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Recent news, commentary, and ideas.


The Future of Classical Music
NPR: The Diane Rehm Show
Classical music has thrived for centuries. But many say it is now facing its biggest challenges of all time. Diane Rehm invites leading figures on her show: Alex Ross music critic, The New Yorker magazine; Orli Shaham concert pianist; Fred Bronstein dean, the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University; former president and chief executive officer of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra; Greg Sandow music critic, composer, and consultant; member of the graduate studies faculty at Juilliard.


New Opera Organizations
Mae Mae
With organizational challenges in the opera world, we forget that there is a growing number of smaller companies. Some are highly flexible and adaptive to the changing world. Check out this list of companies, organizations, and new music ensembles formed since 2000 that produce opera.

Military Bands Offer Musicians Great Jobs
The Washington Post: Anne Midgette
In musical circles, there’s a lot of disgruntlement that the government doesn’t do more to subsidize the arts. In one area, though, the government does plenty. The military is one of the largest employers of musicians in the Washington area; indeed, the Army’s website claims that the institution is “the oldest and largest employer of musicians in the world.”

Broadway’s Musical Chairs
New York Times: Gabriel Cohen
As recently as the late 1980s, playing in a Broadway musical was not considered the most desirable gig for a musician. Most professionals sought better-paying work in jingles and recording sessions. But as that work dried up, due in part to samplers and digital-audio software, the ace musicians gravitated toward theaters near Times Square.

MET Orchestra Faults Peter Gelb’s Record as a Lockout Looms
NY Times: Michael Cooper
The Met Orchestra, which is resisting proposed cuts to its pay and benefits, countered Friday with its own 84-page proposal for saving money at the Met. It included graphs that, the musicians said, showed the orchestra had drawn far more critical praise recently than the new productions staged since Peter Gelb became the company’s general manager.

Met Opera Prepares to Lock Out Workers
NY Times: Michael Cooper
The labor strife at the Metropolitan Opera took on a new urgency Wednesday when its general manager, Peter Gelb, sent the company’s orchestra, chorus, stagehands and other workers letters warning them to prepare for a lockout if no contract deal is reached by next week.

How Streaming Music Kills Jazz and Classical Music
Salon: Scott Timberg
Between low royalties, opaque payout rates, declining record sales and suspicion that the major labels have cut deals with the streamers that leave musicians out of the equation, anger from the music business’s artier edges is slowing growing.

Denver may Tear Down Boettcher Concert Hall to Build Amphitheater
Denver Post: Mark Rinaldi
The City of Denver is considering a plan to demolish Boettcher Concert Hall and build an outdoor amphitheater in its place at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. The 2,600-seat venue is Denver's symphony hall, home to the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, which has played there every season since it opened in 1978.

The Yellowface of “The Mikado” in Your Face
The Seattle Times: Sharon Pian Chan
Columnist Shaon Chan believes that the show is “wrong for Seattle, wrong for this country and wrong for this century.”

Seattle G&S Society Responds To “Mikado” Column
Pamela Kelley Elend, Business Manager of the Seattle Gilbert & Sullivan Society
… “as a black woman I am often confronted by issues of racism and sexism, be it blatant, subtle, institutionalized, or perceived. … Not only does Ms. Chan have the power of the press, it also appears to me that she does not have to stick to any journalistic standards of due diligence and fact checking.”


Has (UK) Music Education Been Saved?
The Telegraph: Ivan Hewett
Ivan Hewett celebrates a government climb-down over proposed cuts to music education funding in schools.

Classical Music Competitions are Rife with Corruption
The Guardian: Julian Webber
Acclaimed cellist claims that jurors pick their own pupils to win and says Moscow's Tchaikovsky contest is the worst offender.

Cinema Broadcasts of Live Theatre Generated £7.2 million in 2013
The Stage News: Maggie Brown
Live screenings of theatre productions in cinemas across the UK pioneered by the National Theatre generated £7.2 million at the box office last year, from just 14 shows, a new report has found.

How Ballet Became Fashion's Favorite Exercise
The Guardian: Lauren Cochrane
Forget yoga and pilates. Ballet has fast become the fashion world's preferred way to work out, beloved by everyone from Carine Roitfeld to Zooey Deschanel


A Song in Her Heart
Strings Magazine: David Templeton
Jacobs alumna Sara Caswell graces the cover of the September issue of Strings Magazine. “It’s important, especially for a young musician, to do a lot of exploring,” Caswell says. “Play with different people, different groups and ensembles. I love playing with orchestras, and I also love playing in small ensembles. You have to find out what you like, and the way to do that, is to do a lot of different things when you’re starting out.”

What Classical Music Can Learn from Football (AKA Soccer)
International Network for Arts and Business: Benedikt Stampa, translation by Erik Dorset
Following the success of the World Cup, a plea for the marketing of classical music.

An AirBNB for the Arts: Musicians Rent Out Gear to Each Other
Paste: Tyler Hayes
Sparkplug is a new matchmaking service, but not the kind you’re probably familiar with. Instead of dealing in love and relationships, the site tries to match those with unused musical instruments with those in need of specific gear.

The Top 10 Most Innovative Countries in the World Catherine Clifford
For the fourth year in a row, Switzerland has been named the most innovative country in the world, according to the newest version of a report published by Cornell University, the World Intellectual Property Organization and graduate school INSEAD.

The Next Big Musical Tool – Your Phone
Wired: JD Samson
Your phone is now a recording studio, a music school, and a Guitar Center. Thousands of music apps enable you to do everything from autotune your voicemail greeting to compose a symphony. But it turns out that when you talk to professional musicians about what they use to create and perform music, their favorite mobile tools are also the simplest. 

Musical Gold
The New Yorker: Rebecca Mead
Can three ambitious siblings turn old violins into a new investment strategy?

Balancing Creativity Against Business in the Music Industry
Huffingson Post: Patrick Hess
An artist must look at their potential career through the eyes of an entrepreneur starting a business. To look at it any other way is foolish. Here is a very useful overview of how to think through your plan.


YouTube Superstar Troye Sivan’s Single ‘Happy Little Pill’ Abby Abrams
One of YouTube’s biggest stars may be on his way to becoming the next big pop act.

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