony, and has written for the Boston Pops, Chicago Symphony, and Philadelphia Philharmonic. Reality check: there is no such award; no one at the orchestras in Dallas, Boston, or Chicago has ever heard of her; and there is no such orchestra as the Philadelphia Philharmonic. Dallas Morning News 04/29/03

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Moving On - Frank Stella Frank Stella is "probably the world's most famous living abstract artist. He is 70 years old and on the short side, but he has a sweeping, imperious manner. He was born in Massachusetts and studied at Princeton University. His frequent pronouncements about art are flavoured by a generous dollop of intellectual pride, which goes strangely with his high-pitched New York voice - comedic shades of Woody Allen or Joe Pesci. 'I only really care about the immediate impact that art has on you," he says. "I like all the other things that go after, but I can't help it, I go by the first hit'." The Telegraph (UK) 04/30/03

Sawallisch Cancels Concert Philadelphia Orchestra music director Wolfgang Sawallisch cancelled an appearance with the orchestra last night. He's in his final season with the orchestra, and has been fatigued for some time. "He's just had a continuation of feeling dizzy and tired, particularly after he conducts. It's the reason he canceled concerts in Europe in December, and when he got here he was feeling those symptoms."
Philadelphia Inquirer 04/29/03

  • What Sawallisch Means To Philadelphia "As Wolfgang Sawallisch ends his decade with three weeks of concerts that started last week and a forthcoming tour, he is as firm a personification of the Philadelphia Orchestra as Leopold Stokowski or Eugene Ormandy. He restored the Philadelphia Orchestra's famously velvety sound, erasing the more generic, international svelteness Muti imposed. He could be a fiery podium presence - sometimes. He didn't shrink from tough decisions, and several controversial moves only helped to concretize his leadership." Philadelphia Inquirer 04/26/03

Sunday, April 27, 2003

Sawallisch - The Exit Interview Wolfgang Sawallisch's time directing the Philadelphia Orchestra is coming to an end. "The 79-year-old maestro, who restored the trademark Philadelphia string sound, performed Beethoven and Brahms with matchless authority, and premiered important new works by American composers, has long lived his public life in a businesslike, nonconfiding fashion. Though his charm and still-hearty handshake suggest he's always glad to see you, there's a sense that his availability has fairly strict limits, ones not to be challenged." Philadelphia Inquirer 04/27/03

Rowling Richer Than Queen Author JK Rowling has leapfrogged the Queen on a list of wealthies Britons. "Rowling, who retained her crown as the richest woman in the showbusiness section of the annual Sunday Times rich list, has more than quadrupled her personal fortune in the past two years. The author has now amassed a fortune of £280m - putting her 11 places higher than the Queen overall." Scotsman on Sunday 04/27/03

Rem Koolhaas - Beating A Retreat To Europe? Star architect Rem Koolhaas is closing his New York office after several of his American projects were cancelled. "It's been a tough year for the high-flying Mr. Koolhaas, who won the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2000. Two weeks ago the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York scrapped his $200 million expansion, saying the project was too big for the cash-strapped institution to take on. A few months earlier, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art had iced his $400 million building, citing budget and fund-raising problems. The Prada superstore in San Francisco that Mr. Koolhaas designed has been axed, and his glitzy, casino-cushioned Guggenheim Las Vegas closed after 18 months. In a recent lecture at Columbia University, Mr. Koolhaas suggested that he was fed up with New York and America and was shifting his focus elsewhere – to Beijing, for example, where he is designing a $650 million broadcast center for the 2008 Olympics." Dallas Morning News 04/25/03

Friday, April 25, 2003

Art Grab - Fighting Over Riopelle's Estate "A year after Jean-Paul Riopelle died and plunged Quebec into mourning, the heirs of the man considered Canada's greatest modern artist are locked in a bitter dispute over his substantial estate." National Post (Canada) 04/25/03

Thursday, April 24, 2003

The Next Big Conductor? Conductor David Robertson is on many people's list to land the directorship of a major American orchestra. Indeed, critics added his name to the list for several high-profile orchestras in the past few years. "I find out about these things in the newspapers. I found out recently that there was an orchestra I refused, which was rough, because I was never asked. It's an interesting thing, where people seem to know more about potential posts than I do. It's nice that my name comes up, but I look a little bit like the perpetual bridesmaid." The Plain Dealer 04/24/03

