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Recent News, Commentary, and Ideas.

Gustavo Dudamel


Is Traditional Ballet Facing its Swansong?
The Telegraph: Hannah Furness

Top choreographer Matthew Bourne says public demand will see classical form blended into contemporary works. There has already been enough “cross-fertilization” of the ballet world to see it blend neatly with other genres.


Hit Charade: The Norwegian Songwriters Behind the Hits of Katy Perry and Taylor Swift
The Atlantic: Nathaniel Rich
The biggest pop star in America today is a man named Karl Martin Sandberg, who is responsible for more hits than Phil Spector, Michael Jackson, or the Beatles.

Mary Lou Williams: A Forgotten Heroine of Jazz History
The New Yorker: Richard Brody
Mary Lou Williams’s musical career was one that, in its very historicity, went to the forefront of modernity.

Classical Music and the Rise of Streaming
Gramophone: Charlotte Gardner
Streaming has changed the way an increasing number of people now listen to music, yet many record labels say that the numbers just don't add up.

The YouTube Music Problem
Digital Music News: Paul Resnikoff
YouTube Accounts for 40% of All Music Listening, but only 4% of All Music Revenues

What the Music You Hate Says About You
Pacific Standard: Tom Jacobs
Fewer people say they dislike classical music and opera. This applies to all age ranges, suggesting Americans are increasingly open-minded to sampling genres once considered exclusive to the elite.

The Diverse World of Yo-Yo Ma
Deceptive Cadence NPR: Tom Huizenga
The renowned cellist, who turned 60 last week, calls himself a "venture culturalist." To mark the moment, NPR collected a handful of his performances.

The Cello Music of the Spheres
Nautilus: Kevin Berger
If there really is a music of the spheres, the sound of a fundamental harmony in the universe, it has to be Just Ancient Loops, a 2012 work by composer Michael Harrison. Just Ancient Loops is played on the cello and complemented by a film created from archival clips and a recreation of Jupiter’s moons in orbit.


The National Symphony Orchestra’s Forte for Falling Flat
The Washington Post: Anne Midgette
It’s one of the highest-paid orchestras in the United States. So why is the National Symphony Orchestra so lackluster, haunted by the curse of mediocrity?

Philadelphia Orchestra Hires Consultant Michael Kaiser
Philadelphia Inquirer: Peter Dobrin
As talks continue between the Philadelphia Orchestra Association and musicians over a new labor pact, management has agreed to hire consultant Michael M. Kaiser to assist in addressing chronic big-picture challenges like fund-raising and strategic direction.

Two Opera Philadelphia Leaders Extend Contracts
Philadelphia Inquirer: Peter Dobrin
Opera Philadelphia has extended the contracts of two key members of its leadership team as the company expands plans for international co-productions, increases relationships with a glittering roster of singers and directors, and continues to blur the line of the opera genre - all while raising extra money to help pay for it all.

Mercedes Bass Is Elected Acting Chairwoman of Carnegie Hall
The New York Times: Michael Cooper
The philanthropist Mercedes T. Bass was elected the acting chairwoman of Carnegie Hall on Thursday, succeeding Ronald O. Perelman, the billionaire businessman who stepped down from the post after eight months amid clashes with the hall’s leadership and its board.

Florida Orchestra and Milwaukee Symphony Settle
Adaptistration: Drew McManus
Two new entries in our list of mid to large budget orchestras with expired agreements that managed to ratify a new contract without resorting to a work stoppage: The Florida Orchestra and Milwaukee Symphony.

Larry Rosen Legendary Jazz Music Visionary & Entrepreneur Dies At 75
All About Jazz
In a legendary career that spanned over five decades, Rosen was a lifelong jazz lover who, among his many achievements, helped redefine the American jazz label, pioneered the merge of music and technology, and most recently revived the performance arena for jazz with the JAZZ ROOTS concert series and educational programs.

Gail Zappa, Keeper of Her Rock Star Husband’s Legacy, Dies at 70
The New York Times: Ben Sisario
Gail Zappa, the widow of the rock guitarist and composer Frank Zappa, who battled major record companies and cover bands alike as a fierce steward of her husband’s musical legacy, died on Wednesday at her home in Los Angeles.


Calgary's New National Music Centre Shows Ambitious Support for Arts
Huffpost Alberta: Stephen Cera
The $168 million National Music Centre (NMC) being built in Calgary's East Village represents one of the most ambitious showings of public support for music in Canada ever.

Pandora buys Ticketfly in Move to Challenge Ticketmaster
LA Times: Ryan Faughnder
Pandora, the largest Internet radio service, is buying its way into the concert ticketing business in a move to shore up relationships with artists and record labels.

Discoveries Clear the Mists From the Original 'Swan Lake'
The New York Times: Michael Cooper
Recently discovered materials shed new light on the ballet’s creation and Tchaikovsky’s sometimes rocky beginnings as a ballet composer.

Gergiev and the LSO: Fond Farewells or Sighs of Relief?
The Guardian: Andrew Clements
Valery Gergiev has not served the London Symphony Orchestra well as their chief conductor, nor has he lived up to the brilliance his earlier career promised.


The New York Philharmonic's App: Orchestra on the Go
Arts Management & Technology Laboratory
Symphonies are using technologies from virtual reality to live streaming to holograms in order to reach a larger audience. But now you can even carry an orchestra in your pocket! Thanks to the New York Philharmonic app, anyone can have 100 renowned musicians at their fingertips for no cost.

I'm Imogen Heap. And This Is Why I'm Releasing My Music on Blockchain
Digital Music News: Paul Resnikoff
Blockchain technology allows for instant, private, and totally transparent transmission of artist royalties, including realtime distributions to co-writers, producers, technology partners, publishers, and even labels.  In a presentation at Guardian Live, Imogen Heap explained why she’s releasing her latest song, “Tiny Human,” via the Bitcoin delivery platform. 

100 Million Fewer Downloads Have Been Sold In 2015
Digital Music News: Paul Resnikoff
While the dismal download trend continues, total song streams have doubled.


The Psychological Origins of Procrastination and How We Can Stop Putting Things Off
The Conversation
So why do we procrastinate? Are we built to operate this way at some times? Or is there something wrong with the way we’re approaching work?


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