Tag Archives: music

David Leventi | Opera Houses

David Lev­enti — from “Opera”

A visu­ally stun­ning col­lec­tion of pho­tos of the inte­ri­ors of Euro­pean Opera Houses

a riv­et­ing col­lec­tion of Euro­pean Opera houses

…and a reminder of the impor­tance of the visual in the per­for­mance of music

real-life music is about see­ing as well as about hearing

See the entire exhibit, and more…

David Lev­enti Pho­tog­ra­phy.

Carnegie Hall Sound Insights — Mahler: The Symphonies in Sequence — Symphony No. 9






Carnegie Hall presents a really excel­lent dis­cus­sion of Mahler’s Sym­phony No. 9 com­plete with audio clips. Well worth a look…

The Carnegie Hall and NY pre­mière of Mahler’s Ninth Sym­phony took place on Novem­ber 19, 1931

The Sym­phony at a Glance

“Farewell. Farewell. Farewell. Mahler’s last three sym­phonies all say the same thing, but so dif­fer­ently. The Ninth, like the unnum­bered “song-symphony,” Das Lied von der Erde, which imme­di­ately pre­ceded it, ends with a slow move­ment in which ges­tures of leave-taking are extended over a half-hour span. Sad­ness, regret, aware­ness of death, a sense of lift­ing off—these things are easy to hear in such music, even with­out a singer as a guide.”

via Carnegie Hall Sound Insights — Mahler: The Sym­phonies in Sequence — Sym­phony No. 9.

The Engine Insitute, Inc. | Art, Music, Science and Genius

The Engine Insti­tute, Inc., is an orga­ni­za­tion which fos­ters inno­va­tions to ben­e­fit soci­ety and cul­ture through artis­tic explo­ration at the fron­tiers of science.

Art — Music — Sci­ence — Genius

Very inter­est­ing con­cept devel­oped by my old friend China Blue. Take a look.

via The Engine Insi­tute, Inc. | Art, Music, Sci­ence and Genius.

Aaron Copland — born on this day in 1900

For me, the music of Aaron Cop­land is the music of Amer­ica. His Amer­ica is a land of hope, of val­ues, of lim­it­less vis­tas. I first became acquainted with his music in high school choir singing the “Three Amer­i­can Songs”. This was the begin­ning of a life-long appreciation.

(unfor­tu­nately, if you are read­ing this in the HIDOE domain k12.hi.us, all you are see­ing between the text is empty space. HIDOE feels that stu­dents and staff need to be pro­tected from “harm­ful” con­tent like Music.)

Aaron Cop­land biography

from PBS  Amer­i­can Masters

Cop­land was born in Brook­lyn, New York, on Novem­ber 14, 1900. The child of Jew­ish immi­grants from Lithua­nia, he first learned to play the piano from his older sis­ter. At the age of six­teen he went to Man­hat­tan to study with Rubin Gold­mark, a respected pri­vate music instruc­tor who taught Cop­land the fun­da­men­tals of coun­ter­point and com­po­si­tion. Dur­ing these early years he immersed him­self in con­tem­po­rary clas­si­cal music by attend­ing per­for­mances at the New York Sym­phony and Brook­lyn Acad­emy of Music. He found, how­ever, that like many other young musi­cians, he was attracted to the clas­si­cal his­tory and musi­cians of Europe. So, at the age of twenty, he left New York for the Sum­mer School of Music for Amer­i­can Stu­dents at Foun­tainebleau, France.

In France, Cop­land found a musi­cal com­mu­nity unlike any he had known. It was at this time that he sold his first com­po­si­tion to Durand and Sons, the most respected music pub­lisher in France. While in Europe Copeland met many of the impor­tant artists of the time, includ­ing the famous com­poser Serge Kous­se­vit­sky. Kous­se­vit­sky requested that Cop­land write a piece for the Boston Sym­phony Orches­tra. The piece, “Sym­phony for Organ and Orches­tra” (1925) was Copland’s entry into the life of pro­fes­sional Amer­i­can music. He fol­lowed this with “Music for the The­ater” (1925) and “Piano Con­certo” (1926), both of which relied heav­ily on the jazz idioms of the time. For Cop­land, jazz was the first gen­uinely Amer­i­can major musi­cal move­ment. From jazz he hoped to draw the inspi­ra­tion for a new type of sym­phonic music, one that could dis­tin­guish itself from the music of Europe.

