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Recent news, commentary, and ideas.

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Tested Out Upstate: Classical’s Future
New York Times: Zachary Woolfe
Orchestras in Albany, Rochester and Buffalo stay nimble by exploring new methods and models to secure audiences.

Symphony Orchestras Turn to Video Artists
Wall Street Journal: Arian Campo-Flores
Major symphonies collaborate with video artists to create immersive, multisensory performances that reimagine the traditional concert-hall experience.

Conduct a Virtual Symphony With Touchscreens and an Interactive Baton
Wired: Liz Stinson

In this world you’re Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, and your instruments come in the form of 13 upright speakers with digital displays on them.

Connecting Classical Music to Millennials with Bring-Your-Own-Marijuana Concerts
Ray Mark Rinaldi, The Denver Post
The Colorado Symphony Orchestra announced a series of performances sponsored by the cannabis industry.

Jeff Melanson: The Turnaround Man
The Globe and Mail
Jeff Melanson is “a disruptive innovator." The status quo is not going to be the way as the Toronto Symphony moves forward.

A US Symphony Orchestra Shuts Down After 101 Years
The Green Bay Symphony Website
The Board of Directors for the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra has announced that the Symphony’s upcoming season will be its last. “It was a very difficult decision to make,” said GBSO Executive Director Dan Linssen.


Study: High Rate Of Musicians Suffer Hearing Loss
Pacific Standard: Tom Jacobs
An analysis of medical-insurance records of Germans found that, compared to non-musicians, professional musicians were nearly four times more likely to experience some degree of noise-related hearing loss.

Making a Living on the Competitive Church-Music Circuit
Boston Globe: Colin Fleming
A soprano and a composer share their struggles and successes.

Guitarists’ Brains Are Different From Everyone Else’s (Science Says So)
PolicyMic: Jordan Taylor Sloan
In a 2012 study in Berlin, researchers discovered that the guitarists' neural networks would synchronize not only during the performed piece, but even slightly before playing. So, basically, guitarists can read each others' minds better than they can read music.


New York's Met Faces 'Social Rejection of Opera'
Deutsche Welle
A union dispute is brewing at New York's Metropolitan Opera, where artists are facing wage cuts. Met manager Peter Gelb tells DW a shift in cultural attitudes is at the root of the opera house's financial troubles.

Pennsylvania Ballet Artistic Director Steps Down
New York Times: Roslyn Sulcas
Roy Kaiser, who joined the corps de ballet of the Pennsylvania Ballet in 1979 and rose through its ranks to principal before eventually becoming artistic director of the company in 1995, has announced that he is stepping down.

Indianapolis Opera’s Artistic Director Resigns; New Season Announcement on Hold
Indianapolis Star: Michael Anthony Adams
The emailed resignation of its artistic director has left Indianapolis without plans for another season. ‘We’re going to have to put it on hold,’ says the chief exec of the season announcement.

Street Artist Finds Himself Making A Dance For NY City Ballet
New York Times: Giai Kourlas
Yes, it’s true: City Ballet is turning itself — and more than 40 members of its company — over to a man who has never choreographed before. He watched his first ballet in June. Do you hear that sound? Choreographers everywhere are eating their hearts out.


Cellist Julian Lloyd Webber Announces Retirement from Performing
The Wall Street Journal
A herniated disc in his neck is forcing the 63-year-old musician to stop playing; his education work will continue.

Bold Plan for $1.2 Billion Opera House on the Perth Waterfront
7-News: Emma Wynne
Perched on the far side of the Australian wilderness, Perth often sees itself as the country’s forgotten cousin. No more. This is the new $1.2 billion concert hall they are planning.


A Eulogy for Twitter
The Atlantic
The publishing platform that carried us into the mobile Internet age is receding. Its influence on publishing will remain, but the platform’s place in Internet culture is changing in a way that feels irreversible and echoes the tradition of AIM and pre-2005 blogging. … People are still using Twitter, but they’re not hanging out there.

Twitter Is Not Dying – It’s About To Get Even Bigger
Wall Street – along with everyone else who’s down on Twitter because it has ‘a growth problem’ – is making a mistake by comparing it to Facebook. Twitter is not a social network. Not primarily, anyway. It’s better described as a social media platform, with the emphasis on ‘media platform’.

Secret Gigs Place the Bext Big Thing Right into Your Front Room
The Guardian: Tess Reidy and Vanessa Thorpe
Pop-up performances, where the band could be on the sofa and the host does food, have become a global phenomenon.

How Soon Until the Online Arts Experience Trumps the Live Experience?
Sydney Skybetter, The Clyde Fitch Report
A discussion about the ongoing devolution of institutionalized dance companies into ad hoc groups, and how technologies like the Microsoft Kinect and massive, curved HD televisions are functionally replacing theaters with virtual proscenium stages in our living rooms. Institutions optimized for a previous era of dance-making, will diminish in relevance.

To Attract Millennials, be More Socially Conscious
Cellist/composer Peter Sachon (blog)
Millennials are the largest generation in human history, and at nearly 90 million people they will very soon make up the vast majority of our orchestras’ stakeholders, constituents, audience, staff members and supporters – and instrumentalists.


14 Great Commencement Speeches Zeninjor Enwemeka
It’s that time of year again, when students across the country don their caps and gowns and prepare to graduate college. Within all of the pomp and circumstance is the commencement speech, a crucial moment meant to send graduates off into the real world with wisdom, advice, and maybe even some life lessons. Sometimes the speeches are forgettable, but a great commencement speech can stick with you for years.


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