Indiana University Bloomington

The End of the NEA?

Trump Proposes Eliminating the Arts and Humanities Endowments
NY Times: Sopan Deb
A deep fear came to pass for many artists, museums, and cultural organizations nationwide early Thursday morning when President Trump, in his first federal budget plan, proposed eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Blueprint for Saving the NEA
Barry’s Blog
Every single person in the arts ought to enlist the support of one person outside the arts to make that phone call or write that letter or email.

Statement from National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu on the FY 18 Budget
NEA: Jane Chu
We understand that the President’s budget request is a first step in a very long budget … At this time, the NEA continues to operate as usual and will do so until a new budget is enacted by Congress.

What America Without the NEA and NEH Would Look Like, and Why That Matters

Christian Science Monitor: Mengqi Sun
the elimination of the arts agencies will do most damage in some of the parts of the country that had supported Trump the most.

The Real Cost of Abolishing the National Endowment for the Arts

The Atlantic: Sophie Gilbert
President Trump’s budget proposal would have a disproportionate impact on organizations in rural and underserved communities.

Read more from the Weekly Digest… covering news and opinion around the world.

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Music and (Social/Cultural) Resilience, Three Reasons NOT to abolish the NEA….

A roundup of news and opinion in the industry.

This week we cover articles on Music and Social/Cultural Resilience, Reasons not to abolish the NEA, Gary Indiana mayor’s belief that art can save her city, Steve Houghton as our Entrepreneur of the Month, and much more!

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This Week’s Digest: Lincoln Center at 50, Arts Funding in the Age of Trump, and more!

This week’s Digest covers the latest in news and opinion in the world of music and the arts.

– Lincoln Center at 50: Did America’s Performing Arts Center Model Lead To A Dead End?
– Is Artistic Leadership at America’s Arts Institutions Lacking? Is this at the Root of Declining Relevancy?
– Artistic Leadership Is About Vision and People, Not Buildings
– Arts Groups Draft Battle Plans as Trump Funding Cuts Loom

…. and much more!

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Hope for the Future of Classical Music

By Peter Jacobi H-T Columnist

Peter Jacobi

On his blog, Greg Sandow wrote: “This week I’m flying out to visit the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, which, of course, is one of the biggest and most important conservatories in the US.

I’ll be the guest of their Office of Entrepreneurship and Career Development. I’ll meet with the people who run it, see what they’re doing. And I’ll have other meetings with faculty and administration. … I’ll also attend performances, most notably — since the school is famous for its opera department — a production of Handel’s ‘Rodelinda.’”

Among Sandow’s other doings while here in Bloomington this past week was “a talk on the future of classical music.” I attended that event. It proved informative and provocative.

And just who is Greg Sandow?

Greg Sandow

He is a composer with four operas to his credit, including “Frankenstein.” He is a highly productive writer on music, both classical and pop, and he’s been an influential critic, too. Sandow’s byline has appeared in the Village Voice, New York Times Book Review, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, Opera News and Entertainment Weekly. He’s done consulting. He now teaches at the Juilliard School and provides blogs about the future of classical music on the website. His bio also notes he’s written extensively about unidentified flying objects.

Sandow’s major efforts these days, however, concern the future of classical music; it’s the subject of a graduate course he teaches at Juilliard and, as noted above, was the reason for his visit to IU.

From what I heard lecturer Sandow say, he believes classical music has a future. What gets in the way, he argues, are dusty traditions and an inflexibility stemming from blind loyalty to those traditions. He played a tenor aria from Verdi’s “Rigoletto,” one that is followed by a famous love duet. The tenor: Ivan Kozlovsky, Ukrainian-born, a favorite of Stalin, and longtime star at the Bolshoi in Moscow.

Kozlovsky sings beautifully, lyrically, effortlessly but holds on to the high notes, a habit of his. Sandow asked: “Would we in the West tolerate those long high notes?” Probably not, thanks to most present-day conductors, but fans in Soviet Russia went wild hearing their beloved tenor show off.

Later in his lecture, Sandow turned to another tenor, Franco Corelli, who held on and on and on to the final phrase of “E lucevan le stelle” (“And the stars shone”), Cavaradossi’s pre-death aria longing for his beloved Tosca in Puccini’s opera.

Audience response on that recording came as an explosion of bravos, an acknowledgement of a magnificent voice and a tenor’s decision to use rhythmic liberties for a thrilling effect. There were young people in that audience, young people who — it is often claimed — reject classical music. These obviously didn’t. Fans accept things special, daring, different, unexpected. Practitioners of the classics, Sandow was arguing, need to consider more dangerous performance options to award listeners with an element of surprise.

On the other hand, following a listen to a dose of classic chamber music, Beethoven’s “Archduke” Trio as played by violinist Jacques Thibaud, pianist Alfred Cortot and cellist Pablo Casals, one sensed the winning trait was just magnificence and honesty of performance tied to music artists don’t or shouldn’t interpretively distort for effect. And, Sandow pointed out, following a recorded performance by Patricia Kopatchinskaya and the ensemble Musica Aeterna of the third movement from Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, that when a masterpiece is played with such brilliance, no matter who the audience, the reaction will be “Wow!”

Using Bob Dylan’s pop anthem, “Duquesne Whistle,” Sandow illustrated another lesson: message. For today’s younger fans of music, art with something to say has become a critical factor: offer a strong message set to music that fits. While for those of us who’ve been around for a multitude of years, the beauty in a piece of music added to beauty of performance can be sufficient to make us weep or smile or turn angry or be inspired, that’s less likely a newcomer’s reaction.

Even just seeing a cellist amidst an orchestra’s body of cellists smiling through a passage, believe me, can strike a chord and bring a smile; it happened to me at the University Orchestra concert a week ago. Even a gorgeous ending, again, believe me, can bring tears to the eyes. “How can anything be so beautiful?” I’ll ask myself and weep.

