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MUSIC

Record Streaming Music In 2020

The year 2020 ended up setting a streaming record in America, increasing 17% for the year to end with an unprecedented 872.6 billion streams. - Variety

Claim: Our Music Theory Education Is Racist

"When we restrict ourselves to Western art music, we forgo the opportunity to speak about basic yet essential musical elements such as groove, timbre, improvisation, and post-production in styles where these are powerfully foregrounded. Today’s leading theory texts cover more or less the same material as those we used as students. Why then do we as a discipline remain so averse to change?" - NewMusicBox

Could Percussion Ensembles Become The String Quartets Of The 21st Century?

After all, "in 2009, critic Allan Kozinn declared in The New York Times, 'If you think about it, drums are the new violins,' pointing out the newfound ubiquity of percussion on new music programs." And with the 21st-century blossoming of contemporary classical repertoire in the U.S., percussion groups are getting ever more pieces to play and ever more opportunities to play them. Jeremy Reynolds on how and why it's happening. - San Francisco Classical Voice

Grammy Awards Postponed For Six Weeks Due To Pandemic

The ceremony, hosted by Trevor Noah, had been scheduled for January 31. It will now take place on March 14, due to, as a statement from the Recording Academy puts it, "the deteriorating COVID situation in Los Angeles, with hospital services being overwhelmed, ICUs having reached capacity, and new guidance from state and local governments." - Variety

Angela Hewitt Gets Custom-Made Replacement For Her Smashed Piano

Her horrible 2020 began in January when movers dropped her four-pedal Fazioli, the instrument on which she made every recording she'd done since 2003. Paolo Fazioli, the eponymous piano maker, had five new pianos made for her to choose from, and it took her about half an hour to pick one. Is it her new best friend? "I guess it is. Sorry old one. Not that I'm promiscuous." - The Guardian

Lessons For Classical Music After The Lockdown

"Yes, musical organizations will talk about learning pragmatic lessons from this pandemic. But as the industry begins the long march back toward some semblance of normalcy, let’s hope the lessons internalized also include keeping sight of the art form’s unique modes of immediacy, of intimacy, of direct expression, and of vulnerability. These qualities carried classical music through 2020 — and many of the rest of us too." - Boston Globe

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra Musicians Protest Met Tactics

“Every other major orchestra has been compensated since the very beginning of the pandemic. Met management is using the pandemic opportunistically. They are not seeking a short-term crisis-plan to balance out pandemic circumstances. They are seeking permanent cuts. The cuts they seek are so deep that the orchestra would need unrealistic salary gains over the next quarter-century just to get back to current salaries,” says the statement. - OperaWire

US Arts Venues Are Finally Getting Some Relief

Is it too little, too late? "Unlike other business sectors that have been hit hard by the coronavirus, performance centres are in a uniquely challenged position due to thin profit margins that rely on large audiences." - BBC

Australia’s National Anthem Gets An Anti-Racist Tweak

The anthem - which replaced "God Save the Queen" only in 1984, though it had been written in the late 19th century - previously had a tweak from "Australia's sons" to "Australians all," and now it's from "young and free" to "one and free" - including the peoples who have been on the continent for 60,000 years. - The New York Times

The Busiest Composer In The Bleakest Year

Tyshawn Sorey has had numerous - as in, numerous - premieres and commissions this year. The composer, who straddles jazz and classical, "has been on everyone’s radar at least since winning a MacArthur 'genius' grant in 2017, but the shock to the performing arts since late winter brought him suddenly to the fore as an artist at the nexus of the music industry’s artistic and social concerns." - The New York Times

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