On the channel, called MyNewOpera, artists and fans will be able to watch and upload new operas, curate and share their own playlists and view other artists’ playlists. The initiative is the brainchild of UK-based opera production company Tete a Tete, however it is hoped the channel will encourage international collaboration. – The Stage
“As a secular American living in Manhattan, I’m a stranger to the senator’s world of church and picnics. I worry that religion may be as much divisive as binding in America’s map of red versus blue. My professional world is one of orchestras (with which I work) and cultural history (about which I write). My perspective suggests another opportunity for healing—regaining a lost “sense of place” and shared American identity via our history and culture. And, yes, I mean high culture.” – The Weekly Standard
“It was the first contested election in nine years at Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, and it could cause national ripples. Adam Krauthamer was elected president with 67 percent of the vote, beating Tino Gagliardi … in a stunning upset, amid concerns over the underfunded musicians pension plan and broader changes facing music, the original gig economy.” — New York Times
The Finnish conductor, now 65, will have been the orchestra’s music director for 19 seasons when his current contract expires. Over those years, he brought the orchestra to international renown and Grammy Awards, led groundbreaking tours to Cuba and South Africa, and stood with the musicians through the lockout of 2012-14. — The Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
The simultaneous departures at the end of 2020-21 of Salonen from the Philharmonia and Vladimir Jurowski from the London Philharmonic pose big questions for the Southbank Centre. Both conductors have kept their orchestras at the top of the league. Yet both the Philharmonia and the LPO will need to ensure that the Southbank possesses a long-term commitment to the work the orchestras want to do – whatever that now is. – The Guardian
“Councils are allowing big companies to own semi-public spaces that look and feel like public spaces, but buskers would get removed from them very quickly. Part of the debate is what responsibilities councils have when selling land to ensure there are genuine public spaces.” – The Guardian
“Salonen, 60, will succeed Michael Tilson Thomas at the conclusion of the 2019-20 season, when Thomas steps down after 25 years at the orchestra’s helm.” — San Francisco Chronicle
Joshua Kosman: “It’s really something of a coup. If that assessment sounds a little breathless, consider that it could not have been made about any other conductor the Symphony might have chosen. … If Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony can forge a partnership that addresses [their] challenges successfully, the repercussions could well be felt across the orchestral landscape, well beyond the confines of Davies Symphony Hall and the Bay Area.” – San Francisco Chronicle
4. Being an amazing musician doesn’t make you an amazing grown-up. (There are important aspects of adulting he didn’t learn in time.)
5. Even world-famous musicians have identity crises. (He once tried going an entire year without listening to any music.)
6. The bonds you make with fellow musicians will be intense. (This would be why he keeps marrying his singers.) — BBC
“It brings people together and gives them discipline and self-esteem. … When I first joined I really didn’t think much of it. And after a certain point I thought: You know, I think I have a voice, and I’m finding it.” — New York Times
Four months after Gatti was sacked as chief conductor of Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, one of the most prestigious jobs in the entire music world, he has been appointed music director of the Italian capital’s opera house, the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, effective immediately. Gatti is the first person to hold the music director post since Riccardo Muti resigned in frustration in 2014. — Gramilano (Milan)
Under his leadership, the orchestra has raised its profile and broadened its repertoire, excelling in early 20th-century music. It has also been at the forefront of imaginative and inclusive digital projects – its award-winning immersive installations, Re-Rite and Universe of Sound, gave audiences the opportunity to explore an orchestra section by section and experience music from a player’s point of view. More recently, virtual reality projects allowed those donning the goggles to get to the very heart of the orchestra and encounter symphonic music as if sitting under Salonen’s nose. – The Guardian
“Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider, who recently changed his artistic name, Nikolaj Znaider, back to his original and passport name, has been announced as the new Music Director of the Orchestre national de Lyon. The 43-year-old Danish [violinist and conductor] will take up the position in September 2020 for a period of four years, succeeding Leonard Slatkin, Music Director from 2011-2017.” — The Strad
Composer Jason Cady’s Buick City 1am “is an intriguing concept, addressing several of the traditional form’s shortcomings in relation to the modern world: it makes no undue demands of one’s attention span (four 25-minute episodes), it is accessible (anywhere, 24/7, via one’s phone), and it is free.” But does it qualify as an opera? Using a quite reasonable definition, Gina Leishman suggests that the answer is no. — Financial Times
Classical radio stations promote their programming as “calming and refreshing,” an “oasis,” or “an island of sanity.” Playlists on YouTube and audio streaming services have titles like “8 Hours Classical Music for Sleeping”; inexpensive compilation CDs offer “The Most Relaxing Classical Music in the Universe.” Jennifer Gersten, winner of the 2018 Rubin Prize in Music Criticism — identifies at least one reason why the industry keeps falling into this rut, and argues that the habit sells both the music itself and potential listeners very short. — Washington Post
“Sara Ascenso, a clinical psychologist and trained pianist, will start at the [Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester] in January. Her role will include lecturing and research, and she will also develop the health and wellbeing provision across the college, ensuring it is tailored to musicians’ needs.” — The Guardian
“Nomaden, which was written for the French cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras and the Atlas Ensemble, a group of 18 musicians from Asia, the Middle East and Europe, had its premiere at the Cello Biennale in Amsterdam in 2016, where it was received enthusiastically. It pairs its cello soloist with musicians who play instruments from China (erhu and sheng), Japan (sho and shakuhachi), India (sarangi), Turkey (kemenche), Armenia (duduk), Iran (setar) and Azerbaijan (tar and kamancha).” (includes audio) — New York Times
Tesori, who wrote the music for 2015’s Tony Award-winning Best Musical (and Best Score, not incidentally) Fun Home (oh, and 2004’s Caroline, or Change, and Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Shrek: The Musical, and, and, and), is having quite a moment. Here’s how she got to Broadway from pre-med.