Younger fans often require more to become convinced that a musical work outside the boundaries of pop can be important, can be emotionally entangling. But that is what’s required for classical music to stay around and prosper with broader acceptance. “Classical music won’t die,” Greg Sandow predicts, “but it will be reborn, reconnecting with our larger cultural life to become a truly contemporary art.

“That will bring great changes,” Sandow continues, “including — and I think this is crucial — much less emphasis on our old, beloved masterworks, which now lie at the heart of our repertoire. Is that a drastic change? I’m sure it will be for some of us. But classical music can’t connect with the current world if it is lost in the past. Once we do reconnect, I think we’ll find we’ve been missing a lot. We’ll explode with new life, becoming not just more relevant but also more vital, more diverse, and more deeply artistic.”

Sandow’s “we” refers, I think, to those not yet committed, to those who dismiss the importance of the classics. I think the “we” also refers to those of us already deeply committed to the classics but who resist change and must come to accept it, lest we lose what we so love.

Every kind of “we” is necessary, advises composer/critic/writer/teacher Greg Sandow, for the best of all possible future for classical music. He’s betting that it will live. I’m hoping it will.

In the meantime, happy birthday, happy 90th, to soprano Leontyne Price! Her birthday was this past Friday. Her “classical” artistry fits past, present and future.

Contact Peter Jacobi at

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Weekly Digest – November 28


How NPR’s Intimate Concert Series Earned a Cult Following
Vox: Zachary Crockett
Over eight years, more than 550 musical acts have played one the show, which has attracted a cult following on the internet, partly thanks to its musical curation — a peculiar mix of indie rock, hip-hop, world music, and jazz — but more so because of its authenticity.


New York City to Dancers: Immigrants Welcome Here
Dance Magazine: Wendy Perron
Immigration has been a hot topic in this election, but in the dance world it’s a no-brainer. Perron recently participated in a panel titled “Cultural Identity and Creative Process,” that turned into a passionate discussion about immigration and shifting perceptions of whiteness during the recent election.

A Mental Makeover for Classical Music
Arts Professional: James Fleury
Tired of seeing classical music magazines filled with middle-aged white faces, James Fleury proposes four ‘mental makeovers’ that could help increase diversity in the sector.

What Are the Chances? Success in the Arts in the 21st Century
LA Review of Books: Alexis Clements
All signs point to a reality in which no artist, no matter how famous or successful, spends 100 percent of their time on their art, nor do they earn 100 percent of their income from their art alone over the course of their entire career.

Remember When ‘Figaro’ Was Set in Trump Tower? NY Times: Michael Cooper Peter Sellars’s 1988 staging of Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro” happened to be set on the 52nd floor of Trump Tower, a symbol of wealth and excess and power in an opera about inequality.

‘La La Land’ Makes Musicals Matter Again
NY Times: Manohla Dargisnov
In “La La Land,” Damien Chazelle’s has a shot at something that has eluded auteurist titans like Peter Bogdanovich and Francis Ford Coppola: to make musicals matter again.


The Strike’s Over! Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Musicians Reach 5-Year Contract Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Bob Batz
The musicians, who went on strike Sept. 30, on Wednesday ratified a new five-year contract that includes a 10.5 percent pay cut in the first year, but thanks to a contribution from an anonymous donor, the actual pay cut will be 7.5 percent. Wages will be restored to pre-strike levels in the fifth year.

Composer Louis Andriessen Receives Major NY Phil Prize
NY Times: Michael Cooper
The award comes with $200,000 and a commission to write a new work for the Philharmonic, which Mr. van Zweden will conduct during his inaugural season.

Judge allows “We Shall Overcome” Lawsuit to Move Forward
Daniel Adrian Sanchez, Digital Music News
Earlier this year, We Shall Overcome Foundation filed a lawsuit against Warner/Chappell to free the song We Shall Overcome. This song is actually a 19th century spiritual, according to the foundation. Pete Seeger’s version copyrighted in 1960 and 1963 includes only minor alterations.

Your Guide to a Met Opera Milestone
NY Times: Zachary Lewis
Consider this a primer on everything you need to know about one of the most important events of the fall season: the Metropolitan Opera premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s “L’Amour de Loin” on Thursday, Dec. 1.

Star Couple Leaves Miami’s Top Ballet Troupe and Starts Their Own
Miami Herald: C.M. Guerrerio
Carlos Guerra and Jennifer Kronenberg, popular leading dancers at Miami City Ballet for 15 years, retired from the company last spring. Now they hope to turn their experience and reputation, their connections in Miami and the dance world and their appeal as a culturally mixed, loving married couple whose relationship lit up their performances in “Giselle” and “Romeo and Juliet” to make their new group, Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami, a success.

Top Rolling Stone editor quits after 20 years to join Amazon Music
Tim Ingham, Music Business Worldwide
The transfer of talented ‘old media’ creatives to streaming services continues. Rolling Stone Executive Editor Nathan Brackett has this month joined Amazon Music as Head Of Editorial.

Manager Tries to Raise Songwriter Royalties, Gets Sued by 10,000 Radio Stations
Digital Music News: Paul Resnikoff
Irving Azoff thinks that songwriters are getting forced to accept sub-standard royalties from radio stations.  Now, he’s getting sued by 10,000 of them.

Letter from Chicago: The City is Second to None for New Music
San Francisco Classical Voice: Wynne Delacoma
Chicago doesn’t usually underestimate its own importance. Sometimes, however, the city has benefitted mightily from residents willing to fly below the radar. Something equally dramatic is happening right now in classical music. But bubbling persistently below the surface is one of the most vibrant communities for contemporary music in the country, driven by hundreds of young composers, performers and presenters of wildly varying aesthetic persuasions.


Huge Drop in Funding for UK Arts as Lottery Plummets
Arts Professional
Any decline in Lottery revenues will be of serious concern to Arts Council England (ACE), which in 2014 announced it would start using Lottery funds to provide core funding for some of its National Portfolio Organizations.

