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Recent News, Commentary, and Ideas.


Why Were So Many Beloved Christmas Songs Written By Jewish Musicians?
Huffington Post: Lauren Markoe
Christians don’t seem to mind that so many beloved Christmas songs were written by Jews, and Jews tend to reel off the list with pride.

Christmas Cards Were America's First Social Media
Time: Daniel Gifford
Before we posted our family Christmas photo on Facebook, we mailed images of our idealized selves and lives to the people we loved.

How Bad Music Became a British Christmas Tradition
The Atlantic: Sophie Gilbert
Ever since 1973, the nation has agonized over which novelty pop song or one-hit wonder will sell the most records over the holidays.


Renewed Ties Hit a High Note for Cuban Music Lovers
Al-Jazeera America: Marisa Taylor
The last time musicians from Cuba and the U.S. could easily move between the two countries, it led to some of the most innovative music of the 20th century. The stage is set for a similar renaissance in the 21st.

The Audience: More Than Money and Applause
NewMusicBox: Megan Ihnen
Important advice about performing: It’s not about you. It’s about the audience.

New Music and Globalization: Silk Road and Global Collaborations
NewMusicBox: Tim Rutherford-Johnson
There is a case to be made that the “global music” angle that Silk Road promotes opens doors in ways that more conventional, “abstract” compositional approaches cannot do.

New Music and Globalization: Networked Music
NewMusicBox: Tim Rutherford-Johnson
Thanks to the net, the world has become one of universal access to culture and resources, flat hierarchies, and the smooth and unimpeded flow of information, including music.

7 Great Music Moments in The Colbert Report
TIME: Erin Strecker
In honor of the end of the nine-year show, here’s a roundup some of Colbert’s best music and musician-related segments.


New York Times Lays Off Critic Allan Kozinn
Musical America: Susan Elliott
The latest round of NYT layoffs and buyouts are expected to reach 110 by the time the dust settles this week. Among those leaving is Allan Kozinn, one of the paper’s, if not the country’s, savviest music critics and culture writers.

How the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Wants to Reinvent the Modern Chamber Orchestra
MinnPost: Doug Grow
“It’s almost like a start-up company,’’ said Bruce Coppock, who returned as president and CEO of the orchestra weeks after the recent lockout ended. “In most organizations, you can have only incremental change. We have a fantastic opportunity to re-articulate what this orchestra can be.’’

Slatkin and Parsons Extend Contracts with DSO
Detroit Free Press: Mark Stryker
Detroit Symphony Orchestra music director Leonard Slatkin and president Anne Parsons have both extended their contracts through August 2017, ensuring that the orchestra's artistic and executive leadership team remains together for at least another 21/2 seasons.

Fresno Grand Opera and Modesto Companies to Partner
The Fresno Bee: Marijke Rowland and Donald Munro
In what is hoped will be a precedent-setting artistic partnership, Modesto’s Townsend Opera and the Fresno Grand Opera are joining forces.

New Opera Birmingham Director Poised to Deliver Opera to the Masses
artsBHAM: Michael Huebner
Under new General Director Keith A. Wolfe, there is hopes for a new era of community engagement, greater visibility and adventurous venues and programming.

Board Chair Gives Curtis $11.5 Million
Philadelphia Inquirer: Peter Dobrin
Baroness Nina von Maltzahn is making a $10 million gift to the endowment to establish the Nina von Maltzahn President's Chair, a post currently held by Roberto Díaz, plus $1.5 million to underwrite the Curtis on Tour program during the next three years.


Future of Piano Playing in UK is in Peril, Veteran Teacher Warns
The Guardian: Dalya Alberge
Dame Fanny Waterman blames popularity of keyboards for UK failing to produce performers who can compete internationally.

Chance Discovery Casts New Light on Origins of Polyphonic Music
The Guardian: Maev Kennedy
A few lines of music written down 1,100 years ago, spotted by chance by a postgraduate student in a manuscript in the British Library, have proved to be the earliest example of polyphonic choral music, where the voices sing different melodies combining to make one composition.


Bringing MoMA’s Matisse Show to Movie Theaters
New York Times: Randy Kennedy
Borrowing a page from the opera and European museums, the Museum of Modern Art will soon begin to experiment with taking its exhibitions into movie theaters. On Jan. 13, “Matisse” – a documentary based on the highly popular exhibition “Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs,” which began at the Tate Modern and remains on view at the Museum of Modern Art through Feb. 8 – will open in movie theaters across the United States.


Watch As This Busking Quartet Leads To Busking Ballet In The NYC Subway
Jalopnik (Blog)
Just when you hate, I mean truly hate, the New York City subway system, something like this has to go and happen. A beautifully playing classical quartet, just playing for your spare dollars in a station, is joined mid-performance by a passing group of ballet dancers.

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