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Recent News, Commentary, and Ideas.


Is Our Art Equal to the Challenges of Our Times?
New York Times: A.O. Scott

A Response: Race, Class and Creative Spark
David Simon, J. Cole, Patricia Lockwood and others on social issues as manifested in art.

How About This as a Start?
A Brooklyn Street Dancer Steals the Show in Peter Sellars/John Adams New Opera, premiered in London


Evidence That Pianists Might Have It Tougher than the Rest of Us When It Comes to Performing from Memory
The Bulletproof Musician (blog): Noa Kageyama
Is it the sheer number of notes that makes memorization a more difficult task for pianists than other instrumentalists? Or make memorizing longer/more complex pieces more difficult for the non-pianists among us?

Cultural Activities Help Seniors Retain Health Literacy
Pacific Standard: Tom Jacobs
New research finds a link between the ability to process health-related information and regular attendance at movies, plays, and concerts.

Dazed and Confused, the Music Industry Still Hasn't Found What it's Looking For
CNN: Jacopo Prosco
Album sales are at an all-time low in the United States. Vinyl sales are at their highest for 15 years. Everybody says streaming is the future, yet major artists are pulling out of streaming services. And in tech-oriented Japan, CDs still account for 85% of album sales. The current state of the music industry is anyone's guess.

The Long War Between Highbrow and Lowbrow
Pacific Standard: Noah Berlatsky
Art thrives on connection and society is better off when people of different backgrounds and interests are able to talk to each other.

Incarceration and Musical Inspiration Part Three: A Live Concert in Prison
NewMusicBox: Julia Adolphe
In the classroom, these men transformed. They were no longer nameless criminals, demonized murderers, or monstrous outcasts, but fellow human beings who cared about art, education, and each other.


Minnesota Opera President Resigns after 2.5-year Stint
Start Tribune: Graydon Royce
The Minnesota Opera, which has become a national leader in generating new work, appears to be less than stable at the executive level. President and General Director Kevin Ramach resigned this week after about 2½ years in the role.

For City's Arts Groups, the World Is Their Oyster
Wall Street Journal: Pia Catton
New York Philharmonic forms an international council to lure new patrons.

Sale of New York City Opera's Remaining Assets Expected in Early 2015
WQXR: Brian Wise
In a November 20 hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, Judge Sean Lane denied the company's fifth request for a three-month deadline extension to present a reorganization plan.

This Band Just Finished a 28-Day Tour And Made How Much?!
Digital Music News: Jack Conte
We, the creative class, are finding ways to make a living making music, drawing webcomics, writing articles, coding games, recording podcasts. Most people don’t know our names or faces. We are the mom and pop corner store version of “the dream.” If Lady Gaga is McDonald’s, we’re Betty’s Diner. And we’re open 24/7.

Vinyl, Once Thought Dead, Makes A Comeback In The Digital Age
NPR: Denise Guerra
In the last six years, vinyl sales have tripled; in the first part of 2014, Billboard counted 6.5 million units sold. Currently vinyl makes up 3.5 percent of overall music sales, according to music tracker Nielsen SoundScan; a decade ago, that figure was 0.2 percent.


As Music Streaming Grows, Spotify Reports Rising Revenue and a Loss
New York Times: Ben Sisario
Spotify, the company that has come to symbolize the growth of streaming music around the world, had more than $1 billion in revenue in 2013. But it has yet to turn a profit.

Publisher Edition Peters Launches Own Record Label
The first release on Edition Peters Sounds will feature Daniel Grimwood performing Fauré's Nocturnes

Dance is Just What the Doctor Ordered
The Guardian: Judith Mackrell
People with Parkinson’s and other diseases are benefiting from a growing recognition of the therapeutic benefits of dance.

Cuba to Stage 'Rent' - First Broadway Musical in More than 50 Years
Reuters: Daniel Trotta
Cuba will stage its first Broadway musical in more than 50 years when "Rent" starts a three-month run on Dec. 24, producers said on Monday.

In Ethiopia’s Capital, a Resurgent Jazz Scene
New York Times: Rachel Doyle
Even though Ethio-jazz dates from the 1960s, its reappearance in the capital is a fairly new development.


The 10 Entrepreneurs Who Defined 2014 Jason Ankeny
Here are 10 business leaders who dominated headlines in 2014 and set the stage for the year ahead—for better or for worse.

Making Money as a Musician Outside the Box
All About Jazz: Brian Buchanan of Jubilee Riots on The Bandzoogle Blog
Making a living as a touring musician playing original music: ways an artist managed to supplement his traditional touring income without selling his instruments.


What We Learn When Find Silence
NPR: Guy Raz with John Francis
The story of environmentalist John Francis, who took a 17-year vow of silence — and what he learned about the power of quiet.

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