Lost Work by Stravinsky Restored
Classical Music: Elinor Cooper
Stravinsky’s Funeral Song receives its first performance in 107 years. The 12-minute work for symphony orchestra was written when Stravinsky was just 26, in memory of his teacher Rimsky-Korsakov.

Is there a Lost Mozart Flute Concerto?
Huttiyet Daily News
The seventh International Şefika Kutluer Festival, organized under the name of Turkish flutist Şefika Kutluer, claims to be presenting Mozart’s “Wendling Flute Concerto,” which had been kept concealed for 239 years.

The Woman Who Has Transformed English National Ballet
NY Times: Roslyn Sulcas
Artistic director, star ballerina, lobbyist, wrangler, psychologist, spokeswoman. Tamara Rojo, the artistic director of English National Ballet, is one busy woman.

Kick-Ass Beats from Korea’s Countryside Ozy Magazine: Carl Pettit Samulnori could be described as the pulse of the Korean people. Over the years, this drumming art form has evolved from humble agrarian roots into a modern — and increasingly global — expression of natural movement and rhythms.


Ticket Giveaways for Teens Might Do the Trick
The Stage: James Doeser
Countless initiatives (and millions of pounds) have been spent trying to shift the demographic profile of arts audiences and workers in the sector. They have remained stubbornly white and well-off. A new program in Italy might just do the trick.

11 Skills that Differentiate Successful Entrepreneurs from Organizational Leaders Quartz A new study out of Harvard Business School (HBS), however, suggests we may be incorrectly assessing the qualities of entrepreneurs.

Your live show is the best music marketing tool – just follow the numbers
Wade Sutton, Disc Makers Blog
Live shows are underdeveloped as a music marketing tool by most artists. You need to track numbers to understand what’s working from a marketing perspective.

SoundExchange paid out $264M in Q3 – its biggest quarter in two years
Music Business Worldwide: Tim Ingham
SoundExchange just paid out more than quarter of a billion dollars to recorded music rights holders – its biggest three-month distribution in two years.


A Mozart Meltdown
Studio Muzik2m
Enjoy this wonderful rendition of Mozart’s Rondo Alla Turca, performed by Yuja Wang as an encore (and can you confirm that the concertmaster is none other than JSoM alumnus, Noah Bendix-Balgley?)

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Weekly Digest – November 21


US Orchestras Are Too Important to Fail
USA Today: Jonathan Kaledin
Taking American orchestra “exceptionalism” into the 21st century now requires a complete rethinking of the role our federal government plays in providing financial support for these institutions.

It’s Official: Many Orchestras Are Now Charities
NY Times: Michael Cooper
There is a stark reality increasingly facing American orchestras: They are now charities, relying more, on average, on philanthropy than on the ticket sales that used to buttress them.

Read additional news on US Orchestras in the NATIONAL section below.


A small selections of responses from the music and arts world about the impact of the recent presidential elections:


Why Our Brains Respond Differently to Classical Music
Tom Jacobs, Pacific Standard
Chinese researchers report even a few moments of opera produce a thoughtful, empathetic response.

Why it’s Time to Completely, Totally, Finally Give Up on Economic Impact Studies in the Arts
Michael Rushton, For What It’s Worth/an ArtsJournal Blog
Economic impact studies reduce the arts to the level of every other sector in the economy: one that hires people, sells things, earns people income. There is no argument for public support anywhere in those ordinary facts of life.

There is No Such Thing as Western Civilization
The Guardian: Kwame Anthony Appiah
The values of liberty, tolerance and rational inquiry are not the birthright of a single culture. In fact, the very notion of something called ‘western culture’ is a modern invention

Arts Education…Saved My Life
WFMT: Lin-Manuel Miranda
Lin-Manuel Miranda has impacted many lives through his Pulitzer Prize-winning work Hamilton: An American Musical. Recently, Miranda revealed how the arts have impacted him, saying that arts education, “saved my life.”

Decolonizing Our Music
NewMusicBox: Gary Ingle
This essay was presented, in a slightly different form, as the final keynote address at the “Decolonizing Music” conference presented by the Music Council of the Three Americas (Consejo de la música de las Tres Americas – COMTA) at the Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico in San Juan.

Is Rock ’n’ Roll Dead, or Just Old?
NY Times: Bill Flanagan
Rock is now where jazz was in the early 1980s. Its form is mostly fixed. From Louis Armstrong in the 1920s to Duke Ellington in the ’30s to Charlie Parker in the ’50s to Miles Davis in the ’60s, jazz evolved at superspeed and never looked over its shoulder.


Women in the Arts Get Paid Less Too
Pacific Standard: Tom Jacobs
But they have one advantage over their counterparts in other fields: no motherhood penalty.

South Dakota Symphony Receives Major Award for Community Engagement
The highly-coveted Bush Prize for Community Innovation amounts to a quarter of the orchestra’s annual budget!

St. Louis Symphony Sees Total Revenue Rise
St. Louis Business Journal
The St. Louis Symphony saw its total operating revenue for fiscal 2016, ended Aug. 31, rise to $28.4 million, officials said Monday. That’s up from $26.6 million in fiscal 2015.

Pittsburgh Symphony Continues it’s Fundraising Amid the Strike
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Elizabeth Bloom
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s work stoppage is now more than six weeks old, and even as seats at Heinz Hall remain empty, the orchestra’s administration is trying to fill the coffers

Debora L. Spar, Barnard President, to Lead Lincoln Center
New York Times: Michael Cooper
Lincoln Center, which went through a messy shake-up at the top last spring just as its long-delayed project to renovate David Geffen Hall was beginning to take shape, is turning to academia for its next leader.

Things Get Worse at the Boston Globe and Elsewhere — More Arts Criticism Bites the Dust
The Arts Fuse: Bill Marx
In his November 9th piece for Deadline Hollywood, Jeremy Gerard reports that the bottom is falling out for serious arts criticism at The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

New York Philharmonic’s Next Leader Gives a Taste of Things to Come
NY Times: Anthony Tommasini
Great anticipation hovered over Thursday evening’s New York Philharmonic concert at David Geffen Hall. It was the first program to be led by the Dutch conductor Jaap van Zweden since the announcement in January that he would succeed Alan Gilbert as music director.