In the late 1920s Copland’s atten­tion turned to pop­u­lar music of other coun­tries. He had moved away from his inter­est in jazz and began to con­cern him­self with expand­ing the audi­ence for Amer­i­can clas­si­cal music. He believed that clas­si­cal music could even­tu­ally be as pop­u­lar as jazz in Amer­ica or folk music in Mex­ico. He worked toward this goal with both his music and a firm com­mit­ment to orga­niz­ing and pro­duc­ing. He was an active mem­ber of many orga­ni­za­tions, includ­ing both the Amer­i­can Com­posers’ Alliance and the League of Com­posers. Along with his friend Roger Ses­sions, he began the Copland-Sessions con­certs, ded­i­cated to pre­sent­ing the works of young com­posers. It was around this same time that his plans for an Amer­i­can music fes­ti­val (sim­i­lar to ones in Europe) mate­ri­al­ized as the Yaddo Fes­ti­val of Amer­i­can Music (1932). By the mid-’30s Cop­land had become not only one of the most pop­u­lar com­posers in the coun­try, but a leader of the com­mu­nity of Amer­i­can clas­si­cal musicians.

It was in 1935 with “El Salón Méx­ico” that Cop­land began his most pro­duc­tive and pop­u­lar years. The piece pre­sented a new sound that had its roots in Mex­i­can folk music. Cop­land believed that through this music, he could find his way to a more pop­u­lar sym­phonic music. In his search for the widest audi­ence, Cop­land began com­pos­ing for the movies and bal­let. Among his most pop­u­lar com­po­si­tions for film are those for “Of Mice and Men” (1939), “Our Town ” (1940), and “The Heiress” (1949), which won him an Acad­emy Award for best score. He com­posed scores for a num­ber of bal­lets, includ­ing two of the most pop­u­lar of the time: “Agnes DeMille’s Rodeo” (1942) and Martha Gra­ham’s “Appalachian Spring” (1944), for which he won the Pulitzer Prize. Both bal­lets pre­sented views of Amer­i­can coun­try life that cor­re­sponded to the folk tra­di­tions Cop­land was inter­ested in. Prob­a­bly the most impor­tant and suc­cess­ful com­po­si­tion from this time was his patri­otic “A Lin­coln Por­trait” (1942). The piece for voice and orches­tra presents quotes from Lincoln’s writ­ings nar­rated over Copland’s musi­cal composition.

Through­out the ’50s, Cop­land slowed his work as a com­poser, and began to try his hand at con­duct­ing. He began to tour with his own work as well as the works of other great Amer­i­can musi­cians. Con­duct­ing was a syn­the­sis of the work he had done as a com­poser and as an orga­nizer. Over the next twenty years he trav­eled through­out the world, con­duct­ing live per­for­mances and cre­at­ing an impor­tant col­lec­tion of recorded work. By the early ’70s, Cop­land had, with few excep­tions, com­pletely stopped writ­ing orig­i­nal music. Most of his time was spent con­duct­ing and rework­ing older com­po­si­tions. In 1983 Cop­land con­ducted his last sym­phony. His gen­er­ous work as a teacher at Tan­gle­wood, Har­vard, and the New School for Social Research gained him a fol­low­ing of devoted musi­cians. As a scholar, he wrote more than sixty arti­cles and essays on music, as well as five books. He trav­eled the world in an attempt to ele­vate the sta­tus of Amer­i­can music abroad, and to increase its pop­u­lar­ity at home. Through these var­i­ous com­mit­ments to music and to his coun­try, Aaron Cop­land became one of the most impor­tant fig­ures in twentieth-century Amer­i­can music. On Decem­ber 2, 1990, Aaron Cop­land died in North Tar­ry­town, New York.

