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FOOD FOR THOUGHT IN THE MUSIC WORLD | 10-05-2015

Recent News, Commentary, and Ideas.

Gustavo Dudamel

THE POLITICS OF MUSIC

Gustavo Dudamel pens an op-ed piece in anticipation of performances by the LA Phil and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela. “Maybe I'm an idealist, but I imagine a world defined by what we have in common.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

The Pipe Organ’s Future?
Boston Globe: Malcolm Gay
The passionate and proudly obscure world of organ building is torn over a revolutionary digital organ.

On Opening Night, a Clue to the NY Philharmonic’s Future?
Vulture: Justin Davidson
With a spectacular performance, the orchestra plunged confidently into a foggy future. Somewhere in the chasm ahead lies a massive fund-raising campaign, a redesigned hall, a new music director, financial stability, and an artistic vision, all of which will need to materialize at roughly the same time.

Turning Opera Inside Out: How I Got Lost in Thought
The Guardian: Stuart Jeffries
An attempt to banish distracting thoughts and be part of the world’s first mindfulness opera

‘Re-Imagining Sondheim’: A Pianist and His Peers Deconstruct The Master
NPR
Stephen Sondheim is widely viewed as the greatest living composer in American musical theater. "Send in the Clowns," from the show A Little Night Music, may be his most famous work — and yet you might not recognize the song as reimagined for solo piano by Ethan Iverson of the band The Bad Plus.

The Misty Copeland Effect
Dance Magazine: Karyn Collins
Misty Copeland’s well-chronicled journey to becoming the first female African American principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre has helped jumpstart conversations about racial representation in ballet companies. How Copeland’s success influences ballet training remains to be seen.

Human After All: Auto-tune, Technology and Creativity
Drowned in Sound: Ed Ledsham
All music makes use of technology - from rural folk music to classical music - but as each technology becomes naturalized, we no longer see it as an interjector into a supposedly pure, human musicality.

For the Islamic State and Others, Music is the 'Alcohol of the Soul'
The Conversation: Jonathan Pieslak
Culture conveyed through music is a profoundly important player in the framework of radicalism. Also, a suggestion that American racist skinheads, eco-animal rights militancy and even contemporary American politics use music in highly similar ways.

NATIONAL

The Jacobs School of Music Announces $20M Gift from David H. Jacobs
IU Newsroom: Mark Land/Ryan Piurek/Kathy Gutowsky
The gift will establish endowments to provide long-term funding for a deanship, faculty support, research development, scholarships, student travel, library needs and other Jacobs School of Music initiatives. The majority of the gift will fund the Jacobs Family Bicentennial Scholars and Fellows in Honor of Charles H. Webb, which recognizes the lifelong friendship Jacobs has with Emeritus Dean Charles Webb and his family.

A Concert Hall for New Music in Brooklyn
Wall Street Journal: Steve Dollar
National Sawdust, which opens this week in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, aims to be a trendsetting launchpad for new talent in contemporary music with a focus on emerging artists, commissions and collaborative projects that cross-pollinate genres and styles.

New Faces in the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Include Two Jacobs School Alumni
ISO Newsletter
Congratulations to JSoM alumni Peter Vickery and Vince Lee! “It’s been several years since we’ve seen this many new faces at the start of a season. It’s very exciting to welcome them to our musical family.” said ISO Music Director Krzysztof Urbański, who recently spent a day on campus conducting a rehearsal with the IU Philharmonic. 

Dallas Ratifies a Two Year Agreement, Maintains Substitute Parity
Adaptistration: Drew McManus
Their two-year agreement contains three percent increases in base musician wages in each year along with a one-time $750 payment to each musician at the onset of the agreement’s term.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Settles
Adaptstration: Drew McManus
Terms of the new three-year agreement will be enacted retroactively to September, 2015, and includes modest increases in base musician wages and no changes to health care benefits.

St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Confirms Contract with $6,000 Raise
Star Tribune: Graydon Royce
The contract will give a larger increase to lower-paid musicians and raise the minimum salary to $66k.

Gotham Chamber Opera Announces That It Will Close
The New York Times: Michael Cooper
A small, imaginative troupe that had seemed poised to fill some of the void after New York City Opera closed in 2013, announced on Thursday that it would shut down because its new executive director had uncovered a large, previously undisclosed deficit.