Jeremy Denk and His Piano Take a 600-Year Tour
NY Times: Anthony Tommasini
“Medieval to Modern,” a program he presented at Alice Tully Hall on Wednesday, included 80 minutes of music, with no breaks: 23 works spanning 600 years, from a lament by the 14th-century French composer Guillaume de Machaut to an obsessive 1985 étude by Gyorgy Ligeti.

Music Composer For ‘A Clockwork Orange’ Sues Australian Who Created “A Trumpwork Orange’ Parody Trailer
Timothy Geigner, TechDirt
One of the tests for fair use as it pertains to copyright is the impact that the use of a work has upon the original. While this is but one of four tests used, it is arguably the most important when it comes to advising a rights holder.


Making Opera Relevant to Our Times, Beyond Pure Entertainment
The Irish Times: Lara Marlowe
Stéphane Lissner, the director of the French national opera, is going all out to recruit new opera-lovers.

The Woman Who Has Transformed English National Ballet
NY Times: Roslyn Sulcas
Ms. Rojo, 42, a Spanish-born former Royal Ballet principal dancer, has been in her current job for four years, and she has made a startling difference to English National Ballet.

‘Digital dance’ World First for Scottish Ballet
The National: Kirsteen Paterson
The inaugural digital season – said to be the first time a ballet company has curated a month-long program of projects made for the format – aims to explore “a new way to present dance” and features “pioneering” projects.

How Did South Korea Become a Classical Music Powerhouse?
KQED: Elijah Ho
On San Francisco Symphony’s First Trip to Korea, a Family Legacy Comes Full Circle.

Connecting The UK Arts With Industry
Anna Scott, Arts Professional
A consortium of Scotland’s universities and art schools place researchers within arts and cultural organizations.

International Activity Financially ‘Worth It’ for UK Arts Organizations
Liz Hill, Arts Professional
Over half of Arts Council England’s NPOs are reaping rewards working internationally, but larger organizations and those based in London tend to benefit most financially.


Sofar Sounds’ Intimate Shows Feature Local Musicians in Cities Around the Globe
Hannah Huynh, The Observer (video)
Sofar Sounds hosts intimate, stripped-down concerts, and each performance showcases local musicians in cities around the world. Whether it’s been live in New York or streamed on their website, the site has featured incredible musicians.

Social Media Content Management for Musicians
Music Think Tank
You’ve decided how you want to brand yourself online. You’ve created your band’s social media pages. You’re posting regularly, and still, you’re not seeing results. The solution: content planning.

How to Set an Achievable Crowdfunding Goal
Nathan Zebedeo, Fractured Atlas
When you’re setting up a crowdfunding campaign, one of the first decisions that you’ll make is setting your goal, the amount of money that you want to raise. This decision can have far-reaching consequences and is often where the campaign lives or dies.

Opera Drops Its Scruples, Allows Millennials to Tweet During the Show
The Wall Street Journal: Jennifer Levitz
Theaters create ‘tweet seats’ for the itchy fingered; ‘this orchestration is DOPE’


A Musical Response to The Election: Bach Suites
TED Fellow, Joshua Roman (video)
Principle cellist of the Seattle Symphony offered all six Bach suites for solo cello – and received a million views before the week was out.

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Weekly Digest – November 14


It’s too early to tell how the election of Donald Trump as President will impact the arts. Here are two responses and an article on what might become huuuge: protest music.

Donald Trump, Taste and the Cultural Elite
Anne Midgette: The Washington Post
Trump not only has bad taste, but prides himself on it. Beauty, to him, appears to be a commodity measured in terms of beauty-pageant qualifications and chrome fixtures and size.

How President Trump Could Be a Boon for the Music Industry
The Tennessean: Nate Rau
Reforming the country’s antiquated music copyright laws was a non-issue during the campaign, but there is now new hope that President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican Congress could finally accomplish the long-debated reforms sought by the industry.

Donald Trump is Terrific Protest-Music Inspiration
The Atlantic: Spencer Kornhaber
Some very lovely music about Donald Trump has been released this week. That’s thanks to the launch of the “30 Songs, 30 Days” project in which the author Dave Eggers has gotten medium-to-big names in rock to record songs advocating for a “Trump-free America.”


Killing Aida: A Mortal Threat to Art
National Review: Jay Nordlinger
Identity politics, capitulation in the face of ignorance and zealotry can kill art. Certain people will kill art, and civilization along with it, if we let them.

(Eng)aging With The Arts Has Its Benefits
Createquity: Salem Tsegaye, et al
A robust set of research suggests that participatory arts activities are effective mechanisms for increasing the health and quality of life of aging individuals.


Lyric Opera of Chicago Calls FY2016 Breakeven, Though Financial Report Shows Sea of Red
Chicago Business Journal
Lyric reported $61.9 million in total revenue for the year, down substantially from $86.8 million the previous year. Total expenses for the year climbed to $84.1 million, up from $79 million the previous year.

New York Times & Wall Street Journal Prepare To Slash Entertainment Coverage And Staff As Print Ads Vanish
Deadline Holywood: Jeremy Gerard
As print advertising revenues continue to fall off the cliff, reviews and features related to film, theater and the rest of the arts are being cut at New York’s two prominent broadsheets, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

How Newark Became One of the Greatest Jazz Cities in the World
The Guardian: Tammy La Gorce
In 2016, Newark is one nonstop, ongoing, jazz parade: Wynton Marsalis, the Robert Glasper Experiment, Dianne Reeves, Phil Perry, David Sanborn and Anjelique Kidjo have been in and out town for shows.

Demonstrators Protest L.A. Opera Over Casting of White Singer as an Egyptian Pharaoh
Los Angeles Times: Catherine Womack
Ticket holders to Los Angeles Opera’s opening night of Philip Glass’ “Akhnaten” on Saturday were greeted by about 25 peaceful demonstrators who voiced their frustration over a white actor singing the title role of an Egyptian pharaoh.


