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FOOD FOR THOUGHT IN THE MUSIC WORLD | 12-15-2014

Recent News, Commentary, and Ideas.

ORCHESTRAS & OPERAS IN THE BLACK

In a heartwarming turnaround, a number of major orchestras (including the Indianapolis Symphony) and opera houses prepare for 2015 with a new sense of purpose and robust balance sheets.

Indianapolis Orchestra Reports Surplus, More Ticket Sales
WFIU: Network Indiana
The Indianapolis Symphony reports an 18-percent jump in ticket sales in the 2013-14 budget year and a $266,000 surplus.

Resurgent Music in American Cities (PDF)
Symphony Magazine: Chester Lane
Four years ago, bankruptcies shuttered orchestras in Albuquerque, Honolulu, and Syracuse. In all three places the music has returned, affirming the essential demand for symphonic music.

L.A. Philharmonic Gets $20-million Donation from GeoCities Founder
Los Angeles Times: David Ng and Mike Boehm
A prominent Los Angeles tech entrepreneur and former board president of the L.A. Philharmonic announced Wednesday that he will give $20 million to the orchestra, half of it going to endow the top leadership position now held by Deborah Borda.

After Nearly Closing, San Diego Opera in Solid Fiscal Shape
Philanthropy Today
The reserve fund now stands at $2.3-million. “There were so many naysayers who said that money would be gone. We are quite proud we were able to keep that in place,” said Keith Fisher, the opera’s chief operating officer.

OPINION AND RESEARCH

Yo-Yo Ma on What It Means to Be a Cultural Citizen and Trying a "New Recipe"
SF Weekly: Lou Fancher
In a 45-minute, wide-ranging interview prior to recent Cal Performances "Berkeley Talks" appearance, the 59-year-old, 17-time Grammy winner is primed to query and postulate.

New Case Study Examines Effort to Expand Audiences for Opera
The Wallace Foundation
Successful efforts by the Minnesota Opera to expand its audience by reaching a population segment where it suspected potential fans might reside: women age 35 to 60.

Why Church Music is Back in Vogue - And Squeaky-Gate Music Has Had its Day
The Spectator
Peter Phillips is interested to see even arch-modernist Harrison Birtwistle turning to tonality in his latest work for the Merton Choirbook.

Are We Entering a New Age of Artistic Censorship in Europe?
The New Republic: Tiffany Jenkins
Historically, those calling for censorship were often concerned that an artwork—perhaps of a sexual nature—would have a coarsening effect and a negative moral impact. Today's activists have a different rationale.

Grappling With the ‘Culture of Free’ in Napster’s Aftermath
New York Times Video: RetroReport
A great review of where we’ve come from since 1999, when a file-sharing program created in a Boston dorm room sent shock waves across the music industry and served notice that a major cultural shift was underway.

NATIONAL

Young Woman (with US training) Wins Major Conducting Competition In London
The Guardian: Imogen Tilden
The 28-year-old was born in Hong Kong to British parents and currently studies at the University of Michigan.

The Highest-Earning Musicians Of 2014
The Guardian/Forbes: Sean Michaels
To reach these figures, Forbes added together all musicians’ touring money, record sales, publishing royalties, merchandise, endorsements, and other major business ventures. They used a June 2013 to June 2014 fiscal year, thereby omitting recent payouts for artists such as Taylor Swift and U2.

Taking Up a New Baton: Chairman of the Board (of the New York Phil)
New York Times: Michael Cooper
The orchestra, which has run deficits for a decade, is about to embark on a major fund-raising campaign aiming to raise hundreds of millions of dollars to build up its endowment fund and to pay for the long-awaited renovation of Avery Fisher Hall, its Lincoln Center home.

Investors Seek to Revive New York City Opera
Wall Street Journal: Jennifer Smith and Sara Randazzo
A group of investors is proposing to pay slightly more than $500,000 for the shuttered opera company’s name as well as some other assets and liabilities, according to Gerard Catalanello, an attorney for the group.

How George Balanchine Found His Ideal “Nutcracker”
Vanity Fair: Laura Jacobs
Fifty years ago, George Balanchine finally staged the Nutcracker of his dreams, a triumph for the New York City Ballet in its then new Lincoln Center home. Laura Jacobs tells how Balanchine’s childhood Christmases, his youth in St. Petersburg (dancing multiple roles in The Nutcracker himself), and his 41-foot tree sparked an American holiday tradition.

How the Arts Drove Pittsburgh’s Revitalization
The Atlantic: John Tierney
The role of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, founded by a wealthy band of visionaries 30 years ago, is central—but hard to replicate.

INTERNATIONAL

Donetsk Opera Donation a Political Maneuver?
Classicalite: Ian Holubiak
Violinist Gidon Kremer Says Netrebko's Donation to Donetsk Opera a "Completely Conscious and Political Act"

Police and Protesters Clash in Milan as La Scala Opera Season Opens
The Guardian: Rosie Scammel
More than 1,000 police deal with unrest as demonstrators continue tradition of using opening night to protest

Two UK Companies Broke Barriers Between Ballet & Contemporary Dance
Arts Professional: Louisa Davison
As with any successful working partnership, understanding, flexibility and a mutual appreciation are key qualities. But ultimately it is all about the performance.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP

10 Ways to Make Money in Music that Didn't Exist 10 Years Ago
Digital Music News: Ari Herstand
Crowdfunding | PledgeMusic | Self Managed Digital Download Stores | BandPage Experiences | YouTube Ad Revenue and Sponsorships | Online concerts | Gig Masters | SoundBetter & AirGigs | YouTube tips | Licensing Companies.

Smart Artists, Smart Fans
All About Jazz: Dan Servantes
The Internet age has drastically altered the dynamics of the interaction between corporations and their customers.

A New Golden Age Of Philanthropy: What's Driving Next-Gen Giving?
Forbes
Scholars estimate that younger Americans stand to inherit more than $40 trillion in wealth and create trillions more in their lifetimes.

JUST FOR FUN

In The Italian Alps, Stradivari's Trees Live On
Deceptive Cadence: Christopher Livesay
The forest where the luthier got his lumber is alive and well. And thanks to the surprising teamwork of modern instrument makers and forest rangers, Stradivari's trees are doing better than ever.

Salvador Dalí’s Avant-Garde Christmas Cards
Open Culture
This holiday season, we submit for your approval a series of Christmas cards from the hand of none other than Salvador Dalí.



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