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Recent news, commentary, and ideas.


New York's Metropolitan Opera Labor Dispute: A Symptom of a Company in Crisis
The Guardian:  Jason Farago
Gelb’s proclamations that opera is on its deathbed have to be understood in context – as a negotiating tactic. The Met’s troubles are specific to the Met rather than a universal predicament.

Met Opera, Unions Extend Contract Talks
Washington Post: Anne Midgette
With blog posts, calls to the media, and a steady stream of press releases, both the unions and the Met have done their best to steer the discussion.

The Mess at the Met
ArtsFuse: Jonathan Blumhofer
You almost have to feel sorry for Peter Gelb, the Metropolitan Opera’s incredibly shrinking general manager. The cleanest solution would be to appoint a new GM, preferably someone, unlike Gelb, with an actual background in opera, who unequivocally believes in the vibrant future of the art form, and who can work creatively within a budget.

On the Met Opera Lockout
New Music Box: Daphne Carr
The Met Opera’s dramatic tactic is meant to shake the workers into serious concessions regarding pay and benefit reductions averaging 16 and 17 percent. It will also have a profound effect on AFM Local 802, which counts the Met’s musicians as 20 percent of their income. Under these terms, the resistance is likely to be long and serious. So, it’s time for a showdown.

Met Opera Proposes Federal Mediator for Labor Talks
New York Times: Michael Cooper
With time running out before a lockout, the Metropolitan Opera proposed on Wednesday that federal mediators be brought in at the 11th hour to facilitate negotiations with several of the company’s unions.

Countdown to Lockout for Unions at the Met
New York Times: Michael Cooper
One complicating factor is that the question is not one of management versus labor, but of management versus labor 15 times over: That is the number of unions at the opera whose contracts are set to expire.


Chicago Symphony Orchestra VP Martha Gilmer to take CEO spot at San Diego Symphony
Chicago Sun Times: Andrew Patner
It was both a surprise to many and a logical move Thursday morning when the San Diego Symphony, the oldest orchestra in California, named Gilmer its next CEO, effective Sept. 24.

The Newport Jazz Festival turns 60
Wall Street Journal: Will Friedwald
Newport is at once the grandfather of all large-scale outdoor music festivals and the unchallenged epicenter of the jazz world—the equivalent of South by Southwest, Ted Talks, Sundance and Burning Man all rolled into a single weekend.

Dancing and Hoping to Win Fans for Life
New York Times: Brian Seibert
“Kids are my favorite audience. I love to hear their reactions, because it’s not just a reaction. You’re putting something in their heads. You’re changing their minds.”

Can This Company Save Streaming… And The (Independent) Music Industry?
Digital Music News: Ari Herstand
The reason Bandcamp works is because artists love it. Independent artists have trained their fans to buy their music (and merch) on Bandcamp (and not iTunes). And why wouldn’t they? Bandcamp takes half of what iTunes takes and you don’t need a distributor to get your music up on Bandcamp.

Community Engagement is a Lousy Way to Sell Tickets
Marketing The Arts To Death (Blog): Trevor O'Donnell
Community engagement is NOT audience development. Any arts administrator whose livelihood depends on ticket sales and who doesn’t understand this is operating under a dangerous misapprehension.

Once Again, PBS Opts For Safety First
Wall Street Journal: Terry Teachout
Is PBS unaware that there's more to art in America than Kristin Chenoweth, Melissa Etheridge and Michael Feinstein? Or does it simply not care? I hate to have to ask that question yet again, but not knowing the answer troubles me even more—and I suspect it's also troubling at least some of the people who write the checks that keep PBS afloat. If it isn't, it should.


What Makes the Vienna Philharmonic So Distinctive?
New York Times: Michael Cooper
The “Vienna sound” has been the subject of reams of music criticism, academic research, acoustical experiments and more than a little debate. Not everyone agrees on precisely what it is.

Welsh Theatre Company Launches Translation App
BBC: Ian Youngs
An app to help theatre-goers follow plays in other languages is being launched by a theatre company in Wales. Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, the Welsh-language national theatre, has developed the smartphone app called Sibrwd, which means Whisper. It will allow audience members to hear key lines and explanations of scenes in English through headphones.


Playing an Instrument Is a Great Workout For Your Brain: New Animation Explains Why
Open Culture: Ayun Halliday
Neuroscientists using fMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and PET (Positron Emission Tomography) technology to monitor the brain activity of subjects listening to music saw engagement in many areas, but when the subjects traded in headphones for actual instruments, this activity morphed into a grand fireworks display.

Power Networking in 3 Steps David Spencer
By establishing and maintaining relationships with people, you can encounter business opportunities and still other lucrative connections.

Introducing LinkedIn’s Field of Study Explorer
LinkedIn: Kathy Hwang
LinkedIn recently announce a new product – Field of Study Explorer – designed to help students explore the wide range of careers LinkedIn members have pursued based on what they studied in school.


INFOGRAPHIC: The Ugly Truth About Meetings
GalleyCat: Dianna Dilworth
Whether you work for a publishing house, a magazine, or a TV station, chances are that you spend a lot of time in meetings. But do these meetings really help you get your job done?

15 Minutes Might Be the Ideal Meeting Length
LiveHacker: Patrick Allan
You might be thinking that 15 minutes is way too short for a meeting, but Kevan Lee at Fast Company explains a couple reasons why it's perfect.

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