Leonard Cohen, Singer-Songwriter of Love, Death and Philosophical Longing, Dies at 82
The Washington Post: Matt Schudel
The Canadian-born poet, songwriter and singer, whose intensely personal lyrics exploring themes of love, faith, death and philosophical longing made him the ultimate cult artist, and whose enigmatic song “Hallelujah” became a celebratory anthem recorded by hundreds of artists, died Nov. 7. He was 82.

Sting Reopens Bataclan With ‘Fragile,’ Tribute to David Bowie and Prince
Billboard: Rhonda Richford
A day shy of the anniversary of the Paris attacks, Sting reopened Paris’ Bataclan theater with a minute of silence for the 90 killed and dedicated the song “50,000” to David Bowie and Prince, among others.

Fiddling with the Past: The Secrets of Scottish Music
New York Times: Craig Smith
On Cape Breton, an isolated island in Nova Scotia, musicians have developed an upbeat, distinctive style that moves.

Cape Town City Ballet Evicted from Its HQ Because It’s ‘Eurocentric And Colonial’
Cape Times: Tanya Farber
After 82 years of partnership, Cape Town City Ballet has been booted out of its University of Cape Town premises because ballet is “Eurocentric and colonial”. Company members said they had to rush to clear their lockers and were warned it had become “unsafe” for them to be on UCT property owing to student protest action.

London’s New Concert Hall Project Has Stalled – and It’s No Great Loss
The Guardian: Andrew Clements
Arguments in favor left many unconvinced, and with his Barbican concerts Simon Rattle has already showed the difference he can make to a venue’s sound.


Streaming Revenue Has Already Topped $1bn at Universal this Year
Music Business Wordwide
Streaming revenues from recorded music comfortably surpassed $1bn at Universal Music Group in the first nine months of 2016. From January-September, UMG’s recorded sales from streaming and subscription services reached €1.03bn ($1.1bn) – up 64.3% on the same period in 2015 (at constant currency and perimeter).


Identifying the Musical Tastes of Birds Hyperallergic: Claire Voon Do birds prefer classical music, opera, or heavy metal? As with humans, it’s likely a matter of personal preference, and one art project is offering our feathered friends a chance to communicate their preferences to us.









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Weekly Digest – November 6


With the Wall Street Journal announcing a scale back, and the Boston Globe’s decision to partner with a foundation to cover the arts, traditions of newspaper journalism continue to morph. At the same time, a Jacobs alumnus has launched his own TV station!


Arts Diversity: To Shame, or Not to Shame
Arts Professional (UK): Christy Romber
In the fourth of a series of articles, Christy Romer says it’s time for data about workforce, programming and casting to be published openly.

Just Why Does New Music Need Champions?
NY Times: Anthony Tommasini
The implication is that new music is a specialty, some kind of cerebral sideline in danger of languishing but for the efforts of advocates.

When Foreign Artists Can’t Afford a US Travel Visa, We All Lose
The Observer: Justin Joffe
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced last week that it would raise the fees associated with immigration applications and petitions for the first time in six years, which becomes effective in late December. This means that the cost for touring groups from went up from $325 to $460 per act, which adds up to a lot when you’re barely breaking even.

The Soulful Business of Managing a Small-Town Symphony
San Francisco Classical Source: Patrick MacNamara
The Eureka Symphony is a 25-year-old startup in a town that is itself a perpetual startup, and perhaps surprisingly, longtime bedrock for the arts.

Is it Time to Save Music?
Music Think Tank: Nissim Elias
When music became just another track out of million others —  that’s when it lost its artistic value.


Philadelphia Orchestra On Demand: Late to the Game, but Improving David Patrick Stearns
This time, the Philadelphia Orchestra is opening its archives for love, not money – and the results are so much better. Although the orchestra has had a fitful digital presence in the past, 30 of its WRTI-FM broadcasts, plus older concerts dating back to the Wolfgang Sawallisch era, are newly available for a mere click of the On-Demand tab – for a reasonable charge.

Cleveland Orchestra Strings Plays World Series Game 7 National Anthem
YouTube video

The Philharmonic to Stream Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts
New York Times: Michael Cooper
The New York Philharmonic recently announced that it was putting videos of Young People’s Concerts, and additional educational materials and interactive games, online for schools and families to stream for free.

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Completes Critical $25 Million Campaign for New Musicians … Two Years Early
Arts Atlanta: Scott Freeman
The ASO’s Musicians Endowment Campaign will permanently endow 11 musician positions in the orchestra, bringing the total number to 88 by the end of next season.

Portland Symphony Orchestra and Its Musicians Reach Four-Year Contract Agreement
Portland Press Herald
The Portland Symphony Orchestra and the union representing its musicians have reached a four-year contract that includes a pay increase of 8 percent over the contract’s first two years, the orchestra’s executive director announced in a press release Monday. The contract was accepted unanimously.

With No End in Sight, Fort Worth Symphony Strike Continues to Divide Labor and Management
Dallas News: Michael Granberry
For the first time in its history, the orchestra went on strike Sept. 8, with no negotiations planned and no end in sight.

Beyoncé’s True Political Statement This Week? It Wasn’t at a Clinton Rally
NY Times: Wesley Morris
Anyone who caught the star’s appearance on Wednesday at the 50th annual Country Music Association Awards in Nashville knew that while Friday might have been, for Mrs. Clinton, strategically necessary, it was also politically anticlimactic.

Philip Glass, Winner of 2016 Tribune Literary Award, Reflects on a Life Well Composed
Chicago Tribune: John von Rhein
Philip Glass finds it a nifty coincidence that both he and Bob Dylan won major literary prizes this year — remarkable, considering that neither American music icon considers himself a writer.

Simon Rattle: The Maestro With the Busy Baton
NY Times: Michael Cooper
Rattle has, to no small extent, defined New York’s classical music scene this fall. He has led some of the city’s grandest events, opening the Metropolitan Opera’s season conducting an acclaimed production of Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” and leading the Philadelphia Orchestra in Mahler’s grandly despairing Sixth Symphony at Carnegie Hall.

