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Recent News, Commentary, and Ideas.


Recently released NEA studies reveal a fast-changing landscape

  • Nearly three-quarters of American adults—about 167 million people—used electronic media (in 2012) to view or listen to art, and large proportions of adults used electronic media to create music or visual art.
  • Exposure to the arts in childhood turns out to be a stronger predictor of adult arts participation than education, gender, age, or income.
  • In 2012, arts and cultural production contributed more than $698 billion to the U.S. economy, or 4.32 percent to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product, more than construction ($586.7B) or transportation and warehousing ($464.1B).

Related: Why Falling Arts Attendance Has Major Implications for the US Economy


10 Songs Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Billboard: Jillian Mapes
Over the years, the global musical sphere has become filled with songs inspired by or dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 2014, the Billboard staff picked their 10 favorites among those songs, from the sobriety of U2's "MLK" to the unfettered optimism of Springsteen's "We Shall Overcome."


Why and How to Find the Right Mentor for Your Music Career
All About Jazz: Janelle Rogers
Finding a mentor could be in your greatest benefit.

No, the Internet Is Not Killing Culture
Slate Book Review about “Culture Crash”: Evan Kindley
It’s always been hard to make a living in the arts. It still is.

Report Shows Art Museums Rely Mainly on Kindness, Not Commerce
LA Times: Mike Boehm
A new survey of North American art museums' attendance and financial information confirms once more that if they had to operate like for-profit businesses and rely on a paying public, they almost certainly would be sunk.

New Battle Lines Drawn Between Press and Arts Organizations
WQXR: Brian Wise & Naomi Lewin
Usually, a polite discourse pervades arts journalism, but two recent cases underscore the tricky relationships between classical music organizations and the media that covers them.

Is Watching Opera in the Cinema Just as Good?
BBC: Clemency Burton-Hill
Performances from the Met and Royal Opera House are now being streamed in cinemas worldwide. Is it populist or a sell-out?


Arts, Culture & Humanities Nonprofits in the US Grow by 11,415 over Ten Years
Non Profit Quarterly: Chuck McLean
New Orgs: 36,895; Closed Orgs: 25,477; Net Change: 11,415

Lincoln Center and New York Philharmonic to Collaborate on Operas
New York Times: Michael Cooper
For years, the Metropolitan Opera has gently encroached on the symphonic terrain of its Lincoln Center neighbors with orchestral concerts at Carnegie Hall. Now, the shoe is on the other foot!

Alabama Symphony Orchestra chooses Carlos Izcaray as Music Director Mary Colurso
The Venezuelan-born conductor, 37, has been announced as the new music director of the 53-member orchestra, taking over the baton from previous director Justin Brown.

After a Century, Green Bay Symphony to Go Silent
Journal Sentinel: Bill Glauber
The smallest city in the NFL may soon be the largest city in Wisconsin without a professional symphony orchestra.

Florida Grand Opera Threatens to End Fort Lauderdale Shows
Miami Herald: Lawrence A. Johnson
Despite the company’s community outreach and intense fund-raising efforts, Broward County opera fans have not stepped up with enough financial support to continue to make the Miami company’s treks to the Broward Center viable.

One Year After Settlement, Minn. Orchestra is in a Better Place
Minnesota Public Radio: Euan Kerr
Although the end of the lockout was celebrated by orchestra fans, the musicians took a 15 percent cut in pay and benefits. In return, they were guaranteed more involvement in artistic decision-making, and an increase in the number of pure classical concerts in the season.


A Concert Hall in Paris Aims to Bridge Divides
New York Times: Doreen Carvajalian
The question about the new Philharmonie — after years of political wrangling, infighting, cost overruns and work stoppages — is whether it can truly emerge as a temple of sound that brings egalité to classical music.

La Philharmonie de Paris: A New Musical and Social Future for Paris?
The Guardian: Tom Service
The controversial concert hall might not have been quite finished and its architect might have elected to stay away from the opening concert, but it still sounded amazing.

Forty-Year-Old Dance Company Develops New Model
The Globe and Mail (Canada): Martha Schabas
Transforming the Dancemakers company from its repertory model into what they’re calling an “Incubation Production House.”

Charles Dutoit Might Make OSM Comeback as a Guest Conductor
Montreal Gazette: Arthur Kaptainis
Charles Dutoit, who led the OSM to glory in the 1980s and 1990s only to resign in bitter circumstances in 2002, will make a comeback as a guest conductor next year if plans unfold as expected.

In Bombed-Out Beirut, An Experiment to Lure Artists Back to the City
The Boston Globe, Thanassis Cambanis
As a symbol of a lost era in a region full of them, Beirut stands apart. For generations it thrived as a center of culture, commerce, and education, until the 16-year Lebanese civil war fragmented the city’s diverse population and shelled its vitality into rubble.


Philly Orchestra Tests App To Enhance Listening Experience
Philadelphia Inquirer: David Patrick Stearns
LiveNote app, developed in collaboration with Drexel University over several years, gives running commentary on the music's structure and content during the performance.

NSO Hits the Club, and Scores
The Washington Post: Anne Midgette
Friday found the orchestra playing at Echostage, a big warehouse-like club space that holds 3,000 people, usually to hear electronic dance music or hip-hop rather than Shostakovich. And this time, the NSO got it right.

Leadership and the Art of Orchestra Conducting
Forbes: Shellie Karabell
Read however many books you like about the principles of leadership, but in watching an orchestra rehearse a new piece for two hours, you can learn everything there is to know about leadership.

The Musician Who’s Gaming Search Engines to Actually Make Money
Wired: Brendan Klinkenberg
Two hundred songs—that’s how many Matt Farley will record this month. That’s about 50 songs per week.


Music for Surgery
The Guardian: Jon Henley
Surgeons who listen to music while they work are more relaxed and better at their jobs, according to a new survey. But which is best – Beethoven, the Black Eyed Peas or Black Sabbath?

7 Cultural Concepts we Don't Have in the U.S.
Mother Nature Network: Starre Vartan
Perhaps one of these ideas will inspire you to think differently in your day-to-day life.

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