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Recent News, Commentary, and Ideas.



An artist who defied tradition and yet defined himself as a virtuosic superstar at the center of world popular music, Prince has been heralded as one of the most innovative and entrepreneurial musicians of our time.


How the Orchestra is Arranged by the Biology of the Brain
AEON: Richard Kunert
The orchestra’s arrangement is not a cultural oddity, like driving on the right side of the road. Rather, it is due to our own biological makeup.

‘Miles Ahead’ and ‘Nina’ Try to Hit the Beat on the Offbeat
The New York Times: Salamishah Tillet
Clearly we are in a new phase of the jazz biopic. One that self-consciously tries to both glorify and demystify the golden age of jazz, the 1950s and 1960s, in order to explain its rarefied status in American culture and the price that artists paid for their cultural transgressions.

Nina Simone and the Clichés of the Musical Bio-Pic
The New Yorker: Richard Brody
Despite the technical energy of Zoe Saldana’s musical performance, much is missing from “Nina,” directed by Cynthia Mort

Muslims, Christians and Mozart: Seeking Harmony at the Met Opera
The New York Times: Larry Wolff
While Mozart lived in a century of intermittent European wars against the Ottoman Turks, as well as a century of captivity and slave trade on the Mediterranean, he couldn’t help being interested in exploring the ways in which the two sides were closer than they realized.

Yehudi Menuhin's Potent Blend of Music, Humanism and Politics
NPR: Deceptive Cadence
One hundred years ago, a musician was born who took the world by storm, both with his violin and with his warmhearted humanity.

Can Pop Musicals Bring New Audiences To Broadway?
NPR: Jeff Lunden
Leaving out dedicated musical theater fans, showtunes haven't necessarily been on most people's playlists in recent years. Then, last fall, the cast album of Hamilton came out.

Move Over, Page Turner. The iPad Has Arrived Peter Dobrin
More and more players are being lured by the glow of the screen, turning to iPads and laptops in lieu of the printed page. The human page-turner may one day be turned out of a job.


Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” Is a Revelation of Spirit
The New Yorker: Carrie Battan
What Beyoncé obscures in her everyday public life she makes relentlessly clear on this project.

Beyoncé's Lemonade is #blackgirlmagic At Its Most Potent
The Guardian: Syreeta McFadden
With its Malcolm X sample and allusions to Yoruba culture, her new record is a Southern Gothic meditation on black American womanhood across the years.

Some Good Credit News for the Met Opera
The New York Times: Michael Cooper
The Metropolitan Opera, which has been cutting costs in recent years to address its serious fiscal challenges, got a measure of good news on Wednesday when Standard & Poor’s affirmed the company’s “A” credit rating and revised its outlook to stable from negative.

The Utah Symphony, Blossoming Again
The New York Times: Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim
Forty years have passed since the Utah Symphony last visited Carnegie Hall. This concert celebrates a comeback in more than one way: After sustaining an artistic slump and financial difficulties in the intervening decades, the orchestra can take pride in how it has blossomed under its new music director, Thierry Fischer — just in time for the current 75th anniversary season.

Met Opera Announces Some Replacements for Levine
The New York Times: Michael Cooper
David Robertson, the music director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, will conduct a May 22 concert of the Met Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, and Sebastian Weigle, the general music director of Frankfurt Opera, will conduct the company’s new production of Strauss’s “Der Rosenkavalier” next spring.


China’s Smaller Cities Struggle to Cultivate an Interest in Classical Music
The New York Times: Amy Qin
After more than a decade as the world’s great hope for classical music, China is suffering growing pains. Observers point to weak management at performing arts institutions and insufficient efforts to educate audiences, who then prove indifferent to adventurous fare.

iTunes Movies and iBooks blocked in China
The Guardian: AFP
The services, launched less than seven months ago in China, were shut down last week. Apple did not give a reason for the closedown.

2 Stars Rejoin Bucharest Opera’s Ballet Company After Clash
The New York Times: Michael Cooper
The crisis roiling the ballet company of the Bucharest National Opera in recent weeks rippled not only through the international dance world but through Romanian politics as well.


The Best Entrepreneurs are Missionaries, not Mercenaries
Harvard Business Review
The definition of an entrepreneur is someone who “does more than anyone thinks possible with less than anyone thinks possible.”


Songs We Love: Carly Rae Jepsen, 'Run Away With Me (Patrick Stump Remix)'
NPR: Daoud Tyler-Ameen
This is a great time to remind everyone that after the rise of Justin but before the dawn of Zayn, the world heard from another Top 40 boy wonder who'd decided he was ready for his R&B close-up.


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