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Category: Classical Music

The Ivory Ban – Important Instrument Travel Information

3 Stephen Danyew

From the League of American Orchestras: “The recent Obama Administration effort to increase restrictions on travel and trade in African Elephant ivory has placed a new focus on long-existing, but largely unimplemented permitting rules for international travel with instruments that contain endangered species material.”  The League has published a helpful webpage with very detailed information

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Millennial America

0 Peter Sachon

Orchestras need to offer compelling reasons for millennials to make live symphonic music a part of their lives.  After all, millennials are the largest generation in human history, and at nearly 90 million people they will very soon make up the vast majority of our orchestras’ stakeholders, constituents, audience, staff members and supporters – and

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What the Great Strad Robbery means for the future

0 Robert Levine

Most readers of this blog have already heard of the events of last Monday here in Milwaukee. If you haven’t, the New York Times has a good summary: It should have been one of those nights musicians live for. Frank Almond, the concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra for nearly two decades, had just closed

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The ‘Firebird’ Strad

0 Gerald Elias

What if someone told you that you could have Luciano Pavarotti’s voice for a week?  I don’t mean singing Some Enchanted Evening in the shower. I mean really sound like Pavarotti. I had the equivalent experience last week. Maybe even better, if that’s possible. I got to perform on the 1718 ‘Firebird’ Stradivarius, one of the greatest

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Well… I Won’t Be Welcome There

0 Tony Woodcock

It has been said that though the "educational" kids’ concert is merely a symptom of the general malaise in programming and concert presentation in the main orchestral season. It seems to be down to asking what audience and audience development do we want?

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Corelli and the Elevator

0 Gerald Elias

Go for it. What would you say has been the most important invention over the past five hundred years or so?  The automobile? Nuclear power?  The microchip?  Sliced bread? My vote…(drum roll)…the elevator!  You scoff, but think about it.  Before the elevator, cities could only expand as far as their geographical limits, hoist themselves four

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Telling It Like It Is – An interview with Julie Landsman

0 Ann Drinan

Julie Landsman, French hornist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for 25 years until her retirement in 2010, is the subject of a wonderful interview in Allegro, the  magazine of AFM local 802.  She explains how she developed her career plan: My first horn teacher was Mr. Howard Howard – yes that is his actual name!

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Wu Man and Her Pipa

0 Ann Drinan

The Hartford Symphony had opening night concerts this past Friday and Saturday, featuring our beautiful Austin organ with a Bach Toccata (we were joined by the Connecticut Youth Orchestra) and the Saint Saens Organ Symphony. But in between we played the Lou Harrison concerto for pipa and string orchestra, featuring Wu Man. It was a

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A Very Touching Moment

0 Robert Levine

Norman Lebrecht posted about an incident between the concertmaster of the Staatskapelle Berlin orchestra and Daniel Barenboim during the recently concluded performance of Wagner’s Ring Cyle at this year’s Proms. It had a happy ending, though -  Barenboim addressed the audience after the final performance, thanking them, the orchestra, and the chorus, and ending by

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A Dance of Contradictions Celebrated by Bernstein

0 Jeffrey Johnson

Jeffrey Johnson is Professor of Music and Director of the Music Program at the University of Bridgeport, and the author of several books. He also serves as the classical music critic for the Hartford Courant and the Stamford Advocate. He recently sent Polyphonic this thoughtful post. – Ann Drinan, Senior Editor Instances of extended 5/4

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League Conference 2013: Learning from New Ensembles

0 Ann Drinan

Moderated by Norman Ryan, Vice President of Composers and Repertoire at Schott Music Corporation, the panel for this session included Amy Garapic, Co-Executive Director of Contemporaneous; Beth Perdue Outland, Vice President of Community Engagement  and Strategic Innovation, Indianapolis Symphony; Jen Richards, Managing Director, eighth blackbird; and Julia Rubio, Executive Director of the Black Pearl Chamber

