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Recent news, commentary, and ideas.


We Should Allow Failing Arts Organizations to Die
Devon Smith (blog)
(This is the text that set off a firestorm on social media, following the recent Americans for the Arts Conference in Nashville)
How do we protect those arts organizations who are brilliantly serving their community, and opening up space for their artists to thrive, and rewarding their administrators for hard work and substantive results? If we were focused on saving the best among us, we’d need to let go of some, maybe even many, of the rest.

A Response by Diane Ragsdale


Opera Isn’t In Trouble, It’s Just In An Awkward Phase
LA Times: Mark Swed
This is Peter Gelb's moment to promote opera, not let the art form be bullied by politicians, special interest groups or anyone else.

In 39th Season, Opera Theater of St. Louis Shows Good Health, New Work
The Washington Post: Anne Midgette
The Opera Theatre of St. Louis is unique among major American companies in its mandate of presenting opera in English. Donations are up 26 percent over the past five years; the endowment has grown to $27 million (up by more than 50 percent since 2008), for a $9 million annual operating budget. Even subscription sales, which are in a steady pattern of decline across the industry, have seen an uptick this year — with a retention rate of about 89 percent.

NYC Pledges $23 Million to Arts Education in 2015
Hyperallergic: Alix Taylor
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced on Tuesday their plan to put $23 million toward hiring 120 new arts teachers and boosting arts resources in public schools across the city. The plan uses additional money from this year’s budget to guarantee the growth of arts programs in 2015.

Congress Should Consider Reality Over Rhetoric in Copyright Reform
Roll Call: Daniel Horowitz
Unencumbered competition is the cornerstone of any free market. However no such competition exists when it comes to music licensing. Three major publishers hold the rights to nearly all musical compositions.

Wolf Trap to Unveil New Tech for Opera Performance
Associated Press
Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts plans to experiment with new technology for smartphones for an upcoming production of the opera “Carmen.”

More Evidence that Music Talent is Largely Innate
Pacific Standard: Tom Jacobs
New research on twins finds nature and nurture interact to produce accomplished musicians. A second study suggests chimps might be among their fans.

How Music May Make Babies Team Players
New York Times: Nicholas Bakalar
Moving with a partner to the musical beat may make people more cooperative — even babies as young as 14 months.


Judith Weir Appointed First Female Master of Queen's Music
The Guardian: Bobert Booth
Scottish-born composer will succeed Peter Maxwell-Davies in role described as musical equivalent of poet laureate.

English National Opera Cut in Arts Council England Funding Shake-Up
The English National Opera has had its annual funding cut by 29% by Arts Council England, as part of a shake-up of how arts funding is distributed.

Forget Russia! If you want Good Opera and Ballet, Head to Astana
GQ: Darius Sanai
The new, spectacular opera house, the third largest in the world, with state-of-the-art acoustic design, seating for 1250, three stages, and a vast backstage area as big as an aircraft hangar (to enable the creation of the most elaborate possible sets, no expense spared), is in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.

2014’s Biggest Selling Album? Could Be The soundtrack From “Frozen”
The Telegraph: Charlotte Runcie
Frozen's success continues as the Disney soundtrack goes double platinum, on course to be the bestselling album of the year

Art in Saudi Arabia: Appetite Fuels Public Displays
BBC: Sylvia Smith
Although Jeddah is known as the cultural capital of the country, those involved in the art world are having to be inventive when it comes to creating exhibition spaces and giving the public the opportunity to view new works of art.


The Art of Mapping Music: Mike Hamad’s 200 Schematics of Songs by Phish, Pink Floyd & The Dead
Open Culture (NY Times Video)
Mike Hamad has a deep and abiding love for Phish. He also has a talent for drawing “schematics” or maps that turn the experience of listening to music into something visual. Over at his tumblr SetlistSchematics, you can find nearly 200 schematics of songs (usually performed live) by The Grateful Dead, The Dave Matthews Band, Pink Floyd, and mostly Phish.

Dance vs. PowerPoint, A Modest Proposal
TED: John Bohannon, Black Label Movement
Use dancers instead of powerpoint. That's science writer John Bohannon's "modest proposal." In this spellbinding choreographed talk he makes his case by example, aided by dancers from Black Label Movement.


Musical America Careers Portal
Access to a large selection of jobs available in performing arts, post an anonymous resume, or create an alert to be notified of new vacancies.

Visit the Project Jumpstart website > Your career development and entrepreneurship program!

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