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WEEKLY DIGEST | 08/28/2018
News, Research, & Opinion



A look at how the New York Times has covered the centennial of the most consequential composers of all time, who had a special relationship with Bloomington and the IU Jacobs School of Music (more about that soon!)


Why Adding Women Composers to the Philly Orchestra Mix isn’t Only Right, but Also Smart
Philadelphia Inquirer: Peter Dorbin
Maybe you've never listened to an orchestra concert and thought to look down at the program to check the gender of the composer of the work being performed. 

Why West Side Story is So Timely Now

BBC: Clancy Burton-Hill
Leonard Bernstein’s beloved work is as relevant as ever. “The musical world has never seen his equal and likely never will again,” writes Clemency Burton-Hill.

Can Data Reveal the Saddest Number One Song Ever?

BBC: Miriam Quick
Data journalist Miriam Quick put Spotify’s new algorithm to the test, analysing over 1000 tracks to find the saddest pop songs to top the charts. The results were surprising.


‘Amazing Grace’: How Aretha Franklin Took Us All to Church
NY Times: Wesley Morris
Aretha Franklin’s live album “Amazing Grace” is a monumental release that captures how she transformed gospel music.

Why Aretha was the Greatest Singer in US History

BBC: Arwa Haider
From gospel to opera, the Queen of Soul’s voice was so ‘vitally in the moment… it does not feel right to refer to it in the past tense,’ writes Arwa Haider.

The Role of Struggle In Aretha Franklin's Path to Greatness
Billboard: Evelyn Mcdonnell
To say that Franklin was one of the greatest female singers of all time is to miss the point. Aretha -- an original one-named diva -- was one of the greatest artists, period. Her talent and her impact transcended gender, race, genre and geography.  The only peer of similar import and impact is Bob Dylan, and I would argue that as the voice of the struggle for equal rights for blacks and for women, Franklin embodied her generation more.

Baltimore Symphony Embarks Tuesday on First International Tour in 13 Years

Baltimore Sun: Tim Smith
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will move back into the international spotlight for the first time in 13 years when it departs Tuesday for England, Scotland and Ireland with 102 players, 10 staff members and 78 cargo trunks carrying 6,800 pounds of equipment.

Why are Female Composers Still Markedly Behind in Terms of Prominence?

The Strad: Peter Somerford
As 2018–19 concert seasons launch this month, the scarcity of music by women composers in the calendars of major symphony orchestras highlights a persistent gender gap in the world of classical music.


Operetta is Serious Business in Bad Ischl – and Seriously Glorious
Spectator: Richard Bratby
If you love the much-mocked art of Viennese operetta, a forgotten spa town at the far end of the Salzkammergut is exactly where you want to be. .

Batons Not Barriers: The Disabled Musicians Coming to the Proms
The Guardian: Stephen Moss
James Rose is used to being underestimated impaired by his condition, cerebral palsy.  He will be at the Proms because of a scheme by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, which has, with Arts Council England backing, been building a disabled-led ensemble called Resound over the last two years.

'Tour' is Inadequate to Explain What's Happening Between the Minnesota Orchestra and South African Musicians
Minnesota Post: Scott Chamberlain
Watching this grand event unfold, it is clear that “tour” is completely inadequate to describe what is going on. What’s happening is a true and glorious exchange.

All-Female Final for $100k First Prize Shanghai Competition
The Strad
Six young violinists remain in contention for the biggest prize pot available in any competition, following three-part semi-final round

The Darker Side of Heifetz the Autocratic Teacher
The Strad: Gwen Thompson-Robinow
Heifetz was obsessive about appearance.

Queeneth Ndaba, Champion of South African Jazz

NY Times: Giovanni Russonello
She managed Johannesburg’s most influential home of art and culture during the darkest days of apartheid and invested heavily in the music she staged there.


Is This the World’s First Good Robot Album?
BBC: Alex Marshall
Hello World is a new album that features everything from cowboy sci-fi to Europop. It could change the way we think about AI and creativity, writes Alex Marshall.

Spotify and Netflix Both Make Moves to Reduce Payments to Apple

Complete Music Update (CMU): Chris Cooke
Spotify is no longer allowing new subscribers to sign up through its Apple iOS app.

Why Rappers Started Running Their Own Music Festivals
Trapital: Dan Runcie
Each year, more hip-hop artists start festivals, but each festival needs to stand out in an increasingly crowded market.

SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer Explains the Trouble with The Music Modernization Act

Billboad: Jim Meyer
Supporters of this bill are now attempting to portray SiriusXM as the "enemy" by mischaracterizing our position in the press as a "brand new attack," a "new source of friction" and, my personal favorite, a "fresh assault." This is simply wrong.

A Healthy Music Marketplace Should Offer Choice and Competition

Music Business Worldwide: Rhian Jones
In her previous professional life, as Co-President of Columbia Records UK, Alison Donald came across a hot new artist she was extremely keen to sign.  She courted young London singer and songwriter Tom Misch for months, only for him to turn around and eschew a major label deal in favor of a more flexible agreement with Kobalt’s AWAL. He’s now racked up over 225m streams.

All I Can Figure is these 42 Overpaid IP Law Professors Hate to See Musicians Paid; Love Billionaires

The Trichordist: Melissa B. Alexander
I’ve been musing on this for months now.  Every since I saw the “42 IP law professors” letter opposing the closure of the pre-1972 digital royalty loophole I thought “Really? how can intelligent people be FOR keeping a ridiculous loophole in place that only benefits a handful of billionaires?”


Saudi Arabia’s Bootleg Music Shops
BBC: Arwa Haider
Arwa Haider moved to Saudi Arabia when she was 13. She recalls what it was like to be a teenage pop fan in a place where music was frowned on.

The Brief History of Musicians Saying ‘Hell No’ to Donald Trump Using Their Songs

Vulture: Devon Ivie
Pissed-off victim No. 9: Luciano Pavarotti’s estate.  In a scenario mirroring what happened with Harrison, the estate of prolific opera singer Luciano Pavarotti was quick to defend the late tenor’s honor when Trump heavily featured his gorgeous arias “Nessun Dorma” as a soundtrack to many of his rallies.

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