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Where Classical Music Has Become An Obsession

Inna Faliks: “Seventy-five percent of my students at UCLA are Chinese or Chinese American. Pianists from China, after graduating from the best music schools in Europe and the United States, return home to pass on classical music traditions in their own distinct ways. This musical exchange is exponentially growing. Concert halls may remain empty in our nation’s cities, especially when traditional classical recitals are offered by a non-household name, but in China, playing a Beethoven or Chopin ...
Tags: AUDIENCE, MUSIC, 03.22.19

A Scandal Engulfing The Shiny World Of Korean Pop Music May Transform The Country

Yes, it’s about sex tapes. But in a music world of K-Pop dominance, it’s time for a reckoning: “The Burning Sun scandal, as it’s been called, comes in the midst of a national conversation about misogyny and power — as well as spy-camera porn epidemic — and the momentum behind it has the potential to dramatically transform Korean society, or at least put several powerful men in serious legal trouble.” – Vulture
Tags: MUSIC, 03.24.19

Trend: Symphonies Playing New, Non-Film Music By Film Composers

Sure, you’ve got your Harry Potter scores and your Star Wars celebrations (that’s all John Williams, of course), but the real hot trend with film composers now is getting their non-film work into symphony halls. “Adventurous programmers are seeking new works by established film composers in hopes that audiences have developed a thirst for similarly melodic, even exciting, music by names they recognize even if there are no images to accompany them.” – Variety
Tags: MUSIC, 03.22.19

Birmingham’s Young, Popular, Fiery Conductor Says British Orchestras Don’t Have An Easy Life

Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla became the music director for the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 2016. She says, “British orchestras, the CBSO included, don’t have an easy life. They work very hard, very fast. They don’t have the government support you get in, say, Germany or Austria or elsewhere. Or the rehearsal time.” – The Observer (UK)
Tags: MUSIC, 03.23.19

San Francisco Symphony Musicians Announce Their Support For Striking Colleagues In Chicago

They are supposed to perform in Chicago on Tuesday, but they say they “will join striking Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians on the picket line if the labor conflict hasn’t been settled by then.” (They already sent a letter of support, but this is a bit more direct.) – Chicago Tribune
Tags: MUSIC, 03.22.19

Michael Tilson Thomas On His Relationship With Music

“We are living in a time when production has mostly superseded content in every area you can think of. It’s very archaic to be holding on to what is the actual content and how to keep it meaningful.” – Washington Post
Tags: MUSIC, 03.21.19

The Essential Brilliance Of Studio Musicians

In the 1950s and ’60s, especially, session musicians could make or break a hit. And session musicians were in high demand, as producers like Phil Spector became obsessed with production techniques such as the Wall of Sound, forcing as many musicians as possible into a studio and having each of them contribute a small part to a larger, bombastic sound. As a result, session musicians became highly valued: Each had to play their role well, but they also had to find a way to click with every other ...
Tags: MUSIC, 03.21.19

Google Doodle For Bach’s Birthday Uses AI To (Try To) Compose Bach-Like Chorales

The little Bach-bot “promises to take any two-bar melody you type in and turn it into a Bach, or Bachlike, chorale in four parts, played by charming little music-box figures of bewigged 18th-century musicians.” Yet, writes Anne Midgette, “it may only add to the doodle’s charm that what it actually proves is the opposite of what it sets out to do.” – The Washington Post
Tags: MUSIC, 03.21.19

Fistfight At The Opera: Lawyer Punches Designer In Dispute Over Seats At Covent Garden

“Matthew Feargrieve, 42, was accused at Westminster Magistrates Court of repeatedly punching Ulrich Engler on the shoulder in the performance of Wagner’s Siegfried at the world-famous [Royal Opera House]. It is understood the dispute began because Mr Engler allegedly grabbed a coat belonging to Mr Feargrieve’s wife from an empty seat and threw it on her lap.” – The Telegraph (UK)
Tags: MUSIC, 03.20.19

Conductor Thomas Wilkins Works To Get Composers Of Color Into Boston Symphony’s Repertoire (And Into The Canon)

Wilkins, the BSO’s conductor for young people’s and family concerts, makes his subscription-season debut this weekend with a program of music by Florence Price, Adolphus Hailstork, Roberto Sierra, and Duke Ellington. Wilkins is aware of the charge of tokenism: “The easy observation would be to say that this is just a night of box-checking so that we can move on. In reality, it is not. It is, in fact, a launch. … And you know what? You gotta start somewhere.” – The Boston Globe
Tags: MUSIC, 03.21.19, Sjm

