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Wednesday February 28

  • DURABLE BRASS: The Chicago Symphony's brass section is thought by many to be the best around. One of the reasons for that is about to go away. Adolph Herseth, principal trumpet of the Chicago Symphony for an amazing 53 years, will retire from the orchestra at the end of the CSO's summer season. He will be replaced by the current associate principal trumpet of the San Francisco Symphony. Chicago Tribune 02/28/01
  • SELLING SHARES IN MUSIC: England's New Cambridge Singers wanted to commission a new work from Richard Rodney Bennett. But it was expensive. So the chorus's director took to an e-mail list and offered fellow choral directors a share of the commission for $500 apiece. Fifteen took him up on it and a new piece was born. The Independent (London) 02/24/01
  • OPERA POLITICS FLAME UP IN BERLIN: Berlin has three opera houses, and it can't afford to run all of them. But any talk of change inflames passions. "Such is the passion of opera politics here that a banal battle over spending priorities has awakened residual East-West tensions and exposed simmering German distrust of Berlin as the capital of a united Germany." The New York Times 02/28/01 (one-time registration required for access)
  • DEFENDING AUTHENTICITY: The debate over the worth of period performance continues: "A decade ago. . . 'authentic,' performances usually meant playing Beethoven faster. All the while, though, earlier music . . . has been experiencing more radical transformations, ones that challenge the idea that classical compositions are static objects on the cultural landscape." Philadelphia Inquirer 02/28/01
  • RIAA GETS SERIOUS: The recording industry is enlisting the support of top Republican politicians as it prepares for what record company execs hope will be the final charge against Napster. Wired 02/27/01
  • INDUSTRY LAYOFFS: The AOL Time Warner merger went through last month with honchos on all sides promising massive budget cuts and the elimination of some 2400 jobs, 600 of those in the Warner Music subgroup. The hatcheting has begun, and the head of Warner Bros. Records is out. Other label execs will likely follow. Variety 02/28/01
  • FILM MUSIC YOU DON'T HAVE TO SEE: Aaron Copland once said that film music is "a small lamp that you place beneath the screen to warm it". But must film scores always play second-string to the images on screen? Maybe not... The Guardian (London) 02/28/01

Tuesday February 27

  • WHAT WOULD THE ALL-STAR GAME LOOK LIKE? The Kennedy Center's new head man says he wants to expand the complex with two new buildings, one of which would be a "Cooperstown-style Performing Arts Hall of Fame." The idea raises an immediate controversy: When Simon Rattle is inducted, will it be in a Birmingham or Berlin uniform? Washington Post 02/27/01
  • DOING IT RIGHT: Even as America's major orchestras continue to toil in closely-guarded secrecy to secure the services of the world's great conductors, one of the country's scrappiest and most unconventional ensembles is doing it a new way: with musician input, a public list of candidates, and announced "tryout" concerts. The Oregon Symphony may just be on to something. San Francisco Classical Voice 02/27/01
  • SAY IT AIN'T SO, J.S.! Debate has raged for years over the distinctly anti-Semitic vocal music of Richard Wagner, and of late, other composers have come in for accusations of racism. But J.S. Bach? In truth, the charge is anti-Judaism, not anti-Semitism, in the great St. John Passion, but many scholars are taking it seriously. Philadelphia Inquirer 02/27/01
  • FINDING AN AUDIENCE? "People who actually care about opera do well to worry about the art form becoming associated with a single segment of society." On the one-hand, it has become a high-fashion, elitist enterprise that few can gain admission to unless they've got the money. On the other can it be “popular opera, well done and at a decent price?” The Times (London) 02/27/01
  • NAPSTER & CD SALES: Has Napster hurt sales of compact disks in the US? That's what recording execs are claiming. Sales of CD singles have fallen (even though the industry made more money than ever last year). BBC 02/27/01
    • IT ISN'T GOING AWAY: Even as Napster prepares for its next court date, countless other music-on-demand services try to come up with new ways of picking up where Napster may be forced to leave off. What's legal seems fairly fluid, and entrepeneurs want to be prepared to take advantage of any loopholes they find. Wired 02/27/01
    • THE PLOT THICKENS: A German newspaper is reporting that a Napster-like song-swapping service that was beta-tested earlier this month was in fact designed by the Bertelsmann record group, in preparation for the possibility of a Napster shutdown. Inside.com 02/26/01

Monday February 26

  • SHOWING UP FOR CLASSICAL RADIO: Chicago just lost one of its classical music stations. Music fans don't want to lose the other. So this weekend the remaining station held an on-air fundraiser, and the phones rang off the hook. "We don't have enough phones; we don't have enough volunteers. The level of support is without precedent." Chicago Tribune 02/26/01
  • DIVA DENIED: Spanish opera diva Montserrat Caballé - hailed as Spain’s greatest living soprano - has failed to gain membership into Barcelona’s 150-year-old all-male Cercle de Liceu opera club, which recently agreed to start considering women for membership amid a whirl of controversy. Caballé was among a group of nine other women applicants seeking entry into the male stronghold, all of whom were denied entry. "I don’t know why we have to listen to these machistas any more." The Times (London) 2/26/01
  • VIRTUAL VERDI: Verdi’s "Aida" is expensive to produce. Now an Italian conductor is creating a sound-and-light virtual stage set that he’s sure audiences will take for the real thing when his "Aida" premieres in Melbourne next winter. And he’s not just eyeing the bottom line; he thinks Verdi would have liked it better this way. "Verdi was a man of the people and the most popular composer of his day. Why make opera so sophisticated it scares exactly the same sort of people who used to worship him?" The Age (Melbourne) 2/26/01
  • MAD OR DEPRESSED? Schumann spent the last two years of his life locked up in a mental institution. Now "an American academic has taken up his cause, contending that this was a brutal and unnecessary fate for a man who was not so much deranged as depressed. Schumann was not only denied his freedom, but at times even denied the paper on which to compose. He confronted that most horrifying of fates: being the one sane man in a house of the mad." The Times (London) 02/26/01
  • GERARD SCHWARZ TO LEAVE NEW YORK: Conductor steps down as music director of the New York Chamber Symphony after 25 years. New York Times 02/26/01 (one-time registration required for access)