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League Conference: A Conversation with Greg Sandow

0 Ann Drinan

In her introduction, Judith Kurnick, Vice President for Strategic Communications at the League, described Greg Sandow as a cultural critic, someone who could bring thinking across disciplines and share ideas that you would never have thought of before. He’s been a member of the graduate faculty at Juilliard for 17 years, and was involved in

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Annual Return to Boston Symphony Violin Section

0 Gerald Elias

Well, Cecily and I have begun our annual cross-country pilgrimage from Salt Lake City to Tanglewood.  This year, though, we’ve taken an unlikely circuitous route, stopping first in Portland and Seattle to visit our kids.  As we’re so far north already we’ve decided to make our trek through Canada, stopping at a Canadian Rockies hot

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Flora, Fauna, and Fiddles: Which Ones Require International Permits?

0 Stephen Danyew

An on-demand webinar is now available providing an introduction to the special permit process required for international travel with certain musical instruments containing protected species, such as ivory, rosewood, tortoise shell, and other material. On May 14th, the League of American Orchestras, in partnership with the American Federation of Musicians, The Recording Academy, and NAMM,

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Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring at 100

1 Ann Drinan

2013 is the 100th anniversary of the premiere of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, and 2013 will see more than 270 performances of this iconic work of the early 20th century. Donald Rosenberg, long-time music critic and reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, has written a fascinating article about the Rite in this month’s Symphony magazine.

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Sir Colin Davis Remembered

0 Gerald Elias

Due to the tumult of the bombing at the Boston Marathon, the world all but overlooked the passing of Sir Colin Davis, one of the great conductors of the 20thcentury, who died at age 85 one day before that terrible event took place.  To list his resumé as the music director and guest conductor of

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Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra and Musical DNA

0 Gerald Elias

Roland Tapley, Alfred Krips, Harry Dickson, George Zazofsky, Clarence Knudsen, Laszlo Nagy, Eugene Lehner, George Humphrey, Misha Nieland, Henry Portnoi, John Barwicki, James Pappoutsakis, Pasquale Cardillo, Bernard Zighera, Charlie Smith.  What do these 15 men have in common?  They were all musicians in the Boston Symphony who, with some 80 of their colleagues, performed the

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Getting to Know Maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin

0 Ann Drinan

Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the new Music Director of the Philadelphia Orchestra who lives in Montreal, has been garnering lots of positive press, especially after his triumphant debut with the orchestra at Carnegie Hall on October 23 performing Verdi’s Requiem. He held the silence at the conclusion of the work for many, many seconds – so many that

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Gerald Elias: Violinist, Author & Blogger

0 Ann Drinan

Jerry Elias, former violinist with the Boston and Utah Symphonies and author of four murder mysteries with a blind violin pedagogue as the protagonist, has agreed to be an occasional blogger for Polyphonic. In addition to writing mysteries Jerry has much to say about classical music, performance practise, playing violin, and much more. His fourth

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Improving Parts (and Scores) for Orchestral Musicians

4 Steven Reading

After many wonderful years of horn playing with most (if not all) of the major orchestras in the UK, and touring all over the world with them, and others it was time to hang up my ‘hooter’ and think of something else to do. I have had an interest in computers and music typesetting for

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Breaking Up with Beethoven

0 Peter Sachon

Go out to hear an orchestra concert tonight and chances are the orchestra will be playing Beethoven.  The most recent Orchestra Repertoire Report, from ’09 – ’10, details that 137 orchestras in America performed Beethoven’s music 457 times that season.  His ninth, seventh, and fifth symphonies were ranked first, second and third respectively among the

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Kim Kashkashian, Violist Extraordinaire

0 Ann Drinan

As I’m sure most of you know, violist Kim Kashkashian won the Grammy for “Best Classical Instrumental Solo” for her album Kurtag and Ligeti of works by Hungarian composers Gyorgy Kurtag and Gyorgy Ligeti. When the announcement was made, a huge buzz went through the viola world — both because a violist had won the solo