Laugh Track Inventor Dies The man who invented the laugh track for TV shows has died at the age of 93. "Charlie Douglass was working as a technical director for live TV shows in the early days of the industry when he came up with the idea of developing a 'laugh machine' to enhance or substitute for live audience reaction. He called his first invention the 'Laff Box' and it became the basis of a lucrative family business." New York Post 04/24/03

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Is Vaclav Havel The New George Orwell? "Vaclav Havel, the 66-year-old former Czech president who was term-limited out of office on February 2, built his reputation in the 1970s by being to eyewitness fact what George Orwell was to dystopian fiction. In other words, he used common sense to deconstruct rhetorical falsehoods, pulling apart the suffocating mesh of collectivist lies one carefully observed thread at a time. Like Orwell, Havel was a fiction writer whose engagement with the world led him to master the nonfiction political essay." Reason 05/03

Barenboim's Reduced (Hah!) Schedule Pianist/conductor Daniel Barenboim says he's cutting back his schedule. But "the Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director's idea of cutting back in his 61st year (he turned 60 last November) might still seem exhausting to a mere mortal. He's just completing his annual Festtage (Festival Days) in Berlin, which included two performances each at his own opera house of Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde" and Verdi's "La Traviata," an opera he had never conducted before, as well as three performances by the CSO at the world-renowned Philharmonie, the home of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, of six heavy-duty works by Mahler and Bruckner." Chicago Sun-Times 04/22/03

Monday, April 21, 2003

Nina Simone, 70 Jazz singer Nina Simone has died at her home in France. "Simone, born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in Tryon, N.C., had hit songs ranging from blues to spirtuals to classical fare. But she gained fame in 1959 with her recording of 'I Loves You Porgy,' from the musical 'Porgy & Bess'. She later became a voice of the civil rights movement, with her song 'Mississippi Goddam,' and later, 'To Be Young, Gifted and Black'.”
New York Daily News 04/21/03

  • Forceful Voice "Simone had only one Top 20 hit in her long career — her very first single, "I Loves You, Porgy," released in 1959 — but her following was large and loyal and her impact deep and lasting. Aretha Franklin, Roberta Flack and Laura Nyro were among the singers who were influenced by her. In recent years her songs resurfaced and won new fans on television commercials and in dance-club remixes." The New York Times 04/22/03

Sunday, April 20, 2003

San Diego's First-Couple Of The Arts Ann and Ian Campbell run San Diego Opera. As general director, Ian Campbell is the primary decision-maker, the one most responsible for determining the repertoire and singers as well as the artistic goals. Having headed the 38-year-old company longer than anyone else, he has come to symbolize San Diego Opera, whether in boardrooms or classrooms, radio or television. Ann Campbell is San Diego Opera's director of strategic planning and special projects, responsible for the company's earned and contributed revenue." San Diego Union-Tribune 04/20/03

Thursday, April 17, 2003

J Paul Getty II, 70 Billionaire John Paul Getty II has died. "He donated millions to various galleries and institutes but rarely sought publicity for the money he gave away. Among the beneficiaries was the National Gallery in London, which received £50m in 1985 to support its bid to buy national treasures." BBC 04/17/03

  • The Passions Of JP Getty "At heart, JP Getty II was a scholar manque. His greatest passion was his collection of rare books, which included a number of priceless medieval manuscripts; and only recently he paid Oriel College, Oxford, £3.5 million for a First Folio of Shakespeare's plays. He absorbed himself not only in the texts and their provenance, but also in the practical art of fine book-binding. He was a cinema buff and an authority on the work of Howard Hawks and Charlie Chaplin; his video library was vast. He also had a wide knowledge of music. At the other end of the scale, Getty was an inveterate watcher of television soap operas, with a particular affection for the Australian series Neighbours." The Telegraph (UK) 04/18/03

Musicologist's Death - The Schumann Theory? Did Boston University musicology professor John Daverio try to end his life in the same way as one of his great heroes, Robert Schumann? Daverio's body surfaced in the Charles Monday night after he had been missing since March 16. Daverio wrote the 1997 biography 'Robert Schumann: Herald of a New Poetic Age', which of course mentions the brilliant, disturbed composer's attempt to commit suicide at age 44 by throwing himself into the Rhine..." Boston Globe 04/17/03

