Friday, January 28, 2011

An App for Browsing the British Library

The original version of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”
Visitors to the British Library have a new tool to help guide them: a mobile app that  highlights more than 100 works from its collections. Included are portions of the Codex Sinaiticus, a handwritten manuscript of the Christian Bible written in the middle of the fourth century; Galileo’s letters; Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks; the original version of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” and Jane Austen’s teenage writings.
“It’s basically the history of Western civilization” said Aaron Radin, chief executive of Toura, a technology company that developed the app. “In a world where you can get anything you want on the Internet, having professionals curate information for you is of extraordinary value.”  more

Cellist Back in Action After Two-year Hiatus with Rare Encephalitis

He’s considered one of the best cellists in the world, but famed Norwegian musician Truls Mørk was forced out of action during the past two years by a mysterious ailment that left him unable to play. On Wednesday night, he made a triumphant return on home turf, at Oslo’s Konserthuset (Concert House).

Those of us lucky enough to get tickets were treated not only to Mørk back on stage playing Dvorak’s demanding Cello Concerto with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, but also to him being named the winner of the annual Sibelius Prize. It’s awarded to those who have made a major contribution to promote contact between Finnish and Norwegian musical life. Previous winners include conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste, soprano Randi Stene and pianists Leif Ove Andsnes and Håvard Gimse.  More

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Do we really need to sex up opera?

A new production about Anna Nicole Smith and the arrival of 3D broadcasts aim to widen the appeal of an art form that is perceived as elitist.
By Adrian Hamilton

More nonsense is talked about opera than any other single art form. It may be the nature of the form itself, all hysterics and extremes of passion. It may be that it remains a minority form, which is supposed to be refined and melodic. But the temptation to blow up its antics and its subjects into dramas themselves seems irresistible.

The latest occasion is the Royal Opera House's plans to perform a new Mark-Anthony Turnage opera based on the life of Anna Nicole Smith, the former Playboy model who died from a drug overdose four years ago after a tempestuous life of grotesquely enhanced breasts and bad behaviour in search of wealth and stardom.  read more

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Musical Innovation: A Grander Grand Piano

Most pianos have 88 keys. And most great piano music comes from the middle of the keyboard — only rarely do the player’s fingers venture onto the tinkly keys at the top of the keyboard, or the booming bass notes at the bottom. But a craftsman in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, thinks the instrument has room to grow; and he wants to nudge the piano out of complacent middle age. He has designed a grand with an unprecedented 102 keys.  More

Hartford Symphony Taps First Woman Music Director

Former Seattle Symphony associate conductor Carolyn Kuan has been named music director of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, the Connecticut orchestra announced today.
Kuan, selected after a two-year search, becomes the 10th music director in the orchestra's 68-year history. Kuan returned to Seattle's Benaroya Hall to conduct the third annual "Celebrate Asia!" event on Friday night.

Kuan has also served as artist-in-residence at the New York City Ballet and assistant conductor for the Baltimore Opera Company, and she has appeared with Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Baltimore, Detroit and San Francisco symphonies, the Louisville Orchestra and many others.  more

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (GMCLA) appoints Thom Lynch

Thom Lynch has been appointed executive director of the renowned Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (GMCLA), it was announced by Board Chair John J. Duran. He will assume the post on January 18, 2011.  Mr. Lynch replaces outgoing director Hywel Sims, who departs after six years of exceptional service.
"Thom’s extraordinary leadership skills, vision and experience will help the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles continue its solid growth, further build upon its artistic excellence, and chart new directions for the organization,” said Duran. “We are very pleased to have him at administrative helm of the chorus. His appointment comes at a time of increased—and significant—visibility for GMCLA in Los Angeles and beyond.”  More

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Metropolitan Opera agrees to settle ADA suit

The Metropolitan Opera is promising to tune up its famed Lincoln Center home to meet the needs of the disabled.
The Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Office this morning announced the pending settlement of a civil-rights suit that accuses the Met of violating the the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The suit, also filed this morning, says some elevators inside the historic opera house "have not been made readily accessible to, and usable by" people in wheelchairs and the blind.
And while wireless headsets are available so the hard-of-hearing can enjoy the arias, court papers say the Met "has not added a visual alarm system."  More