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

Ray Still, legendary CSO oboist and teacher remembered

Most oboe players are famous for being rather neurotic and even a bit crazy. The stereotype derives from all those long hours oboists spend making reeds and having to force air through an aperture no bigger than the eye of a medium-sized needle, all to produce a beautiful sound on a recalcitrant wind instrument.

Ray Still was famous for being the best of the best, one of the finest and longest-tenured orchestral oboe players of all time.

He played oboe in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for an astonishing 40 years, 39 of them as principal oboe. He served with distinction under four CSO music directors, from Fritz Reiner to Daniel Barenboim, until his retirement in 1993. More

Monday, March 10, 2014

Rock Music Studies - New in the Conservatory Library!

Rock Music Studies is a new popular music journal launched by Routledge, Taylor & Francis in early 2014.  Rock Music Studies, which evolved from Popular Music and Society, limit the usually all-inclusive definition of rock to exclude other genres such as doo-wop, country, jazz, soul, and hip hop, but include roll and roll, rockabilly, blues rock, country rock, jazz rock, folk rock, hard rock, psychedelic rock, prog rock, metal, punk, alternative, and other subgenres of rock.

Check it out in the Conservatory Library periodicals section!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Robert Ashley, Opera's Misunderstood Innovator, Dies At 83

Robert Ashley, a restlessly innovative American composer, died at his home in New York March 3 from complications of cirrhosis of the liver. NPR confirmed the composer's death through his wife and manager Mimi Johnson. Ashley was 83.

Although not a household name, Ashley blazed an individual path in opera throughout his career, which spanned five decades. Far from resembling any traditional form of opera, Ashley's works are constructed of intricate speech-song recitations on a vast array of topics — from Renaissance consciousness to The Wall Street Journal. He composed his operas not for the stage, but — a foreshadowing, of sorts, of MTV.  more