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”

These Are the 15 Most Popular Orchestras on Spotify

The most popular orchestras on Spotify are predominantly British, according to the streaming music service’s latest public data on its monthly listenership. Four out of the top five most-listened-to orchestras are located in London and seven of the top 15 are U.K.-based. Continue reading “These Are the 15 Most Popular Orchestras on Spotify”

Shostakovich and Cold War Anxieties in ‘Bridge of Spies’

Director Steven Spielberg is so closely associated with the epic scores of John Williams that it’s easy to overlook the moments in which he has used classical music in his films, from Bach in “Schindler’s List” to Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony in “Minority Report.” Continue reading “Shostakovich and Cold War Anxieties in ‘Bridge of Spies’”

Gorecki’s Fourth Symphony: Sequel to an Unlikely ‘Hit’

Classical recordings today rarely sell a million copies, and when they do we assume the performers’ success involved a YouTube breakthrough or perhaps a reality-television appearance.  Continue reading “Gorecki’s Fourth Symphony: Sequel to an Unlikely ‘Hit’”