Benjamin Millepied Moved Opera Ballet into Digital Space

With their distinct issues and personalities, the worlds of ballet and classical music rarely share the same news cycle. But last week’s surprise announcement that Benjamin Millepied is quitting as director of the Paris Opera Ballet will have repercussions beyond the world of dance. Continue reading “Benjamin Millepied Moved Opera Ballet into Digital Space”

Can Young, Charismatic Conductors Strike the Right Chord?

The news on Thursday that the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra has hired Lithuanian conductor Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla, 29, as its next music director has generated has a degree of excitement not always seen in announcements of this sort. Continue reading “Can Young, Charismatic Conductors Strike the Right Chord?”

3 New Films About Florence Foster Jenkins: A Users’ Guide

In an apparent fluke of timing, there are no fewer than three films currently in production or release about Florence Foster Jenkins, the socialite who became infamous in the 1920s and ’30s for her tone-deaf renditions of opera arias by Mozart, Verdi and other composers. Continue reading “3 New Films About Florence Foster Jenkins: A Users’ Guide”

New Orchestras Focus on the ‘Now’ and ‘Nu’

“The musicians you see here are not from central casting—they’re conservatory-trained,” Bard College president and conductor Leon Botstein assured audiences on Friday night as he introduced The Orchestra Now, Bard’s new graduate training ensemble. Continue reading “New Orchestras Focus on the ‘Now’ and ‘Nu’”

New York Philharmonic Taps Jaap van Zweden as Music Director

The New York Philharmonic has found its successor to Alan Gilbert. The orchestra announced on Wednesday that its next music director will be Jaap van Zweden, a fastidious Dutch conductor who will lead the ensemble as it embarks on a multi-year hall renovation set to begin in 2019. Continue reading “New York Philharmonic Taps Jaap van Zweden as Music Director”

A Blizzard Prompts Cancellations and a Free Download

Broadway, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall all went dark this weekend as the historic snowstorm walloped the East Coast, leaving many arts groups scrambling to issue refunds or reschedule performances where possible. But one rock-and-roll veteran went the extra mile after his concert was cancelled. Continue reading “A Blizzard Prompts Cancellations and a Free Download”

Mahler’s Eighth Symphony: Unjustly Neglected?

There’s no other symphony like Gustav Mahler’s Eighth. The piece got its nickname, the “Symphony of a Thousand,” at its 1910 premiere in Munich, which featured 1,030 performers, including 858 singers, 171 instrumentalists and the composer himself on the podium. Although a thousand musicians aren’t normally used these days (300 to 500 is more typical), it’s still a demanding and expensive undertaking, and thus we don’t hear it as often as Mahler’s other nine symphonies. Continue reading “Mahler’s Eighth Symphony: Unjustly Neglected?”

Hollywood’s Diversity Debate Has Echoes in Classical Music

The dearth of black actors among this year’s Oscar nominees has triggered what some observers are calling a full-fledged diversity crisis for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, even as the president of the organization has promised change.

Lack of diversity in the arts isn’t just a concern for Hollywood, of course, and there are echoes of this debate in the classical music field. Continue reading “Hollywood’s Diversity Debate Has Echoes in Classical Music”

‘The Revenant’ Mixes Savage Landscapes with Classical Music

For the second year in a row, the film with the most Academy Award nominations features a soundtrack peppered with classical compositions. In both instances, the filmmaker responsible for the mix is the Mexican director, producer and former composer Alejandro González Iñárritu.
Continue reading “‘The Revenant’ Mixes Savage Landscapes with Classical Music”

11 Classical Music Highlights From the NYPL Digital Archives

Once the esoteric pursuit of historians and library nerds, interest in archival photography has skyrocketed recently thanks to digital-forward research libraries as well as social media websites like InstagramRetronaut and Vintage Everyday.

Last week, the New York Public Library did its part in a big way, releasing over 180,000 digital images for public use on its Digital Collections website. Continue reading “11 Classical Music Highlights From the NYPL Digital Archives”