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WEEKLY DIGEST | 04/15/2019
News, Research, & Opinion



His Music Full of Echoes, the Maverick Composer Turns 90
NY Times: Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim
Mr. Crumb’s compositions inhabit a strange kind of suburbia themselves, a liminal space, rooted in the canon of Western music but venturing out into the world of natural sounds and acoustic phenomena.


Should String Teachers use Fingerboard Stickers for Beginners?
The Strad: Brenda Brenner
Three string teachers debate the age-old question: should stickers be used on the fingerboard when teaching a beginner pupil?

A Year After Kendrick Lamar, Will the Music Pulitzer Embrace Pop?
NY Times: William Robin
The award last year for “DAMN.” upended expectations for a prize that had stuck almost entirely to classical music. What comes next?

Learning to Dance Merce Cunningham: Risk in Calm Containers
NY Times: Gia Kourlas
For “Night of 100 Solos: A Centennial Event,” dancers from varied backgrounds take on Cunningham, a brain-and-body-teasing technique.

In the Met’s ‘Siegfried,’ Singers Transcend the Staging
NY Times: Joshua Barone
Good singers can lift a subpar staging. In this “Siegfried,” they transcend it.

Against Chill: Apathetic Music to Make Spreadsheets To
New Yorker: Amanda Petrusich
Background music was once relegated to elevators and waiting rooms. Now the groundless consumption of music has become omnipresent.

Is Germany's Orchestral Paradise as Good as it Seems?
The Strad
The country’s Unesco-protected orchestral system may look ideal to the rest of the world, but it’s by no means a bed of roses, writes Hugo Shirley.

Lil Nas X’s Smash Makes Country Wonder if Rap Is Friend or Foe. Again.
New York Times: Jon Caramancia
The particular alchemy of “Old Town Road” also taps something deeper: more than two decades of dialogue between country music and hip-hop, genres that have been slowly but consistently finding common heritage, swapping structural elements and taking comfort in each other’s sounds.


Amid a life of poverty and torment, the cello became his instrument of survival
The Washington Post: Allison Klein and Jahi Chikwendiu
He did not know the instrument would become his lifeline, providing him refuge from a difficult home life, inspiring mentors to help him and eventually becoming his ticket to George Mason University’s School of Music. Maybe, too, it would one day help him fulfill his dream of becoming an orchestral musician.

The Art of Rock: Four Museums Explore How We Connect to Music
NY Times: Mark Richardson
Shows about Leonard Cohen, instruments, punk graphics and punk sexual energy highlight the bonds between listeners and creators.

Dance Theater of Harlem: Arthur Mitchell’s Dream at 50
NY Times: Gia Kourlas
Members past and present talk about Mitchell and the company, reborn and newly vital, that was created in the wake of Dr. King’s assassination.

Harlem School of the Arts Announces $9.5 Million Renovation
The New York Times: Sara Aridi
The Harlem School of the Arts on Wednesday announced a renovation that will give its facility a major face-lift. Called “The Renaissance Project,” the revamp will be funded by the Herb Alpert Foundation and is scheduled to begin in August.

Pain all Around as CSO Musicians' Strike Continues

Chicago Tribune: Howard Reich
Musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra voted Monday night to reject management’s “last, best and final offer” to settle their ongoing strike, they did so “overwhelmingly,” says CSO bassist Stephen Lester, chair of the musicians’ negotiating committee.

Why the Gay Men’s Chorus of L.A. is Singing for Survival
LA Times: Jessica Gelt
The chorus has reduced its paid staff, dramatically cut production costs and promised to settle debts to vendors as quickly as possible, but misconduct allegations have presented other challenges.

She Runs Marathons and Sings Opera. And She Just Won $50,000.
The New York Times: Michael Cooper
The bright-voiced American soprano Lisette Oropesa — who is known for singing bel canto onstage and running marathons offstage — has been awarded the prestigious Richard Tucker Award, the prize’s administrators announced on Monday.

Documentary on Transgender Opera Star Begins Filming in Tulsa
Tulsa World: James D. Watts Jr.
Opera singer Lucia Lucas to begin rehearsals for her history-making performance in the title role of Tulsa Opera’s production of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni.”

Brexit and Music: How Leaving the EU could Change Gigs for Artists and Fans
BBC: Jimmy Blake and Jim Connolly
Ed Sheeran, Adele, Stormzy: British artists who have followed a well-trodden path of festival slots and small gigs around Europe on their way to becoming some of the UK's biggest names in music.

'We’re not Being Given a Viable Future': how Brexit will Hurt British Music

The Guardian: Michael Hann
From customs holding up CD and vinyl deliveries to visa issues putting roadies out of work, the UK music industry is nervous about what Brexit may bring.

Music Teacher Numbers Plummet in Scotland
The Scotsman: Scott Macnab
If this doesn’t change soon, thousands more youngsters will miss out on opportunities which could shape and influence their entire lives.

Hungarian Opera Asks White Cast of ‘Porgy and Bess’ to Say They Are African-American

The New York Times: Palko Karasz
When the Hungarian State Opera’s white cast of singers came together in Budapest earlier this month to revive a production of George Gershwin’s opera “Porgy and Bess,” they received letters carrying an unusual request: to declare themselves African-American.

Teaching Megadeth in Iraq

Rolling Stone; Andrea Marks
Portland guitarist and Widespread Panic writer Jerry Joseph started Nomad Music Foundation, a nonprofit that brings guitars and music classes to kids in conflict zones.

The Woman Pioneer who Composed Operas in India in Defiance of Music Traditionalists Malini Nair
Shanno Khurana created ‘Sohni Mahiwal’, ‘Jahanara’ and more in the 1960s and ’70s, a time when classical vocal music was staunchly insular.

700 Smiling Beethovens to Festoon Bonn for 2020 Anniversary

The Strad
The statues, designed by Ottmar Hörl, will be installed in the composer’s birth city this spring.

Canada: one Indigenous Group accuses other of Cultural Appropriation in Award Row
The Guardian: Leland Cecco
Inuit singers cut ties with show over nomination of Cree singer Connie LeGrande, who they say improperly uses throat singing.


New Violin Design to be Demonstrated in Lisbon on 11 April
The Strad
A new violin design emerging from the lutherie course at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome is being demonstrated for the first time next week at the 22nd  Symposium of the ICTM Study Group on Musical Instruments in Lisbon.

The First Four things to do if you Want to Make Money in Music
The Verge: Dani Deahl
There is no perfect guidebook on how to make oodles of cash from your music, but here are some best practices to make sure you get a return for the work you put in.

Spotify, the Decline of Playlists and the Rise of Podcasts

Music Industry Blog
Two of Spotify’s most significant moves have been playlist curation and podcasts. Spotify is moving into the second major phase of its existence. Phase 1 was about establishing itself as a streaming music powerhouse, Phase 2 is about what it becomes next, extending beyond the streaming music beachhead.

Why Tencent Music Is Poised for Growth
The Motley Fool: Luis Sanches
Tencent Music is more than simply "the Spotify of China." The platform is a mash-up of music streaming and social networking, enabling users to listen to music, sing with friends, and buy digital merchandise.


Bitch Better Have My Money: A Brief History of Artists Not Paying Their Taxes
Vulture: Larry Fitzmaurice
It’s tax season!  From Shakira to Lauryn Hill to Sigur Rós, here’s a look at who’s been accused of tax evasion.

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