Monday, June 29, 2015

Pride Quiz: Test Your Knowledge of Gay Composers

Aaron Copland with Samuel Barber and Gian-Carlo Menotti in Bernardsville, NJ, 1945 Aaron Copland with Samuel Barber and Gian-Carlo Menotti in Bernardsville, NJ, 1945 (Victor Kraft/Library of Congress)
Twenty years ago, RCA caused a minor stir with "Out Classics," a CD of music by Schubert, Saint-Saens, Barber, Copland and Britten, among other composers who happened to be gay.The compilation topped the Billboard Classical Chart – aided by a racy cover and some criticism over its dubious choice of pieces. But even if smacked of a marketing ploy, it also highlighted a facet of composers that was historically repressed by the classical music establishment.  More

Friday, June 12, 2015

Ornette Coleman, Composer and Saxophonist Who Rewrote the Language of Jazz, Dies at 85

Ornette Coleman performing at the Village Vanguard in 1961. CreditSam Falk/The New York Times
Ornette Coleman, the alto saxophonist and composer who was one of the most powerful and contentious innovators in the history of jazz, died on Thursday in Manhattan. He was 85.
The cause was cardiac arrest, a family representative said.
Mr. Coleman widened the options in jazz and helped change its course. Partly through his example in the late 1950s and early 60s, jazz became less beholden to the rules of harmony and rhythm while gaining more distance from the American songbook repertoire. more

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

New York Philharmonic Selects Anna Thorvaldsdottir for Emerging Composer Post

Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir is become the New York Philharmonic's Marie-Josee Kravis Emerging Composer, a one-year appointment that comes with a $50,000 stipend.
The Icelandic composer, 37, is the second recipient of the award, following Sean Shepherdwho was appointed in June 2012. Along with the stipend, Thorvaldsdottir will be commissioned to write a piece for the Philharmonic. She won the Nordic Council prize for her orchestral composition, Dreaminga quiet piece that "embodies a flowing world of sound," according to a program note.  More

Apple Music Brings Change to Streaming, but Is It Enough?

 When Apple launches its Apple Music streaming service at the end of June, it will affect things big and small in the music industry.
Hundreds of millions of iPhone and iPad users in more than 100 countries will get to try the $10-per-month service for free for the next three months when it is pushed to their devices with a free upgrade.
They'll get unlimited access to tens of millions of songs during the trial, and afterward be required to pay a monthly fee for access, instead of paying for each album or song download.
"It'll change the way you experience music forever," CEO Tim Cook promised Monday at Apple's annual conference for software developers, held in San Francisco. Read more

Tony Award Winners 2015: Full List

“Fun Home” was one of the biggest winners of Broadway’s biggest night at the 69th annual Tony Awards, taking home four awards including best musical and best performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical for Michael Cerveris.
As for plays, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” came out on top, winning best play, best performance by an actor in a leading role in a play for Alex Sharp, best direction of a play and best scenic design of a play.  More

Friday, May 8, 2015

Iconic Portrait of J.S. Bach Returns to Germany

Bach Portrait by Elias Gottlob Hausmann in 1748Bach Portrait by Elias Gottlob Hausmann in 1748 (Bach Archive in Leipzig)
BERLIN (AP) -- A portrait of Johann Sebastian Bach considered one of the most important paintings in the classical music world is being returned to his home city after a 250-year odyssey that took it as far as the United States, the Bach Archive in Leipzig said Wednesday. 
The painting is a bequest from late American philanthropist William H. Scheide, a lifelong collector of the Baroque composer's music.
It was previously owned for more than a century by the Jewish family Jenke from what is now the Polish city of Wroclaw, who fled Nazi persecution to England in the 1930s. There it was entrusted for some years to the family of Sir John Eliot Gardiner, now a leading Bach expert and president of the Leipzig archive  More

At Baltimore Symphony's Request, Design Students Restyle Orchestra Attire

As leather-clad fashion designers hovered nearby, conductor Marin Alsop inspected the outfits of several musicians. “It might be better to have the pleats on the left side since they face the audience,” she said, studying a women’s skirt. Later, she admired the lapel of a men’s jacket. "It looks very smart," she noted. 
This wasn’t a bizarro orchestra edition of "Project Runway" but rather the latest phase in amulti-year project to redesign the tradition-bound orchestra attire, involving students and faculty at Parsons School of Design and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, where Alsop is music director. The goal of the project, which began in 2012, is to use materials that are more utilitarian, lightweight, breathable and contemporary in appeal. It stems from a larger conviction that symphony orchestras must better reflect the world around them to stay vital and relevant – not only in what they perform but how they look.  More