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Fingerings

2 Ann Drinan

Perhaps my most intense pet peeve about playing in an orchestra has to do with fingerings. When one has to share a part with someone else, one expects a bit of respect. But, unfortunately, that often doesn’t happen — I have known stand partners to write fingerings over almost every note in the part. To

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Big Tent Thinking

3 Peter Sachon

History is filled with people who have tried to define art.  They have all been wrong, and there is no reason to suspect we are any better at it than they were. Changes to what experts call “Art” happen all the time.  There was a time when people questioned whether photography constituted fine art.  Some

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New York Times Sunday Dialogue: Is Classical Music Dying?

1

About ten days ago, Les Dreyer, a retired violinist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, had his letter to the editor published in the New York Times. Evidently his writing generated some interest—in fact, enough interest to be featured, along with 12 or so others in “Reader’s Reactions.” Mr. Dreyer’s letter is the focus of this

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Beyond Prestige

1 Peter Sachon

In the American system, the arts are funded mostly through indirect subsidies.  Our government’s tax policies toward charitable giving elicit billions of dollars in contributions annually.  The beauty of this system is that it not only allows the citizens to determine which not-for-profits benefit a civil society, but also it does not require the government

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Who’s Afraid of Popular Culture?

1 Peter Sachon

A recent missed opportunity for orchestras in New York City came in late October in the form of Comic Con.  The New York Comic Con is an annual New York City fan convention dedicated to comics, graphic novels, anime, manga, video games, toys, movies, and television.  Comic Con is an event that brings more than 100,000 people

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Hartford Symphony & Chorale on Chinese Television

0 Ann Drinan

I visited SymphonyNOW this morning, the League’s news website, and was pleased to see a video featuring my music director, Carolyn Kuan. I’m a violist with the Hartford Symphony in Connecticut. For our opening concert set last week, we performed four concerts of Beethoven’s Ninth paired with the Yellow River Cantata, written by Xian Xinghai

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Gold in them thar toobs?

0 Robert Levine

Think “orchestral institutions” as “artists” in this article and some interesting questions emerge: Are we finally entering the age of the digital cultural entrepreneur (DCE)? That is, has it now become possible for a gifted artist or writer to control the reins of his or her career from a laptop, scheduling gigs, selling books or

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When’s it OK to ask musicians to work for free?

0 Robert Levine

For sure it’s not when the person asking has raised $1.2 million for her new album but doesn’t want to pay back-up musicians on the road. Fortunately for all concerned, she (very grudgingly) changed her mind after considerable public outcry. Many AFM locals had a prohibition in their bylaws about members working for free, at

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Composer’s Corner with Jake Runestad

0

It is a pleasure to be a guest blogger on Polyphonic.org and I am excited to share a behind-the-scenes look at my latest project: Dreams of the Fallen, an exciting new work for orchestra, chorus, and solo piano commissioned by a consortium of orchestras, private sector donors, and acclaimed pianist Jeffrey Biegel – a champion of

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Unleashed

0 Tony Woodcock

I am sure we’ve all had evenings when we arrive home from work exhausted and brain-dead, not having the energy or concentration to do anything more than switch on the TV and go semi-conscious.  And of course, sleep comes pretty … Continue reading

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Guest Bloggers: Quartetutopia by Nicholas Kitchen

0 Tony Woodcock

[Nick Kitchen is the founding first violinist of the Borromeo Quartet, ensemble in residence at NEC. In addition to receiving the Artist Diploma from NEC, the quartet has gone on to win the 2007 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Lincoln Center's … Continue reading

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“Mr. Kreizsky, meet Mr. Woodsky”

0 Tony Woodcock

Yakov Kreitzberg, the Russian-born, American-trained conductor was Music Director and Artistic Director of the Monte Carlo Philharmonic, Principal Guest Conductor of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, and outgoing Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and Netherlands Chamber … Continue reading

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