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Recent News, Commentary, and Ideas.


The New Yorker: James B. Stewart
Peter Gelb has a bold vision. Can the Met afford it? A powerfully insightful article offers the reader a thorough review of the MET’s director and the organization’s state of play.


The Shadow Ballet Where Drones Dance With Humans
An amazing video here >
Also, 24 drones, choreographed in flight >
And, iPhone slo-mo that changes everything >

SXSW Music Coverage
New York Times: Jon Pareles
Track the action and listen to daily playlists at what has become one of the most important music festivals in the country.
Looking for a list of all the action? Click here to view the complete list of performers.

The SIMPHONY Project: How Does Music Change a Child’s Brain?
ArtsBlog: Dalouge Smith
There is the age old question of nature vs. nurture—is a violinist good because their brain started off with a specialized part, or did learning violin change their brain? The SIMPHONY project will examine how experiences, such as learning to play a musical instrument, have an effect on many other skills, like attention or speech perception.

Music Education Needs to Be a Click Away
The Wall Street Journal: Essay by David Gelernter
David Gelernter, computer expert and author, on how to use the ‘cloud’ to bring Beethoven to young people

Reading, Writing, and Musicianship
Pacific Standard: Tom Jacobs
The Harmony Project finds that regular music lessons can have many benefits.

Arts Education and Cognition: A Caution and a Path Forward
ARTSblog: Peter Duffy
I do not believe it does arts educators any good to try to find cognition research that proves that music makes a child a better math student or that children who study theatre will have higher verbal SAT scores.

Detecting Music Plagiarism, After the 'Blurred Lines' Case
WQXR: Brian Wise and Naomi Lewin
Naomi Lewin speaks with two experts about the case's implications: Mark Swed, the classical music critic of the Los Angeles Times, and Lawrence Ferrara, a professor of music at New York University.

Review: Culture Crash by Scott Timberg
New York Times: Ben Yagoda


Sphinx Founder Aaron Dworkin Appointed University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance Dean
Detroit Free Press: Mark Stryker
As a student at the University of Michigan in 1997, violinist Aaron Dworkin walked into the office of the dean of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance and laid out his vision for a competition dedicated to promoting minorities in classical music. Eighteen years later, after creating the Detroit-based Sphinx Organization and turning it into a national force for diversity, Dworkin is returning to that same U-M office.

Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet Plans to Close
New York Times: Michael Cooper
The dance company that seemed to have it all: a wealthy benefactor, generous contracts and benefits for its dancers, and a snazzy Chelsea home. But on Friday company officials announced that the troupe would shut down.

City Ballet Announces 2015-16 Season, with Seven Word Premieres
New York Times: Michael Cooper
World premieres: Seven. Balanchine ballets: 28. Dancers: 94. Composers danced to: 47, including Ellis Ludwig-Leone of the band San Fermin and Bryce Dessner of the National, who were commissioned to write scores.

Streaming Music Drowns out CD Sales in US for the First Time
CNET: Joan E. Solsman
Prophesies that streaming music is the future -- whether as a threat or an aspiration -- are starting to come true. Revenue generated by streaming music last year overtook that from CDs, the format that once floated the industry's sales to its high-water mark in the late '90s.

Google Cultural Institute Dbase Gives Street Art Permanence
LA Times: Deborah Vankin and Saba Hamedy
A new worldwide database of public art aims to preserve — if only in digital form — street art, a medium that is often political, sometimes renegade and, perhaps most important, frequently fleeting.

Aaron Jay Kernis to Direct New Nashville Symphony Composer Lab & Workshop
The program aims to discover the next generation of outstanding American composers by providing them with the opportunity to develop their talents, gain hands-on experience working with a major American orchestra, and showcase their work for local audiences.


Jacobs School Orchestra makes Asian Debut in Seoul
Korea Herald
Internationally regarded as one of the world’s most renowned musical institutions, members of the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University’s chamber orchestra made their way to Seoul this week for the ensemble’s first ever concert in Asia since the establishment of the school more than a century ago.

Karajan Music Prize 2015 goes to Conductor and Violinist Thomas Hengelbrock
The Strad
Worth €50,000, the award must be used by the recipient to further the careers of young musicians. Hengelbrock is founder and director of the Balthasar-Neumann-Chor and the Balthasar-Neumann-Ensemble, each dedicated to historically informed performance.

Mexican City Bans 'Narcocorridos' after Shooting at Concert Leaves Two Dead
Fox News Latino
Joining Eminem, Metallica, Madonna and the Sex Pistols, some musicians in northern Mexico have had their music banned from the capital of northern Chihuahua state because of their songs' provocative lyrics.

Freedom of Expression, Including Artistic Expression, is a Right Enshrined in ICCPR
(International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, UN, established in 1966)
US Mission Geneva: Ambassador Keith Harper
Artistic expression and creativity as a form of freedom of expression is fundamental to the development of vibrant cultures and the functioning of democratic societies.

South African Soprano Pretty Yende Interviewed
LA Times: David Ng
South Africa has produced a handful of major opera stars, including such currently popular performers as Yende, tenor Johan Botha, and soprano Pumeza Matshikiza.

Rocking the Casbah: The Gig of a Lifetime that put Iranian Women Back on Stage
The Guardian: Alexis Petridis
Since the 1979 revolution, women in Iran have been banned from singing solo. So what happened when this woman decided to stage an all-female concert? As No Land’s Song, a film about the thrilling gig, shows in Britain, Sara Najafi tells Alexis Petridis how she outwitted scholars, officials and militia.


Concert Hall Simulator Helps Musicians Prepare to Perform
The Guardian: Dalya Alberge
Music students learn stage skills with help of noisy virtual audiences created by computer.

How Livestreaming Could Save Your Town’s Orchestra
Time: Sam Frizell
Orchestras are struggling, but streaming online could help.

Instagram Now More Effective at Reaching Fans than Facebook
All About Jazz: Bobby Owsinski
It turns out that brands, bands and artists are posting much more content on Instagram these days, mostly because the fan reach is so much greater on that platform.

Musical Glove Helps Stroke Patients Use Their Hands Again
Wired: Klint Finley
Increasing motivation in rehabilitation treatment with MusicGlove that teaches patients to play a Guitar Hero-style game.

Become Your Own Gig Booking Guru
All About Jazz: Sam Friedman
The essentials on how bands successfully book good shows with good turnouts.

SXSW: The 7 Hottest Topics in Music Tech Right Now
Digital Music News: Ari Herstand
From a panel discussion at that included director of product management at Facebook, Michael Cerda, VP of business development at BandPage, Chris Wiltsee, managing director of Walden Venture Capital, Larry Marcus and the moderator was SF MusicTech veteran, Todd Tate.


The Power of Music
Exploring some of the outer edges of the power of music by gathering up a band of biblical horn-blowers, paying a midnight visit to a corner of Mississippi where the devil is rumored to grant wishes, and by helping an angsty 18th century composer (Beethoven!) push some classical musicians to their physical and psychological limits.


Enjoy reading all our past issues, organized chronologically >

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