ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas


Want To Hear The Lego Microtonal Guitar?

Of course you do - and the electromagnetic harp, the "evolved piano," and more of the winners of a new instrument competition. - The New York Times

What Musicians Really Make — A Database

The Real Music Wages Database is an anonymous, crowd-sourced list of real wage transactions reported by musicians. We track how much someone has been paid, who paid them, and how many hours of work it involved. The more entries are added to the spreadsheet, the more discernable a true economic snapshot of the new music industry is visible. - NewMusicBox

The Paris Opera “Aida” That Got Caught Up In The Culture Wars

Verdi’s 1871 tragedy, a love story set in a time of war between ancient Egypt and Ethiopia, is often given the treatment of a “Cleopatra”-like costume drama. But de Beer, who will become the director of the Vienna Volksoper next year, has offered a version so unusual that its Aida, the soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, pleaded on Instagram before opening night for her fans to “open your minds to something completely different.” - The New York Times

How The Revenue From Music Streaming Gets Parcelled Out To Artists (And Why It’s Bad For Classical)

"Clearly, the 'every track play pays the same' model (known in the jargon as 'platform-centric') has the potential to seriously damage classical music and any other minority genre or one not thought appropriate for background listening. An alternative payment model has been proposed and has been trialled by French platform Deezer: the 'user-centric' model." - Bachtrack

The Music School Flourishing On Remote Easter Island

With donated land, instruments and crowd-sourced funding, Mahani Teave, along with her partner Enrique Icka, a construction engineer, broke ground on their Toki School of Music in 2014. From the start, they envisioned a sustainable, yet stylish building – "an earth ship in the shape of an eight-petaled flower." - NPR

Boston Lyric Opera Chief To Depart

Esther Nelson added a fourth live performance to the BLO’s season, using the extra production to highlight contemporary works by both up-and-coming as well as established composers. Through the "Opera Annex" initiative, the BLO brought opera out of the traditional theater space and into the world, holding productions inside a temple in Brookline, the JFK Library and Museum in Dorchester, Back Bay’s Park Plaza Castle, and the Steriti Memorial Rink in Boston’s North End, among other locations. - WBUR

Why Are There So Few Women Percussionists In Orchestras?

"Today, in London’s seven top orchestras, women only account for 3% of all the timpani and percussion positions. In fact, there are more men called David with jobs in percussion than there are women." - The Guardian

San Francisco Opera Costume Shop Creates Sing-Safe COVID Masks

The opera's wardrobe team crafted the mask from materials used in making its corsets -- with a billowy shape aimed at allowing ample room for singers to belt out song, while tightly sealing in aerosols that could potentially spread the virus. - NBC

The Switch To Virtual Concerts Has Changed These Musicians’ Work Permanently

"It seems like a good time, as the pandemic continues to block live performances in all but a few socially distanced, outdoor shows, to revisit the topic of performing for the camera. … Their responses range from poetic to practical to pensive to feeling trapped-in-a-digital-prison and beyond, … the musicians all say their professional careers now and forever forward will consist of a hybrid of live and virtual performances." - San Francisco Classical Voice

What’s A Conductor Good For? Let A Veteran Orchestral Player Tell You.

"A great maestro, through the sheer force of his or her spiritual presence, can inspire musicians to play not with our hands but with our hearts." Barbara Bogatin, longtime cellist at the San Francisco Symphony and former principal in the Milwaukee and New Jersey Symphonies, explains how one little explanation from the likes of Kurt Masur or Esa-Pekka Salonen can make all the difference in a performance. - San Francisco Classical Voice

Charleston Symphony Eliminates Music Director Position

To cope with the huge income shortfall caused by the pandemic, South Carolina's largest performing arts organization will let go of conductor Ken Lam after next season; concertmaster and principal pops conductor Yuriy Bekker will become the orchestra's artistic director, with guest conductors being engaged for core classical concerts. - The Post and Courier (Charleston)

“Genre” Is Disappearing In Pop Music

"It’s difficult to imagine a Grammy ceremony that doesn’t rely on genre as its organizing principle—I suppose that would entail the bestowing of just one award, Best Music—yet genre feels increasingly irrelevant to the way we think about, create, and consume art." - The New Yorker

Why Music Schools Like Juilliard Have To Change

Classical purists clutch their hearts in disgust at the mere suggestion of their holy shrines teaching business skills like freelancing or contemporary styles like pop, rock, or electronic music. But consider that the geniuses we hold in high regard from ages past — the very ones we teach in classical schools now — were trail-blazing innovators in their time. - Rolling Stone

Putting Together The Pieces Of A Lost Florence Price Score

The pioneering Black composer's Fantasie Nègre No. 3 in F minor was thought to be incomplete: only the first two pages were known to have survived. Here's how musicologist Samantha Ege found the rest of the piece tucked away in the archive of music discovered in Price's old summer house in 2009. - BBC

Milwaukee Symphony’s New Principal Tuba Is 19 Years Old

Robert Black comes from a family of brass players in suburban Chicago; his mother is a high school band teacher. He's currently finishing his sophomore year at Rice University in Houston remotely and says he's committed to finishing his B.A., though he may transfer to a Wisconsin school. - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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