  • Previously: Musicologist's Body Pulled From River A body pulled from Boston's Charles River this week has been positively identified as that of musicologist John Daverio, who disappeared last month. Daverio was a professor at Boston University, and was considered one of the world's leading authorities on the music of Robert Schumann. Medical authorities say that Daverio drowned, but the circumstances surrounding his death are still a mystery, with his colleagues and friends dismissing the possibility of suicide. Andante (AP) 04/16/03
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Peter Prier Preps A Pack Of Plucky Perflers Every professional requires proper training, and luthiers, the mysterious perfectionists who construct the violins, violas, and cellos used by the world's musicians, are no exception. But your average university doesn't offer a major in fingerboard shaving, or even a seminar in perfling. So where do budding luthiers turn for instruction in their craft? A surprising percentage turn to the teaching shop of a single man. In fact, the proliferation of American luthiers is largely due to the efforts of one Peter Prier, of Salt Lake City. Baltimore Sun 04/16/03

Musicologist's Body Pulled From River A body pulled from Boston's Charles River this week has been positively identified as that of musicologist John Daverio, who disappeared last month. Daverio was a professor at Boston University, and was considered one of the world's leading authorities on the music of Robert Schumann. Medical authorities say that Daverio drowned, but the circumstances surrounding his death are still a mystery, with his colleagues and friends dismissing the possibility of suicide. Andante (AP) 04/16/03

Monday, April 14, 2003

Investing In Your Celebrity... A British television show has created a stockmarket out of celebrities. Viewers "give real celebrities a 'share price' and 'invest' in them by predicting whether their 'stock' will rise or fall. 'Celebdaq' (its awkward name stems from Nasdaq) was created for the British Broadcasting Corp. last summer as a Web site, but this year it has also become a controversial Friday night TV show on the new digital channel BBC3, which is targeting an audience aged 25 to 34. The show has the look of a financial news channel. The stock value of some 250 celebrities - actors, musicians, sportsmen and the famous-for-being-famous - crawls across the bottom of the screen like tickertape. Stars have their own abbreviations: SALHAY is Salma Hayek, SANBUL is Sandra Bullock." Los Angeles Times 04/14/03

Hughes Pleads Guilty In Car Crash Art critic Robert Hughes has admitted guilt in the car accident he caused in Australia in 1999. "A Perth court fined him A$2,500 (£960, $1,500) after he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm. Prosecutors said Hughes was driving on the wrong side of the road when the crash happened. But he said he does not remember anything about the head-on accident 120 km (75 miles) south of Broome." BBC 04/14/03

Sunday, April 13, 2003

Charlotte Church's Rebellion Charlotte Church's holiday in Hawaii has been ruined by a terrible telephone row with her mother. Heading abroad with her 'disreputable' boyfriend, Steven, Charlotte was photographed at the airport in a pink T-shirt which read: 'My Barbie is a Crack Whore'. This didn't play too well with Mum back home." The Observer (UK) 04/13/03

Daniel Libeskind, Salesman Daniel Libeskind is a brilliant architect. But he has one other skill that is almost as developed. He's a salesman. "Sales is the right word, because we live in the marketplace, not only in terms of selling and buying but in the marketplace of ideas. It's a democratic city, democratic country, and that's how civic projects get developed. They're certainly not going to be done in an ivory tower somewhere - take it or leave it. Either you interact and communicate what you're doing or you're really cynical and should not be involved in civic art." Denver Post 04/13/03

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Johnny On The Spot - The Perfect Life Of John Eliot Gardiner Conductor John Eliot Gardiner "heads the list of most recorded, and most awarded, musicians in history. He has wealth, a knighthood, a captivating wife, charisma. At home in several languages and an accomplished historian, he is also infuriatingly brainy. Put another way, he is ambitious, self-centred, workaholic, privileged, caustic. Human nature is not always generous to those who win." London Evening Standard 04/10/03

Arthur Miller To Get Jerusalem Prize American playwright Arthur Miller has been chosen to receive the presitgious Jerusalem Prize. "The prize, awarded every two years, singles out literary achievements in the field of freedom of the individual in society, the prize committee said in a statement." Nando Times (AP) 04/09/03

Wednesday, April 9, 2003

Deborah Card Named To Head Chicago Symphony Seattle Symphony executive director Deborah Card has been named president of the Chicago Symphony, replacing Henry Fogel. Card had a good 11-year run in Seattle. When she arrived from Los Angeles in 1992, at age 36, the "symphony had a $2.5 million accumulated deficit and was struggling to make its payroll every two weeks. Six years later, the symphony was debt-free, its endowment fund significantly increased and Benaroya Concert hall built." Seattle Post-Intelligencer 04/09/03

