Baltimore Symphony Premiere Aims to Address Racial Strife

Tucked inside a press release about the Baltimore Symphony’s April 16 concert at Carnegie Hall was one eye-catching detail: Before the program’s centerpiece of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, Marin Alsop is slated to conduct the premiere of Kevin Puts‘s The City, a long-scheduled piece whose creation took on “added focus,” after last year’s rioting and protests after the death of Freddie Gray. It will be accompanied by a film by Baltimore-born filmmaker James Bartolomeo. Continue reading “Baltimore Symphony Premiere Aims to Address Racial Strife”

How New York’s Concert Halls Score on TripAdvisor

“Shabby and uncomfortable just about sums it up” is how one prolific TripAdvisor reviewer describes Carnegie Hall. “Bad sound for classical music” is what another says of Boston’s Symphony Hall. Continue reading “How New York’s Concert Halls Score on TripAdvisor”

Is It Wrong to Call Classical Music ‘Soothing?’

Hilary Clinton was asked last week in an interview on SiriusXM what music she would play if she had her own radio channel. She cited Adele, classic rock, and, for days when she’s buried in paperwork, “soothing” classical music. If an election was based solely on musical tastes, Clinton would get much of the public’s vote: Classical music in popular culture is routinely linked to relaxation, quiet contemplation or sleep.  Continue reading “Is It Wrong to Call Classical Music ‘Soothing?’”

Keith Emerson Introduced Rock Fans to Classical Music

A week that began with the death of legendary Beatles producer George Martin ended with the passing of Keith Emerson, the gifted keyboardist of Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Much has been written about how Martin’s classical background shaped the Beatles’ sound, from his adding a string quartet arrangement to “Yesterday” to creating the famous orchestral glissando in “A Day in The Life” on the 1967 landmark “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Continue reading “Keith Emerson Introduced Rock Fans to Classical Music”

Opera Companies Lead the Arts in Marketing Expenses

Opera companies and symphony orchestras spend more than any other cultural sector on marketing in order to entice the public to attend a performance, according to a new report from the National Center for Arts Research at Southern Methodist University. But the data suggests that there is a payoff to the dollars spent on advertising, social media posts and radio spots. Continue reading “Opera Companies Lead the Arts in Marketing Expenses”

Philadelphia Orchestra, Mongolia and a Legacy of Far-Flung Symphonic Tours

The Philadelphia Orchestra said on Thursday that it will perform in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia in June 2017, marking the latest effort by a Western orchestra to visit a far-flung destination in the name of cultural diplomacy.
Continue reading “Philadelphia Orchestra, Mongolia and a Legacy of Far-Flung Symphonic Tours”

Music Festival Watch: Three Newcomers for 2016

Growing numbers of music festivals are reaching milestone anniversaries. Here in the Northeast U.S., Maverick Concerts in Woodstock, NY marked its 100th anniversary last year. The Norfolk Chamber Music Festival’s Shed turns 100 years old this year. Last year, the Tanglewood Music Center marked its 75th year. Even Music Mountain in Lakeville, CT, is no upstart, at 87 years old. Continue reading “Music Festival Watch: Three Newcomers for 2016”

Iceland Emerges on World Classical Music Stages

Don’t be surprised to see a wooly sweater or two if you’re on the streets of Los Angeles next spring. The Los Angeles Philharmonic said Tuesday that it will present a Reykjavik Festival in April 2017, featuring five concerts of Icelandic music from across the stylistic map, along with film screenings, lectures and visual art events. Continue reading “Iceland Emerges on World Classical Music Stages”

Why the Same Few Operas Seem to Be Staged Over and Over

There are many reasons why certain operas stay popular year after year, irrespective of the director or casting choices: It often boils down to the right combination of compelling stories, relatable characters and great melodies.  Continue reading “Why the Same Few Operas Seem to Be Staged Over and Over”