Sunday February 25

  • MCFERRIN LEAVING MINNESOTA: Bobby McFerrin, the eclectic pop singer who has held the position of assistant conductor with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra for the last seven years, is stepping down to pursue other interests, which reportedly include vocal composition, and a return to his solo career. Minneapolis Star Tribune 02/25/01
  • LOOKING FOR A COMPROMISE: On Saturday, Napster asked the court that ruled against it to review its ruling, but the company changed its tune a bit. Napster is now asking that the court consider requiring it to pay royalty fees as an alternative to an outright shutdown. The tactic is unlikely to play well with devoted Napster advocates. Inside.com 02/24/01
    • GETTING COCKY: The recording industry, apparently buoyed by its recent court victory over Napster, is warning internet service providers that they may find themselves on the business end of a lawsuit if their service sanctions the free song-swapper. Nando Times (AP) 02/25/01
  • HYPING THE CLIBURN: The buildup to the finals of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas, has become the closest thing the classical music world has to Oscar buzz. The event has developed a cult following, and even spawned a smaller competition for amateur pianists. This week, the 5-person jury begins the endgame: culling 30 final competitors from the 137 who participated in "screening recitals" around the world. Dallas Morning News 02/25/01
  • JARVI'S GAMBLE: Kristjan Jarvi is convinced that modern audiences are smart enough to sit through, and enjoy, modern music. He is equally certain that classical music must adapt to and embrace the newer musical traditions if it is to survive in an age of music-on-demand. The result of these convictions is Absolute Ensemble, an 18-member group that breaks every rule of the concert hall in the hope of saving the staid, stuffy world of the classics from itself. Detroit Free Press 02/25/01
  • MORE MAAZEL MUSINGS: Marginalized or not, the American symphony orchestra still has much to offer the world. But appointments of old schoolers like Lorin Maazel continue to puzzle the nation's critics. New York Times 02/25/01 (one-time registration required for access)
  • GREATEST OF THE 20TH? The debate over Igor Stravinsky has always been a fierce one. Was he the greatest composer of the twentieth century, or an overrated, self-promoting musical bully? Did his decision to flee Russia compromise his music, or make it all the more important? With the century officially over, prominent musicians and composers are weighing in. Los Angeles Times 02/25/01
  • FILLING IN THE GAPS: Charles Mingus was one of the great innovators of jazz, and has been written about, studied, and copied extensively. But until quite recently, little was known about the early output of the great bassist. A new recording reveals that Mingus was a rabblerouser from the very beginning, bending existing forms of jazz to suit the inimitable style that the world would come to know as his. Chicago Sun-Times 02/25/01

Saturday February 24

  • PERFORMANCE PRACTICE ON THE BRINK: The period-performance movement has come under heavy fire in recent years from various musical heavyweights, for its rigid and unyielding vision of how music of a given era should be performed. But as elements of performance practice continue to seep into even the most modern ensembles' musical vocabulary, will the period ensembles find themselves edged out by their own success? London Telegraph 02/24/01

Friday February 23

  • THE GREAT MAESTRO DEBATE: For the public, whose contact with an orchestra's music director tends to be limited to a view of his back as he leads yet another Beethoven symphony, the furor over the hiring process must seem somewhat perplexing. But critics and musicians alike are furiously debating the implications for the orchestral world as a whole in the wake of the New York and Philadelphia hirings. The most-frequently-heard complaint: why won't anyone take a chance anymore? Christian Science Monitor 02/23/01
  • IS CLASSICAL MUSIC DYING? For some time now, the classical music press has been holding a virtual deathwatch. But what does the evidence really say? ArtsJournal 02/23/01
  • PURE NAKED GREED? Why were recording companies so quick to turn down Napster's offer to pay them $1 billion? "While the money sounds like a huge chunk of change for the recording industry to pass up, that's exactly what several label executives have said. The reason: The economics of the system don't add up." Wired 02/23/01
    • COMPETITION: Music giants Vivendi Universal and Sony are starting their own music-file sharing service. "The news is a fresh blow to Napster which is trying to reach a compromise with the record firms after losing a legal case about copyright." BBC 02/23/01
    • WHY THE FIGHT OVER NAPSTER MATTERS: "Suggested revenue models for making money on the Net trickle up from the software industry: you give away the intellectual property, then make your money in services and customization. These models simply don't make sense when talking about a great riff, an evocative piece of photojournalism or a work of fiction good enough to anthologize in the world of dead trees. Art is not information. Art is precisely that which can last and last — whereas nothing dates faster than a revision to a piece of software." The New York Times 02/23/01 (one-time registration required for access)

Thursday February 22

  • STEELY DAN WINS (OR IS IT EMINEM LOSES?): After one of the most controversial build-ups to any awards show in history, it was no gangsta rapper, but classic rocker Steely Dan who walked off the stage with top honors at the Staples Center last night. The official complete Grammy.com list of winners. Boston Globe 02/22/01
    • YES, VIRGINIA, THERE ARE CLASSICAL GRAMMYS: And here's a wrap-up of who won them. Philadelphia Inquirer 02/22/01
    • WALKIN' AWAY A WINNER: Eminem may not have exactly swept the Grammys, but when it comes to free publicity, he was the winner in a landslide. Even the other trophy-winning artists could seem to talk of nothing else backstage. Los Angeles Times 02/22/01
  • CHUMP CHANGE? Trying desperately to stay alive, Napster offered the recording industry $1 billion this week. But the offer has been swiftly rejected: "It is Napster's responsibility to come to the creative community with a legitimate business model and a system that protects our artists and copyrights. Nothing we have heard in the past and nothing we have heard today suggests they have yet been able to accomplish that task." Variety 02/21/01
    • NAKED PLOY FOR SYMPATHY: "You could, perhaps, call Napster's latest machinations the death throes of a company in the last minutes of life; but this final rally could also be interpreted as a savvy attempt to pull the record industry's strings by gaining public sympathy. If the record labels don't accept the billion, don't they end up looking like killjoys determined to put an end to music sharing once and for all?" Salon 02/21/01
  • LOOKING FOR LEADERSHIP: With orchestral press as East Coast-centered as it is, it can be very difficult for a major symphony orchestra outside the Boston-New-York-Philadelphia corridor to attract the top candidates for an open music director post. Toronto may have one of the toughest sells of all, but they are still in the running to name one of the top conductors in the world as their next artistic leader. The Globe & Mail (Toronto) 02/22/01

