New Jersey Arts Groups Grapple With Changing Audiences

Xian Zhang with the NJSO - May 2015 (credit Fred Stucker)

Working in the shadow of a major city is a challenge faced by suburban arts organizations across the United States, but especially in New Jersey, where New York City and Philadelphia act as strong magnets for culture lovers. The state’s opera companies have particularly struggled to stay afloat, not only in recent times, but for well over a decade. Continue reading “New Jersey Arts Groups Grapple With Changing Audiences”

Five Takeaways from Classical April Fool’s Day

The Detroit Symphony plays wearing Carhartt gear.

April Fool’s Day offers classical music organizations an opportunity to reveal a less serious side, which increasingly means online video. 

There were at least three such videos that made the rounds in 2016. At the risk of turning a holiday of silliness and shenanigans into an exercise in furrowed-brow analysis, here are five takeaways from April Fool’s Day. Continue reading “Five Takeaways from Classical April Fool’s Day”

Baltimore Symphony Premiere Aims to Address Racial Strife

Baltimore Symphony plays a concert for peace on April 29, 2015

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”

Is It Wrong to Call Classical Music ‘Soothing?’

Credit: Dingzeyu Li/Upsplash

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

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”