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Recent News, Commentary, and Ideas.



Jacobs Alumna Ailyn Pérez Wins Beverly Sills Artist Award
New York Times
The Jacobs School alumna, soprano Ailyn Pérez, has won this year’s Beverly Sills Artist Award, which offers a $50,000 prize to help foster the careers of young singers who have appeared in solo roles at the Metropolitan Opera. In 2012, Pérez also won the Richard Tucker Award.


Choral Singing Boosts Immune System Activity
Pacific Standard: Tom Jacobs
A study of cancer patients, and the people who care for them, finds a mere hour of joining others in song produces positive physiological results.

Vanishing Languages, Reincarnated as Music
New York Times:  Corinna da Fonesca-Wollheim
A growing number of composers are turning their attention to languages that are extinct or endangered with the aim of weaving these enigmatic utterances into musical works that celebrate, memorialize or mourn the languages and the cultures that gave birth to them.

The Best Communities for Music Education
NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants)
The NAMM Foundation recognizes the Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) across the United States.


Philadelphia Orchestra Develops Music for Social Impact Peter Dobrin
The group is instituting a new social-impact program, increasing others, and packaging them under an umbrella acronym: HEAR, which stands for health, education, access, and research.

A New Era for the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra with Xian Zhang Jessica Mazzola
This week's concerts mark the Chinese-born conductor's first appearance with the orchestra since the announcement of her appointment last year.

Susanna Malkki Appointed Principal Guest Conductor to LA Philharmonic for 2017-18
Classicalite: Ian Holubiak
Another victory for women in classical, Finnish conductor Susanna Malkki has been appointed the principal guest conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She will be the third maestro to hold the post.

San Antonio Symphony Musicians Adjust Income to Save the Organization
Texas Public Radio: Jack Morgan
Musicians and management of the San Antonio Symphony took an unusual step recently to correct a budgetary shortfall. The cuts are part of the symphony's strategy for becoming financially stable.

Tamara Wilson Wins 2016 Richard Tucker Award
New York Times: Michael Cooper
The prestigious award comes with a $50,000 cash prize and a starry gala concert in New York.  

Bruce Springsteen Cancels North Carolina Concert Over Bias Law
New York Times: Ben Sisario
Bruce Springsteen has canceled a concert in North Carolina this weekend in protest of the state’s new law on gay and transgender rights, becoming perhaps the most prominent cultural figure to speak out against it.

12 Composers Among the 178 Guggenheim Fellows for 2016
The 9 men and 3 women who have been awarded 2016 fellowships in the music composition category represent an extremely wide variety of styles, from operas and works for symphony orchestra to electro-acoustic music and jazz.

The Details of the Grand Rapids Symphony Five Year Deal
Adaptistration: Drew McManus
Among the numerous details, one in particular worth pointing out is the establishment of substitute musician parity.

You’re Unfired: Kathleen Battle Is Returning to the Met After 22 Years
New York Times: Michael Cooper
It may be the biggest unfiring in opera since Maria Callas’s New York comeback: Kathleen Battle, whose dismissal by the Metropolitan Opera more than two decades ago will return to the Met next season to sing a recital of spirituals.

Rolling Stones to Release First Studio Album Since 2005
New York Times: Serge Kovaleski
Fresh off the road and more than 10 years after the release of “A Bigger Bang,” Mick Jagger and company are preparing a new studio album — their 30th — one with a distinctly bluesier flavor.

Zayn Starts Off His Solo Career With a No. 1 Album
The New York Times: Ben Sisario
Zayn, the first member of the superstar boy band One Direction to release a solo album, has reached No. 1 on the Billboard chart.

DeVotchKa Adds an Indie Touch to ‘Sweeney Todd’
New York Times: Lisa Kennedy
With new orchestrations arranged by the indie rock band DeVotchKa, Sondheim’s most diabolically crafted, technically demanding musicals takes on a new feel.


Latvia, the Choral Superpower
The Economist: Riga and Jurmala
Latvia, with a population of 2m, has some ten youth choirs of international prizewinning caliber.

Broadway Hit Hamilton to Tour Europe and Australia
The Guardian: Steph Harmon
If Broadway is anything to go by, tickets will sell out in seconds.

An All-Cuban Carmen with Cha-Cha-Cha Opens in Paris
The Guardian: Kim Willsher
Carmen la Cubana, which has its world premiere at Paris’s Théâtre du Châtelet on Wednesday, sees the femme fatale in 1950s Cuba at the time Fidel Castro and Che Guevara are fomenting revolution and the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista.

Malawi Mouse Boys: Making a Noise in the World’s Poorest Country
Newsweek: Connor Gaffey
Since they were discovered in 2011 by U.S. producer Ian Brennan, the group has traveled across the world, including to the U.K. for the 2013 WOMAD Festival, where they played to a 10,000-strong audience.


Tyree Smith Bridges Art and Hip-Hop in ARTlanta Gallery
Arts Atlanta: Christina Lee
Twenty years ago, Tyree Smith was a globe-trotting rapper. Now he spends his days inside a 15,000-square-foot warehouse inside a storage facility, plotting ways to turn western Atlanta neighborhood Adair Park into the next big arts district.


The Greatest Violin No One’s Ever Heard
Literary Hub: Quincy Whitney
The most famous violin in the world has never been heard. “The Messiah” sits in its glass display case just outside the Print Room of the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology in Oxford. As the only Stradivari in existence still preserved in pristine condition, it has virtually never been played.

Panama Papers: Cellist And Conductor Allegedly Helped Russians Move Billions
Deceptive Cadence : NPR: Deceptive Cadence
Sergei Roldugin — or at least his name — is at the center of a network in which up to $2 billion from Russian state banks has been hidden in offshore shell companies.

Cover Girls: The Rise of the Female Tribute Band
The Guardian: Caroline Sullivan
How do all-female homage bands differ from their male counterparts?

How Hip-Hop Shook Off Its Macho Image and Got Weird
The Guardian: Joe Muggs
From ecstasy-guzzling language-mangler Young Thug, to the many alter egos of Nicki Minaj and Kendrick Lamar’s experimental jazz affiliations, these days it pays to be strange.


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