Musical Chairs
The New Yorker: Russell Platt
Two games of musical chairs are currently distracting New York’s classical-music critics. The first concerns the Metropolitan Opera where, it is said, the Québécois colossus Yannick Nézet-Séguin is being seriously considered to succeed James Levine as music director of the storied company. The second involves the New York Philharmonic.

Clare Chase’s New Generation of Classical Music
The New Yorker
As the founder, co-artistic director, and burning heart and soul of the International Contemporary Ensemble, the flutist Claire Chase is a model for a new generation of American classical musicians—her career embodies entrepreneurship, technical virtuosity, and performance charisma.

Phil Woods, Top Jazz Saxophonist Dies at 83
NPR: Patrick Jarenwattananon
Alto saxophonist Phil Woods, a leading jazz performer since the 1950s, died Tuesday afternoon.

Hamilton Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda Named 2015 MacArthur Fellow
NewMusicBox
Playwright, composer, and performer Lin-Manuel Miranda, 35, has been named one of 2015’s MacArthur Fellows. His critically lauded Hamilton (2015) explores the potential of hip-hop to reframe history. This further develops musical work he delved into with his Tony-winning production In the Heights (2007).

Michael Stern Extends Contract with Kansas Symphony
Kansis City Business Journal
Stern has served as Music Director for 10 years and is the symphony's fourth music director.

Nonesuch President to Step Down After 32 Years
The New York Times: Ben Sisario
Warner Music will announce this week that Mr. Hurwitz, 66, who has been Nonesuch’s president since 1984, will step down at the end of next year as part of a gradual leadership change.

INTERNATIONAL

Juilliard's China Plans Move Forward
The New York Times: Michael Cooper
The Juilliard School announced on Monday that it was moving forward with plans to expand in China, saying that it had received “preliminary approval” to build, with several Chinese partners, a school in Tianjin that would offer a master’s degree program.

World Ballet Day: Nonstop, Free Streaming
San Francisco Classical Voice: Janos Gereben
For the second year in a row, five top ballet companies from around the world are joining together for a day of free live streaming of their work, rehearsals, and performances.

Spotify Will Have 100 Million Users by the End of This Year
Digital Music News: Paul Resnikoff
Apple Music might have 15 million users, but only a portion of those people will remain after their free trials expire.  Spotify, on the other hand, is amassing free-access users at a furious pace: according to projections from company executives, the streaming platform will start closing on 100 million users by year end, with most ad-supported.

Burundi: Musicians Menaced, Silenced and Fleeing the Country
Freemus: John Banram
Burundian artists are confronted with ever-shrinking possibilities for open and free political speech. Well-known singers and band members are being targeted and, if possible, manipulated to change their artistic or political style. Several musicians have fled the country.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Public Libraries Edge Toward Music Streaming Services
KQED Arts: Rachel Dovey
A small company has spent the past five years pioneering a music streaming model for public libraries, allowing free access to members, including downloads.

Dart Music Launches Distribution Service Geared for Classical Musicians and their Unique Metadata
Billboard: Glenn Peoples
The flat-fee distributor has raised $1.5 million to address the industry's shortcomings in classical metadata.

L.A. Philharmonic's Van Beethoven Takes Virtual Reality for a Classical Spin
LA Times: David Ng
The Los Angeles Philharmonic has launched a virtual reality project in which people don VR goggles and Samsung headsets that give them a 3-D, 360-degree experience of four minutes of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5, performed by the orchestra at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Now You Know Everything about Licensing Music In Films
Digital Music News: Steve Gordon
The sixth installment of an 11-part series on music industry agreements. Earlier installments covered contracts for indie producers, synchronization licensing, management agreements, music publishing agreements, and production agreements (from hell).  Robert Seigel is a co-author of this piece.

OFF THE BEATEN TRACK

Sounds of Space: Chandra X-Ray Discovers Black Hole Singing in the Key of B-Flat
Classicalite: Steve Nagel
Could the universe be singing in the key of B flat? The principles of music are already applied to more aspects of life than perhaps they have a right to, but certainly none so vast and all-encompassing as the foundations of the universe itself: the sounds of space.

Rhiannon Giddens Pieces Together History in Her New Video
NPR Music
A sampling of Rhiannon Giddens’s music as she prepares to travel to Bloomington for a performance at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater on October 12.

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