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Recent news, commentary, and ideas.

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Auditioning for the MET Orchestra
MetOrchestraMusicians: William Short
A fascinating and surprisingly candid account of what it takes to win one of the most rigorous auditions on the planet. MET Orchestra principal bassoonist William Short sits down with Rob Knopper, percussionist, and Boris Allakhverdyan, principal clarinetist, to discuss their experiences.


Arts Leadership and the Changing Social Contract
ARTSblog: Emiko Ono
In the past, a productive arts organization was understood to contribute to a community’s quality of life and help drive its economy—it was inherently perceived to be a public good. This “social contract” is fraying based on a growing awareness of the very real inequities that exists.The nonprofit arts sector, including its funders, is increasingly expected to do more for distressed and marginalized communities if it is to merit designation as a public good.

A Way for Artists to Live
New York Times: Catherine Lacey
Last year David Byrne publicly bemoaned New York’s bank-breaking living costs as a blight on the creative classes. As a way to make ends meet, a small cooperatively owned business by artists offers an innovative solution.

Chaotic Scene at San Diego Opera Board Meeting
U-T San Diego: Pam Kragen
Karen Cohn, the board chairman who presided over the sudden plan to dissolve the company, stormed out of the meeting, as did several other members as well as general director Ian Campbell and his deputy and ex-wife, Ann. Carol Lazier, who gave $1 million toward saving the company, is now acting board chair, and she declined to say if Campbell is still affiliated with the Opera.

Now This Is How To See Early Opera
New Statesman: Alexandra Coghlan
The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare's Globe has the audience proclaiming this London’s newest and finest venue for early opera.

Operatic Drama Swells in Labor Talks at the Met
New York Times: Michael Cooper
The latest labor talks at the Met have gotten off to their most contentious start in decades, replete with colorfully threatening emails and emotions running nearly as high offstage as on. It's beginning to look as if a little presidential intervention might come in handy (again).

The Met: What is to be Done?
ParterreBox: Dawn Fatale
In part three of a series on what’s ailing America’s flagship opera company and how to cure it, Dawn Fatale looks at engaging the public and at casting – and says the Met must stop casting five to six years in advance.

SF Conservatoire Dean named Director of Butler School of Music
San Francisco Business Times: Greg Barr
Mary Ellen Poole, dean of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, has been appointed director of the Butler School of Music and holder of the Florence Thelma Hall Centennial Chair in Music at The University of Texas at Austin.

Board Plans Major Shake-up for Concord’s Granite State Symphony Orchestra
Concord Monitor: Allie Morris
An orchestra retools with a new music director and makes efforts to connect more effectively with the community as it plans its way into the 20th season. Cultivating a new audience is the driving force behind many of the orchestra’s planned changes.

How the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra was Saved
Argus Leader: Jodi Schwan
Days away from running out of cash, the board of directors of the South Dakota Symphony and a small group of angel donors stepped in. They launched a $460,000 sustainability campaign, used $260,000 in donor-released endowment funds to stop the hemorrhaging and started raising money. Six local banks came on board to help restructure the symphony’s debt.

Leisure-Time Creative Endeavors Make for Better Employees
Pacific Standard: Tom Jacobs
If you’re looking for workers who are unusually innovative and/or team players who enjoy helping their colleagues, check out those who spend their free time painting, playing music, or engaging in some other form of creativity.

The Operas of Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Slipped Disc: Normal Lebrecht
The Colombian Nobel Prize winner, who died at 87 this past week, inspired two works of music theater: Love and Other Demons by Peter Eötvös and Florencia en el Amazonas by Daniel Catan.


Arab Art’s Social Adjustment
The Majalla: Clarissa Pharr
Could a new funding platform lead to stronger creative sectors in the Middle East?

Ballet in Iraq
Dance Magazine: Madeline Schrock
In American and European cultures, ballet is typically viewed as a respectable art form, and you wouldn’t think twice about teenage girls taking lessons. Despite living in a war zone threatened by constant acts of terrorism, 17-year-old Iraqi student Leezan continues to take daily lessons, even as her friends drop out.

Behind Barbed Wire, Shakespeare Inspires a Cast of Young Syrians
New York Times: Ben Hubbard
Syria’s war threatens to create a lost generation of children who are scarred by violence and miss vital years of education. The “King Lear” performance, the conclusion of a project than spanned months, was one attempt to fight that threat.


Move Over Time For Three!
German piano quartet Salut Salon takes their audiences on an audacious trip using Vivaldi's "Summer" as a musical launchpad, giving US-based trio Time For Three some competition.


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