Wednesday February 21

  • NAPSTER OFFERS SETTLEMENT: Napster, under threat of being shut down and bankrupted by the courts, offers the recording industry $1 billion to drop their lawsuits. The company says it is "willing to pay $150 million per year in licensing fees to major record companies and $50 million per year in fees to independent labels and artists." Wired 02/20/01
    • NAPSTER WILL NO LONGER BE FREE: With all that money going out, Napster hopes to bring more in by charging for on-line file exchange -- from $5.95 to $9.95 for unlimited downloads. But questions remain, such as "whether Napster users will be willing to pay, whether the company will be able to build the technology to securely transfer files, and whether the record companies will go along." The New York Times 02/21/01 (one-time registration required for access)
    • FIGHTING FOR SURVIVAL: "Napster said that for months the company has pitched the record labels on a model that would split subscription revenues with 64 percent going to the labels and 36 percent going to Napster." When the labels turned down the deal, Napster decided to guarantee the cash. Inside.com 02/20/01
  • FAILURE TO REINVENT: Here and there, a few signs of success in the orchestral world. But by and large, orchestras are in a death spiral, with little good news to cheer about as they circle the drain. The Telegraph (London) 02/21/01
  • YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU LIKE. THEY DO: You may think you know what music you like, but several companies are betting they know better. Just rate a few short sound tracks for them. They'll analyze your answers, and tell you what you really like. "Some will even suggest Mozart when you thought you only wanted Metallica." Hmm... probably better that than the other way around. Wired 02/20/01
  • OH, YOU MUST HAVE BEEN A MUSICAL BABY: Everyone begins life with perfect pitch, say researchers who tested adults and eight-month-old infants. "[A]ll of the babies could tell the difference between segments of bell-like 'songs' that differed in absolute pitch.... most of the adults could not.... Our hypothesis is that the ability goes away for most of us because it's not really useful - unless you happen to be speaking a tonal language like Thai or Mandarin." New Scientist 02/20/01

Tuesday February 20

  • CREATING THE FUTURE: The digital-music industry continues to grow at an ever-increasing rate, and the debate is on over what will become the consumer standards for the medium. Security is important, as is convenience, and several companies are banking on the potential of a secure streaming service called Bridgeport, which has the potential to solve many of the problems that currently plague online music. Wired 02/20/01
  • AN OLD FRIEND RETURNS: One of the more visually stunning aspects of the massive restoration of Cleveland's Severance Hall is the rebuilt 1931 Ernest M. Skinner organ, which had been been stifled by the old stage shell. Now, with the hall restored to its former glory, the organ towers above the stage in grand turn-of-the-century style, and this week, it was the star in the first organ recital given at Severance in over 70 years. Cleveland Plain Dealer 02/20/01
  • TAKING THE PLUNGE: A small Pittsburgh nightclub has announced that it will become one of the first performance spaces in the nation to offer a live webcast of its shows. Club Cafe has wired up $250,000 worth of fiberoptic cable, cameras, and computer equipment to carry audio and video directly from its stage to an audience that they hope will be growing exponentially in the next few years. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 02/20/01
  • THE NEXT WYNTON? Chicago trumpeter David Young is making waves in the jazz world with a style that can produce "a fat and creamy tone one moment, a piercing cry the next." Audiences fall over themselves to cheer his solos. Critics adore his softly powerful playing, and his willingness to explore the new without trashing the classic. All this, and he's still a student. Chicago Tribune 02/20/01
  • CLASSICAL COMEBACK: Classical music was steadily losing its listener base in the UK just a decade ago, but now it’s more popular than ever. Concert attendance and CD sales are up, and this week’s "Gramophone" magazine recorded its highest-ever circulation figures. Even demand for music lessons and instrument-making is booming. "Why it has happened is a bit harder to understand. Whatever the web of reasons, the fact that classical music is now firmly a mass-market phenomenon is to be welcomed." The Herald (Glasgow) 2/19/01
  • INTERNET KILLED THE POP JOURNALIST? Two of Britain’s most popular music mags have folded, and the industry’s wondering why. "The British music press is in crisis. There are now more exciting ways of accessing information than just sitting down with a pile of magazines. Now they're probably the least sexy way of doing it. You don't have to read a hundred words on 'sonic cathedrals', take someone's word for it and buy the album only to find out it's a pile of shit. You can read about it, get excited, go to a website, hear it, buy it and have it delivered to your door the next day." The Guardian (London) 2/20/01
  • EXPOSURE IS WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT: So you're an aspiring classical musician trying to make a career. Traditional competitions are a lot of work and require multiple rounds of elimination. Now a new online competition puts a twist on the idea - enter your recording and the winners get to have their music reside on a website as streaming audio for a year. New Republic 02/01/01


  • The New York Times:"The Internet is a revolutionary medium whose long-term benefits we are only beginning to fathom. But that is no reason to allow it to become a duty- free zone where people can plunder the intellectual property of others without paying for it." 02/18/01 (one-time registration required for access)
  • Minneapolis Star-Tribune: "The prevailing view of Napster, reinforced by last week's court ruling, paints it as a digital burglary tool that scofflaw youngsters can use to grab free music and beat musicians out of royalties. This is a convenient oversimplification by the recording industry, whose archaic business model is as big a reason as any for the success of the Internet music-swapping services it is trying to shut down." 02/19/01
  • Toronto Globe & Mail: "We've used Napster to explore, educate ourselves and chase down obscurities -- areas either badly served by the companies, or not served at all. Napster gives you access to music at the speed of intellect. I can recall more than once a quick download settling a musical argument." 02/20/01

Monday February 19

  • AMERICA'S CLASSICAL MUSIC? In late 1999 the listeners of America's National Public Radio voted on the 100 most important musical works of the 20th Century. What does the list say about us (or at least NPR listeners)? "The voters rejected the more musicologically correct candidates and overwhelmingly favored a category of music hitherto scorned by scholars: the oldie." The Atlantic 03/01
  • NAPSTER'S BID TO GET LEGAL: Napster is hurrying to develop a new form of its program to get legal. "Expected out by mid-summer, the new system would "tag" files as they are traded across the Napster network. Each file would then be wrapped in an encryption system, allowing content owners to determine how the new files could be used. The system would remove the MP3s from the system and replace them with a new, proprietary, digital rights management system that has not yet been developed." Wired 02/18/01
    • WHY RUIN THE PARTY? All the record-company high-fives the other day over their appeals-court judgment against Napster looks like a Jurassic convention of brontosauri celebrating the death of the first mammal. They may not have noticed how few of the critters scuttling around at their feet share their enthusiasm." Globe & Mail (Canada) 02/19/01
  • ALL MUSIC ALL THE TIME: Chicago radio station WNIB played classical music for 27 years until new owners took over. A week ago the classical format disappeared, and the music, announcers and commercials have been replaced by a lonely six-CD player set on continuous play. What's going on? New owners are just trying to figure out what the new format will be - and losing millions of dollars in the meantime. Chicago Tribune 02/19/01
  • FAKE IF YOU WANT TO: A survey of young British pop music fans reveals that a sizeable percentage believes pop stars don't sing their own songs. "As many as 34% believed that some of the most famous faces in pop do not sing on their chart hits." Does it matter to them? Apparently not - they still buy the recordings. BBC 02/19/01

