Greg Sandow - the future of classical music
Greg Sandow - the future of classical music is a English-speaking blog specialized in the field of classical music and opera. As such, Greg Sandow - the future of classical music is a qualified source of soclassiq, like ClassicsToday or Sharps & Flatirons and many others. The oldest article indexed by soclassiq is dated 2011-06-29. Since then, a total of 15 articles have been written and published by Greg Sandow - the future of classical music.
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Greg Sandow - the future of classical music seems to be on pause right now, since no article has been published for 3 months. The last article in Greg Sandow - the future of classical music, "Going fishing", is dated 2011-08-18.
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I'm going on vacation, and won't blog again till after Labor Day. Or, more evocatively, I'm going to treat myself to some time in my private art colony, aka my country home in Warwick, NY. Where I'll relaunch my book (the link takes you to old versions of it), and compose. (A cello piece.) Some thoughts, though, before I go. From time to time I send out a newsletter. Can't believe I haven't mentioned it in the blog, but if you click , you can read the latest issue. And if you click again , you can subscribe. In the fall, the newsletter will show up more often -- every month, I'm thinking. It's a way to catch up with things you might have missed in the blog, to find out what I think is most important, of all the things I'm thinking and doing. And, just maybe, to have […]
I'm delighted -- amazed, thrilled, just over the moon -- about next season's programs at the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the first season under the orchestra's new conductor, Alan Pierson. Talk about the future of classical music! Pierson, an indie classical musician known for conducting Alarm Will Sound, a pretty astounding new music ensemble, is shaping the orchestra's season almost entirely around Brooklyn composers and Brooklyn communities: In this debut "reboot" season, the Brooklyn Phil features the work of generations of great Brooklyn musicians, from Aaron Copland and Lena Horne to Mos Def and Sufjan Stevens. The orchestra will also connect with its own past, through Beethoven's Eroica Symphony--the first work the Brooklyn Philharmonic ever performed, in 1857. In each of the three neighborhoods, one Beethoven movement is presented in a context that speaks to the local community. I've never seen anything like this. So I've taken the unusual step of […]
I know that what I'm writing here is difficult. I may seem to be attacking orchestra musicians. Which I'm not, not at all. I have the greatest respect for them. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't look at some difficulties they might have...which I'm hardly the first to mention. So, continuing from my last post... I'd mentioned studies and other writing, published in Harmony magazine in 1996, about how satisfied (or not) orchestra musicians were with their work. And I wrote about one of them, a study by Harvard psychologist Richard Hackman and some collaborators , in which orchestra musicians were found to have dramatically powerful internal motivation, but only average job satisfaction. Which seemed, to Richard and (when I read his stuff) to me, like a contradiction. Orchestral musicians have a dual view of their work. They could say, with total honesty, that they […]
This may come as a shock, but -- continuing my posts on the artistic quality of orchestras -- the larger American orchestras normally have no one who functions as their artistic director. You may think this is nonsense, when you read it. What's the music director? you might ask. Chopped onions? But in fact -- as insiders know -- many music directors, maybe most, don't take responsibility for the concerts that they don't conduct. In some cases, they may not even take much interest. There may be reasons for this. A top-class music director is only in town certain weeks of the year. He or she, in most cases, is also the music director somewhere else. Time is limited. And even knowledge may be limited! The then-artistic administrator of a top American orchestra told me, some years ago, that their incoming music director had asked not to […]
I'm a little bemused at the debates that still seem to rage about whether classical music -- as an activity in our culture -- has declined. Seems to me that the only way you can think it hasn't is by bypassing some fairly clear data. So here's more, from a piece in the Washington Post on Wolf Trap , by my wife, Anne Midgette. Wolf Trap, of course, is the national park outside Washington which has been presenting arts events for 40 years. And I should stress that Anne wasn't looking for evidence, pro or con, for classical music's decline. She was just writing the kind of piece that journalists write, when a leading local institution has an important anniversary. Wolf Trap is 40. How's it doing? And the answer is, it's doing fine. But not, these days, by presenting many classical concerts. Wolf Trap has been criticized for […]
As I've tweeted, and posted on Facebook -- here's a sound I just love . Is it an animal, singing? Is it music from some other culture? No, it's an escalator at the Archives stop on the Washington DC Metro. Somehow it sings, and (to my ear) very wistfully, too. On Facebook, my friend Lucy Miller (hi, Lucy, and thanks) found someone this sound like. Roswell Rudd, a jazz trombonist. Here , on YouTube. Uncanny connection. And for more diversion, from the excellent "Click Track" pop music blog at the Washington Post , you can listen -- in chronological order -- to just a few seconds from every No. 1 pop single , from Elvis to today. The length of each cut varies, so each time you get enough to know what song it is. (Someone did hard work on this.) It's diverting to […]
Orchestra culture, I mean. A few years ago, I was visiting a friend, who also had another visitor -- the concertmaster of a Group 1 orchestra (referring to the League of American Orchestras classification of orchestras by budget size, in which the 20-odd largest are in Group 1). We were hanging out, talking in a relaxed, friendly way. And at one point, the concertmaster asked me, "What's the happiest day in a string player's life?" The answer: "The day they get tenure in an orchestra, and never have to practice again." Which was a joke. But -- who's going to deny this? -- a joke with substance behind it. Orchestra string players, buried in large string sections, don't always have to play their best. And, if I'm to believe this concertmaster, often do coast. or at least often enough to make a […]
Resuming my posts on how well orchestras play... My points today: orchestral musicians are deeply committed to their work, but not satisfied with itthey have trouble resolving this contradictionand since their main complaints are about the quality of the conductors they have to play for, they couldn't possibly believe -- in their hearts -- that their orchestras play as well as they ought toBut first, a look back: What I'm starting to get at here is the inner culture of orchestras. I began to touch on that in my "Four personalities " post, in which one of my Juilliard students talked about what her playing is like when she takes orchestra auditions: ...precise, mechanical, robotic. In orchestra auditions it is more important to do nothing wrong than to do anything particularly well. They are basically looking for a reason to eliminate you, and […]
A note to people who think I might have written too much here about sports. Once you've gotten what I'm trying to say, sportswise, feel free to scroll down to the subhead that shows I'm moving on to classical music. I won't be offended. Thinking some more about about the comments I've gotten trashing my idea that sports and classical music could be compared in any useful way. Plus my responses, both in the comments, and in my "Underestimating " post. One theme in the comments has been that classical music is about uplift and transcendence, while sports are comparatively trivial, about nothing more than competition and winning. One reaction I have -- and please forgive me if it seems harsh -- is that the people saying that don't know sports very well. And I was encouraged in this belief by a […]
About orchestra culture... I got a comment on one of my posts from Henry Peyrebrune, a bassist in the Cleveland Orchestra, whom I know from the Mellon Foundation's Orchestra Forum. I want to thank him for the comment, which was this: Greg - we talk about performance all the time - it's called rehearsal. While it's primarily led by the conductor, there are always side discussions within sections and sections taking time during rehearsal breaks or after rehearsal to go over passages. And - individual players can focus on their own performance during their own practice, which is informed by years of intense scrutiny. And and - we always talk about the way the orchestra is playing during breaks and between rehearsal and concerts. I think it's a big mistake to leave performance quality and artistic decisions as the sole province of the music director, […]