Or maybe Alan Gilbert doesn’t get around

Here's another view of the Alan Gilbert/Death videos that I raved about so strongly in an earlier post. To clarify the context -- and to put myself squarely in the bullseye of the criticism raised here -- I'll recall that liked these videos (which advertised the New York Philharmonic's performances of Ligeti's Le grand macabre) so much that I said this about them: If everyone in classical music put out material like this, the field might be reborn tomorrow.And now comes this comment to my post, from Phyllida Law, which says the following. … [Read more...]

Kara goes viral

Here's a viral YouTube story, from Kara LaMoure, a bassoonist who took my course on the future of classical music at Eastman last year. Kara's a member of The Breaking Winds, a bassoon quartet. They dressed in Lady Gaga wigs, played a Lady Gaga medley, put a video of it on YouTube -- and as of today had just over 135,000 views. Which is around 7000 more than they had a couple of days ago. So they've gone viral, as Kara happily emailed to tell me. And how did that happen?Easy assumption: that Lady Gaga made them a hit. Or, rather, that her name … [Read more...]

Perotin and John Cage

Or, rather, the problems of defining classical music, the subject of my last book riff, and many comments. Including some very passionate ones from a man I greatly respect (hi, Michael), who longs with all his heart for a definition of classical music that's based on our current classical music culture. Other commenters have correctly noted ambiguities in the definition I proposed (I specified that classical music is the music of the European tradition, and that it's written out in advance by a composer). Broadway musicals, for instance. … [Read more...]

I get around, Alan Gilbert gets around

Some places you can find me:In Symphony magazine, the publication of the League of American Orchestras. I've got a piece on the revolution that orchestras need. I think it's one of the best things I've done. Very hard-hitting, but optimistic. The spirit of rebirth (I'd like to think) in action. And then on a blog called Orchestra R/Evolution the League set up, as a lead-in to its annual conference. I'm one of the regular bloggers there, and the theme of my first post was Robert Burns -- how we in classical music have to learn to see ourselves … [Read more...]

Eager and excited

Another "solutions" post, this week's entry in a series of posts that offer new ideas and, even better, new innovations -- successful ones -- in classical music.This one comes Leo Pot, who emailed me from the Netherlands. He's the director of Theaters Tilburg, a complex consisting of two theaters and a concert hall, in a town in the southern part of the Netherlands, with a population of 200,000. I'm quoting Leo's email with his permission, though at his request I rewrote some of it, because English isn't his first language. Thanks, Leo! What he … [Read more...]

Defining classical music — a new book riff

Here's a link to the latest from my book, Rebirth: The Future of Classical Music. It's a riff on chapter four, in which I try to define classical music. (Check my outline of the book, to see where this fits.)And why would I want to define classical music? Because existing definitions come with fascinating baggage. They define classical music almost exclusively in terms of the masterworks of the past, and also include value judgments, about classical music's value, and even its superiority.I think these notions get in the way. And here's a … [Read more...]

Rules for the prize

Let's make this a little more formal. I said I'd give $50 to the favorite charity of the first publicist to show me that he or she has "stopped sending press releases, and instead sends the email I've described, linked to a lively webpage." And of course that's the email -- replacing a press release -- that I described in my post on why nobody should send out press releases.But now I think I should specify more detailed rules, so people will know what I'm looking for, and so my judgment won't seem arbitrary. To qualify for my gift -- which I'm … [Read more...]

I’m offering a prize

More thoughts about my suggestion that press releases should die. Instead of press releases, I said, publicists should send short, informal email -- very short! two paragraphs! -- with all essential info, most centrally including some convincing reason why anyone would want to go to the event, or talk about it in the media. And then, as I said, you'd include links to further info. But here's my new thought. These links shouldn't go to a boring page of text. And certainly not to a ghastly old-style press release! They should go to a web page … [Read more...]

Comments — finally fixed

It took a while. But finally the comments on this blog work the way they're supposed to. You won't be asked to sign in. I'll have to approve all comments before they post -- to kill spam and malware -- but I'll try to do this first thing every day. And otherwise things will proceed as usual. Comment early and often! … [Read more...]

The death of press releases

Or at least I hope they die. I don't think they serve any purpose anymore.I'll call this yet another "solutions" post, though I don't know that the press release problem is one that many people have identified. I think it's real, though, and in the ongoing discussion about how to promote classical concerts -- and find a new audience -- the press release is something we ought to reexamine.It's a formal document, written almost like a newspaper story. Headline, subheads, content. With the emphasis on who, what, when, and where. More or less like … [Read more...]

Comments — the saga

The story so far: Spam comments flooded this and other ArtsJournal blogs. Inside them was evil code, very hard to root out, which infected ArtsJournal with malware. Google then marked ArtsJournal (and all its blogs) as attack sites, and many people were blocked from reading us. This was fixed. But how can we keep spam comments away? The captchas -- those word puzzles you had to solve before you could comment -- don't work anymore. Evildoers hire people in the third world to solve them by the thousand. And so the solution seemed to be...A … [Read more...]

Learning from The Savvy Musician

Don't forget that I'm vitally interested in solutions to classical music's problems -- new approaches, things you've tried, things that worked, even things that didn't work, because I'm sure we all can learn from those, as well as from things that succeeded. And things that fall in the middle between apparent failure and apparent success. And note the "Solutions" page on this blog site, where (with help from Doug Laustsen) I archive solutions -- mine, and many from other people  -- that I've posted here. Send me yours!So here's a … [Read more...]

Two for the price of one

I have two new blog posts today -- one called "Gatekeeper alternatives -- do it yourself," and another (which I admit logically comes first), "The trouble with gatekeepers." Both bounce off an exchange I had on Twitter about how best to promote events and careers, through traditional means (working through old media and established classical music institutions), or by using new media, and bypassing the standard gatekeepers. Or else bringing them in after you've laid the groundwork on your own. For all kinds of reasons, the "alternatives" post … [Read more...]

Comments are back…

...I'm happy to say. I trust this means the cyberattack now lies in the past.I don't know if we'll institute some form of registration, as I suggested. That decision lies with ArtsJournal. I'll let you all know what develops.But meanwhile, comments are back. … [Read more...]