Comments disabled

You may have noticed that it's no longer possible to post comments here. And in fact comments have been disabled on all ArtsJournal blogs. That's because the hackers who infected ArtsJournal entered the site by posting spam comments, which have flared up lately, sometimes gigantically. One day last week this blog got 42 of them. Readers probably didn't see that, because the comments were posted, apparently randomly, to a variety of very old posts. But still, there they were, serving (with the use of hidden code) both as beacons to attract more … [Read more...]

The trouble with gatekeepers

On Twitter the other day, I had a running I(and of course compressed) debate with @clusterhocket, aka Ken Thomson, a clarinetist, saxophonist, and composer from Brooklyn. The subject was gatekeepers. Or, less compressed, the established gateways to developing a performing career. They'd include performance venues who'd book you to perform, their publicists and marketers, who'd spread the word about you and do all they can to sell tickets, and of course the established media, who, if you (or your publicist, or the venue's publicist) do … [Read more...]

Warming my heart

Today there's a heartwarming piece about me in the Chicago Tribune, by their longtime classical music critic, John von Rhein. John was going to come to one of the talks I gave in Chicago on Tuesday of last week, and asked me for some background. As it happened, he couldn't come to the talk, but I'm honored by how carefully he read the package of links that I sent him, and by how seriously he takes what I say. In the end -- and this makes me happy -- his piece isn't about me. It's about where classical music needs to go. The more people talking … [Read more...]

Not an attack site!

Apologies to everyone who tried to come here, and got a scary red warning that this is an attack site!It isn't. I don't know why it's been flagged as one -- along with all of ArtsJournal, from what I've been told. I understand it's being worked on. And the weirdest thing is that not every browser flags my blog as evil. Firefox did, but IE doesn't, Chrome doesn't, and, on my iPhone, Safari doesn't and Opera Mini doesn't. Go figure. I got here on Firefox, finally, by going into the "Security" tab in the settings dialogue, and unchecking "Block … [Read more...]

Two-way music

Today I was catching up with the first episode of Treme, David Simon's new series on HBO. Simon being the creator of The Wire, an epic which, to my mind, is one of the best things ever on TV, and a standing rebuke to classical music.If, for instance, an opera company would produce anything as epic, as probing, as crucial to our understanding of the civilization we have right now, I'd fall off my feet with shock and, yes, respect. So, Treme. Takes place in New Orleans, just after Katrina. Starts with preparations for music, a band getting itself … [Read more...]


Or, if you like, honesty as yet another classical music solution.For instance, this -- an excerpt from an account (on the Ion Arts blog) of, well, an exit Q&A with Christian Thielemann, the conductor. He was discussing what's going to be his final season as music director of the Munich Philharmonic, a position he wasn't leaving willingly:Thielemann introduces the works he will perform...He clearly doesn't like that part of a seasons' presentation, which must strike him as an artificial song-and-dance. "You can all read... so I don't really … [Read more...]

Breaking out of the ghetto

As I keep saying, people in many places -- all over the world -- are moving into classical music's future. Nobody (as I also keep saying) catalogs these wonderful efforts, and so I'm trying to share as many of them as I can here. The latest -- and of course this is a "solutions" post -- came in an email from Billy Robin. He'll take it from here (quoting his message with his permission):I am a music student at Northwestern, and I can vouch for the ills of audience participation of classical music on campus.  It is nearly impossible to … [Read more...]

What’s going on

I may have just taken my longest blog hiatus, or at least the longest I've taken without planning and announcing it. What happened: two days last weekend of flat on my back illness, followed by trips to Washington (for Peter Gregson's talk and performance at the University of Maryland), then back to NY, then out to the country for a happy visit with my inlaws. In the middle of all that, and into the bargain me not feeling well, the blog got lost. Tomorrow the whirlwind keeps whirling. I fly to Chicago, to do workshops Tuesday on the future of … [Read more...]

The culture keeps running away

Or, rather, the classical music world -- over the past generations -- has kept running away from our culture. Now presenting the second part of my riff on chapter three of my book, Rebirth: The Future of Classical Music. You can download it here. Find the first part here, and the very long complete riff -- both parts together -- here. There's also a page with links to everything I've posted from the book.And so the book proceeds -- more slowly, as I said in my last blog post about it, than I would have liked. I'm going to pick up the pace. And, … [Read more...]

The future comes to Maryland

(Well, OK -- maybe I'm overhyping this. But ever since I praised Schwalbe and Partners for the headlines on their press releases, I thought I'd better spiff up my own headlines. A work in progress.)On April 13, my friend Peter Gregson will be coming to the University of Maryland, as part of the project I'm doing there. He'll be doing two things -- playing a new kind of digital recital (on his electric cello), and talking with students about everything he does. Which has included, as I've noted here before (for instance in yesterday's post) … [Read more...]

You reached out, and nobody came…

No, this isn't going to be a downer post. It's actually a step toward solutions, but incorporating some  necessary doses of reality. Here are two -- very similar -- promotional things that students recently have tried. First: As part of the project I'm doing at the University of Maryland, members of the school's symphony orchestra went out to the student union, and started practicing their parts for Strauss's Heldenleben, the big piece on their upcoming concert.And let me be very clear about giving credit for this idea, and for other … [Read more...]

CD covers I like

siegfried blog

While we're still talking about CD covers, I thought I'd add a few likes of my own. Starting with this one, which I've loved ever since the recording came out on LP in 1962: Of course it's Siegfried, from the Georg Solti Ring.  And there couldn't be a more iconic image from the opera, showing the moment  (at the end of the first scene of the third act) when Siegfried heads up the mountain toward Brünnhilde and the magic fire. If I remember correctly, it's a photo of Wolfgang Windfgassen, who sings Siegfried on the recording, in a live … [Read more...]

New book riff — the culture ran away from us

At long last, here's the latest riff from my book. Or, rather, the first part of it. It's long, so I've divided it into two parts. I'll post the second part here in a week. But if anyone wants to read it now, it's here. And the complete riff, both parts combined is here.These new riffs cover chapter three of my book. See the outline (revised, by the way), to see where it fits. It's about the gap - the abyss - between classical music and the rest of our culture. And how that's the reason for the aging audience, and declining funding and ticket … [Read more...]