Sunday February 18

  • THE EMINEM PROBLEM: Since its release last May Eminem's latest album has sold 8.1 million copies, more than three times as many as the other Grammy-nominated Best Albums combined. How could the numbers-obsessed Grammys not invite the rapper to the party? And yet... Philadelphia Inquirer 02/18/01
  • STOP ROMANTICIZING NAPSTER: Time to stop romanticizing the Big Guy/Little Guy struggle between Napster and its users and the big recording companies. "The much-posited notion that 'the internet is the new punk' is soon destined to follow its discredited predecessors 'brown is the new black' and 'poetry is the new rock'n'roll' into the dustbin of history. For the simple reasons that true cultural upheavals are not about delivery systems, they are about content." The Telegraph (London) 02/17/01
  • ENDURANCE TEST: "At 80 minutes in duration, Scottish composer Ronald Stevenson's 'Passacaglia' is not only the longest piece of music in the piano repertoire; it's the longest continuous stretch of music composed for any instrument in history. And yet it's based on a mere four notes, which also makes the work one of the most extraordinary pieces of musical architecture ever conceived." Is it any wonder only six pianists have performed it in 20 years? The Independent (London) 02/17/01
  • OBSESSED WITH GOD: "How are we to explain the current explosion of musical Christianity: Masses, Passions and oratorios by God-obsessed composers emanating, it would seem, from every continent? Where has all the worshipful rhetoric come from, given that its creators are in large part lapsed Christians, those with whom faith never took hold, or aggressive atheists?" The New York Times 02/18/01 (one-time registration required for access)
  • COUNTRY'S RACE BARRIERS: Country music is pretty much an all-white business when it comes to performers. "There has always been a black presence in country music, but that history has been largely invisible." And yet, the black audience for country music - while still small - is growing. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 02/18/01
  • MR OPERA DEAD: Opera impressario Boris Goldovsky has died at the ge of 92. "Mr. Goldovsky himself, and then his students, fundamentally changed the nature of operatic performance in this country and the public perception of the art. In his hands, it was not an exotic and irrational entertainment, but the most precise, inclusive, accessible, and communicative of the performing arts." Boston Globe 02/17/01

Friday February 16

  • NAPSTER'S PLAN TO GET LEGAL: Napster reveals its plans to retool. "But, as Napster acknowledges, the restructuring of its architecture will not answer the demands by the recording industry that it block songs whose copyright holders do not want them to appear on the service. Napster presented the new features as the initial moves in a series of alterations that will, company management hopes, ultimately transform the file-swapping service into a valuable - and profitable - part of the music industry." Inside 02/16/01
  • NAPSTER: THE POLICE STEP IN: So far in the US, the Napster controversy has been confined to the courtroom. In Belgium, however, it's gone a step further. "[P]olice have raided the homes of users of music-sharing websites looking for evidence they infringed copyright rules.... the searches were part of an investigation of the Internet site mp3blast.com." Salon (AP) 02/15/01
  • KIDS VS THE GROWNUPS? "According to a recent survey by Family PC magazine, one out of three teens ages 12 to 17 download songs through Napster. The proportion of college students is considerably higher. Young people have gotten used to doing whatever they want to do on the Internet. Until Napster blew up, they didn't understand they could be regulated." Now they're considering what to do. Washington Post 02/16/01

Thursday February 15

  • DOING IT RIGHT: Nearly every symphony orchestra in the U.S. has conceived of some sort of "casual classics" series designed to bring in listeners who ordinarily shy away from the pomp and circumstance of the concert hall. But most of these series program little more than elevator music, and assume that the rock'n'roll generation will be turned off by anything challenging. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra's new "Classic Encounters" series tries the opposite approach. Chicago Sun-Times 02/15/01
  • DOING IT ALL: Most composers would not choose a full-scale opera as their first work to be premiered in public. Most would also not choose to tempt fate by conducting the premiere themselves. But conductor/composer Anton Coppola will do just that next month in Florida, leading the world premiere of his "Sacco & Vanzetti." The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 02/15/01
  • PRIZE CAREER: Canadian mezzo Isabel Bayrakdarian won a contest. "More precisely, she won a contest called 'Operalia'. Operalia was conceived of in 1993 by Placido Domingo and sponsored by Alberto Vilar, the Cuban-American billionaire 'high-tech guru' and opera enthusiast. In the opera world, Operalia is the crème de la crème of prizes." It is the prize that makes a career. Saturday Night (Canada) 02/11/01
  • UNEXPECTED HIRING: The Northwest Chamber Orchestra, based in Seattle, was not looking for a new music director. But they've hired one anyway: pianist/conductor Ralf Gothoni, who so impressed the group when he appeared with them recently that they decided to sign him to a contract before someone else did. Seattle Times 02/14/01
  • HOW TO RUIN A SYMPHONY:  Nothing can spoil a climactic moment in a performance like a beeping watch or a chirruping cell phone, and increasingly, concertgoers are disregarding warnings to shut them off. But in an industry desperate to attract the public, most managements are loath to take any harsh measures to enforce the ban. Boston Herald 02/15/01
  • TODAY'S BIBLICAL SIGN OF ARMAGEDDON: Luciano Pavarotti has announced his intention to aggressively pursue the opportunity to duet with Madonna. Yes, that Madonna. But he's not getting his hopes up. "I have asked her but she has been busy - first she makes the baby and then, I don't know." BBC 02/15/01