The California Coastal Commission has approved a permanent structure. “The new, permanent outdoor concert space would feature a 57-foot acoustic shell housing a stage, turf lawn with temporary seating, a box office and two food pavilions.”
Contemporary work on music perception embraces a variety of disciplines and methodologies, from anthropology to musicology to neuroscience, to try to understand the relationship between music and the human mind. Researchers use motion capture systems to record people’s movements as they dance, analyzing the gestures’ relationship to the accompanying sound. They use eye tracking to measure changes in infants’ attentiveness as musical features or contexts vary. They place electrodes on the scalp to measure changes in electrical activity, or use neuroimaging to make inferences about the neural processes that underlie diverse types of musical experiences, from jazz improvisation to trance-like states to simply feeling a beat.
One thing is certain: if the case does go to court and Elizabeth Rowe prevails, the impact on the symphony world will be profound. While it is true that the law on which this case is based is limited to Massachusetts, there would likely be a strong effort on the part of many musicians to argue that the precedent should apply to them.
The Detroit-based Sphinx Organization, which for 22 years has run education programs and competitions to develop black and Latinx classical music performers, “is launching a leadership development program with educational and mentorship components aimed at cultivating black and Latinx candidates for leadership positions in orchestras, conservatories and music schools across the country.”
The site-specific New York company On Site Opera, which has already staged productions at a mannequin showroom, Harlem’s Cotton Club, the Bronx Zoo, and Madame Tussaud’s, is presenting Gian Carlo Menotti’s Christmas opera at the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, with the chorus recruited from the clients of Breaking Ground, which provides permanent housing and services for the homeless.
In a Q&A with David Patrick Stearns, the music director of the two institutions says of new operas in the works from composers Kevin Puts and Mason Bates, “We will be workshopping these pieces in collaboration with the Curtis Institute. The Philadelphia Orchestra will premiere the scores in a concert presentation prior to the full production at the Met.”
Mr. Nézet-Séguin, who had originally been set to assume the post in 2020, moved up his start date to take a stronger musical hand at the opera house after the allegations against Mr. Levine came to light. And although it will be a few seasons before he takes on his full workload at the Met and implements some of his plans for commissions and collaborations, he is already making his presence felt.
Jamaica applied for recognition of its musical tradition at a meeting of the UN in Mauritius this year. “It is a music that we have created that has penetrated all corners of the world,” said the country’s culture minister Olivia Grange.
“Choral Marx, which was recently performed at NYU’s Skirball Center, consists of nine singers whose variously musical utterance transfigures, toys with, and otherwise implements eight heavily excerpted selections from the 1888 Samuel Moore translation of the Manifesto. Led by [composer Ethan] Philbrick’s cello, the band played all the hits: ‘The history of all hitherto existing societies/ Is the history of class struggle,’ ‘The bourgeoisie has reduced personal worth to exchange value,’ ‘There is a specter haunting this world’ and so on.”
Yes, there are the obvious reasons: it can move us or validate our own sad feelings. And the human brain produces several hormones in response to music, including dopamine and serotonin. But sad music in particular induces production of a hormone called prolactin.
University of Michigan musicologist Patricia Hall was doing research in the archives of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum when she found handwritten arrangements of popular German songs — titles such as “The Most Beautiful Time of Life” and “Sing a Song When You’re Sad” — assembled for prisoners to perform for their SS captors.
Without him, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Dinah Shore, Dean Martin and countless other intimate singers could never have happened. A workhorse, he turned out a staggering number of recordings (including dozens of No. 1 hits) as well as films, radio shows and personal appearances. Whatever he did seemed off-the-cuff and effortless.