Sunday, February 17, 2013

Musicians Are Probably Smarter Than The Rest Of Us

Want to keep your mind healthy and sharp throughout your life? Pick up an instrument. A new study found that musicians might have brains that function better than their peers well into old age. Bet you wish you stuck with those piano lessons after all.

Researchers tested the mental abilities of senior citizens and discovered that musicians performed better at a number of tests. In particular, musicians excelled at visual memory tasks. While musicians had similar verbal capabilities to non-musicians, the musicians’ ability to memorize new words was markedly better, too. Perhaps most importantly, the musicians’ IQ scores were higher overall than those who spent their lives listening to music rather than performing it.  More

Friday, February 15, 2013

Berlin's Lutosławski Tribute kicks off with Dvořák

RebeccaSchmid_7-6-12From Berlin Times by Rebecca Schmid 

The Berlin Philharmonic is celebrating the centenary of Lutosławski with several concerts this month. The first of the series on February 7-featuring his Concert for Orchestra-opened appropriately with Anne-Sophie Mutter, who premiered one of his most important works, Chain Two, in 1988. In an interview I conducted two years ago, the violinist recalled how seeing the score triggered a passion for contemporary music which she continues to nurture. Her appearance at the Philharmonie alongside guest conductor Manfred Honeck took an unrelated historic twist with a performance of Dvořák's Romance in F-minor, although the Czech composer's innovative integration of folk music can be seen to have foreshadowed composers such as Bartok and Lutosławski. The last violinist to perform this work with the Philharmonic is Carl Flesch, in 1909. As Mutter also explained to me, she considers herself a kind of 'great-grandchild' of the legendary violinist given that Flesch taught her mentor Aida Stücki. 

Yannick & Philly to Record on DG

Yannick & Philly to Record on DG
Yannick_2-15-13Last summer, Deutsche Grammophon signed Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin to a long-term agreement. Yesterday, the orchestra announced that his first project for the label would be a recording in Verizon Hall of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, set to be issued in the fall.

The iconic work, in its centennial year, was premiered in 1922 in the U.S. by none other than the Philadelphia Orchestra, under then music director Leopold Stokowski. The collaborators also made the first American recording of the piece, in 1930. This marks the orchestra's first major-label project since 1997, also with DG.

These days, very few U.S. orchestras record for major labels. It's worth noting that DG also signed Gustavo Dudamel very early in his relationship with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Teachers at U.K. Music School Charged with Sex Abuse

ChethamsSchool_2-15-13Manchester's Chetham's School of Music is caught in an explosion of allegations of  sex abuse. Reports in the media seem to have encouraged increasing numbers of students to come forward with their own stories of teachers who abused them in the past.

On Feb. 8, Michael Brewer, the former director of music at the school, was found guilty of "indecent assault" of a former pupil, who committed suicide after testifying against him.

The Guardian now reports that five women have come forward with allegations of sex abuse during the 1970s by the late Ryszard Bakst, a piano teacher at Chetham and at the Royal Manchester College of Music. All claim to have made complaints to the school, to no avail.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Congratulation eighth blackbird on your Grammy!!!

blackbirds have done it, again! Check out this story on them from the LA Times.  Congratulations from the Oberlin Conservatory Library! xo

Grammy Winners 2013: The Full List

The 55th annual Grammys are over, and unlike last year, a wide range of artists is heading home with hardware.
Adele stole the show in 2012, winning all six awards for which she was nominated. In 2013, Dan Auerbach and the Black Keys were the biggest winners, taking home four trophies. Skrillex claimed three, as did Gotye, Jay-Z and Kayne West.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Lyric Opera Of Chicago Fire-Blowing Actor's Critical Burns Prompt Investigation

CHICAGO -- A federal agency said Tuesday it is investigating the injury of a fire-blowing stilt-walker who was burned during a dress rehearsal at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

A compliance officer from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has already visited the opera, said spokesman Scott Allen. The agency will interview witnesses, performers and employees to determine exactly how the accident happened and whether any safety regulations were violated.  More

Friday, February 1, 2013

Timeline: A History of Black Classical Musicians

As America's first black president begins his second term, the progress for African-Americans in classical music offers a more complex picture.

While blacks continue to play crucial roles in jazz, gospel, R&B, hip-hop and other popular styles, hurdles remain in classical music. Fewer than three percent of U.S. orchestral musicians are black. Opera has a greater concentration of black performers, though singers face their own set of challenges in terms of casting. And when a concert series highlights music by black composers, it's often as part of Black History Month or another special event.  More