Thursday, June 30, 2011

Major Trove Of Classical Music Manuscripts For Sale

J.S. Bach's Cantata No. 171 is part of the Lehman Collection. The iron-gall ink Bach used to compose the piece has eroded the paper.
For music lovers, some melodies may seem priceless. But if you ever wondered what music is really worth — like the original manuscript to Maurice Ravel's Bolero? That score and about 200 more, which reside at New York's Morgan Library, are on sale for $135 million. They are part of the esteemed Lehman Collection — a group of nearly 200 scores that reads like a greatest hits of classical music. Christoph Wolff, a professor of music history at Harvard, calls it "the trophy collection."

"If you look at the list, you have Bach manuscripts, you have Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, you have Chopin, you have Debussy, Strauss, Bartok and Schoenberg. You know, there isn't anything like it, especially when it comes to the selected items that are really major works in the history of music," Wolff says.  Read more & listen to the NPR story!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Fred Steiner (class of '43) composer who created TV theme songs, dies at 88

- Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — Television and film music composer Fred Steiner, creator of the bold and gritty theme for the "Perry Mason" TV series and one of the composers of the Oscar-nominated score for "The Color Purple," has died. He was 88.  He received a scholarship to the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio, where he studied with composer Normand Lockwood.

Steiner died of natural causes Thursday at his home in the town of Ajijic in the Mexican state of Jalisco, according to his daughter Wendy Waldman, a singer-songwriter.

One of the busiest composers working in Hollywood in the 1950s and '60s, Steiner also crafted music for "Gunsmoke," "The Twilight Zone," "Star Trek," "Have Gun, Will Travel," "Rawhide," "Hogan's Heroes" and other TV series.  Read More

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Peace-making inter-Korean orchestra being discussed

In 1999, Daniel Barenboim made waves by establishing an orchestra comprised of youths from Israel and Palestine.

Maestro Charles Dutoit is pursuing a similar peace-making project for the divided Koreas and is currently negotiating the launch of an inter-Korean orchestra with North Korean officials, said organizers. .

The 75-year-old Swiss conductor left for North Korea on Monday with violinist Chantal Juillet for a five-day stay until Saturday, said Lindenbaum Music. The two were officially invited by Pyongyang’s Chosun Arts Exchange Association.  Read More

Friday, June 17, 2011

Summer institutes, Welcome to the Conservatory Library!

We're glad you're here.  Let us know how we can help you!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The opening of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark”

From the NY Times:  The opening of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” came at last on Tuesday with the improbable reunion of Julie Taymor with Bono and the producers who ousted her.  After months of setting theater records, like a $70 million budget and 183 preview performances (compared with the usual 30), “Spider-Man” unfolded flawlessly before a buoyant celebrity audience that included former President Bill Clinton sitting in Row N beside his old friend Bono, of U2, the show’s composer with his band mate the Edge.  More

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ever have trouble finding contemporary music for chamber orchestra? Look no further!

New in the Conservatory Library Reference Collection
Chamber Orchestra and Ensemble Repertoire: A Catalog of Modern Music is the latest title in Scarecrow's new Music Finder series, modeled after David Daniels' Orchestral Music: A Handbook. In Chamber Orchestra and Ensemble Repertoire, Dirk Meyer provides conductors, musicians, and librarians with all the information needed to plan their performances of modern chamber music. Meyer lists almost 4,000 works written during the 20th and 21st centuries, representing more than 1,100 composers. Entries are divided into three categories: Chamber Orchestra, String Orchestra, and Ensemble.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Saving New York City Opera: An Open Letter to Mayor Bloomberg

The following was printed in  June 7, 2011

NEW YORK -- As bleak news continues to pour out of the New York City Opera, it is painfully obvious that only extraordinary action will allow the company as we know it to continue existing. Perhaps the person best positioned to trigger such action is the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg. Accordingly, the following is directed to him.

Dear Mayor Bloomberg:

In the 1940s Mayor Fiorello La Guardia played an essential role in creating the New York City Opera. He found it a home and helped establish its reputation as the “people’s opera.”

Now the New York City Opera is on the path to ruin. Without your intervention, without new, competent management, the company is doomed to failure, and Mayor La Guardia’s pledge to New Yorkers will be rendered hollow.

The dreary record of current and recent mismanagement includes

• Engaging a famous European impresario as general manager on unrealistic terms, with devastating consequences when he exercised contractual rights not to assume the job.

• Renovating the theater in a long process during which the company had no performance venue yet still had contractual obligations to union members. The company’s roster of singers was effectively disbanded.

• Shrinking the endowment from $55 million to $9 million.

• Announcing last month that the City Opera would leave Lincoln Center. Leaving the overly large venue formerly known as the New York State Theater for a smaller, more opera-appropriate space has long been a dream of many New York opera fans -- but never under the dismal circumstances of a destitute company uncertain of where its next home will be.
• Hiring as general manager George Steel, a man with negligible operatic experience, except for three months heading the Dallas Opera immediately prior to his appointment. Under Steel, who was paid over $400,000 in salary and benefits in 2009, the number of performances by the company has been drastically curtailed.

There are people out there who actually know how to run opera companies. Steel is not one of them. His offbeat programming has won some critical favor, as with the triple bill called “Monodramas.” But—come on!—how many people really want to sit through 45 minutes of Morton Feldman? Small wonder box office receipts have been dismal.

The City Opera is too important for New York to lose. And one need not look back to the days of Beverly Sills to find an artistically vibrant company. As recently as the 2006-07 season, under Paul Kellogg’s leadership, the company was in good shape and gave six performances a week.

This reminds us that the City Opera’s current difficulties stem not from a proven inability to function economically—though running it has never been easy—but from missteps by management.

A few days ago Bloomberg, the news company that bears your name, urged that Joseph Volpe take over the City Opera. The former Metropolitan Opera general manager is exactly the kind of strong personality needed.

I am not asking for a bailout by the City, although some financial support may well be inevitable. What is required is for you to get involved. First, Volpe or someone of comparable stature needs to be engaged. With such a leader in the wings plus a strong commitment by you, the health of the company – and of its image to donors -- would improve markedly.

Also with your help, it would be possible to identify a select group of major donors who, coupled with assistance from the City, could see the company through this difficult time until it gets back on its feet. People currently in power must be persuaded to go quietly.

Lincoln Center, too, should take a major role in saving the City Opera from failing, perhaps with a takeover analogous to the Kennedy Center’s takeover of the Washington National Opera.

Without such radical changes, the City Opera as we know it is doomed. New Yorkers will not back a loser.

Last week the company announced that it would let go of 11 of its 48 administrative employees. But it would be getting rid of the wrong people. Those in power, including Steel, are the ones who should go, plus board members unwilling to provide truly substantial financial support under a new leader.

New York’s artistic reputation is at stake. For the good of the city, I urge you to follow Major La Guardia’s model of active involvement.

Yours sincerely,
George Loomis

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Anna Netrebko drops out of Met Japan tour over radiation concerns

The brightest star of the Metropolitan Opera’s tour to Japan, Anna Netrebko, has dropped out at the last minute over concerns about radiation, as did Joseph Calleja, a leading tenor, Met officials said in Tokyo on Tuesday. They joined Jonas Kaufmann, another tenor who pulled out over concerns after the March earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. Read More in the NY Times