Tue, Jun. 27th, 2006, 05:44 pm
Another article about shaking up the classical music establishment. Since that's all I post about anymore :)Paul Haas gives classical music a little shake in 'Rewind,' traveling 500 years without breaks
Tom Dolby, Special to The Chronicle
Monday, June 26, 2006
(06-26) 04:00 PDT New York -- For someone who regularly performs at Carnegie Hall, calls Yale and Juilliard his alma maters, and counts people such as Itzhak Perlman and Michael Tilson Thomas as performance partners, conductor Paul Haas has a surprisingly audacious vision for the future of classical music.
"I want to make the concert experience more relevant, more here and now, to someone like me, to people like my friends, to those who aren't going to the concert halls these days because they feel out of place," says Haas, 35.
Haas, whom I met when we were kids because our parents are friends, grew up in San Francisco, attending the Cathedral School for Boys and University High School, and singing in the Grace Cathedral Choir. He participated in every possible permutation of musical activity as a teenager, from classical violin and piano, to singing groups, musical theater, jazz combos and rock bands.
All of that experience, combined with a solid training in classical conducting, has prepared Haas, now a New Yorker, for one of the most ambitious projects of his career: "Rewind," a multimedia musical happening that took place earlier this month at Manhattan's Angel Orensanz Center for the Arts.
"Rewind" combines a number of unusual elements, all of which were inspired by Haas' feeling that the classical music experience was not serving the needs of its potential audience: "I would go to concerts and think, 'I'm not really engaged here, it's not really doing for me what I think a concert should be doing.' "( Read more...Collapse )
Just so you all know...there's a feature article up on Pitchfork right now called John Cage's Xbox.
Sat, Jun. 3rd, 2006, 04:26 pm
Finally an article about classical music's "demise" that gets it right...
Check the Numbers: Rumors of Classical Music's Demise Are Dead Wrong
By ALLAN KOZINN
New York Times
Everyone has heard the requiems sung for classical music or at least the reports of its failing health: that its audience is graying, record sales have shriveled and the cost of live performance is rising as ticket sales decline. Music education has virtually disappeared from public schools. Classical programming has (all but) disappeared from television and radio. And 17 orchestras have closed in the last 20 years.
All this has of late become the subject of countless blogs, news reports, books and symposiums, with classical music partisans furrowing their brows and debating what went wrong, what can still go wrong and whether it's too late to save this once-exalted industry. Moaning about the state of classical music has itself become an industry. But as pervasive as the conventional wisdom is, much of it is based on sketchy data incorrectly interpreted. Were things better in the old days? Has American culture given up on classical music?
The numbers tell a very different story: for all the hand-wringing, there is immensely more classical music on offer now, both in concerts and on recordings than there was in what nostalgists think of as the golden era of classics in America.( Read more...Collapse )
Sat, Jun. 3rd, 2006, 03:54 pm
Urge.com and Online Classical (Whatever That Is)
IT has been three years since iTunes burst on the scene and pushed the popularity of music downloads and the white iPod headset cords coming out of the ears of what seems like half the population.
Now the MTV networks and Microsoft are sending out their own entry to challenge Apple in the music-downloading stakes. Their site, Urge.com, which went live on Wednesday, bills itself as offering everything from alt-rock to zydeco: two million tracks, available individually or to subscribers, all playable on Microsoft digital players in the Windows Media format.( Read more...Collapse )
Mon, Apr. 10th, 2006, 11:22 pm
Today I realized I maintain 3 different blogs. The other two have gotten more love lately than LJ. But so it goes.
Wed, Mar. 29th, 2006, 10:10 pm
THEATREGOERS ARE CHANGING COARSE
By Joe Dziemainowicz
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
28 March 2006
The theater has always had ushers.
What it needs now is referees.
Thanks to rude behavior of fellow patrons, audiences are mad as hell - and not going to take it anymore.
Instead, they're taking matters into their own hands. It's vigilantism, Broadway-style.( Read more...Collapse )
Fri, Feb. 10th, 2006, 05:26 pm
New York Philharmonic to Make Concerts Available for Digital Downloading
By DANIEL J. WAKIN
The New York Philharmonic, not known for its quick-stepping ways, is entering the new world of digital downloading under a three-year recording deal with Deutsche Grammophon, the orchestra announced yesterday.
