The Top 10 Classical Music Stories of 2017

Hamburg's Elbphilharmonie opened in January 2017 (Robert Katzki)

In 2017, classical music mirrored aspects of the turbulent world around it. Hurricanes, Brexit, the Trump administration, and allegations of harassment all left their mark on the field. Classical music also did what it often does best: providing a haven in these restless, plugged-in times. That being said, here are ten stories that rose to the surface in 2017. Continue reading “The Top 10 Classical Music Stories of 2017”

Formal Attire at the Opera? Here’s What Some Opera Houses Say

In The Metropolitan Opera House : Scene From Die Meistersinger, 1898 (Public Domain/From the New York Public Library)

In a widely-circulated column in The Guardian, dated Oct. 14, writer Howard Jacobson argues that opera audiences have become too casual, and that men should wear suits and ties to performances in an effort to “commemorate the specialness of an occasion.” He recounts attending a performance of a Mozart opera in London recently and being the only man in his row wearing a formal suit, while others wandered in sporting gym shoes, jeans and polo shirts. Continue reading “Formal Attire at the Opera? Here’s What Some Opera Houses Say”

New York Philharmonic Can’t Get Enough of Mahler

Jaap van Zweden conducts the New York Philharmonic (Photo: Chris Lee)

The New York Philharmonic is entering a bold new era for fans of Gustav Mahler and other late-Romantic symphonists, if the opening-night gala concert, led by Jaap van Zweden, was any indication. The Sept. 19 program featured Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, performed days after van Zweden led the same work at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, where he is in his final season as music director.
Continue reading “New York Philharmonic Can’t Get Enough of Mahler”

Santa Fe Opera’s ‘The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs’ on Closing Night

The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs (Ken Howard, Santa Fe Opera)

SANTA FE, NM – Driving north from Santa Fe on Highway 285, a stadium-like structure appears perched above the left side of the road. Turn off at one of the two marked exits, pull into one of the tightly-packed parking lots, and soon you’ll encounter small groups of tailgaters beside their crossover SUVs and Subaru wagons. In most cities, this would be the preamble for an NFL football game, but here, open-air opera is the star attraction. Continue reading “Santa Fe Opera’s ‘The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs’ on Closing Night”

Five Things Every Orchestra Website Should Get Right

A customer looks at an orchestra website (Matthew Henry/StockSnap.io)

In compiling the BBC Music Magazine‘s North American concert calendar every month, I spend a lot of time scanning the websites of concert presenters and orchestras across the U.S. and Canada. Though I am not a marketer and admittedly know little about ticketing sales practices, it’s easy to identify potential improvements in website design and usability. With that in mind, here are five things that I see orchestras can do to improve the online customer experience. Continue reading “Five Things Every Orchestra Website Should Get Right”

Streaming Classical Music Concerts: The Menu Grows

At a recent lunch for news media in New York, Hervé Boissière, the president and founder of the French concert-streaming service Medici.tv, showed off the beta version of his company’s new website. Gone was the old homepage dominated by a ginormous video player, which automatically started playing upon arrival (forcing you frantically reach for the pause button and/or volume if you had other plans). Continue reading “Streaming Classical Music Concerts: The Menu Grows”