Wednesday February 14

  • NAPSTER'S FINANCIAL PERILS: It's not just the judges' ruling giving Napster a reprieve that the company has to worry about. If recording companies continue to pursue Napster, the copyright violation fines could bankrupt the service. "Statutory damages could quickly add up to big bucks. A federal judge in New York ruled last year, for instance, that MP3.com was liable for $25,000 in damages for each CD copied. It's extremely likely that Napster will have a very large financial judgment against them." Wired 02/13/01
    • END OF THE LINE? Napster execs say they don't know whether they can continue the company given restrictions imposed by Federal judges Monday. The New York Times 02/14/01 (one-time registration required for access)
    • NO LEGISLATIVE RELIEF: The US Congress could make Napster's problems go away by passing legislation aimed for for new digital realities. But "I don't think you're going to see legislation in the Congress.... We just spent years trying to get things right. Things are changing much too fast for us to jump in and try to get it right a second time." Wired 02/13/01
    • THE REAL GENIUS OF NAPSTER: "Napster is considerably more than an online shoplifting service. What Napster has done is to provide access, from any Internet connection, to nearly every recording anyone could want. Napster hasn't copied or accumulated those recordings. It searches the ad hoc network of people using Napster at any moment and, like a card catalog or a virtual bulletin board, it simply helps people find the music they seek. By doing so, Napster provides something that for many listeners is even more desirable than free tunes: access." The New York Times 02/14/01 (one-time registration required for access)
  • DON'T SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER: Put him or her on the Endanger Species List. The classic piano recital seems to be a fading pleasure - there are fewer with each passing year. "Wasn’t there a time... when the image of a noble profile, white tie and tails, and fingers flying across black and white keys was the personification of classical music?" New York Observer 02/14/01
  • BEHIND THE WALLPAPER: Why does Vivaldi's music have a reputation for vacuousness? "Most movements of Vivaldi concertos go on no longer than a fifties pop hit, but they are packed with information, invention, and emotion; each work is a game of twists and turns, an arrangement of artful shocks. It is difficult at first to hear the element of surprise in this composer's language, because so many of his tricks have become clichés, but the tricks are still there to be savored." The New Yorker 02/12/01
  • FROM CLASSICAL TO JAZZ: Tchaikovsky Competition winner violinist Viktoria Mullova has improbably embarked on a jazz career. "I thought I could never do it. When you have been trained as a classical soloist, it is very difficult after 30 years to play something which is not written. You have been raised to play every single note and play it perfect. You are terrified of making a mistake. All my stage fright is about playing wrong notes. The more scared I am, the better I play." The Telegraph (London) 02/14/01

Tuesday February 13

  • COURT TO NAPSTER - STOP: A US appeals court rules against the music-sharing service. But Napster lead counsel David Boies stressed that, "in his view, the court was saying that 'the Napster architecture does not have to be redesigned,' and that Napster need only police its files 'within the limits of its system.' If so, then the ruling really might not be the catastrophe that it seemed on first glance." Inside.com 02/12/01
    • HANGING BY A THREAD: "The court is requiring that Napster be notified in advance that it is in violation of copyright in particular cases, and if Napster refuses to bar transmission of the songs across the Napster network, it will then be in violation - and will be shut down." Salon 02/13/01
    • RESISTANCE IS FERTILE: Napster opponents may have won in court, but online resistance to the commercial recording industry is growing. "With every song they tell Napster to remove, the political resistance to this extreme view of copyright law will grow stronger." The New York Times 02/13/01 (one-time registration required for access)
    • SO MUCH FOR THE NAPSTER EFFECT: Sales of recorded music in Australia rose again last year (mirroring sales figures in the US) despite free digital sharing of music over the internet. "In Australia, CD sales rose by 2.9 per cent to almost 43 million, while vinyl continued its comeback, with sales increasing by 23 per cent to 37,400 records, according to Australian Recording Industry Association figures." The Age (Melbourne) 02/13/01
  • THE DU PRE TRADE: Cellist Jaqueline du Pre seems to hold endless fascination, even years after her death. "Endlessly recycled images of her gilded youth and wheelchair-bound decline symbolise the malign power of the illness that killed her. Meanwhile, the furore unleashed by her siblings' memoir and its consequent film – painful truth or grotesque travesty? – rages on." And now a new documentary (an answering documentary to the "Hilary and Jackie" movie, perhaps?) examines her life again. The Independent (London) 02/13/01
  • JANSONS STAYING PUT: That sigh of relief you hear is from Pittsburgh. After months of speculation that he would leave the PSO for a more high-profile job elsewhere, music director Mariss Jansons has reaffirmed his commitment to the Steel City. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 02/13/01
  • HOW TO TICK OFF A UNION: The furor over the lack of a traditional pit orchestra in the national touring production of "Annie" has shifted to Cleveland. The producers call the synthesized facsimile an "orchestra enhancement system." The musicians' union calls it deceptive, stingy, and "karaoke theater." Cleveland Plain Dealer 02/13/01
  • SIGNING OFF: Although most American cities are lucky to have even one classical radio station, Chicago had long prided itself on its ability to sustain several. No more. Chicago's WNIB abandoned its classical music format at midnight Sunday, leaving WFMT as the city's only commercial classical station. Chicago Sun-Times 02/13/01
  • MAKING HISTORY: It's easy with all the concentration on repertoire from the past, to forget that classical music is still an evolving artform. So what are today's masterpieces? Herewith a nomination for one of John Adams's latest works - the first American masterpiece in the last quarter-century? Philadelphia Inquirer 02/13/01
  • THAT MAGNIFICENT MACHINE: An unusual gathering of musicians and scientists occurred last week in New York, aiming to examine the connection between the physical motions involved in playing the piano, and the emotional content of the sound that results. It was a lot more fun than the title of the concert/seminar ("Polymaths & the Piano") made it sound. The New York Times 02/13/01 (one-time registration required for access)

Monday February 12

  • NAPSTER KAYOED: A US appeals court has ruled against the music-file trading service Napster. "The court ruled that "Napster, by its conduct, knowingly encourages and assists the infringement of plaintiffs' copyrights." The recording industry was understandably thrilled with the decision." Wired 02/12/01
    • LAST MINUTE TRADING: Napster was swamped this weekend (some 10,000 users at any one time) as music fans spent the weekend madly copying music files just in case a US court shuts down the service Monday. "A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco will issue its ruling on Monday on the recording industry's request that Napster be ordered to stop enabling users to swap songs for free." Wired 02/11/01
    • FAIR USE: Napster has already made a deal with music giant Bertelsmann. "For obvious reasons, media moguls and teenage music fans are watching the deal closely. But so should everyone who writes or creates for a living: we are about to witness a live test of whether technology can protect digital intellectual property." Columbia Journalism Review 02/01
  • DEMOCRACY AND THE NEW NEW GROVES: "Traditionally, musicologists have regarded music as a qualitative pyramid, with Bach at the top, Hungarian folk singers somewhere in the middle, and Eminem at the bottom. Since the first edition, however, the quiet congregation of music scholars that used to spend much of its time seeking new ways to explain the greatness of the great composers has been shaken by a rude outbreak of postmodernism. The old pyramid model has been partially displaced by the idea that music is a constellation of equally valid systems, shaped in part by power relations, sexuality and social context." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 02/12/01
  • 34 CONDUCTORS FOR ONE: Toronto Symphony music director Jukka-Pekka Saraste leaves the orchestra at the end of this season. But the orchestra will not immediately replace him. Instead, 34 conductors will fill out the 2001/02 season. The orchestra's director says "it would be wrong for the symphony to make a quick decision about replacing Saraste." CBC 02/10/01
  • AFTER THE POMP IS GONE: A redo of Edinburgh's Usher concert hall was greeted with great pomp last year. But an expected increase in performances and activity hasn't materialized. So what's the problem? The Scotsman 02/12/01