What Julie Kent’s Washington Ballet Looks Like
Dance Magazine: Jennifer Stahl
The magazine produces its first feminist issue and it’s cover story is about how the ballet icon is changing forever the personality of one of the country’s most important institutions for dance.

Juilliard Students ‘Rickroll’ Hateful Protesters From Westboro Baptist Church
Upper West Side Patch: Brendan Krisel
Some of New York City’s brightest young musicians had a message for the Westboro Baptist Church: “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

Top 10 Music Industry News Stories This Week
Digital Media News
A look back at the top music industry news this week: October 29 to November 4, 2016.


A Rare Glimpse Into the World of North Korea’s Classical Musicians
Aeon video – Directed by Nils Clauss and produced by Reimer Volker
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the North, a video documentary on an extraordinary event arranged by the Goethe Institut. Members of the Munich Chamber Orchestra visit the Pyongyang Kim Won Gyun Conservatory to give lessons to North Korean students, and ultimately perform a concert alongside local musicians.

A New Opera Star Emerges From the ‘Vocal Breadbasket’ of South Africa
PRI: Kim Cloete
In recent years, South Africa’s rich choral tradition has produced a wave of talented opera singers who are making their mark on the world stage. Soprano Pretty Yende wowed opera enthusiasts in 2013, when she debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, while bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana will open next year’s Glimmerglass Festival as Porgy in the American classic, “Porgy and Bess.” Now, South Africa is pinning its hopes on another rising opera star — 25-year-old Noluvuyiso Mpofu.

How a Saudi-born Singer Found her Voice and Her Freedom in Pakistan
PRI: Andrea Crossan
It’s not a country known for gender equality, but for this singer, Pakistan is where she’s able to pursue her dream to be a recording artist. Rutaba Yaqub moved from her home in Saudi Arabia to Pakistan six years ag. For her, it meant freedom from Saudi Arabia’s stricter Islamic laws.

Seven Out of 10 UK Musicians Report Mental Health Problems
The Stage: Georgia Snow
Professionals working in the music industry, including those in theatre, may also be up to three times more likely to suffer from depression than the general public, according to the Help Musicians UK survey results.

The National Ballet of Canada Posts Surplus for Seventh Consecutive Season
Ballet News
The company had 2,277 performances and outreach events in the 2015/16 season with a total attendance of 918,131. There were 77 performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts with 141,146 in attendance and 2,190 community events reaching 760,413 young people and their families.


Why You Can’t Get That One Song Out of Your Head: The Science of Earworms
The Washington Post: Sarah Kaplan
Psychologists who are trying to understand why songs get stuck in your head found that these are three of the most commonly complained-about earworms.

Forget Copyright – Think CopyLeft Leslie Nguyen-Okwu
A growing number of artists, from cartoonists like Paley to authors like David Shields, who have enlisted a tech-nerd weapon in their battle for control over their work: the open-source doctrine of “copyleft.”

Edinburgh Theatre to Host UK’s First Dementia-Friendly Opera Performance
Arts Professional: Bill Cooper
Sound and lighting will be adjusted and movement between the auditorium and the foyer will be encouraged to welcome people living with dementia to the theatre.

YouTube Strikes Deal to Host Music Videos in Germany
Music Business Worldwide
It’s been one of the biggest stand-offs in digital music history – but YouTube and German collection society GEMA have finally reached a licensing agreement. The deal means that scores of previously unlicensed – and therefore previously unavailable – music videos will now be playable in the region.


In the Key of ZZZ: The Concerts Intended to Send You to Sleep
The Guardian: Brian Wise
An increasing number of concerts are being performed in the dark, with the aim of encouraging audiences to listen to music in a new way … or drift off.

The Power of Music, Tapped in a Cubicle
NY Times: Amisha Padnani
In biological terms, melodious sounds help encourage the release of dopamine in the reward area of the brain, as would eating a delicacy, looking at something appealing or smelling a pleasant aroma, said Dr. Amit Sood, a physician of integrative medicine with the Mayo Clinic.



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Weekly Digest!


opera-pic-150On Taking the ‘Hall’ Out of ‘Concert Hall’: Nontraditional Spaces Open Up
Vulture: Justin Davidson
Theater, opera, and virtual reality have discovered immersive as the ultimate buzzword, promising to obliterate the fourth wall or the screen, or the stage, or whatever divides performers from passive consumers.


Small Organizations Receive Smaller Share of Giving Pie
Barry’s Blog
The lion’s share (60%) of funding – grants, gifts and contributions – continue to go to the largest budget cultural institutions across the country (those with budgets over $5 million) and that, in fact, the funding to the smaller organizations, with budgets under $1 million has actually declined, and “that is a drearier future than we saw in 2011”.

Organization’s Fears Are the Biggest Barriers to Audience Diversity
Arts Professional (UK)
Fears that existing arts audiences resist ‘more diverse artistic product’ appear to be unfounded, ArtsProfessional’s latest Pulse survey suggests.

Millennials Don’t Want to Call Themselves Philanthropists
ArtsHub: Marisa Mandile
Engaging donors means understanding their motivations and many of the new generation do not want to see themselves simply as wealthy benefactors.

NPR: This American Life (video)
The nationally syndicated show asked Sara Bareilles to imagine what President Obama might be thinking about this election and Donald Trump. She wrote this spellbinding song, which Leslie Odom Jr. sings.

Does Opera Exclude You, or Do You Exclude Opera?
BBC: Michael Volpe
Exploring and championing opera requires willingness from both performers and audiences alike.

The Good and the Bad of Mixing Classical Music and Electronica
The Washington Post: Chris Kelly
On Monday night, composer Mason Bates presented the latest edition of Mercury Soul, a project he founded in 2008 with conductor Benjamin Shwartz and visual designer Anne Patterson that aims to present “classical music in new ways to a new generation.”

