Musicologist and conductor David Skinner writes about how the discovery of fragments of music manuscript behind some plasterwork at an Oxford College led him to a text written by Queen Katherine Parr for the nation to, as it were, pray the king into battle.
Whipped Cream, a Richard Strauss ballet from 1924, really is a sugar-fueled fantasy: the story is about a boy who runs amok in a pasrty shop and starts hallucinating about an enormous dancing mass of whipped cream (and more) after a few sweets too many. (He’s saved by Princess Praline and Prince Coffee.) Alexei Ratmansky is reviving Whipped Cream for ABT, and pop-surrealist painter Mark Ryden is creating the sets and costumes. Angelica Frey has a look at what Ryden is cooking up.
“Since the times of the Renaissance, when the clergy and rich merchants started to support artists who could immortalise their legacy and whose art could provide atonement for their sins, artists have been feeling uneasy about the relationship between artistic talent and commerce.”
“Public awareness of the role of the arts is undermined by deeply entrenched perceptions. Yes, people like the arts, some quite a lot, but that’s not enough. Because the way they think about the arts is shaped by a number of common default patterns of thinking that obscure a sense of public responsibility or value.”
“The Metropolitan Museum of Art doled out hefty pay raises and six-figure bonuses to top executives despite a looming deficit that threatened to reach $40 million, records show.”
Mark Shenton, even as he laments the disappearance of arts critics from news outlets all over, writes that “it’s not just that Gardner is one of the best, most vital theatrical commentators there is, constantly drawing attention to things away from the mainstream; she also has a keen appreciation of a wide theatrical landscape. She gets to more theatres around the UK than any other critic I know.”
Ahmad Joudeh grew up in a Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus, where his father beat him and ultimately threw him out of the house for continuing to dance ballet. He supported his mother by giving dance lessons, but fled when the Syrian army tried to draft him into the civil war. Renate van der Zee recounts how Joudeh made the semifinals of Beirut’s version of So You Think You Can Dance and ended up with the Dutch National Ballet.
“The intensive, exhaustive process used to choose them all, largely created by local lawyer and arts supporter Roger Saydack, has become a national model — “he literally wrote the book” on picking a music director, says ESO executive director Scott Freck, noting that Saydack wrote the League of American Orchestras’ manual on orchestra MD searches. So who becomes the next ESO artistic leader matters — not just here, but nationally.”
Generally speaking, the smaller and more commonly used the word is, the more difficult it is to define. Words like “but,” “as,” and “for” have plenty of uses that are syntactically similar but not identical. Verbs like “go” and “do” and “make” (and, yes, “take”) don’t just have semantically oozy uses that require careful definition but semantically drippy uses as well. “Let’s do dinner” and “let’s do laundry” are identical syntactically but feature very different semantic meanings of “do.” And how do you describe what the word “how” is doing in this sentence?
People see evidence that disagrees with them as weaker, because ultimately, they’re asking themselves fundamentally different questions when evaluating that evidence, depending on whether they want to believe what it suggests or not, according to psychologist Tom Gilovich.
“Today the hottest ticket in San Francisco classical music is around the corner at SoundBox, a new performance venue, launched by the Symphony in 2014, that has turned a decidedly unglamorous, acoustically dreadful building into a place designed to attract an entirely new audience to the symphony. At SoundBox, the 500-person audience sits on low-slung ottomans and benches—or simply stands. You can get fancy cocktails and snacks like bacon caramel popcorn at the bar, any time. Looking for a printed program? Nope—just look at the SoundBox site on your phone.”
He has ambitions for Theatre Calgary to be a destination theatre – for companies countrywide and worldwide, and for playwrights. “For it to be a place that authors will want to come to and try out their new works or develop their plays or their musicals and put it on a map on a global level. Because there is an energy and a pulse that is undeniable.”
Art and history museums alike are taking a variety of approaches, including wait-and-see. Graham Bowley provides a run-down.
Zachary Woolfe has a conversation with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and composer/conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen about the new concerto the latter has written for the former.
Says Dance/USA executive director Amy Fitterer, “I’m feeling every encouraged in the past two years because the conversation has gone from trying to convince people that there is a problem, (to) now we’re finding the directors are really on board.” (includes video)
A conversation between New Yorker fiction editor Deborah Treisman and Margaret Daniel, the editor of ‘I’d Die for You’ and Other Lost Stories.
The Stradivarius violin that troubled music student Phil Johnson stole from violinist Roman Totenberg (yes, Nina’s father) in 1980 was recovered after Johnson died in 2012. After years of careful restoration, it was returned to performance by former Totenberg student Mira Wang on Monday night in New York. Geoff Edgers reports.