Sunday February 11

  • MUSICIANS PRICED OUT: Old rare violins have escalated in price so as to be all but unaffordable for musicians. "With even the biggest private collectors, let alone performers, finding it hard to keep up, the great Italian fiddles seem destined for public or institutional ownership, like the great Italian paintings before them." The New York Times 02/11/01 (one-time registration required for access)
  • OPEN SELECTION: In the old days, music directors of American symphony orchestras were chosen amid secrecy and in consultation with only a select few insiders. No more. "It would be virtually impossible today for a major orchestra to name a music director who had not previously appeared as a guest conductor and survived the evaluating scrutiny of the players." Boston Globe 02/11/01
  • THE CLASSICAL NET: "Nobody knows yet if the Internet will be a boon or bust in the long term for American orchestras, opera companies, chamber ensembles and solo musicians. But classical groups large and small are mounting some interesting experiments. In an inherently conservative field, visionaries see the Internet becoming a super-efficient box office for concert ticket sales, a global network for selling CDs and a vehicle for broadcasting live concerts." Chicago Sun-Times 02/11/01
  • THE NEW MUSIC BUSINESS: "The Net is changing almost every aspect of the way that bands do business, and Chicago musicians say it's almost entirely for the better. In terms of how independent or underground bands go about building a following and making themselves heard, there has already been a dramatic shift in the last five years." Chicago Sun-Times 02/11/01
  • MUSIC WITHOUT MUSICIANS: "The music business has finally figured out how to do without musicians, those pesky varmints. Today, more and more pop is created not by conventional musicianship but by using samplers, digital editing software and other computerized tools to stitch together prerecorded sounds." The New York Times 02/11/01 (one-time registration required for access)
  • LIFE BEYOND CONDUCTING: Esa Pekka Salonen just took a sabbatical from his job as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He's coy about his future: "Does the star conductor of the 82-year-old orchestra, one of the most sought-after guest conductors in the world today, mentioned as a candidate to head any major orchestra in need of a music director - in short, one of the great hopes of classical music - does he mean to say that he's giving up conducting?" Orange County Register 02/11/01

Friday February 9

  • SHARING FOR PROFIT: An online marketer figures a way to get rich off Napster. The company tracks who has downloaded what mp3 files and shared them, then sends messages (ads) to the music fans. "Several marketing companies are working to prove that file-sharing can be a commercial bonanza for the music industry - apocalyptic major-label lawyering to the contrary." Inside.com 02/08/01
  • MAYBE A SUPER BOWL AD WOULD HELP? The Toronto Symphony Orchestra is one of North America's finest, and yet they play in one of the worst (acoustic) halls ever built, face deficits and mismanagement, and have trouble luring the top musicians. A new marketing campaign aims to recapture some of the lost audience, and redefine the brand. The Globe & Mail (Toronto) 02/09/01
  • A GIFT FOR TOMORROW'S DIVAS: The Washington (D.C.) Opera is the recipient of an $8 million donation, with the lion's share earmarked for a new training program for emerging artists. The program will begin next season, and be continued for five years. The New York Times 02/09/01 (one-time registration required for access)
  • THEY'D NEVER DO THIS TO BRITNEY: E-Music, the music download site, is dumping the Internet Underground Music Archive that alt-rock fans had hoped would help jumpstart the indie scene online. E-Music is desperately struggling to become profitable before their cashflow dries up a year from now. Wired 02/09/01

Thursday February 8

  • WHAT "JAZZ" GOT RIGHT: The critics have made it abundantly clear where they think Ken Burns’ "Jazz" series got it wrong: "’Jazz’ was penny-ante sociology. It rolled over for Wynton Marsalis. It bought into the Albert Murray-Stanley Crouch party line. It deified Louis Armstrong. It presented legends as historical fact. It didn't cover contemporary jazz. It misrepresented Duke Ellington's compositional process. It shorted Latin jazz. It was anti-Semitic. And so on." But what about all the things it got right? Salon 2/07/01
    • A SPOOF ON "JAZZ":"When people listened to Skunkbucket LeFunke, what they heard was, ‘Do do dee bwap da dee dee de da da doop doop dap.’ And they knew even then how profound that was." Salon 2/07/01

Wednesday February 7

  • ONE WAY TO DEAL WITH A UNION: English opera impressario Raymond Gubbay locked his company of singers in their rehearsal room yesterday to prevent the actors union Actors Equity from "disrupting" rehearsal. "It is unbelievable what Equity are doing. They have seized on a change in the law regarding rights for unions that was designed for bargaining rights in factories and shop floors, not for itinerant opera companies that are together for a few weeks. They are trying to call meetings and disrupt rehearsals." The Independent (London) 02/07/01
  • NEWLY FUN: Who says contemporary music has to be dull and serious? And yet for a generation (or two) new classical music events were serious to the point of dullness. But a new generation of players, composers and presenters in New York is making new music fun. Sonicnet 02/06/01
  • JUILLIARD ADDS JAZZ: Time was when 'serious' musicians looked down at jazz as barbaric. But now jazz is not only part of the mainstream, it's become an 'artform' (should that be a capital 'A'?). The Juilliard School has added a degree program in jazz. Public Arts 02/06/01
  • VARIATIONS ON A VARIATION: Glenn Gould’s virtuosic 1955 recording of Bach’s "Goldberg Variations" gave the piece more popularity than it had enjoyed for centuries. "Until Gould, the piece, when played in public at all, was largely performed by Baroque specialists, usually on the harpsichord, and often presented in a ‘now you must take your medicine, it's good for you’ spirit. Gould's great achievement was to demonstrate that the piece is also fun." Herewith, samples from Gould and others’ variations on the theme. Slate 2/05/01