What Don Giovanni, an Opera About a Charismatic Rapist, Can Teach Us About Don Trump Bonnie Gordon
The parallels between the two Dons are too obvious to even state, but maybe hearing them, even as the melodies sweep us away, can remind us that some of the nastiest parts of our past are still present.


Buffalo Philharmonic, Once Languishing, Has Come a Long Way
NYT: Zachary Woolfe
Over nearly two decades, the orchestra has proved its viability — as has the city, slowly yet steadily improving its fortunes, including a recent windfall in the form of the state’s Buffalo Billion Investment Development Plan.

Pacific Symphony Musicians Threaten to Strike
Orange County Register: Paul Hodgins
Members of the Pacific Symphony have voted unanimously to reject the most recent contract offer presented by the orchestra’s management and reaffirm the strike authorization they previously had granted.

Interlochen Names New President: Trey Devey
IPR: Peter Payette
Devey will leave the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra next year to move to northern Michigan. Devey has been president of the symphony orchestra since 2009 and led it out of a severe financial crisis.

Curtis Institute Disbands its Board of Overseers Peter Dobrin
The leadership of the Curtis Institute of Music has dissolved its board of overseers, a high-level think-tank of leaders in classical music, academia, technology, and other sectors that helped staff and trustees set a course for the school.

Ecstatic Music Festival at Merkin Hall to Feature Vijay Iyer and Others
NYT: Andrew Chow
The new-music-oriented festival features collaborative performances from artists across classical, jazz and hip-hop, featuring performances from Vijay Iyer, San Fermin and Roomful of Teeth.

Powder Tossed at Metropolitan Opera May Have Been Human Ashes, Police Say
NYT: Michael Cooper
An audience member at the Metropolitan Opera sprinkled a powdery substance — what the police said may have been the ashes of his mentor — into the orchestra pit during an intermission of a performance on Saturday, leading to the cancellation of the rest of that opera and a production that evening.

Washington Ballet Announces Return of its Orchestra & a JFK-Themed World Premiere
The Washington Post: Sarah Kaufman
The forthcoming world premiere, from former American Ballet Theatre star Ethan Stiefel, will feature an original score and it will take its inspiration from John F. Kennedy and his commitment to the space program.

Minimalist Composer Julius Eastman, Dead for 26 Years, Crashes the Canon
New York Times: Zachary Woolfe
An archival recording of one of his finest pieces, the peculiarly spelled “Femenine,” from 1974, was released last month on the Frozen Reeds label, and it shows what all the fuss was about.


Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev’s War
NY Times: Ruth Margalit
The Israeli minister of culture and sports wants nothing less than an overthrow of the nation’s elite. She’s working against those she considers the elites, or the “cultural junta,” of Israel. Leftists. Secularists. Tel Avivians. Ashkenazim — Jews of European origin. People who think that “classical music is better than the Andalusian music” of Morocco, or that “Chekhov is more important than Maimonides.”

Jaap Van Zweden Is a Global Maestro of Music and Multitasking
NYT: Joyce Lau
When Jaap van Zweden takes up his new role as the New York Philharmonic’s music director designate in 2017, he will be jetting between two very different ensembles on opposite sides of the world.

Early Music: Tafelmusik Enjoys Yet Another Year In Budgetary Paradise
Musical Toronto: Michael Vincent
The ensemble has achieved an impressive 16-year balanced budget streak with an operating surplus of $107,017 on a budget of $5.4 mil. Ticket sales rose by $5,501 from last year’s $1.7 mil.

Edmonton Symphony Orchestra Names Dynamo Alexander Prior as New Conductor
Edmonton Journal: Sandra Sperounes
He once sang the British national anthem at an “ice hockey” game. He speaks half-a-dozen languages — including Russian, Danish and German — and wants to learn a First Nations tongue. He loves Nordic and Russian music, composer Richard Wagner, indie-rockers Arctic Monkeys and “belting ballads” like Beyonce’s Halo. He’s 24 years old.


Philadelphia Orchestra Dives in With a Streaming Music Service Jonathan Takiff
Launched last week by the Philadelphia Orchestra, the website offers a sprinkling of concerts from current and past seasons, dating back to Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s inaugural  2012-13 season as music director. Additional content includes concerts by former music director Wolfgang Sawallisch.

Want to Increase SoundCloud Plays? Here are 11 Great Tools
The following deep dive into SoundCloud plays comes from  Sam Zavedi has served as a SM Strategist for Fortune 500 companies and start-ups from across the pond.  Sam frequently writes about tech, crowd psychology, and the merger of them both at his website,

How to Stay Sane and Lower Your Stress as an Independent Music Artist
DiscMakers (Blog)
The perks of life as an independent music artist can be bountiful – but every silver lining has a cloud. Knowing how to manage stress can be just as important to your music career as your skills as a musician.

What is a Music Manager? Here’s Everything You Need To Know
Managers have never played a more important role in the music business than today. And if your musical career has reached a certain level, you probably need one.  But who exactly are these people, and what do they do?


Coming of Age: Sam’s Story
Prudential Video
opera-pic-150The financial giant looks at how becoming an adult in America is changing. Trombone student Sam talks about how music gave him a voice in his community.

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Weekly Digest – October 24


Musical America Names Yuja Wang 2017 Artist of the Year
Musical America, a brand that has stayed vital across its two centuries of distinguished publishing history, has announced its annual awards, to be presented at a ceremony in December at Carnegie Hall. Pianist Yuja Wang has been chosen as artist of the year, with Eighth Blackbird, Susanna Mälkki, Andrew Norman, and Eric Owens recognized as ensemble, conductor, composer, and vocalist of the year 2017.


UNESCO Report Says Culture Makes Cities Safer and Stronger
BlouinArtInfo: Lisa Contag
The UNESCO makes a strong case for systematically fostering culture in city planning in its new “Global Report, Culture: Urban Future,” launched on October 18 at the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Quito, Ecuador.