The Year the Music Died…

Some­thing very dis­turb­ing is hap­pen­ing in Amer­ica: one-by-one, Sym­phony Orches­tras are dying and nobody seems to care…

I’m begin­ning a piece on the death of fine music in our com­mu­ni­ties. I’ll be adding more as time allows. This is per­son­ally dis­turb­ing to me as the par­ent of a musi­cian. It should also dis­turb us since this trend seems to be symp­to­matic of some larger social and cul­tural shift. (more to come)

My son had the great good for­tune to attend the Inter­lochen Arts Camp and sub­se­quently, to grad­u­ate from the Inter­lochen Arts Acad­emy in Michi­gan. At Inter­lochen, he was sur­rounded by the most tal­ented young artists in the world. These young peo­ple are com­mit­ted to excelling at their craft. Upon grad­u­a­tion, many go on to places like Jul­liard, East­man, the Boston Con­ser­va­tory as well as other col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties. These are stu­dents full of promise. They are the next Perlman’s, YoYo Ma’s, and the gen­er­a­tion that will pick up the batons of Leonard Slatkin and Seiji Ozawa. The ques­tion now is, what kind of future is there for a gifted artist in our society?

Update: 11 Decem­ber 2010

Hawaii becomes the only state in the coun­try with­out a pro­fes­sional orchestra”

The end nears for 110-year-old Hon­olulu Sym­phony | KHON2 Hawaii’s News Leader

via cel­lodad.

Detroit Sym­phony still on strike — from Inter­lochen Pub­lic Radio

It’s been about a month since the Detroit Sym­phony Orches­tra went on strike. Con­certs at Orches­tra Hall have been can­celled through Novem­ber sev­enth, and more can­cel­la­tions are likely…since no new con­tract talks have been scheduled.

It’s just heart­break­ing; absolutely heart­break­ing,” says Tim Mur­phy. He and his wife Claire paid twenty bucks each to attend the sold-out con­cert, all of which goes to the strik­ing musi­cians. Mur­phy says he’s not tak­ing sides in the dis­agree­ment, but he says some­thing has to be done, fast.

This is a world class orches­tra, and peo­ple on this level have to get paid and they have to rec­og­nize that this is a jewel,” he says. “And it’s an invest­ment. And once it’s gone, it’s gone, because these peo­ple will move away, find other posi­tions, and then this orches­tra will no longer have that cache they’ve had for all these years.”

Big Prob­lems
Right now, the DSO is one of the top ten orches­tras in the coun­try. But it’s a top ten orches­tra with a nine mil­lion dol­lar bud­get deficit. So, to stay afloat, cuts need to be made. At least that much the two sides agree on.

Drew McManus, in dis­cussing the prob­lems encoun­tered by the St. Louis Sym­phony a few years ago projects a trou­bling sce­nario for DSO:

You’re def­i­nitely gonna see your top tier, like your fixed-chair play­ers, your first chair play­ers, start to peel away first and those are the play­ers that inevitably help guide the sound of the orches­tra,” he says. “So once that starts to go away you start to lose things music direc­tors are hired to build in the first place.”

This is the sit­u­a­tion we’ve seen hap­pen in Hon­olulu. Fine musi­cians, who are able to per­form else­where, are no longer finan­cially able to stay in town hop­ing for some­thing to change.

What is hap­pen­ing to the DSO is a poster child for what is hap­pen­ing to the arts in America”

By Shan­non Jones
19 Octo­ber 2010

The strike by Detroit Sym­phony Orches­tra play­ers enters its third week Mon­day. The 85 musi­cians walked out Octo­ber 4 against man­age­ment attempts to cut their base pay by 33 per­cent and the pay of start­ing play­ers by 42 per­cent, along with addi­tional cuts in health ben­e­fits (which would, in fact, reduce pay by more than 33 per­cent) and other humil­i­at­ing demands.