“Mr. Gray did not serve up conventional architectural assessments. Mentions of muntins and mullions were few and far between. Instead, his columns were narratives of creation, abandonment and restoration that lovingly highlighted quirky design and backstairs gossip from decades past.”
Teatro Polski in Wrocław has always been considered one of the country’s most daring. But company members argue that the new artistic director, Cezary Morawski – installed by the nationalist Law and Justice Party’s government – is doing work that’s commercial, old-fashioned, and unambitious, tarnishing the theatre’s reputation at home and abroad. Staff has been fired, petitions have flown, and the national culture minister has been pulled into the dispute.
The Pleasures of Taylor
Paul Taylor American Modern Dance at Lincoln Center, March 7 through 26. … read more
AJBlog: Dancebeat Published 2017-03-13
Monday Recommendation: Bob Porter’s Soul Jazz
Bob Porter, Soul Jazz: Jazz In The Black Community, 1945-1975, Xlibris
Sometimes it’s good to get back to the basics. Bob Porter’s new book guides you there. … read more
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2017-03-13
I first saw the Gary Burton Quartet on TV when I was in high school. In those days I was finding my way around the illimitably vast world of jazz, searching for a style that … read more
AJBlog: About Last Night Published 2017-03-13
Beckett’s Letters: ‘Dull, Dull, Dull,’ But —
Serious readers of Samuel Beckett have been treated to four massive volumes of his letters. … read more
(includes audio clip of music by frequent ArtsJournal commenter William Osborne)
AJBlog: Straight|Up Published 2017-03-13
“The trouble is, once you accept the proposition that popularity corresponds to value, the game is over for the performing arts. There is no longer any justification for giving space to classical music, jazz, dance, or any other artistic activity that fails to ignite mass enthusiasm. In a cultural-Darwinist world where only the buzziest survive, the arts section would consist solely of superhero-movie reviews, TV-show recaps, and instant-reaction think pieces about pop superstars. Never mind that such entities hardly need the publicity, having achieved market saturation through social media. It’s the intellectual equivalent of a tax cut for the super-rich.”
“In recent years, museums have been making a greater effort to have a voice in social activism and respond to pressing problems of the day. The big question is when and how art museums should take a public position and try to effect change, or at least initiate a community discussion on a topic.”
“They’re using design and technology to tackle everything from climate change to social justice, and they are doing so not as lone geniuses toiling away in the dark, but in collaboration with clients, neighborhoods, and cities. The starchitecture era is dead.”
“Who wants to argue with the superior position of those armed with ever more precise fMRIs, EEGs and the other material artefacts of the materialist position? There is, however, a significant weakness hiding in the imposing-looking materialist redoubt. It is as simple as it is undeniable: after more than a century of profound explorations into the subatomic world, our best theory for how matter behaves still tells us very little about what matter is. Materialists appeal to physics to explain the mind, but in modern physics the particles that make up a brain remain, in many ways, as mysterious as consciousness itself.”
“The arts have a far greater impact than on academic achievement alone. AEP cites work preparedness as one key aspect of arts education. Through art programs, students strengthen problem-solving and communication skills, increase their capacity for leadership and creative thinking, build community, support civic engagement, and experience social tolerance that helps prepare them for life in an increasingly diverse world.”
“Despite all the fuss that has been made about the ‘bilingual advantage’, most researchers have moved on from the simplistic ‘is there an advantage or not’ debate. Rather than asking whether bilingualism per se confers a cognitive advantage, researchers are now taking a more nuanced approach by exploring the various aspects of bilingualism to better understand their individual effects.”
“Once Iraqi forces had secured areas of west Mosul and reporters could enter the museum on Saturday, it emerged that the museum—which had been used as a base during the fighting—had also been completely cleared out and decimated.”
One museum covered artwork donated by immigrants; another rehung its collection to emphasize art by those from the countries affected by the travel ban. Museums whose remit is history sent people into the street to collect artifacts from the Women’s March; other museums say it’s up to the artists, not the museums, to respond. Not every museum is focused on action around politics, but every museum is confronting the times in some way.
For instance: “Senator Joe – A rock opera that tells the story of Senator Joseph McCarthy, Senator Joe is perhaps as infamous as the man that inspired it. Apparently, financing was so shaky that the theatre’s marquee still read Kenny Loggins on Broadway—a hold-over from the theatre’s last tenant—for all three of the show’s previews.”