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Recent News, Commentary, and Ideas.



The new Broadway show "Hamilton" has the potential to be a game changer thanks to its seamless integration of rap and storytelling. So what's the story behind a show that's become a Broadway must-see with no marquee names, no special effects and almost no white actors?

> Meet the man behind the music, Lin-Manuel Miranda


As Newspapers Cut Music Critics, a Dark Time for the Arts or Dawn of a New Age?
WQXR: Hosted by Naomi Lewin
A podcast conversation about the very few music critics in legacy media these days, with Naomi Lewin, Scott Cantrell (outgoing music critic for the Dallas Morning News) and Douglas McLennan (founder and editor of ArtsJournal)

Written on Skin and the Problem of New Opera
The Washington Post: Anne Midgette
"So why do we have to work so hard to love new American opera?" asks Anne Midgette. Part of the problem, she thinks, is that even those who love opera tend to think of it these days as a problem child: an acquired taste, a genre that has to work hard to win people over, an art form for which one must make allowances.

Finally, A Non-Embarrassing Classical-Music Scene in a Blockbuster Movie
The New Yorker: Alex Ross
When classical-music fans hear that a new Hollywood production has a scene set at the opera or the symphony, they reflexively prepare to cringe. Given all that history, the writer was happily shocked by an extended opera scene in the new Tom Cruise thriller, “Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation.”

An Open Letter to Music Streaming Services On Behalf Of Classical Music Fans
BuzzFeed: Nina Mohan
A somewhat irreverent plea to streaming services such as Apple Music and Spotify to sort out the mess.

Engagement Is Busting Out All Over
The Clyde Fitch Report
For any organization or individual artist, assessing engagement begins with evaluating the different aspects of engagement and how they relate to institutional imperatives and operations.

Some Emotions Are Better for Creativity than Others
Big Think: Lori Chandler
Even small changes in your regular routine can make your brain light up like a Christmas tree.

The Neuroscience of Drumming
Open Culture: Josh Jones
Researchers Discover the Secrets of Drumming & The Human Brain. And, guess what!  “Drummers,” writes Jordan Taylor Sloan at Mic, “can actually be smarter than their less rhythmically-focused bandmates.”

How Architecture Helped Music Evolve
TED: David Byrne
David Byrne of Talking Heads Gives ‘TED Talk’ and asks: Does the venue make the music? From outdoor drumming to Wagnerian operas to arena rock, he explores how context has pushed musical innovation.


Columbia House Company Files For Bankruptcy
NPR: Laura Wagner
The party's over for the music and movie subscription company that has been called "the Spotify of the '80s."

Sarasota Ballet Takes its Place in the World of Ballet
Berkshire Eagle Online: Richard Houdek
The transformation of Sarasota Ballet from a small provincial company into a significant force in the world of ballet has been astounding to many who have watched the troupe's day-to-day progress.

L.A. Phil's Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla is Promoted to Associate Conductor
LA Times: Tre’vell Anderson
Not yet 30 years old, Grazinyte-Tyala has led concerts with numerous European ensembles. She has also been appointed music director of the Salzburger Landestheater.

Dr. Dre Is Donating All Of The Royalties From His New Album To Fund An Arts Center In Compton
ARTnews: John Chiaverina
Producer and rapper Dr. Dre will be donating all of the royalties from his newest record Compton to help fund a performing arts space in that titular city in Los Angeles County.

Drake Becomes First Artist to go Platinum in the US with 2015 Release
The Guardian
The only other album to sell over one million copies this year is Taylor Swift’s 1989, which was released in 2014

The Boom in Outdoor Festivals
Berklee College of Music’s Music Business Journal: Zoe Mitchell
While the recorded music industry is in turmoil, experiencing live music is at a premium.


All Together—At Least for Now: Jerusalem’s Season of Culture
ARTnews: Hilarie M. Sheets
Underpinning the project that now draws 300,000 viewers is the premise that art and culture can help promote openness and build bridges in a society riven by conflict—between Israelis and Palestinians, between secular and ultraorthodox Jews.

Can Jazz Thrive in China?
The Conversation: Tad Hershorn
Will Blue Note’s Far East expansion result in a Chinese renaissance for a genre once banned as subversive? Or – as some skeptics wonder – will the venue have a limited impact, and simply act as a gathering ground for a Chinese elite with nominal musical taste?


DSO Launching Archive of Webcasts for On-Demand Viewing
Detroit Free Press: Mark Stryker
The DSO is launching what it says is the country’s only on-demand archive of orchestral video performances. Intended as a perk for donors contributing at least $50 to the DSO’s annual fund, the Replay archive will allow listeners to watch performances drawn from the orchestra’s free, weekly high-definition webcasts dating back three years.


Music Behind Candy Crush Soda Saga Performed by London Symphony Orchestra at Abbey Road
Classicalite: Ian Holubiak
If Beethoven were alive today, would he be writing for video games?

Watch This Slovenian Opera Singer Perform During His Own Brain Surgery
WQXR: Brian Wise
Joined by a pianist in the operating room, the tenor delivers the first and last couplets of Schubert's "Gute Nacht" (in major and minor) so doctors could monitor his ability to sing and recognize key changes.


NEA Chairman Jane Chu, speaking at the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy:
"The lessons I learned at the keyboard went far beyond any specific piece of music I performed. Music has helped to inform my life; it has helped to develop my own capacity. From my perspective, the work you're doing goes far beyond your teaching methods, and your intellectual findings. You are providing us with tools to bloom into our full potential."


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