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WEEKLY DIGEST | 03/25/2019
News, Research, & Opinion



Lifting the Baton to Bring Composers of Color into the Canon
Boston Globe: David Weininger
There was a joke that, earlier in his career, Jacobs School Professor Thomas Wilkins and his fellow black conductors would share knowingly. “The joke was: We were always really busy in February,” he said by phone during a recent interview. February, of course, is Black History Month, during which “orchestras wanted repertoire by African-American composers,” usually conducted by African-Americans.


Why do Classical Musicians Suck at Promoting Themselves?
David Taylor
The issue lies with how we teach classical musicians and the tiny bubble and narrative that we have created round the industry. (SOLUTION ALERT! The OECD in the Jacobs School is ready and able to help you learn how to promote yourself.)

Pekka Kuusisto on his Greenpeace Collaboration

The Strad
Elegy for the Forest, Pekka Kuusisto’s short film made in collaboration with Greenpeace, aims to build awareness of deforestation. He speaks to Peter Quantrill about combining art and activism.

For Etienne Charles, Jazz and Caribbean Music Are One and the Same
NY Times: Giovanni Russonello
Mr. Charles, 35, has been uniting Trinidadian methods with jazz ideas since he moved to the United States in 2002. He’s found that if you let them, they combine organically. Along the way, Mr. Charles has developed a magnetic sound on trumpet and he’s becoming a composer to be reckoned with.

What Makes Music Special to Us (vs. Animals)?
Nautilus: Hankjan Honing
Is it because we appear to be the only animals with such a vast musical repertoire? Is our musical predisposition unique, like our linguistic ability? Or is musicality something with a long evolutionary history that we share with other animals?

‘I Want to Make it Felt’
The Harvard Gazette: John Laidler
Yo-Yo Ma and Philharmonic director Borda discuss music as a force for social justice.

Michael Tilson Thomas on life, the San Francisco Symphony and Beethoven
The Washington Post: Anne Midgette
Michael Tilson Thomas talk to the Washington Post about ending his 25 year stay with the San Francisco Symphony.

The Father-Daughter Bond at the Heart of Opera’s Greatest Epic
The New York Times: Anthony Tommasini
We tend to think about Wagner’s “Ring” as an epic saga of bitter rivalries, fearless heroes and flying horses. But at the core of “Die Walküre,” is something far more intimate: one of the most profound depictions of a father-daughter relationship in all the arts.

Review: A ‘Dreamers’ Oratorio Tries to Transcend the Trump Moment
The New York Times: Joshua Barone
On Sunday, the composer Jimmy López and the librettist Nilo Cruz tell the stories of undocumented immigrants by elevating their experiences to the mythic realm of oratorios past.

Today’s Google Doodle Proves that a Bot can’t Top Bach
The Washingon Post: Anne Midgette
You, too, can compose like Bach. Or rather, artificial intelligence can compose like Bach.

10 Ways to Fix Sexism in the Music Industry
In the male-dominated music industry, women have been getting the short straw in the draw for decades. Even in 2019, the numbers show women artists aren’t getting their due.

Why Facebook Can Be the Future of Social Music, But Isn’t Yet
Music Industry Blog
Asian streaming apps that are largely setting the pace, with the occasional western breakthrough (normally from Chinese companies).  Facebook needs to look east…

'Alive and Vital,' the Louisville Orchestra signs Abrams for 5 more years
Courier Journal: Kathryn Gregory
The youthful musical director of the Louisville Orchestra, who has built a national reputation as a creative and innovative force on the music scene is here to stay.

Seattle Opera to become 1 of only 2 big opera companies in the U.S. led by a woman

Seattle Times: Janet I. Tu
Seattle Opera has found its next leader: Christina Scheppelmann, who will become only the fourth general director and one of only two women to lead a large-budget opera company in the U.S.

San Francisco Symphony makes moves to back striking CSO colleagues
Chicago Tribune: Howard Reich
The musicians of the San Francisco Symphony, scheduled to play Tuesday evening at Symphony Center, will join striking Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians on the picket line if the labor conflict hasn’t been settled by then.

