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WEEKLY DIGEST | 04/02/2018
News, Research, & Opinion



José Antonio Abreu, Venezuelan Musical Visionary, Dies at 78
NY Times: Michael Cooper
Mr. Abreu, an economist and musician who proselytized for what he called the “social mission of art,” may have set out to use classical music as a means to engage the youth of Venezuela, but he wound up putting Venezuelan musicians onto some of classical music’s leading stages.

Venezuela’s Famous Youth Orchestra Faces Tough Times
AP: Fabiola Sanchez
In an interview at the network's Caracas headquarters, executive director Eduardo Mendez said the program must overcome a crippling economic crisis that has forced hundreds of musicians to leave the country and move on from the loss of Jose Antonio Abreu, who created the orchestra network known as El Sistema.


Bach Was Far More Religious Than You Might Think
NY Times: Michael Marissen
The current fancy is that Bach was a forward-looking, quasi-scientific thinker who had little or no genuine interest in traditional religion. In arriving at this view, scholars have ignored, underestimated or misinterpreted a rich source of evidence: Bach’s personal three-volume Study Bible, extensively marked with his own notations.

Are Orchestras Culturally Specific?
Critical Questions: Jesse Rosen
A recent article suggests that orchestras are culturally specific to white people. Are they? Four thought leaders (Gary Ginstling, Chris Jenkins, Alex Laing, Cecilia Olusola Tribble) discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion in orchestras and American society at large.

Attending a Concert Every 2 Weeks will Add 9 Years to Your Life, Study Finds
Digital Music News: Marsha Silva
A new study shows that going to music gigs is a very, very healthy habit.

There's New Evidence That Music Lessons Boost Kids' Cognitive Skills
Pacific Standard: Tom Jacobs
Dutch schoolchildren reported higher scores on several key tests if they took supplemental music lessons.

‘If You Put a Woman in Charge of Anything, Sh*t Gets Done’

Music Business Worldwide: Rhian Jones
Dina LaPolt has spent the last 20 years fighting for the rights of songwriters and musicians. And she’s had to fight hard. MBW’s Inspiring Women series profiles female executives who have risen through the ranks of the business, highlighting their career journey – from their professional breakthrough to the senior responsibilities they now fulfil.

Redemption of a Lost Prodigy

NY Times: Alex Vadukul
As a teenager, he was an elite violinist, a rare talent. Then, something happened. Fifty years later, he has found a refuge in a City Island boatyard.


The Orpheus Effect Revisited
San Francisco Classical Voice: Mark Macnamara
The original conductorless orchestra is a model organization in many ways. So why is it so hard to implement the "Orpheus Process"?

After 100 years, the Cleveland Orchestra Continues to Ignore Women, Minorities and Living Composers Philip de Oliveira
The vaunted centennial season turns out to be a disappointing continuation of the status quo. Of the nearly 40 composers represented, every last one is a white man. Only four of those white men are still alive. Of those four, only one is American-born.

Seattle Symphony, Musicians Reach Agreement on Contract Extension
Seattle Times: Janet I. Tu
The Seattle Symphony and its musicians’ union, the Seattle Symphony and Opera Players’ Organization, have agreed to a four-year contract extension, through Aug. 31, 2022, that would increase players’ base pay by nearly 12 percent. The musicians’ annual base pay, currently at a minimum of $98,100, will increase each year of the contract by 3.9 percent, 2.5 percent, 2.4 percent, and 2.6 percent, respectively, reaching a final base salary of $109,745 in 2022.

Philadelphia Orchestra's New President 'excited to be back at the heart of a super orchestra'
The Inquirer: Peter Dobrin
Matías Tarnopolsky, 48, executive and artistic director of Cal Performances at the University of California, Berkeley since 2009, is set to become the Philadelphia Orchestra’s new president and CEO.

Mummers and Sizzling Philly Cheesesteaks Get Their Philadelphia Orchestra Moment
The Inquirer: David Patrick Stearns
In pursuit of the very soul of the city for his new choral/orchestral work, the eighth “crowd-sourced symphony” by MIT-based composer and inventor Tod Machover has written will be presented  at the Kimmel Center this week (and on April 10 at Carnegie Hall).

Operagoers So Young, the Met Adds Changing Tables and Stroller Parking
NY Times: Michael Cooper
The company will present 10 free performances of “BambinO,” an opera for babies between 6 months old and 18 months old.


Musician Wins Landmark Ruling over Ruined Hearing
BBC News: Clive Coleman
A viola player who suffered a life-changing hearing injury at a rehearsal of Wagner's Die Walkure in 2012 has won a landmark High Court judgment against the Royal Opera House (ROH).

Brazil’s Music Scene Goes Gender Fluid
Ozy: Sarah Brown
Music has long broken barriers. Now it’s breaking stereotypes.

Onstage, South Korean K-Pop Stars. In the Balcony, Kim Jong-un, Clapping.
NY Times: Choe Sang-Hun
The appearance by North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, on Sunday at a concert by South Korean musicians in Pyongyang was all the more unusual because his authoritarian government has been struggling to stave off what it sees as an infiltration of the South’s pop culture among his isolated people.


After Driving Streaming Music’s Rise, Spotify Aims to Cash In
NY Times: Ben Sisario
Spotify has 157 million users around the world, 71 million of whom pay for subscriptions. That is about twice the number of its closest competitor, Apple, which finally entered the subscription game three years ago.

Live Nation Rules Music Ticketing, Some Say With Threats
NY Times: Ben Sisario and Graham Bowley
Eight years after the merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster, Department of Justice officials are looking into serious accusations about Live Nation’s behavior in the marketplace.

Apple Music, Not Spotify, Ranks as the Most Popular Music Streaming Service
Digital Music News: Daniel Sanchez
Last month, the Wall Street Journal published a surprising report. According to the newspaper, this summer, Apple Music, not Spotify, will become the top US streaming music service. Potentially unnerving Spotify’s investors, Apple Music will have the most US subscribers.  Now, a new report may cement WSJ’s analysis.

CDs, Vinyl are Outselling Digital Downloads for the First Time since 2011
The Washington Post: Derek Hawkins
Digital downloads had a short run as the top-selling format in the music industry. It took until 2011, a decade after the original iPod came out, for their sales surpass those of CDs and vinyl records, and they were overtaken by music streaming services just a few years later.

Buzzkill Alert: The Music Industry is Still 40% Smaller Than in 2008
Digital Music News: Ruzanna Azaryan
Is the music industry popping the champagne cork prematurely?

The Identity of Artists is Being Lost on Streaming Platforms
Music Business Worldwide: Tim Ingham
One of the most successful artist managers in the world, Simon Fuller, has expressed serious concerns over the future of music streaming services.


There’s Nothing Quite Like Mongolian Hip-Hop
Ozy: Heath Druzin
It’s Def Jam beats meets throat singing, folk music and horsehead fiddles.


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