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On The Future of America’s Orchestras

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Robert Freeman

As I write this introduction to my Editor’s Choice for this month, at top of mind for me is the former Director of the Eastman School of Music, Robert Freeman. In 1972 he was named director of Eastman, a position he held for 24 years. He returned to Eastman this week to be formally honored

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Why Are People Starting New Orchestras?

0 Stephen Danyew
League_Logo

In “today’s arts climate,” which is often characterized by tales of diminishing audiences, revenue, and interest, why would anyone start a new orchestra? That is a question that Jennifer Melick considers in an intriguing article in the recent Symphony Magazine.  Melick spotlights eight recent orchestra startups and looks at the goals and creative ideas behind

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Politics and Music, as Considered by Alex Ross

0 Ann Drinan
Leonard Bernstein Lecturing

Alex Ross, the music critic of The New Yorker, always has interesting things to say about classical music. In a recent essay written for Symphony magazine, Mr. Ross writes about the role of politics in classical music by posing the question: Do musicians and composers have an obligation to speak out on political matters? He

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Music and politics, Part the Nth

0 Robert Levine

The Toronto Symphony finds itself in a kerfluffle, summarized neatly in an editorial in the Toronto Star: Talk about striking the wrong note. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra is way off base with its decision to cancel performances this week by the Ukrainian-born pianist Valentina Lisitsa because of her social media comments attacking the Ukrainian government.

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Michael Kaiser’s New Book: Curtains?

0 Ann Drinan
Curtains Book Jacket

Michael Kaiser’s latest book, Curtains? The Future of the Arts in America, raises some difficult questions that arts organizations must face if they are to survive in this changing economy and culture. Mr. Kaiser, former President of the Kennedy Center and currently Chairman of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland, analyzes

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PRJ Center Grant Recipients The Weckmann Project and Musica Nuova Reflect on Their Collaboration

0 Amanda Keil

The Weckmann Project and Musica Nuova were joint recipients of a 2014 Paul R. Judy Center for Applied Research grant, which supported our presentation of two staged productions of Heinrich Schutz’s Christmas Oratorio. Nearly 300 audience members joined us on December 6 and 7, 2014 at Zion German Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brooklyn Heights, where

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What Should We Wear Onstage?

0 Ann Drinan
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As it most likely true in all orchestras, mine has a decided rift amongst the women members in terms of what is appropriate to wear at a Masterworks concert. Being of a certain age, I always wear a floor-length skirt and a fancy top, usually velvet. It irks me to see 20-something women dressed as

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Building Arts Audiences

0 Ann Drinan
Wallace Foundation Study

In the fall of 2014, the Wallace Foundation published a report by market research expert Bob Harlow: The Road to Results: Effective Practices for Building Arts Audiences. The study profiles ten arts organizations that received funding from the Wallace Foundation to develop audience-building initiatives. Among the ten are the Boston Lyric Opera, Minnesota Opera, Pacific

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An Interview with Elaine Douvas, Principal Oboist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra

0 Ann Drinan
afm

Last May, as the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra musicians were facing a difficult negotiation, Local 802 published a lovely and insightful interview with Elaine Douvas in Allegro, their monthly newspaper. Bob Pawlo, Local 802 recording rep, asked her many questions that delved into the complex life of a principal player in perhaps the world’s most demanding

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Benjamin Franklin and the Reflective Conservatoire

0 Tony Woodcock
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I recently heard a mordantly humorous new take on Benjamin Franklin’s most famous quote: "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes and the immutability of conservatoires."

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Afa Sadykhly Dworkin to Become President of Sphinx Organization

0 Ann Drinan
Sphinx_Organization_Logo

The Sphinx Organization recently sent out a notice that Afa S. Dworkin will succeed her husband, Aaron Dworkin, as President and Artistic Director of the Spinx Organization on July 20. Aaron Dworkin has been named the new dean of the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance. According to Board Chair Dr. William

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An El Sistema Controversy

0 Ann Drinan

Last November, Dr. Geoffrey Baker, a music lecturer at the University of London’s Royal Holloway College, published a book that is quite critical of the founder of the El Sistema movement in Venezuela, Dr. José Abreu, and the El Sistema program itself. Various reviews of Baker’s book, El Sistema: Orchestrating Venezuela’s Youth (Oxford University Press,

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