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Recent News, Commentary, and Ideas.

Opera Now



The Symphony, Unfinished
The New Yorker: Alex Ross
A genre once aimed at vast crowds—Mahler imagined his symphonies being played in stadiums, for tens of thousands of people—now leads a more subdued, solitary existence.

The Music Industry's Problem with Perceived Value
HypeBot: Hugh McIntyre
As streaming continues to grow in popularity, there are going to be problems that the industry will have to tackle if it is to survive, but there is one that doesn’t get a lot of attention: the problem of perceived worth.

Inspiration or Appropriation? Behind Music Copyright Lawsuits
NPR: Allyson McCabe
Where do you draw the line between inspiration and appropriation when it comes to musical compositions? That question is at the heart of several high-profile court cases, including the recent "Blurred Lines" trial and a current copyright-infringement lawsuit involving "Stairway to Heaven."

Hip-Hop, ‘Hamilton’, and the Deficit of Diversity on Broadway
HyperAllergic: Allison Meier
Broadway in 2015 still has a major deficit of diversity. As Alexis Soloski reported this month for the Guardian, the opening season has zero new or old plays by any women or people of color.

Would Full Time Composition Departments Revitalize Orchestras?
Adaptistration: Drew McManus
Louisville Orchestra music director Teddy Abrams has advocated for a full time composition staff within existing US orchestras.

International Panel Votes for Best Orchestra
Bachtrack: Mark Pullinger
Germany dominates the classical music world when it comes to the sheer quality of its orchestras, according to an international panel of professional music critics. Only one UK orchestra – the London Symphony (6) – makes the top ten, while the Chicago Symphony (5) and Boston Symphony (9) represent the USA.

The Dark Side of Music
Pacific Standard: Tom Jacobs
Two new studies point to various ways music can influence our behavior.


Original 1890s Manuscript of “Happy Birthday” Found In a Filing Cabinet
Digital Music News: Paul Resnikoff
Deep in the vaults of the University of Louisville, a librarian discovered what appears to be the original manuscript of “Happy Birthday,” or at least the earliest known version. How will this change ownership of a song valued at roughly $5 million?

L.A.’s ‘Synchromy’ Musician Collective Helps Composers Gain Visibility
Classicalite: Steve Nagel
Playing off the regional attitude, Synchromy's slogan, "new music, locally grown," pretty much says it all. The organization offers local musicians and composers the chance to organize, find work, gain visibility, and hone their craft in a body of their peers.

Julie Kent has New Roles at American Ballet Theater
New York Times: Michael Cooper
Julie Kent is taking on several new roles with the company, including as the artistic director of its summer intensive programs for young dancers.

The National Music Museum, an Unlikely Eden in South Dakota
New York Times: Zachary Woolfe
The National Music Museum, which is on the University of South Dakota’s campus and against the odds of geography, money, attendance and attention, has one of the largest and most important collections of historical instruments in the world.


Key Igor Stravinsky Work Found After 100 Years
The Observer: Stephen Walsh
Thought to have been irretrievably lost, an important early orchestral work has turned up at last in a pile of old manuscripts in a back room of the St Petersburg Conservatoire.

Montreal Symphony Orchestra Plans U.S. Tour
New York Times: Michael Cooper
The Montreal Symphony Orchestra will embark on its most extensive tour of the United States in 25 years, with concerts planned in 10 cities from coast to coast under the baton of its music director, Kent Nagano.

Rihm to Replace Boulez as Lucerne Academy Director
New York Times: Michael Cooper
The German composer Wolfgang Rihm will succeed Pierre Boulez next summer as the artistic director of the Lucerne Festival Academy, which trains young musicians, composers and directors in music of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Haitink Returns to Concertgebouw Following Apology
Limelight: William Jeffrey
The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra has apologized to its former Chief Conductor, healing a rift that has existed for the last couple of years.

Itzhak Perlman Turns 70 and recalls Ed Sullivan Jump-Starting his Career
Classicalite: Steven Nagel
Perlman is clearly grateful for his opportunities and for the other acts that Ed Sullivan scoured the Earth to bring to American audiences.


Imogen Heap: Savior of the Music Industry?
The Observer: Jamie Bartlett
In our age of Spotify, most artists fail to get a fair deal. But with help from coders, Imogen Heap is leading the fightback, using a technology that could revolutionize the way music is made and sold.

Using Emerging Technology, Chicago Violinist Returns to the CSO
The Chicago Maroon: Hannah Edgar
Using computerized music stands and a number of other apps, Alison Dalton has developed a way to rehearse and perform again with the orchestra.


Trouble Sleeping? A Composer Wants To Help
NPR: Deceptive Cadence
British composer Max Richter spent about two years writing and recording a piece of music which, if it's successful, few people will hear in full.


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