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WEEKLY DIGEST | 04/23/2018
News, Research, & Opinion



Beyoncé and Lamar Show What it Means to be 'Unapologetically Black'
CNN: John Blake
Last weekend, Beyoncé "obliterated" a rapt, mostly white audience at Coachella when she became the first black woman to headline the musical festival. On Monday, the black rapper Kendrick Lamar became the first hip-hop artist to win the Pulitzer Prize for his album "DAMN."


Seeking Orchestras in Tune With Their Diverse Communities
NY Times: Michael Cooper
Orchestras are among America’s least racially diverse institutions. African-American musicians accounted for only 1.8 percent of the nation’s orchestra players in 2014. Three national organizations aim to change that, announcing on Wednesday that they are joining forces to try to help more African-American and Hispanic musicians audition for and land coveted orchestra jobs.

Reshaping the Orchestra Pyramid: The Orpheus Effect Revisited, Part II

SF Classical Voice: Mark MacNamara
In the last nearly 50 years, the Orpheus model has drawn considerable interest in and out of the music world, and has, to one degree or another, influenced the workings of universities, hospitals, spy agencies, start-ups, and pharmaceutical companies.

Following Grace Jones for a Decade; a Documentarian View
Pitchfork: Max Mertens
In Sophie Fiennes’ new documentary, Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami, there’s a scene where Jones protests to the show’s male producer, claiming the setup makes her look like the “madam of a brothel.” An interaction that captures an icon whose career has been a testament to playing by no one’s rules but her own.

Four Radical and Radically Original Pieces of Music that Blew up the Modernist Status Quo in 1968

LA Times: Mark Swed
Each was, in some way, a product of political protest and the counterculture that would permanently transform how we think about and make music. A half-century on they have become classics, no longer shocking, perhaps, but newly pertinent to a later age of anxiety.


Music Director JoAnn Falletta to Step Down from Virginia Symphony Orchestra in 2020
Daily Press: Mike Holtzclaw
After 27 years in front of the Virginia Symphony, music director JoAnn Falletta figures she has got a few more years in her — two, to be exact.

Minnesota Orchestra Unanimous in CEO Pick: 'We were startled and pleased'
Star Tribune: Jenna Ross
Michelle Miller Burns impressed board, musicians as a collaborator. 

Guitar Center Faces Imminent Bankruptcy after 59 Years in Business

Digital Music News: Paul Resnikoff
As guitar sales plummet, some of the biggest guitar brands and retailers are facing bankruptcy.  The latest is Guitar Center, which narrowly averted default and just got downgraded by S&P.

20 Years of Jazz Concerts, Heading to Harlem

NY Times: Giovanni Russonello
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem has received a vast new archive of concert footage and interviews covering 20 of jazz’s most underexplored years. The Jazz and Blues Art Box comprises 230 concerts and 96 interviews, all filmed at the International Jazz Festival Bern in Switzerland from 1983 to 2002.

How Musicians are Fixing the Summer Music Scene With Their Own Festivals

Pitchfork: Grayson Haver Currin
Artists including Bon Iver, Chance the Rapper, Wilco, and the Roots are giving the festival market a much-needed jolt.


Merce Cunningham’s Centennial Will Bring a Global Celebration
NY Times: Alastair Macaulay
The Merce Cunningham Trust announced Monday, on what would have been Cunningham’s 99th birthday, a global centennial celebration of his legacy, beginning this fall.

Inch by Inch, the Bayreuth Operatic Jewel Is Polished

NY Times: A. J. Goldmann
The intimate yet dazzling Margravial Opera House in Bayreuth, Germany, built in 1748, is reopening after a six-year renovation.

How Music is Transforming the Lives of Children in Uganda

Isha Ranchod talks to Alison Balsom about how Brass for Africa is giving Ugandan children the opportunity to play music together.

Senegal’s Death-Defying Albino Musician

Ozy: Lucia He
Meet Maah Keita, a 29-year-old musician who’s been using her music since she was old enough to play music to raise awareness about the struggles that people with albinism face both in Senegal and across Africa. One of those struggles common to many albinos? Visual impairment. Which had Keita, an autodidact, learning to play the bass guitar without being able to see very much of the bass guitar she was playing.

German Music Industry Bosses Under Fire Following Anti-Semitism Row at Echo Awards

Music Business Worldwide
The German recorded music business is embroiled in controversy after its flagship awards event last week showcased a rap duo whose lyrics have caused nationwide outrage.

Hip-Hop is Opening up Communist Vietnam
Ozy: Duncan Forgan
Vietnam’s hip-hop scene attracted global attention in 2016 when one of its more commercial-minded and marketable figures, Ho Chi Minh City rapper Suboi, gave an impromptu performance to then-U.S. president Barack Obama during his visit to the country. She’s part of a musical movement that has rapidly grown in the communist nation since the turn of the millennium.

EDM DJ-Producer Avicii Dead at 28
Rolling Stone: Daniel Kreps
Tim Bergling, the Swedish EDM DJ and producer known as Avicii, died Friday at the age of 28, his representative confirmed. A cause of death was not immediately revealed.


Global Recorded Music Industry Revenues Topped $17bn in 2017 and Independent Artists Generated $472M
Music Business Worldwide
The numbers are up 8.5% year-on-year.

After a Decade of Extreme Bootstrapping, Mixcloud Closes a $11.5 Million Round

Digital Music News: Marsha Silva
Mixcloud is often plunked in the shadow of SoundCloud, though these musical ‘clouds’ are now quite different.  These days, SoundCloud is emerging as a hotbed of ‘Xanax’ rappers, while Mixcloud is emerging as a longer-form audio content platform.  Now, Mixcloud has $11.5 million to expand its vision globally.

Nintendo Labo: An Incredible Learning Tool That’s a Blast to Play

The Verge: Andrew Webster
Cardboard pianos and fishing rods bumped Nintendo’s share price by over $1 billion. The Japanese gaming company’s shares soared on Friday on the launch of its Nintendo Labo—cardboard model accessories you build yourself that can to be used with its Switch console.


Tom Lehrer at 90: A Life of Scientific Satire
Nature: Andrew Robinson
Although Lehrer is absurdly omitted from the Encyclopaedia Britannica (unlike his friend, the lyricist and composer Stephen Sondheim), his scathing creations remain one of the most original — not to mention mathematically elegant — bodies of artistic work to come out of the United States in the twentieth century.


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