When Gustav Mahler Rode The New York Subways

Oh yes, he traveled by subway during his years (1908-11) as director of the New York Philharmonic. (He’d have taken one of the BMT lines to conduct at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the now-gone Ninth Avenue El to get home on the Upper West Side.) “Yet claiming Mahler as a New Yorker … is complicated,” writes David Patrick Stearns. “Connect the dots one way, New York was Mahler’s nightmare and possibly his undoing. Connect the dots another way, and Mahler himself was a nightmare no matter wh...
Tags: Art, Music, New York, Mahler, Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York Philharmonic, Gustav Mahler, BMT, David Patrick Stearns, New York Subways, 03.20.19, Upper West Side Yet

Seattle Opera Gets A New General Director

Christina Scheppelmann, who’s currently the artistic head of one of the top opera houses in Europe, the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Spain, will become general director of Seattle Opera in August, succeeding Aidan Lang, who announced last fall that he would be leaving at the end of this season to become general director of the Welsh National Opera. – Seattle Times
Tags: Art, Europe, Music, Seattle, Seattle Opera, Barcelona Spain, Aidan Lang, Christina Scheppelmann, 03.21.19, Gran Teatre del Liceu

Kansas City Symphony Names A New Executive Director

He’s Daniel Beckley, who most recently was vice president and general manager of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.  Beckley succeeds Frank Byrne, who’s retiring this year after a 19-year tenure. 
Tags: Art, Music, Kansas City, Frank Byrne, 03.20.19, Daniel Beckley, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Beckley

Louisville Orchestra And Teddy Abrams Renew Contract For Five Years

“The youthful musical director of the Louisville Orchestra, who has built a national reputation as a creative and innovative force on the music scene, has signed an ‘unprecedented’ five-year contract to helm one of Louisville’s cornerstone institutions through the 2024-25 season.” – Louisville Courier Journal
Tags: Art, Music, Louisville, Louisville Orchestra, 03.20.19

Yo Yo Ma And Deborah Borda: Music As A Force For Social Justice

Ma: “It’s never art for art’s sake, because even if I do it for myself in my head, I have an ideal. I’m actually trying to take something — a construct, a concept, a theory — and then I want to make it visible, I want to make it audible, I want to make it tactile. I want to make it felt.” Borda spoke of the New York Philharmonic’s efforts to engage with social issues, including gender equality. Recognizing that “all the music we play was written by men,” the organization is launching an initiat...
Tags: Art, Music, Audience, Ma, Yo Yo Ma, New York Philharmonic, SJM, Deborah Borda, Borda, 03.15.19

Magic Flute, The Video Game? It’s Coming To A Console Near You

Created by gaming company Opus Ludus, The Flute challenges players to take on the role of Prince Tamino and move through a series of adventure scenes, combat and puzzles as he embarks on his quest to rescue Princess Pamina, the daughter of the Queen of the Night. – ClassicFM
Tags: Art, Music, Audience, Tamino, 03.19.19

Striking Chicago Symphony Musicians Talk About What’s At Stake

We do not easily fit into the capitalistic system. And this is a good thing. The best things in life — education, medical care, love, nurturance —also do not fit neatly into economic life. – Jacobin
Tags: Art, Music, Chicago, 03.19.19

Is Music Strictly A Human Ability? Or Do Other Animals Have Musicality?

“Do we share musicality with other animals on account of the ‘common physiological nature of [our] nervous systems,’ as Darwin suspected? To understand the evolution of music and musicality, we have to establish what the components of music are and how they demonstrate their presence in animals and humans.” Music cognition researcher Henkjan Honing takes on the challenge. – Nautilus
Tags: Art, Music, Darwin, 03.14.19

Actors, Politicians, Even Nancy Pelosi Speak Up In Support Of Striking Chicago Symphony Musicians

As negotiations over a new contract drag on and concerts get cancelled, members of Chicago’s acting community have joined musicians on the picket line, both candidates for mayor in the city’s runoff election have come out in the strikers’ favor, and the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives has issued a statement of support. – Chicago Tribune
Tags: Art, Music, Chicago, Nancy Pelosi, U S House of Representatives, 03.19.19

Chicago Symphony Musicians Strike Continues Into Second Week

There are no further meetings between the sides scheduled at this time. CSO President Jeff Alexander said that after no progress was made after lengthy sessions on Friday and Saturday, both sides agreed it would be “good to take a pause” in negotiations. On a small note of optimism, Alexander said that “there is room for movement” on the salary element of the contract. The CSOA is currently offering a 5% increase over a three-year contract while the union seeks a 12% increase over the same peri...
Tags: Art, Music, Alexander, CSO, CSOA, Jeff Alexander, 03.18.19

Here’s What Happens When You Play Mozart, Hard Rock, Techno, And Hip-Hop To Ripening Swiss Cheese

Last fall, Swiss researchers exposed nine wheels of Emmentaler in an aging cellar to various types of music: classical (Mozart’s Magic Flute), rock (Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”), techno (Vril’s “UV”), hip-hop (A Tribe Called Quest’s “Jazz (We’ve Got)”) ambient music (Yello’s “Monolith”), and, as controls, steady high, medium and low tones and silence. All were on nonstop loops, with mini-transducers transmitting the sounds directly into the cheese wheels. After six months, the wheels we...
Tags: Art, Music, Steve Reich, Mozart, Zeppelin, 03.18.19, Mahler Monteverdi Stravinsky