Tuesday February 6

  • UNION BLUES: Britain’s 108-year-old Musicians’ Union is being sued for allegedly failing to pay out millions of pounds owed to session musicians over the last 55 years, and publicity surrounding the trial is shedding light on this little-understood - but highly influential - arm of the recording industry. "The Musicians' Union has long held a reputation as a left-wing, doctrinaire organisation as secretive and tight-lipped as the KGB. If it's widely known for anything, it's for imposing a labyrinth of infuriating bureaucratic restrictions on the performance or recording of music." The Guardian (London) 2/06/01
  • TOOTING YOUR OWN HORN: Wynton Marsalis has angered a lot of jazz fans for being too much of a traditionalist and straining to fix the great names of jazz into a fixed hierarchy. "What are these critics trying to protect? The conservative vision that there are no objectives to the music. The conservative vision that a group of guys playing without rhythm is a forward-thinking notion of jazz. I would rather see a more enlightened community, because it would give [people] a greater appreciation of the music and would raise the standard of musicianship." The Telegraph (London) 2/06/01
    • WHO CARES ABOUT JAZZ? "The only people who really care about Ken Burns' "Jazz" may be die-hard aficionados - whose numbers, as is well known, are lamentably small - and others keenly attuned to the subtlest nuances of race relations in the United States. The rest of the country - I'd guess something on the order of 275,million souls - seems to have been blissfully unaware of the series; given the distortions, omissions and fabrications with which it was riddled, doubtless that is for the best." Washington Post 02/05/01
  • POWER-SHARING: Lorin Maazel’s appointment as the new music director at the New York Philharmonic came with the broad approval of the orchestra’s players. Such consensus and power-sharing is becoming increasingly common in the classical music world. "The shift of power in the orchestra has acquired a label that borrows from the jargon of grass-roots organizing: musician empowerment." New York Times 2/06/01 (one-time registration required for access)
    • THE MAESTRO SPEAKS: Meeting with the New York press for the first time since his appointment to the helm of the NY Phil, Lorin Maazel was pleasant, spoke no ill of the critics who have labelled his selection "appalling," and announced his intention to rally Big Apple audiences to the side of new music. New York Post 02/06/01
  • BETTER NOT DROP IT: Sixteen investors have joined forces to purchase violinist Robert McDuffie the instrument of his dreams: a 1735 $3.5 million Guarneri del Gesù violin known as the Ladenburg (whose past players include Paganini). The partners are leasing the instrument to McDuffie for 25 years, after which time it will be sold for an expected profit. "The price of rare violins makes it virtually impossible for individuals to afford them. In Europe, the Middle East, and Japan, governments or businesses purchase these instruments and lend them for little or no fee." New York Times 2/06/01 (one-time registration required for access)
  • GOVERNMENT BAILOUT: The beleagured Scottish Opera has been presented with a £1 million grant by the national treasury, a move which will finally end the uncertainty that has surrounded the organization's future since late 1999, when an emergency government subsidy was necessary to avert bankruptcy. BBC Music Magazine 02/06/01
  • NAPSTER ON THE BRINK: With the notorious music-swapping service on the verge of becoming a subscription-based pay music provider, other song download sites wonder what the future of their industry will be. With the decline and fall of so many dot-coms, companies like E-Music have been trimming staff and resources, and their future will be directly tied to the "new" Napster's success or failure. New York Press 02/06/01
  • 13 WAYS OF LOOKING AT NEW MUSIC: An unusual sextet of young musicians is leading the charge for public embrace of modern music. eighth blackbird, an award-winning 5-year-old ensemble based at Northwestern University, takes a unique approach to presenting contemporary works: they want the audience to have a good time. Rocky Mountain News 02/05/01

Monday February 5

  • PLAYERS RULES: Last week's choice of Lorin Maazel as music director of the New York Philharmonic marks a significant shift of power in who shapes the historically fractious orchestra. "It was the first time in the orchestra's history that it has, to a good degree, chosen its music director." The New York Times 02/05/01 (one-time registration required for access)
  • SUPER "BOWL" BRAWL: The L.A. Philharmonic's summer series at the Hollywood Bowl is one of the most successful summer festivals in the U.S. But the famous bandshell has long been a source of frustration for performers: it's tiny stage and awful acoustics make for substandard concerts, and the leaky roof and asbestos-filled shell are downright dangerous. The city is quietly moving ahead with plans to demolish the shell and replace it with a new one, and preservationists are furious. L.A. New Times 02/01/01
  • WRAPPING UP "JAZZ": As Ken Burns's unavoidable and controversial documentary draws to a close on PBS, the jazz world takes stock, and considers the future. One critic's view: "We've just been through 15 years of neo-traditionalism, overlapped by three or four more years of Swing revivalism, both phenomena driven by commerce rather than creativity to no particular aesthetic gain. Do we really need to repeat that exercise?" Globe & Mail (Toronto) 02/05/01
  • GOTHAM'S BEST: Like it or not, and many musicians don't, a composer operating out of New York City is automatically accorded a great deal more respect than one based in, say, Cleveland. As a result, most of the past century's advances and declines in new music can be traced to the ever-celebrated, ever-squabbling world of New York's compositional elite. A new nine-concert festival celebrates the group's contributions. New York Magazine 02/05/01
  • SCHUBERT REVISED: Franz Schubert has spent much of the last century being portrayed as a drunken, homosexual reveler, in stark contrast to his previous image as something of a musical saint. The disparate characterizations are largely due to the fact that relatively little has been known of Schubert's life, and, as more facts are unearthed, the truth of the composer's character turns out to be somewhere in between the two extremes. Chronicle of Higher Education 02/09/01
  • FIGHTING DEPORTATION: A violist with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra in Ontario is appealing a government ruling that would send him and his family back to their native Albania. The violist claims that he is in imminent danger from the Albanian government, and the orchestra is backing him. CBC 02/02/01
  • XENAKIS DIES: Iannis Xenakis, the Greek-French composer whose highly complex scores were based on sophisticated scientific and mathematical theories, died yesterday at his home in Paris. He was 78. The New York Times 02/05/01 (one-time registration required for access)

