ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas


Rare Violin Tests Germany’s Nazi Looting Restitution System

More than 80 years later, his 300-year-old violin — valued at around $185,000 — is at the center of a dispute that is threatening to undermine Germany’s commitment to return objects looted by the Nazis. - The New York Times

The Captain Of Sea Shanty TikTok Gets A Record Deal

You've heard "The Wellerman" by now, no doubt, since the Scottish postman who sang it a TikTok rendition of it went completely - ridiculously - viral. Now he's quit his job and earned a record contract. But how's that going to go? Viral stars and those who study them say "the hard part comes months later, when everyone has forgotten what they went viral for, and they attempt to maintain the momentum." - BBC

Ticket Brokers Are Starting To Pay Fines For Scalping

The Better Online Ticket Sales Act was enacted in 2016, but this is the first time it's seen enforcement. Aside from using bots, "the companies are accused of creating accounts in the names of family members, friends and fictitious individuals and using hundreds of credit cards to snap up the best seats at sporting events and concerts." - The New York Times

Philadelphia Opera Leading The Streaming Pack

Compared with other American companies, Opera Philadelphia is laying claim to the mantle of making new material during the pandemic. Still, what’s most notable about is not its mere existence, but the strength of the work on offer. - The New York Times

One Composer’s Long Slog To Make A Giant TV Network Pay For Using His Music

Unbeknownst to the composer, waiting beyond a YouTube search for his name was a seeming subindustry that consistently used Kerry Muzzey’s music without his knowledge. ContentID surfaced roughly 20,000 videos for Muzzey in the first month—200 or 400 more got flagged every single day. - Ars Technica

Mirga Will Leave City Of Birmingham Symphony After Next Season

Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, the young Lithuanian woman whose considerable reputation began developing while she was an assistant conductor at the L.A. Philharmonic, became music director of the CBSO in 2016. In what she describes as "a deeply personal decision" — she and her partner have two young children and a home base in Austria — she has extended her contract in Birmingham for one season and will step down in the summer of 2022. - Gramophone

Salonen And San Francisco Symphony Open Streaming Platform

"The new on-demand streaming service, dubbed SFSymphony+, is scheduled to launch on Feb. 4 with a chamber program curated by Salonen as part of the orchestra's SoundBox series. … Membership is priced at $120 for the entire season, or $15 for individual episodes. Some of the programming … will also be offered for free." This is planned as a long-term part of the Symphony's activities, not just a substitute for the live concerts cancelled due to the pandemic. - San Francisco Chronicle

Glastonbury, UK’s Largest Rock Festival, Cancelled For Second Year In A Row (Thanks, COVID)

"In spite of our efforts to move heaven and earth," the organizers said in a statement, "it has become clear that we simply will not be able to make the festival happen this year. We are so sorry to let you all down." - Rolling Stone

Boris Johnson’s Gov’t Passes On Pursuing Visa Waiver For British Musicians Touring EU

"The Musicians' Union (MU) has been lobbying for the creation of a 'musicians' passport' that would last at least two years, cost nothing or very little, encompass all EU member states, prevent any requirement for carnets or other permits, and cover road crew, technicians and other necessary staff to facilitate touring." Britain's culture minister rejected that plan this week during questions in Parliament. - The Guardian

Beethoven Through The Oppression Of An Anniversary Year

Alex Ross: "The most valuable recordings of the Beethoven Year—Igor Levit’s survey of the sonatas and the Quatuor Ébène’s cycle of the quartets—bring out those contrarian tones of wit, weirdness, irony, understatement, frenzy, stasis, and bittersweet release. Having created the single most potent persona in the history of music, Beethoven proceeded to engender another, more elusive self, which was perhaps the truer one." - The New Yorker

We Need To Rethink The Music Ecosystem

"With the collapse of live revenues, the issues in how streaming pays (or doesn’t) is being discussed. Ingham calculates that 1% of all artists receive 90% of the revenue from streaming. That’s about 43,000 artists. Of that 1%, many have been significantly impacted by COVID, as their streaming income has not replaced their live income. The other 99%, around 3 million artists, earn the other 10%. And remember, the race to being the 1% can only be won by 1%. This isn’t fair, but it is business." - Forbes

A Concert Series Programmed For You To Stream While Going To Sleep

The Philadelphia new-music producer Bowerbird has planned a set of seven concerts, each timed for 10:00 or 11:00 pm, that aim to put listeners in that odd space between sleep and wakefulness — thus the series title, Liminal States. Says pianist Marilyn Nonken, who opens the set next Wednesday with Morton Feldman's Triadic Memories, "Everybody is so traumatized and beat up that if a concert involves another state of awareness, that's a very attractive prospect. … It's a physically different place … where your brain waves change." - The Philadelphia Inquirer

The Limitations Of Adding Video To Classical Music

"With more conventional classical music video where we watch musicians playing, I would argue that the visual experience actually constrains our mind’s eye and stultifies our creative imaginations. When we listen to a recording, our eyes can look anywhere and our imaginations are free to roam. True we are not watching the musicians, but we are not visually trapped by the images on the screen. When we watch a video, the decision about what to look at is made by someone else – generally a video editor." - The Nightingale's Sonata

With New Contract, SoCal’s Pacific Symphony Can Start Playing Again

Last week the Orange County orchestra's musicians and management agreed on a four-year contract, running through the 2023-24 season. "Crucially, the agreement lays out a way for the musicians to be performing together again, recording new programs from their home venue. … Some of the contract's considerations: musicians' pay, allowances for streaming programs, COVID safety protocols, and the possibility of fluctuating pandemic restrictions." - San Francisco Classical Voice

‘Für Elise” — Igor Levit Says That Piece You Hate From Piano Lessons Is One Of Beethoven’s Finest Works

"It's just emptiness. How great must a composer be to allow himself to write about nothing?" The pianist has a go at persuading Joshua Barone. - The New York Times

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