From Ian Moss, Development and Marketing Associate at the American Music Center, and a faithful correspondent: I've known situations where someone brings a classical music newbie to a concert or whatever, they enjoy it or at least say they enjoy it, but that's it. There's no desire on their part to now seek out whatever that orchestra or ensemble is doing next, or to read up on the big issues in classical music, or this or that. They've put in their time and it was a fun night out and the next time they'll go see some comedy or … [Read more...]

Book update

Looks like the first installment of my book will appear online two weeks from today, on Monday, October 25. In a week, there should be some publicity, with more details. As I've said, this will be the first draft of what eventually will be a published book. Comments will be welcome (and in fact I'll leave two weeks between installments, to give time for comments). They'll help me immeasurably. But I still need a title. Any ideas? The subject, of course, is the future of classical music. And the contents will be arranged more or less like … [Read more...]

Outreach — ouch!

From my faithful correspondent (and former student, and pianist, and movement teacher) Eric Barnhill comes this: Your columns on City Opera reminded me of a nice opportunity I had several weeks ago to talk about City Opera's marketing with a couple of early-30s women who have no interest in opera, although as former dancers they both were very connected to the arts. One of them brought in the mail while I was over and they had a postcard from City Opera, that was in imitation of a personals ad section. I thought it was cute and asked them … [Read more...]

R. I. P.

An ArtsJournal link on Monday took me to a Chicago Tribune story about the death of a Chicago chamber orchestra. The orchestra is the Concertante di Chicago, and the reasons given for its folding are very simple: "We looked into the future and were concerned about what we saw with audiences," [said Sheryl A. Sharp, the chair of the orchestra's board]. "We play to a generally older crowd, and frankly they were falling by the wayside. When we looked to see who was coming up behind them, we were not encouraged."[Artistic director Hillel Kagan] … [Read more...]

About the book

Maybe a month ago I mentioned I book I plan to write; I said I'd draft it online, and welcome comments from anyone who reads it. And since I mentioned it again in my previous post, I'd better give an update. The book is happening. I won't draft it on this blog, but on another, more public, site to be announced. I hope that I'll begin to post my draft sometime this month. Watch for announcements! The plan, so far, is to post a new installment every two weeks, with time off for holidays, and maybe other breaks as well. Between installments, I'll … [Read more...]


I might have seemed to take a hard line in my post on Dr. Atomic, in which I said the subject of the piece has been pondered endlessly elsewhere, for decades, and that therefore this work doesn’t do much to establish opera as an art form we might look to for illumination of our current lives. But I stand by that, and I’ll even go further.Nixon in China (the first opera John Adams created with Peter Sellars, along with librettist Alice Hoffman) didn’t do much for the art form, either. I went to the New York premiere, two decades or so ago, … [Read more...]

Not so new

I haven't seen Dr. Atomic, the new John Adams/Peter Sellars opera. But I did notice something Sellars said about the piece, quoted from Tony Tommasini's New York Times review of the premiere: As Mr. Sellars explained in a preperformance talk, Oppenheimer understood that by pushing science to new limits he would unleash barely imaginable forces in the world and even more fearsome forces within mankind. But he willed himself to turn off the part of his brain that processes ethical qualms about his work. The "best people" in Washington will make … [Read more...]

Vanity Fair

In the October Vanity Fair—the one with Paris Hilton on the cover, covering her breasts in a way that looks like a commercial provocation, not a sexual one—there’s a two-page spread on Franz Welser-Möst, music director of the Cleveland Orchestra. The photo, spread over the two pages, is wonderful, relaxed, friendly, a little impish, just as Franz is in real life. Congrats to everyone involved in placing this lovely tribute. But also some questions: Franz, as I said, looks wonderfully informal in the photo. But anyone who goes to a … [Read more...]