MySpace Finally Admits It Lost All The Music Its Users Uploaded Over 12 Years

“As a result of a server migration project, any photos, videos, and audio files you uploaded more than three years ago may no longer be available on or from Myspace. We apologize for the inconvenience and suggest that you retain your back up copies.” Boing Boing
Tags: Art, Music, 03.17.19

British Opera Audiences Are Booing The Villains, Just Like At A Panto

“Audiences at the opera are increasingly booing the ‘baddies’, not for a perceived poor performance but because of their characters, in a change that has been attributed to the enthusiasm of new audiences. While lifelong opera-lovers have feared the trend may be disconcerting for singers, especially foreign stars who would find the world of pantomime alien, it has been emphatically welcomed by many.” – The Telegraph (UK)
Tags: Art, Music, Audience, 03.16.19

La Scala To Return €3 Million Of Saudi Money

“The Teatro alla Scala in Milan on Monday decided to return more than three million euros in funding to Saudi Arabia, amid growing criticism that Italy’s premier temple of music should not accept money from a country with a jarring human rights record. Mayor Giuseppe Sala said the theater’s board of directors had deliberated over the issue and ‘unanimously decided to return the money.'” – The New York Times
Tags: Art, Music, Milan, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Teatro Alla Scala, Giuseppe Sala, 03.18.19

How Does Music Affect The Brain? [VIDEO]

Every way possible. In this video, the folks at Wired dig into research and find out things like “why the prefrontal cortex shuts down during improvisation. ‘It’s not just something that happens in clubs and jazz bars. … It’s actually maybe the most fundamental form of what it means to be human.'”- Wired
Tags: Art, Music, 03.16.18

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra Created A Fake Event For Young Musicians To Facilitate An Engagement

Yes, this happened (will it lead to new fundraising opportunities for symphonies?): A musician’s boyfriend and the DSO, working together, “created a fake networking event for young musicians on March 10 at Orchestra Hall. After a few days, Santa Cruz and a friend RSVP’d for the event.” – Detroit Free Press
Tags: Art, Music, Santa Cruz, DSO, 03.15.19, Detroit Symphony Orchestra Created

He had countless hit records. You never heard of him.

Hal Blaine, the behind-the-scenes heartbeat of over 40 #1 hits, has died at 90. Many records by 1960s and 1970s artists were secretly recorded by session musicians and singers. These unheralded performers were some of the most talented artists ever. None Drummer Hal Blaine died on March 11 at 90 years young. Though you may not know his name, he was arguably the most important drummer in the history of recorded music. And the fact that so few were aware of his existence is no accident. If you'...
Tags: Art, Spotify, Music, Bruce Springsteen, Entertainment, Wikipedia, Glen Campbell, Los Angeles, Katy Perry, Innovation, Metallica, Singer, Recording, Detroit, Frank Sinatra, Guitar

‘A Cross Between Birgit Nilsson And Tina Fey’: How A Perfectly Good Mozart Soprano Became The World’s Leading Wagnerian Hero-Diva

Says Alexander Neef, general director of Canadian Opera Company, about Christine Goerke, “People can’t get over the sheer power of the voice — and I don’t mean only the volume. … It’s not only that she hits all the notes and she hits them powerfully. It’s that there’s always an element of storytelling that really allows her to connect with the audience.” – The New York Times
Tags: Art, Music, World, Tina Fey, Christine Goerke, Canadian Opera Company, Alexander Neef, Birgit Nilsson, 03.15.19

Is London’s Proposed New Concert Hall Merely A Play For Bragging Rights?

The scheme is slated to cost nearly £300 million and is London’s volley in an intercontinental game of high culture one-upmanship, which in recent years has produced Herzog & de Meuron’s Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg and Jean Nouvel’s Philharmonie in Paris. This arms race for cultural dominion has, in London however, reached new levels of absurdity with the decision to build the new 2,000 seat concert hall less than 300 metres from an existing 2,000 seat concert hall. – dezeen
Tags: Art, Music, London, Paris, Hamburg, Elbphilharmonie, Jean Nouvel, Philharmonie, Herzog de Meuron, 03.13.19

Afghanistan’s First All-Women Orchestra Is Now Touring Abroad

The ensemble Zohra, named for the ancient Persian goddess of music, was created five years ago for the female students at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, itself founded only in 2008. “The music performed is a combination of traditional Afghan music and western classical. For instance, their new arrangement of ‘Greensleeves'” — made for its tour of England — “contains attractive new instrumentation probably not envisaged by Ralph Vaughan Williams in 1934.” – BBC
Tags: Art, Music, England, Afghanistan, SJM, Afghanistan National Institute of Music, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Zohra, 03.15.19

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