Inter­view with strik­ing Detroit Sym­phony vio­list Hart Hollman

Hon­olulu Sym­phony — Continued…

Update from Bloomberg Busi­ness­week

The Hon­olulu Sym­phony orches­tra, which filed for Chap­ter 11 reor­ga­ni­za­tion in Decem­ber, nego­ti­ated a set­tle­ment of an unfair labor prac­tices com­plaint with the union rep­re­sent­ing musi­cians. The sym­phony said in a fil­ing with the U.S. Bank­ruptcy Court in Hon­olulu that it was “highly unlikely” there could have been a reor­ga­ni­za­tion plan with­out a set­tle­ment with the union.

Assum­ing the symphony’s board and the union for­mally agree, the musi­cians will waive claims for back pay and sev­er­ance. Absent waiver, the claims would have been admin­is­tra­tive expenses requir­ing full pay­ment. The sym­phony said the set­tle­ment was “bro­kered” by the National Labor Rela­tions Board.

The sym­phony said it can­not file a Chap­ter 11 plan until the set­tle­ment is for­mally approved. The sym­phony there­fore filed a motion to extend the exclu­sive right to pro­pose a plan. A hear­ing on the exclu­siv­ity motion will be held Dec. 18. The sym­phony said bank­ruptcy resulted from a decline in donations.

The case is In re Hon­olulu Sym­phony Soci­ety, 09–02978, U.S. Bank­ruptcy Court, Dis­trict of Hawaii (Honolulu).

HONOLULU (octo­ber 16, 2010) — A Fri­day dead­line for a Hon­olulu Sym­phony reor­ga­ni­za­tion plan came and went with­out one, and the next sched­uled hear­ing in the case is two months away. Sym­phony man­age­ment sought an exten­sion of the fil­ing dead­line to buy time to set­tle an unfair labor prac­tice charge made by the Sym­phony musicians.The bank­ruptcy judge set a Dec. 13 hear­ing date on the motion, effec­tively giv­ing the Sym­phony another two months. The musi­cians, mean­while, announced Fri­day after­noon that to facil­i­tate reor­ga­ni­za­tion they had with­drawn the com­plaint they filed with the National Labor Rela­tions Board in July. “The musi­cians wanted to with­draw the charge to remove their stated rea­son for not fil­ing,” said Jonathan Par­rish, a mem­ber of the musician’s union who had sat on the Sym­phony board.

via Sym­phony bank­ruptcy still unre­solved — Hawaii News Now — KGMB and KHNL Home.

Con­tin­ued dis­mal update about Hon­olulu Symphony

Liq­ui­da­tion may be a pos­si­bil­ity for Hon­olulu Symphony

KHON2 Novem­ber 20 2010

t’s been almost a year since the 110-year old Hon­olulu Sym­phony filed for Chap­ter 11 re-organization. Accord­ing to the Musi­cians Union, the sym­phony board has had seri­ous dis­cus­sions about con­vert­ing to Chap­ter 7 liq­ui­da­tion bankruptcy.

There may be some rays of light on this som­bre landscape:

Philadel­phia Orches­tra turn­ing around | NYT

The Philadel­phia Orches­tra, a sto­ried Amer­i­can insti­tu­tion that lifted clas­si­cal music to new heights of pub­lic aware­ness when Leopold Stokowski con­ducted it for the 1940 Dis­ney film “Fan­ta­sia” and that has remained one of the world’s finest musi­cal ensem­bles, is show­ing signs of emerg­ing from a trou­bled moment. The Fab­u­lous Philadel­phi­ans, as the musi­cians have long been known, were hit by lead­er­ship tur­moil even as they were suf­fer­ing from the finan­cial dis­tress that has struck most orches­tras dur­ing the recession.

Dal­las Sym­phony Orches­tra cam­paign tops $20 million

12:00 AM CST on Fri­day, Novem­ber 19, 2010

The Dal­las Sym­phony Orches­tra announced Thurs­day that it has raised $20.68 mil­lion toward a $50 mil­lion Great Orches­tra Cam­paign. More than $15 mil­lion of the total was pledged since Sept. 15, dur­ing Paul Stewart’s first 60 days as DSO president.