  • This All Looks Familiar, Somehow John van Rhein says that Deborah Card's appointment as the new head of the CSO "suggests certain parallels with the 1985 hiring of [her predecessor, Henry Fogel,] who will step down after 18 years as CSO executive director to become president of the American Symphony Orchestra League, the New York-based service organization. In both cases, the CSO board, responding to internal financial challenges, turned to an executive from a second-tier orchestra with proven money-management and leadership skills who could turn things around quickly." Chicago Tribune 04/09/03

Sunday, April 6, 2003

The ABC's Elusive Chairman Australian Broadcasting Company chairman Donald McDonald is something of a mystery. He gives few interviews, preferring "to decline to comment". But its been a turbulent time at ABC, and McDonald decides to go public. Why take such a difficult job? "I was a child of the ABC in that it was a big window in my life. It never occurred that anyone would ask me to be chairman so I just said yes. Why not? Why not follow your intuition?" The Age (Melbourne) 04/07/03

Barenboim, Said, And A Vision Of Peace For several years now, Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim and Palestinian intellectual Edward Said have been using their personal friendship to search for larger methods of bridging the gap between their two fundamentally opposed peoples. But perhaps more powerful than Barenboim's music or Said's words is their joint realization that these things alone are not enough to change the course of the Middle East. Instead, they believe in humanizing each other, for all the world to see. "What is striking about these two friends... is how different they are. Not because one is an Israeli, one a Palestinian - they are, as individuals, temperamentally opposed: one, easy, expansive, the other, Said, more cautious, despite his outspokenness." The Guardian (UK) 04/05/03

Friday, April 4, 2003

Michael Kelly, 46 Michael Kelly, editor-at-large of the Atlantic Monthly, has been killed in a Humvee accident in Iraq. "Kelly is credited with revitalizing the respected but sometimes dull Atlantic, which won three National Magazine Awards last year and carried many high-profile cover stories, including a three-part series on the cleanup of the World Trade Center site. He took the reins after Washington businessman David Bradley bought the Atlantic from Mort Zuckerman in 1999. Kelly stepped down as editor last fall and also planned to write a book about the history of the steel industry." Washington Post 04/04/03

Thursday, April 3, 2003

SaatchiWorld Who is Charles Saatchi? The most important figure in British art in the 1990s. The Guardian has packaged a portrait of Saatchi - the artists he's discovered and helped, the art he's championed... The Guardian (UK) 04/04/03

Wednesday, April 2, 2003

Lessons From L'affaire Quincy Troupe Quincy Troupe's fall from his position at the University of California, San Diego after he lied on his resume "raises questions about whether academic credentials really matter in certain fields, like poetry and art. Should one lie ruin someone's credibility and career? Some say there's no question that it should. Plagiarism, faking academic credentials, stealing research - all deal a serious blow to academic integrity, and a high price must be exacted. Mr. Troupe is hardly the first professor or college administrator to be caught fabricating his résumé." Chronicle of Higher Education 04/04/03

Gioia's NEA: Looking For A New Image Dana Gioia is the new head man at the National Endowment for the Arts. It's been a fairly thankless job for the last decade or so, ever since the agency came under congressional fire for funding a few controversial artists in the early 1990s. Gioia admits that his toughest task may be to somehow craft a new image for the NEA, while also working to reestablish it as the preeminent funding institution in the American arts world, something it hasn't been in quite some time. This objective is further complicated by the strange nature of current events: state governments nationwide are slashing their arts budgets and artists are coming under public fire for their opposition to the war in Iraq. Rocky Mountain News (AP) 04/02/03

Tuesday, April 1, 2003

Margaret Atwood: What's With America? Margaret Atwood is a a great admirer of America. Or at least she used to be. "You were Marlon Brando in On The Waterfront, you were Humphrey Bogart in Key Largo, you were Lillian Gish in Night of the Hunter. You stood up for freedom, honesty and justice; you protected the innocent. I believed most of that. I think you did, too. It seemed true at the time. You are not only our neighbours: In many cases - mine, for instance - you are also our blood relations, our colleagues, and our personal friends. But although we've had a ringside seat, we've never understood you completely, up here north of the 49th parallel." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 04/01/03

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