More CSO concerts are cancelled as musicians strike goes into second week
Chicago Classical Review: Lawrence A. Johnson
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra cancelled another round of concerts Monday afternoon, as the musicians’ strike moves into its second week.

Have ‘Flute,’ Will Travel: Mostly Mozart Announces Its Season
The New York Times: Michael Cooper
An innovative, well-traveled production of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” that takes its inspiration from silent film will finally come to New York.

Nina Simone and Ritchie Valens Songs Added to National Recording Registry

The New York Times: Giovanni Russonello
Nina Simone, Ritchie Valens, and the original 1968 Broadway cast album of “Hair” are among the 25 recordings placed on the Library of Congress’ National Recording 2018.

La Scala Rejects Saudi Investment
The New York Times: Elisabeth Povoledo
The Teatro alla Scala in Milan decided to return more than three million euros to Saudi Arabia, amid growing criticism that Italy’s famous hall should not accept money from a country with a jarring human rights record.

Opera Houses embrace Panto Booing of Villians as a Sign New Generation are Learning to Love Art Form
Telegraph: Hannah Furness and Anita Singh
“Audiences at the opera are increasingly booing the ‘baddies’, not for a perceived poor performance but because of their characters, in a change that has been attributed to the enthusiasm of new audiences.

She Raps and Sweden Listens
NY Times: Thomas Rogers
Although Sweden is known for being one of the world’s premier suppliers of dance-pop, it also has one of Europe’s most vibrant hip-hop scenes. Imam is one of its biggest female stars.

John Lennon's rare Beatles 'butcher' record to be sold
John Lennon's own copy of a Beatles record that caused controversy due to its graphic cover is expected to fetch £136,000 at auction.

Le Jonc Fleuri wins 10th International Telemann Competition
The Strad
The Berlin-based quartet receives €7,500 and various concert engagements.


Mozart's famous opera The Magic Flute is about to be transformed into a video game
Classic FM: Helena Asprou
The fantastical opera starring the Queen of the Night and the bird-catcher Papageno – and now it's being turned into a video game.

Spotify's Strategic Offensive Hits Three Fronts
Billboard: Dan Rys and Ed Christman
The streaming giant is now fighting in India; the Washington, D.C., Copyright Royalty Board; and Brussels' antitrust system. Whatever happens, it could lose the PR war.

MySpace admits losing 12 years' worth of music uploads

BBC: Zoe Keinman
MySpace, one of the first online social networks, has apologized after a server migration caused a huge loss of data.

Apple: Billie Eilish’s record-breaking album shows why ‘pre-adds’ are now the new ‘pre-orders’
Music Business Worldwide: Tim Ingham
Apple Music has long been a big supporter of Billie Eilish. Now, it thinks the 17-year-old’s debut LP may prove to be a milestone in the evolution of the album’s relationship with streaming services.

Dealing with the ‘dry streams’ paradox in the playlists era

Have you heard about ‘dry streams’ yet? They’re streams that come without a great deal of interest in the artist themselves: for example, on mood or activity-driven playlists on streaming services where listeners aren’t necessarily noticing who made the tracks.

  OFF THE BEATEN TRAIL with food!  

Beats By Dr Dre and chef Tom Sellers have just defined the future of pairing food and music
GQ: Kathleen Johnston
Say goodbye to drab background music in upscale restaurants. The next big thing on the fine dining scene is dishes matched with music, as showcased at a special one-off dinner – A Story Told By Beats By Dre – where maverick chef Tom Sellers enlisted Professor Green to curate a playlist to complement a six-course meal.

Scientists Played Music to Cheese as It Aged. Hip-Hop Produced the Funkiest Flavor
Smithsonian: Jason Jaley
Researchers played nonstop loops of Led Zeppelin, A Tribe Called Quest and Mozart to cheese wheels to find out how soundwaves impacted flavor.

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