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WEEKLY DIGEST | 01/7/2019
News, Research, & Opinion



Five Organizations Making a Difference in Classical Music in 2018
WQXR: Jocelyn Bonadio-de Freitas
Public Radio station WQXR features some of the initiatives, organizations and people making an impact in the classical music world in 2018. The Lullaby Project: free programs and grants, as well as innovative ways of engaging New Yorkers in music making. Composer Diversity Database: A progressive step towards a more inclusive canon. Chineke! Foundation: Based in the UK, the first majority black and minority ethnic orchestra. Sphinx Organization: Based in Detroit, Sphinx is the leader in pipeline programs that actively diversify the field of classical music. Public School Music Teachers Everywhere: A salute to teachers who do the hard work of leading young people in making music.


Opera Has A Problem: Fans Aren’t Subscribing
The New York Times: Michael Cooper
Lyric Opera of Chicago and other major companies are trying to adjust to a new financial reality.

‘They’re Doing It Out Of Love’: The Big Band Rises Again
The New York Times: Giovanni Russonello
A rigorous, composerly view of the big band has continued to thrive in small pockets of the New York and European music scenes. And today that tradition is finding new resonance.

Roberto Sierra: Globalizing Local Experiences

NewMusicBox: Frank J. Oteri
The question of what kinds of music are local or global is more complex than it might initially seem, now that any locally made music has the possibility of reaching a global audience.

A Luminous ‘Aria Code’ Joins A Meager Field Of Classical Music Podcasts

The New York Times: Joshua Barone
With four episodes released, the host — Rhiannon Giddens, the MacArthur “genius” grant recipient — takes a dive into a famous aria with guests who have included singers, scientists and even a sex worker-turned-writer.

In a Season of Boys’ Choirs, a Question: Why No Girls?
NY Times: Michael Cooper
The question has reverberated more than usual this year, ever since a British soprano, Lesley Garrett, wrote an article this month calling on King’s College to include girls in its choir.

Isabelle Faust On How Playing Period Instruments Has Improved Her Bowing
The Strad
Our January 2019 issue cover star on bringing her unusually active and flexible right arm technique to bear with a classical Tourte bow and the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ Strad.

Jazz Wouldn’t Be The Same Without Them. But Few Applauded These Hidden Figures.
The New York Times: Giovanni Russonello
There are many lessons to be learned from Ms. Gordon’s new book, “Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon,” a biography of her husband, the heroic bebop saxophonist, who died in 1990.

There’s More Religion Than You Think In Bach’s ‘Brandenburgs’
The New York Times: Michael Marissen
The “Brandenburgs,” now holiday favorites, have more complex meanings than many assume.


Cleveland Orchestra Announces New Three-Year Trade Agreement
The Plain Dealer: Zachary Lewis
The deal, negotiated peacefully, includes 2-percent annual increases in minimum weekly compensation, a higher level of seniority pay for long-term members, and annual increases to retirement, life insurance, and long-term disability benefits.

Making Peace With The Music Left By An Omnivorous Young Composer
The New York Times: William Robin
It was a blow to the tight-knit world of contemporary music when Matt Marks died suddenly, of heart failure, after a performance with the ensemble Alarm Will Sound. Marks was a prominent composer, vocalist and French horn player.

2019 Spoleto Festival To Feature A New ‘Salome’

The New York Times: Gabe Cohn
Spoleto to return with a reimagining of “Salome,” set in the present day, one of more than 140 opera, theater, dance and music performances to take place at the 43rd iteration of the festival.

A Young Singer Takes The Opera World By Storm
The New York Times: Zachary Woolfe
Anita Rachvelishvili is “without doubt the best Verdi mezzo-soprano today on the planet,” according to the conductor Riccardo Muti.

John Adams And David Lang: Masters Of The Modern Holiday Oratorio
The New York Times: Joshua Barone
Nothing could dethrone Handel’s oratorio, but worthy alternatives in choral music are out there. The Metropolitan Museum of Art recently offered John Adams’s “El Niño” and David Lang’s “the little match girl passion.”

Barack Obama Joins Lin-Manuel Miranda On A ‘Hamilton’ Remix

The New York Times: Alex Marshell
Barack Obama, who delivers part of George Washington’s farewell address in a gospel remix of “One Last Time,” in the recording studio.


Royal Opera House to join the #MeToo era as it Challenges Misogyny on stage by asking: 'Does opera  hate women?'
The Telegraph: Hannah Furness
The Royal Opera House works to end its misogynistic stereotype for a new generation with a public discussion of “does opera hate women?”

The Vienna Philharmonic Looks to a New Generation
The New York Times
For the first time in its history, the Philharmonic is opening an academy to train musicians.

Nicola Benedetti Made CBE In New Year Honours
The Strad
The Scottish violinist and music education champion is honoured for services to music.

Steven Isserlis Celebrates 60th Birthday With Concert And Three Awards
The Strad
The concert featured a group of Isserlis’s closest musical friends including Joshua Bell.

Two Star Conductors Faced #Metoo Allegations. Now They’re Back.
The New York Times: Alex Marshall
Daniele Gatti, and Charles Dutoit have both returned to prominent positions after being fired for misconduct.

Anneleen Lenaerts, A Top Harpist In Vienna And Around The Globe
The New York Times: Ginanne Brownell Mitic
Anneleen Lenaerts has crisscrossed the globe, performing with the Vienna Philharmonic and playing solo concerts in places as diverse as Bruges and Bogotá.

Restoring Musical Legacies In Vienna
The New York Times: Rebecca Schmid
Walter Bricht was forced to emigrate from Austria in 1938, he was one of the capital’s most promising musical figures. Performances of his works never came to fruition once it was revealed that he had three Jewish-born grandparents.


Is This The End Of Owning Music?
BBC: Mark Savage
Sales of CDs plummeted by 23% last year, as consumers flocked to streaming services for their music.

Vinyl and cassette sales saw double digit growth last year

The Verge: John Porter
But physical album sales were still down overall

Watch A Robotic Hand Play The Piano With A More Human Touch
The New York Times: Steph Yin
It hasn’t mastered Chopin or Debussy, but it can eke out a decent “Jingle Bells.”

Lobbying For Spots On The Music Modernization Act's Licensing Collective Heats Up
Billboard: Ed Christman
The newly-passed Music Modernization Act calls for the creation of a music licensing collective (MLC) -- and the competition is heating up over who should sit on the collective’s board.


Test Your Knowledge Of The Year In Music With Our Poptastic Quiz
Take the test!

Blank Canvas: Unvarnished 5-String Instruments
The Strad
Check out these unvarnished five-string violins and violas are built by a Chinese maker using flamed maple and seasoned spruce.

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