Sunday, April 20, 2014

Isang Yun edition, volume 10: Oboe Concerto, O Licht and Chamber Symphony No. 2

The Isang Yun Gesellschaft just issued the tenth release in its ongoing CD series devoted to the music of Isang Yun. The new issue contains works that are commercially not available elsewhere:

Become a member of the society here and receive the annual issue.

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.

Luciano Berio conducts Joseph Haydn: Symphony No 90 in C Major

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, Medici.tv.
  • Build apps (e.g. NY Philharmonic, London PO, Detroit SO).
  • Broaden the repertory.
Broadening the repertory:
Promotion:
  • 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.).
Cooperations:
  • 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?