How the 1918 Flu Pandemic Shaped Classical Music

A hospital orchestra during the 1918 flu epidemic, West Baden, Indiana (Photo: National Archives)

In the June issue of BBC Music Magazine I look at various ways in which composers were impacted by the flu epidemic of 1918-20. The virus, which wreaked havoc for nearly three years and left at least 50 million people dead including about 675,000 in the U.S., impacted music in ways both significant and modest. There were several escapist ragtime songs about “the grip,” and at least one chamber music piece: Darius Milhaud’s Sonata for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet and Piano, which ends with a dirge for the victims of the epidemic. 

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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”

Hollywood’s Diversity Debate Has Echoes in Classical Music

Giancarlo Guerrero conducts the Nashville Symphony (credit: Bill Steber).

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”