Sunday February 4

  • LEVINE TRYOUT? Now that the orchestras of New York and Philadelphia have settled on their new music directors, eyes turn to Boston, where James Levine is rumored to be the top candidate. Levine conducted in Boston this week in what is being considered in some quarters as a tryout. Levine got a warm reception... Boston Globe 02/03/01
    • TALKING THE TALK: Boston Symphony management has been talking with Levine about the job. "But they said that considering the range of difficult issues to be resolved, including orchestra work rule changes sought by Mr. Levine, the talks could continue through this year or even into 2002." The New York Times 02/03/01 (one-time registration required for access)
  • THE NEW JAZZ: "While Americans have always regarded European jazz with the same tolerant smile they reserve for Japanese baseball, the most exciting music now is coming from the Europe. Just five years ago this would have been dismissed as a fanciful notion, but American jazz, once famously dubbed 'the sound of surprise' hasn't been sounding so surprising for a while." The Telegraph (London) 02/03/01
  • MASTER TEACHER: Few people outside the world of classical music have heard of 82-year-old Maria Curcio, but within that world she's a legend: as Artur Schnabel's favourite pupil, as the muse of Rafael Orozco and Radu Lupu, and as a tutelary goddess second to none. Her verdict on Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, with whom she once duetted in concert, would get that lady's lawyers scurrying for a writ; likewise, kindness prevents my repeating her damning view of one of today's celebrated young stars in the pianistic firmament." The Independent (London) 02/03/01
  • EATING IN PEACE: A New York judge has prohibited a union that is in a dispute with the restaurant service that serves the Metroploitan opera from trying to embarras the Met. Before the injunction was issued, the union sought to embarrass and otherwise pressure the Met with the hope that the opera would pressure Restaurant Associates to give in to its demands. The New York Times 02/03/01 (one-time registration required for access)

Friday February 2

  • A FINE STATE OF AFFAIRS: Germany fields some 21 state orchestras, orchestras that use the seal of the state to claim excellence. That is five more orchestras than there are German states. But now some jostling about who and what gets funded and some promises for same and what was promised and what wasn't... Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 02/02/01
  • FAKE MONKS: A group of Greek monks who recorded an album that became a sensation on the Greek pop charts last summer has a little credibility problem. Turns out only one of the 12 members of the group is actually a Greek Orthodox monk. "Last summer, the group's CD, 'I Learned to Live Free,' sold over 50,000 copies in Greece. They also made a music video showing the group in black monks' robes dancing, singing and advocating a life free of drugs, stress and the 'pressures of modern society'." Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 02/02/01
  • THE NEW MUSIC: Violinist Viktoria Mullova is a Tchiakowsky Competition winner. But these days she's into something else. "You would have to come up with some cumbersome term like 'classical-jazz-pop-rock-fusion'. It consists of a collection of pieces, ranging from the Bee Gees to Miles Davis and Duke Ellington, all of which are swirled together and transformed into something radical and strange. 'We don't like the term crossover. We're not crossing to anywhere. It's new music. It's not a jazz concert. I can't pretend that I can play jazz. You need a lifetime's experience to play jazz." The Guardian (London) 02/02/01
  • LIVE TO SING ANOTHER DAY: An agreement to fund the cash-strapped Scottish National Opera has bailed it out of its current difficulties. Is the company rejoicing? "More likely, it will provoke a sigh of relief as it presents an opportunity to the company to restabilise and introduce something more resembling a full programme of operas for next season." The Herald (Glasgow) 02/02/01
  • BURNS BAN: "It's said that more Americans get their history from Ken Burns than from any other source, and Burns does jazz such a great service by introducing it to tens of millions of them that specific complaints against him don't carry much weight. But jazz the form is reduced to an endless string of incidents and accolades, people and platitudes, while Jazz the film manages to explain what the music means without explaining what it is, or how to listen to it." Feed 01/31/01
  • THEY HEAR BETTER THAN WE DO: A new study says that orchestra conductors' brains have adapted to the task: "conductors can localize sounds in their periphery better than either pianists or non-musicians. The same brain areas were active in all three groups, suggesting that conductors do not use different groups of nerve cells for this task." Scientific American 02/01/01
  • LEARNING ON THE JOB: Itzhak Perlman will begin a new career path this fall, when he becomes Principal Guest Conductor of the Detroit Symphony. He is hardly the first high-profile soloist to make the leap to the podium - Bobby McFerrin in St. Paul and Mstislav Rostropovich in Washington both caused controversy when they decided to try waving the baton on a semi-full time basis. A Perlman guest stint in San Francisco reveals much about what he has learned already, and what he has yet to grasp. San Francisco Chronicle 02/02/01

Thursday February 1

  • A CURIOUS CHOICE? Lorin Maazel has been widely despised by the musicians of orchestras he has led. And he's old. So why did the New York Philharmonic settle on naming him the orchestra's new music director? "Some critics will contend that only a man of Mr. Maazel’s experience would be able to keep a firm grip on the Philharmonic. There really isn’t anybody else out there. The idea of young conductors at the Philharmonic is absurd. These people don’t have the experience; the Philharmonic is not an easy orchestra." New York Observer 01/30/01
    • WE REMEMBER HIM WELL: So Maazel's old. So he doesn't play well with others. Three decades ago he put his stamp on the Cleveland Orchestra and you can still hear traces of his influence today, says a Cleveland critic. Cleveland Plain Dealer, 01/31/01
  • BIG MONEY IN JAZZ: "Sales of videotapes of Burns' PBS documentaries, companion books and CDs have pulled more than $600 million in retail revenue. Burns' cachet as documentary filmmaker extraordinaire could eventually make 'Jazz' one of the biggest revenue generators of his 25-year career. Sales of related merchandise - books, CDs, DVDs and videos - surpassed $15 million halfway through Jazz' 10-episode airing." USA Today 02/01/01
    • PILING ON "JAZZ": It's not just Ken Burns and his admittedly limited documentary that annoys contemporary jazz musicians. Numerous veterans of the jazz scene decry the influence of the "Lincoln Center mob," and specifically the traditionalist trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, for trying to turn jazz into something akin to classical music: rigid, uncreative, and dominated by the past. Boston Herald, 02/01/01
    • NEW JAZZ: Ken Burns’ "Jazz" series has been widely criticized for paying scant attention to music after 1950. Herewith a list of some contemporary jazz greats who also deserve a listen. Slate 01/30/01
  • MIDSUMMER NIGHTS JUST A DREAM: The Minnesota Orchestra officially killed off its plans to build a $40 million outdoor amphitheater in the northern suburbs of the Twin Cities. The orchestra's venture had been considered the most stable of at least three competing plans to build a summer concert venue in the area, until it was disclosed last month that a lead donor had not yet been found. Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 02/01/01
  • NXNW R.I.P.: North by Northwest, the annual Portland-based music conference and festival, has been cancelled for the year after its principal financial backer pulled out earlier this week. The festival may or may not be resurrected in 2002. The Oregonian, 01/31/01
  • CITY PAYS, OPERA PLAYS: The Scottish Opera, which has been in financial turmoil since narrowly avoiding bankruptcy in 1999, has been guaranteed a much-needed additional £1million - enough to guarantee a new season will begin in August. In the meantime, concerts at city councils and high schools? "We are wholly aware of the political implications of the potential for the company working so closely with the city and its community venues." The Herald (Glasgow) 02/01/01


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