The Money Pit: Orchestras that Strike Should Remember How Far They’ve Come
The Wall Street Journal: Terry Teachout
With the justifiable anger that musicians sometimes feel about their salaries, it’s worth remembering—yet hardly ever mentioned in news reports—that most orchestral musicians in the U.S. make a lot more money than they did only a couple of generations ago. A response from Norman Lebrecht: Why The Wall Street Journal is Wrong on the Pittsburgh Strike

David Wallace: Becoming Village People
21CM (video)
At the 21CMposium, David Wallace, chair of Berklee College of Music’s String Department, talks about how his program cultivates a “village mindset,” where faculty and students collaborate to create a diverse, open-minded, and noncompetitive environment.

Jonathan Biss: ‘Performing Can be Inspiring, or The Thing That Eats You’ The Guardian: Interview by Fiona Maddocks Jacobs alumnus, internationally renowned pianist, discussed composers and mortality, having two violinist parents, and his lack of coordination in all things not piano-related.

R.E.M. Bassist on ‘Breaking Down Walls Between Classical and Rock’”
Rolling Stone: Kory Grow
Mike Mills, violinist Robert McDuffie are touring in support of recently released ‘Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra’              .


Dance Audiences Are Down in NYC, Study Finds
The Wall Street Journal: Pia Catton
A 20% decrease in the number of paid attendees as live performances emerged in the study run by the advocacy group Dance/NYC – looking at 172 dance companies over a 2ix-year period.

The Musical Map of the United States
Brooklyn Magazine
A delightful map – and a collection of more than fifty essays by writers who have strongly associated a song with a state, melds all of this—geography, lived experience, and music—in one.

Benjamin Grosvenor Awarded Philharmonic’s New Piano Prize
New York Times: Michael Cooper
The young British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor, who has been making the leap from child prodigy to a maturing star, has been named the first recipient of a new $30,000 classical piano prize awarded by the New York Philharmonic.

Former Lincoln Center President’s New Post: At National Sawdust
New York Times: Michael Cooper
Jed Bernstein, whose tenure as the president of Lincoln Center was cut short last spring after he failed to disclose a relationship with an employee, is crossing the river for his next post: He is now an adviser at National Sawdust, the new-music space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

ICE’s Founder, Claire Chase, Will Relinquish Leadership Role New York Times: Michael Cooper It’s been an aspiration of the group since the very beginning to evolve into being an artist’s collective,” Ms. Chase said in an interview. “And after 15 years I think we can say that we’ve achieved that — and that it’s time to not be founder-led.

Philadelphia Orchestra Adopts Aspects of Michael M. Kaiser’s Report
The Inquirer: Peter Dobrin
The Philadelphia Orchestra will program musicals. It will set up new philanthropic councils made up from donors with special interests and, starting in 2018, from outside the city. The orchestra is starting a series of master classes with guest artists. And it will develop more ways to lure and keep younger donors.

Best and Worst of Times for Freelance Classical Singers in Philly
The Inquirer: David Patrick Stearns
New, entirely professional, and a child of the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Philadelphia Symphonic Choir would seem to be much-needed good news on the choral landscape. But so far in its formation, some Philadelphia vocal freelancers are experiencing consternation or even heartbreak at how it’s being handled.

Chuck Berry Celebrates 90th Birthday with First Album in 38 Years
Rolling Stone: Daniel Kreps
Rock n’ roll pioneer Chuck Berry, who turned 90 on Tuesday, celebrated his birthday by announcing that his new LP Chuck, the guitarist’s first LP in 38 years, will arrive in 2017 on Dualtone Records.


Beijing’s Glowing Concert Hall is a Symphony of Visual and Audio Design
New Atlas: Stu Robarts
When you’re one of the world’s top symphony orchestras, it’s only right that you should play in one of the world’s best concert halls. That was the basis upon which MAD Architects worked when designing a new translucent, glowing, lotus-flower-inspired home for the China Philharmonic Orchestra.

English National Opera Appoints New Music Director
ClassicalMusic: Elinor Cooper
Conductor Martyn Brabbins will take up the post immediately.

Nobel Panel Gives Up Knockin’ on Dylan’s Door
The Guardian
Days after being awarded the literature prize, Bob Dylan has yet to get in touch with the Swedish Academy, or indicate whether he will attend the celebrations.

Leeds International Piano Competition to be Revamped
BBC: Mark Savage
The Leeds International Piano Competition, which launched the careers of Andras Schiff and Murray Perahia, is to be overhauled in an attempt to bring it to a wider audience.


A New App, Rotor, Turns iPad Into Electronic Music Performance Suite
ROTOR is the new app that turns the iPad into a comprehensive electronic music performance suite. Using the optional ROTOR controllers, which can be purchased separately, it also brings the reactable tangible music experience that has captivated musicians such as Björk, Coldplay or Gui Boratto, for the first time into the iPad.

The Future of Pop Culture
The Guardian
AI, VR and smartphones are changing the way we consume culture, but what comes next? From film to visual arts, we explore entertainment’s new frontiers

Uber, But for Millennials Who Want Orchestras in Their Living Rooms
Wired Magazine
Around 20 Groupmuse shows happen across the country every week, mostly in Boston, New York, Seattle and the Bay Area.

An Unsigned Artist Makes 4X More from Streaming Than a Major Label Artist
According to to new calculations released by Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, signing to a major label can cost an artist dearly when it come to streaming royalties.  Specifically, an unsigned artist can expect to receive nearly four times the royalty from streaming than an artist signed to a major label.

Vlogging for Musicians: The equipment you’ll need
For music artists looking to build a brand for themselves online, videos can factor heavily into a music marketing plan. This is part one of a two-part post with advice about vlogging for musicians. Here, we take a look at the equipment you’ll need to build your video empire.


All About The Bass
Montreal Symphony Orchestra (OSM) is debuting a new instrument Thursday, one that will be hard to miss. The octobass measures 3.6 metres and weighs 131 kilos. The OSM has the distinction of being the only orchestra in the world in possession of one.

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