Deutsche Grammophon, using live recordings by the orchestra, will release four concerts a year, probably through iTunes and perhaps through other Web sites, said Zarin Mehta, the orchestra's president. The first is due in about two months and will be priced at about $8 to $10, he said. It will consist of this weekend's program at Avery Fisher Hall, Mozart's Symphonies Nos. 39, 40 and 41, conducted by Lorin Maazel. Listeners will probably have the choice of downloading a movement, a symphony or the whole concert, Mr. Mehta said.
The orchestra thus finds itself in the vanguard of purveying performances through the Internet. Few others have done so, although many are contemplating the move.
Mr. Mehta also announced another recording deal, an arrangement with New World Records to release two CD's a year of new works commissioned and played by the Philharmonic in their world premieres. Those recordings, too, will be available by download, said the orchestra's spokesman, Eric Latzky.( Read more...Collapse )
Sun, Feb. 5th, 2006, 03:15 pm
From the New York Times:
With a Wink, Pointing the Way to the 'Authentic'
By MATT GROSS
RUBIES is a dark, popular wine bar on a fashionable street in Phnom Penh, and on any given night there you can find foreign aid workers carping about Cambodia and, next to them, other expatriates carping about foreign aid workers. One evening at the end of March, however, my friend Patrick and I arrived early enough to find Rubies empty, the wide sofa at the rear of the bar unoccupied but for a guidebook forgotten by some hurried backpacker.
We ordered $1 cans of Beerlao and skimmed through the book, a bootleg copy probably produced by the same mafia that floods Southeast Asia with low-quality copies of "The Quiet American." It described a familiar country, a former French colony emerging from decades of war to embrace its tourism potential. The country's citizens, the book explained, "have at last downed their weapons and are now welcoming overseas visitors with an open arm."
This was a land "where traffic police wear face masks but surgeons rarely do," where the white-sand beaches were produced by global warming and "a huge spill from a tanker carrying laundry bleach," and where the cuisine is "a fiery combination of chili, garlic and pepper to which food is occasionally added." In short, a country very much like the one we were in.
But this was not a guide to Cambodia, or to Thailand, Vietnam or Laos. This was Phaic Tan: "hot, humid and covered in lush vegetation ... the armpit of Southeast Asia." To two sweaty travelers, it was hilarious.
Obviously, Phaic Tan is, well, fake. It is the creation of the Australian comedians Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner and Rob Sitch, who in 2004 published "Molvania: A Land Untouched by Modern Dentistry." (Released in Australia a year ago, "Phaic Tan: Sunstroke on a Shoestring" will be available in the United States in February.) The Jetlag Travel Guide series does not, however, merely skewer Third World tourist destinations; the guidebook genre itself is the target. The books are ostensibly written by such experts as Philippe Miseree, who informs readers: "In researching this book, I discovered a myriad of beautiful beaches and breathtaking sights. I'm quite sure you will not find as many and if you do, remember - I was there first."( Read more...Collapse )
Mon, Jan. 30th, 2006, 01:09 pm
Q&A: eMusic's David Pakman
By Jim Welte | more stories by this author
January 27, 2006 at 03:07:00 PM
One of digital music's oldest brands has grown in leaps and bounds in the past two years. How? By sticking to the indies.
Like many of the pioneering brands in the digital music space--MP3.com included--eMusic has had more than its share of ups, downs, incarnations, and reincarnations.
In its latest embodiment, eMusic's story is both impressive and unheralded. It sells 4.5 million downloads a month, placing it far behind industry behemoth iTunes, but in great standing among the rest of the pack. And eMusic has carved out its own niche, eschewing the digital rights management (DRM) technology required for licensing by the major record labels and thus focusing entirely on independent labels and bands.
That means you won't find Kanye, U2, or Mariah Carey on eMusic, but you will a diverse catalog that includes Johnny Cash, Bob Marley, Ray Charles, Tom Waits, My Morning Jacket, and Miles Davis.( Read more...Collapse )