Sunday, March 01, 2020

John Adams: I Still Dance, for orchestra (2019 - LIVE 2019)

John Adams: I Still Dance

Hans Werner Henze: Ariosi, for soprano, violin & orchestra (1963 - LIVE 2002)

Hans Werner Henze: Ariosi

Saturday, February 08, 2014

What is avant-garde music?

What is avant-garde music? ".... music which is thought by critics to be ahead of its time, i.e., containing unique or original elements, or unexplored fusions of different genres".

Some implications:
  • Magnus Lindberg's oeuvre is quite unique. His latest pieces do not sound avant-garde, but structurally maybe they are. His objective, anti-romantic, Stravinsky-like style sets him apart in today's scene.
  • Reinbert de Leeuw's recent 'Der nächtliche Wanderer' is difficult to pint-point (although comparisons to apparently remote peers, such as Cristóbal Halffter or Henri Dutilleux or even Leif Segerstam, come to mind). That could make him a new kind of avant-garde composer.
  • Spectralism in music is no longer avant-garde.
  • Ensembles such as ASKO|Schönberg, specialising in avant-garde music, should perhaps expand their focus to include avant-garde music of all ages.

Friday, February 07, 2014

How can orchestras and ensembles survive?

Classical music is facing a crisis. How can orchestras and ensembles cope?

First, which are the problems?
  • Less attention for classical music in general and in schools in particular - the result of government policies.
  • Economic crisis, leading governments to cut subsidies.
  • The internet requires new business models.
When it comes to solutions, funding is an obvious first:
  • Sponsoring.
  • Promotion.
  • Extra performances, provided the marginal costs are limited.
  • Try to attract new audiences (without alienating existing ones).
  • Increase income per listener (subscriptions, donations, CD sales, memorabilia, etc.).
  • New subscription services.
  • Cooperations.
  • Serve children.
The internet forces orchestras and ensembles to redefine what they do:
  • Hang on to core values (live performance, focus on specific genres) only.
  • Follow your audience, looking for internet delivery (such as The Digital Concert Hall from the Berlin Philharmonic).
  • Move away from specific windows (i.e. live performance) and make music available on demand. This could range from providing CD recordings of concerts, provided immediately afterwards. Other options: (internet) radio, streaming, YouTube live, YouTube channel, digital TV channel,
  • Build apps (e.g. NY Philharmonic, London PO, Detroit SO).
  • Broaden the repertory.
Broadening the repertory:
  • Newsletter (email).
  • Sponsoring (friends of the orchestra).
  • Social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, SoundCloud, Spotify).
  • Ambassadors (celebrities, politicians, corporate leaders).
  • Engage friended international established musicians.
Subscription services:
  • Concerts, full season tickets.
  • Rehearsals.
  • Supporters (friends).
  • CDs.
  • Soloists paying the orchestra for accompaniment (2-sided business model).
  • New services to develop with peer ensembles (ASKO|Schönberg, Ensemble intercontemporain, Ensemble Modern, London Sinfonietta, MusikFabri/k etc.).
  • Orchestra + ensemble concerts for pieces such as Britten - War Requiem, Dutilleux - Second Symphony, Escher - Summer rites at noon, Stockhausen - Gruppen etc.
  • Multi-discipline concerts across different art forms (cf. AAA-series at the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra).
Concerts for children:
  • Don't just let the kids come to you, but ensembles can visit schools.
  • Don't underestimate children. Wouldn't it be cool to confront them with Georg Friedrich Haas - In vain?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

YouTube as a source of unique new music recordings

YouTube has become a valuable source of historic recordings. There are several channels that are worthwhile checking out. If you combine them with a YouTube-to-MP3 conversion site, you can burn your own CDs, with pretty decent 128 kbps sound quality.

Here are some channels:

For the conversion to MP3, you can use different sites, such as:
All that's left to do, is burn to a CD using Windows Media Player, which will automatically convert MP3 to the standard CD format.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

How to draw a young crowd to a classical concert

The Hague based Residentie Orkest will perform Dmitri Shostakovitch's Symphony No. 10 at the Lowlands popfestival in August 2011. And the Royal Concertgebouworkest has unveiled its 2011/12 programs, including the modern AAA series, which is aimed at drawing a new and young crowd. There will be a few world premieres, but focus is still on the first half of the 20th century. Included are Edgard Varese's Ameriques and Magnus Lindberg's Kraft.

The people in The Hague and Amsterdam have made some very good programming decisions.

Here's a recommendation for an encore: Alexander Mossolov's The Iron Foundry.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Stravinsky: Sacre podcast

There's an LSO podcast devoted to Stravinsky's Le Scare du Printemps on the Boosey & Hawkes website. It can also be found here on the LSO website.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Davies' former agent faces jail

Agent faces jail for stealing £½m from Queen's composer

The former agent of the Master of the Queen's Music was today facing jail for swindling more than half a million pounds from the composer's account after allegedly becoming a gambling addict.

Michael Arnold, 76, admitted taking £522,333 from his lifelong friend, renowned composer Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, over 16 years.

Sir Peter, 75, who lives in Orkney, only discovered that his account had been plundered in 2006 when he tried to take £40 out of a cash machine only to have his card rejected.

Arnold had complete access to Sir Peter's bank account after managing his business affairs with his wife Judith for 30 years.

When he discovered the theft the royal composer told Arnold he would instruct accountants to check his books prompting his former manager to confess in a letter to taking the money.

Since then Arnold, of Barnet, has sold his house to repay the money and interest after he was taken to the High Court in a civil action.

Remanding him for medical reports, Judge Nicholas Jones at Kingston crown court yesterday warned the starting point was a six-year jail sentence.

Justin Cole, prosecuting, told the court: "The background to the relationship between Michael Arnold and Sir Peter is perhaps one that was ripe for exploitation.

"There was no written agreement setting out the terms of the agency - effectively they could treat his money as their own.

"Despite the lifelong friendship and trust between the two when Sir Peter attempted to withdraw £40 from a cash machine this was rejected for lack of funds. He became suspicious. The information that came to Sir Peter was that Michael Arnold had become a gambling addict."

A spokesman for Sir Peter, known as "Max", refused to comment on the case but added: "It is something which has affected Max very personally."

Monday, September 08, 2008

Peter Eötvös: recent premieres

Peter Eötvös newest compositions:
  • Seven, a violin concerto: UK premiere at the Proms by Akiko Suwanai and the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Susanna Mälkki (musicOMH, Financial Times, Telegraph, This Is London, Times).
  • Levitation, for two clarinets, accordion and strings: World premiere February 13, 2008, at the Festival de Música de Canarias by its dedicatees, Sabine and Wolfgang Meyer, and Sakari Oramo conducting the Finnish YLE Radion sinfoniaorkesteri (Schott).
  • Lady Sarashina (expansion of As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams), an opera (Financial Times, Guardian).
  • Love and other demons, an opera after Gabriel García Márquez: Premiered at Glyndebourne (Financial Times, Telegraph, Independent, Times).

Toshio Hosokawa: New commission

Toshio Hosokawa has been commissioned by pharmaceutical company Roche to write a new piece, to be performed at the 2010 Lucerne Festival. This will be the fifth Roche Commission (Hays Pharma, Nieuwsbank, Roche).