Tuesday, April 15, 2014

2014 Pulitzer Prize Winners - John Luther Adams awarded the music prize!

Winning music, stories, photographs and cartoons, as well as bios and photos of winners, are available here. 

Congratulations to John Luther Adams for "Become Ocean" (Taiga Press/Theodore Front Musical Literature)!

Monday, April 7, 2014

From the Archives: George Shirley Interviews Marian Anderson

Wednesday marks the 75th anniversary of an arts event that rocked a nation grappling with racial segregation. On April 9, 1939 – Easter Sunday black contralto Marian Anderson sang at the Lincoln Memorial after she was refused use of Constitution Hall. 

An internationally renowned opera singer, Anderson had performed in Europe, Russia, South America and across the United States, including a White House show for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. But the Daughters of the American Revolution, which owned Constitution Hall, banned Anderson from performing in the auditorium. Eleanor Roosevelt, a member of the D.A.R., resigned to protest Anderson's exclusion. Listen here.

Soprano Debuts in Two Met Opera Roles Within Day

NEW YORK (AP) -- Kristine Opolais got to bed at 5 a.m. Saturday after singing her first "Madama Butterfly" at the Metropolitan Opera and going out for dinner.


Just 2 1/2 hours later, the 34-year-old Latvian soprano was awakened by Met General Manager Peter Gelb, who wanted to know if she could take over a televised performance of Puccini's "La Boheme" that afternoon after Anita Hartig took ill.

Given the crazy question and unusual hour, Opolais said no thanks.
Five minutes later, she changed her mind.

Opolais on Saturday become the first singer in the Met's 131-year history to make two major role debuts within a day.  More

Conducting Guru Claims Women Shouldn't Be Conductors

Another outcry has arisen from comments about women being unsuited to be conductors. The remarks came from the Finnish conductor Jorma Panula, a veteran pedagogue whose students have included Esa-Pekka Salonen, Osmo Vänskä, Susanna Mälkki, Mikko Franck and Sakari Oramo.

Panula was asked in a Finnish television interview on March 30 whether he appreciated the fact that more women are entering the profession. “I do not!” he responded. “What the hell, it is such a limited profession. There are more than enough men. They can try, but it is completely different. Some of them are making faces, sweating and fussing, but it is not getting any better – only worse!” More

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Joseph Kerman, Colorful Critic of Musicology, Dies at 89

Joseph Kerman, an eminent musicologist who modernized a field he had found insular and stagnant, challenging conventional wisdom with colorful, pungent prose, died on March 17 in Berkeley, Calif. He was 89. 

His death, after a long illness, was confirmed by his daughter, Lucy Kerman.

Mr. Kerman, the author of a number of admired books and essays, disliked what he saw as the intellectual isolation of musicology and encouraged a more multidisciplinary approach. In 1985, for example, he noted that feminist criticism, an integral part of film, literary and art studies, was largely absent from musicology. more

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Inside tips: How to pass an orchestra audition

My eight years as principal cello of the Philharmonia seem almost a distant cherished memory and yet the nostalgia of hearing my old friends and colleagues perform in the multi medias often brings me back to those wonderful times. Even though my time there was filled with exciting projects with wonderful conductors performing in some of the best venues in the world, there were also some not so glamourous parts of the job that we all were less than looking forward to… this being the bi-annual cello auditions.
 
I probably sat through more than two dozen auditions in my early years as principal and I quickly realised that 95% of the auditionees did not know how to show themselves in the best light, nor did they seem to understand what we were looking for in order to secure a successful audition which may lead to a successful trial.  more

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Audiences Identify Top Orchestras by Appearance More Than Sound

To enrich the visual appeal of symphony concerts, orchestras have experimented with a range of tactics: adding video screens to concert halls that show live close-ups of the conductor and soloist; ditching tuxedos in favor of more modern garb; or projecting video effects and silent films during a performance.
 
Some of these experiments may reach new converts but they also provoke an inevitable backlash: looks shouldn't matter when assessing the musical excellence of a symphony orchestra, the detractors argue.

But a new study may provide some fresh evidence to those who believe that an orchestra performance is as much a visual experience as an auditory one. Dr. Chia-Jung Tsay and a research team at University College London last week published a study which found that when it comes to judging a performance, audiences are just as likely to focus on an orchestra’s stage presence as its musical prowess. more