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WEEKLY DIGEST | 02/18/2019
News, Research, & Opinion



Is It Sacrilege to Shorten Operas in the Digital Age?
San Francisco Classical Voice: Jeremy Reynolds

Recently, Pittsburgh Opera produced a truncated adaptation of Mozart’s Idomeneo stripping the score from more than three hours to about 80 minutes- Blasphemy! Is this unwritten commandment useful or outdated given the state of the world’s attention span and the other entertainment options of the digital age?


The Best and Worst of the Grammys
The New York Times: Jon Pareles, Jon Caramanica, Joe Coscarelli and Caryn Ganz
The 61st annual Grammy Awards on Sunday worked to right the wrongs of the past few years’ ceremonies, where the leading narrative was tension over a lack of diversity and poor representation for the most influential young artists in music.

Can a Star Conductor Finally Make It Work in America?
The New York Times: Zachary Woolfe
Daniel Harding, will lead the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra on Thursday and Friday at Carnegie Hall.

20 Questions for Violinist Alexander Kerr
The Violin Channel
The Violin Channel recently caught up with Jacobs School faculty member and Dallas Symphony Concertmaster, American violinist Alexander Kerr. We sat him down for a fun game of VC 20 Questions – to help gain some fascinating insight into the man behind the music.

A Conversation with Igor Stravinsky, 1957
An in-depth discussion with one of the 20th Century’s most innovative composers, with fascinating footage as he thinks through his score.

Writing for “The Chorus”: Text, Dynamics, and Other Occupational Hazards
NewMusicBox: Dominic DiOrio (Jacobs School)
In order to guide us all toward a more perfect harmony in writing for the chorus, and because writing for the chorus is often neglected in the training of composers at academic institutions, I am including below some of the most prevalent pitfalls that I have seen over and over again—even by some of today’s most reputable composers.

Was Yuja Wang’s Concert Satirical or Offensive? It’s Complicated

NY Times: Joshua Barone
This performance – riddles with jokes about Ms. Wang’s sexual appeal and Chinese heritage, ranging from unpleasant (“God, she’s so hot”) to offensive – and has come at a fraught moment in culture, in which an increased desire to confront stereotypes is meeting an increased sensitivity about racial characterizations.

Who Would’ve Thought A Bluegrass Spoof Of Atonal Music Would Take Off On Youtube?
The Washington Post: Anne Midgette
Gimme some of that ol’ atonal music. It lingers in my ears!

An American Impressionist
The American Scholar: Sudip Bose
What Charles Griffes wrote during his brief life leaves us wanting more.


Confidential Settlement Reached In BSO Flutist's Gender Pay-Discrimination Suit
The Berkshire Eagle: Clarence Fanto
A landmark pay-discrimination lawsuit filed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra's star flutist, Elizabeth Rowe, has been settled out of court after successful mediation between the two sides.

Celebrity Cruises Partners with Renowned Chef and American Ballet Theater

CruiseCritic: Dori Saltzman
Celebrity Cruises has partnered with acclaimed NYC-based chef Daniel Boulud, as well as the American Ballet Theater, to enhance its onboard offerings. Boulud will develop a three-course menu for the line's Luminae restaurant, while the American Ballet will perform on select sailings and create a series of seminars, ballet barre classes and children's classes for the line, also for select sailings.

Chicago Symphony Musicians Vote to Authorize a Strike on March 10
Chicago Tribune: Howard Reich
Discussions have been ongoing for more than 11 months, according to the musicians, who held a press conference in the lobby of Orchestra Hall on Thursday afternoon to announce their intentions.

City Opera Faces Its Biggest Challenge Since Bankruptcy
The New York Times: Michael Cooper
The company announced this week that its board chairman — and biggest benefactor — was stepping down.

Meet Ashley Magnus, Chicago Opera Theater’s New General Director
WFMT: Keegan Morris
“My Dream Is For Chicago To Be At The Forefront Of New Opera” With the trio of Magnus, music director Lidiya Yankovskaya, and board president Susan Irion, COT represents one of the first major opera companies led by women at the executive, artistic, and board levels.

Kalamazoo Symphony CEO Departs
WMUK 102.1: Andrew Robins
The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra is looking for a new president. It announced that CEO Peter Gistelinck is no longer there but didn’t give a reason for his departure.

Saturdays in the Bronx With Bach
The New York Times: Stephen Hiltner
Nearly every weekend for the past 28 years, local children have flocked to the Bronx Conservatory of Music for very low-cost instruction in classical music. Will the school’s success be its undoing?

Michael Jackson Estate Cancels Chicago Musical Run
The New York Times: Michael Paulson
The Michael Jackson estate, facing questions prompted by a new documentary detailing abuse allegations against the singer, announced Thursday that it was canceling a planned Chicago tryout of a new jukebox musical about him.


Berlin Philharmonic Announces Appointment of New Concertmaster
The Violin Channel
The Berlin Philharmonic has announced the appointment of Polish-born violinist Krzysztof Polonek as its new Concertmaster.

Saudi Arabia, Trying to Lure Tourists, Hosts Music Festival Near Ancient Tombs
The New York Times: Edward Wong
AL ULA, Saudi Arabia — The new Italian-designed concert hall in the middle of the desert shimmered in the sunset light, its walls of mirror reflecting the golden sandstone hills and cliffs.

Meet The World's Biggest Student Choir
Video: Children from all over the UK learn songs and dance moves to take part and perform on some of the biggest stages in Britain.

Postcard From Shanghai: Viva La Viola Festival
The Strad
Shanghai Conservatory of Music’s biennial Viva la Viola festival returned for its sixth instalment in November, turning the spotlight on one of the most underrated instruments in China, writes Nancy Pellegrini.

Anne-Sophie Mutter Awarded Polar Music Prize
The Strad
The German violinist is one of three laureates for 2019, along with hip hop DJ Grandmaster Flash and the Playing For Change Foundation.

Womxn Are Writing Today’s Biggest Hits. Meet 15 Of Them.
Paper: Sarah Hudson
Veteran songwriter Sarah Hudson curates a portfolio of the woman hitmakers you should know.

Tech Industry and Activists Still Hope to Sink New EU Copyright Rules
Fortune: David Meyer
European Union negotiators have agreed on a final version of the hugely contentious Copyright Directive, which aims to reform the bloc’s copyright rules for the digital age.


The Most Exotic Violin Woods
The Strad
Video: California-based electric violin maker John Jordan introduces us to some of his most exotic woods, ranging from the pricey Tasmanian tiger rose myrtle to the Swamp Kauri, which is dug up from bogs in New Zealand and is certified to be a minimum of 30000 years old.

“Splendid Sonority And Vivid Expressiveness”: The Theremin Before Sci-Fi
New Music USA: Kelly Hiser
The instrument was popular with U.S. audiences well before its appearance in sci-fi films. A significant surviving reception history documents recitals and concerts during the ’30s and ’40s, often given by women, known as “thereminists,” who played the instrument professionally or semi-professionally.

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