. Interchanging Idioms: July 2011

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Colorado Symphony's Popular Inside The Score Series Returns With "Henry & Me"

Film composer Charles Denler joins the Colorado Symphony for an exploration of how film scores come to life; audiences enjoy a Special Sneak Preview of animated feature film "Henry & Me"

Emmy Award-winning composer Charles Denler joins resident conductor Scott O'Neil and the Colorado Symphony for "Henry & Me" – an exploration of how a film score comes to life – as the Colorado Symphony's popular Inside the Score series returns on Friday, October 7, 2011. Each season, Inside the Score offers an insightful, humorous and entertaining look at the world of symphonic music that appeals to both new concertgoers and classical music fans alike. At "Henry & Me," Denler and O'Neil will present an intriguing behind-the-scenes look at the little-known world of film scoring. Then, concertgoers will enjoy a full screening and live orchestral accompaniment of the animated feature film "Henry & Me," starring Richard Gere, Chazz Palminteri, Austin Williams, Luis Guzmán, Paul Simon and Cyndi Lauper. Tickets for this Inside the Score presentation currently start at $15. To learn more about this concert and the new Colorado Symphony 2011/12 Season, visit www.coloradosymphony.org.

"Henry & Me," to which Denver audiences will receive a Special Sneak Preview, is the story of a young boy battling illness who is taken on a magical adventure by a stranger named Henry. On their journey, the boy meets New York Yankee legends, both past and present, who give him lessons about baseball and life. "Henry & Me" also features Danny Aiello and Luci Arnez, plus songs by The Jonas Brothers. Alex Rodríguez, Reggie Jackson and Yogi Berra each make star cameos as themselves in this family-friendly animated film.

According to Film Music Magazine and The Scoreboard, Denler holds the record for having more upcoming films than any other film and television composer to date. With nearly 100 films and television programs to his credit, Denler's multiple Emmy Award-winning music can be heard all over the world. His ability to work in a wide variety of genres and his collaborative work sense have made him a top choice among producers and directors. He was recently awarded the 2011 Jean Ribaut Award for Excellence in Music at the Beaufort International Film Festival in Beaufort, South Carolina.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

WQXR Names IMG Artists Vice President Martha Bonta Executive Producer, Live Events and Special Programming

Martha Bonta, a classical music administrator with wide-ranging experience in classical music programming and management, has been named Executive Producer, Live Events and Special Programming, announced WQXR Vice President Graham Parker today.

In this role, Bonta will be responsible for shaping WQXR’s extensive live broadcasts, including the groundbreaking series ‘Carnegie Hall Live,’ season-long partnerships with the New York Philharmonic, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and Met Opera, as well as distinctive relationships with the Frick Collection, Le Poisson Rouge and Merkin Concert Hall.

In The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space – WQXR's innovative multiplatform live event venue – Bonta will envision a diverse range of live events, festivals and artist residencies with emerging and popular classical artists. In collaboration with the Executive Producer of The Greene Space, Bonta will execute community programming that immerses the live studio audience, as well as an online audience, in the rich classical music life of New York.

“I am delighted that Martha is joining the WQXR family at this important moment of our 75 year history,” said Parker. “Her well-respected artistic sensibility, deep knowledge of the music and artists, and keen, imaginative perspective makes her an ideal partner to me and resource for our listeners.”

Joshua Bell To Open Coloraodo Symphony 2011/12 Masterworks Series

Classical music superstar Joshua Bell joins Colorado Symphony, led by Peter Oundjian, for thrilling one-night-only concert event

Superstar violinist Joshua Bell joins conductor Peter Oundjian and the Colorado Symphony on Sunday, September 18 for a spectacular evening celebrating the opening of the Colorado Symphony's 2011/12 Masterworks Series. This one-night-only concert event spotlights a unique program, personally selected by Bell and featuring several of the repertoire's most beloved works for the violin. While the full program will not be revealed until closer to the concert date, Bell has already shared that he will perform the first movement of Bruch's highly popular Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor. Currently, tickets for Joshua Bell with the Colorado Symphony are only available to Colorado Symphony season subscribers. Tickets go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. on August 1 and start from $29.

Bell, who has enchanted audiences worldwide with his breathtaking virtuosity and tone of rare beauty, came to national attention at age 14 in his debut with Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Today, he is equally at home as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestra leader and composer who performs his own cadenzas to several of the major concerto repertoire. Bell is the newly-named music director of the famed English chamber orchestra, The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields; the first person to hold the title since Sir Neville Marriner, who founded the Orchestra in 1958. He has recorded more than 36 CDs garnering Mercury, Grammy®, Gramophone and Echo Klassik Awards, including the Academy Award-winning soundtrack to The Red Violin.

Bell performs on the famed 1713 Gibson ex-Huberman Stradivarius violin and uses a late 18th century French bow by Francois Tourte. Stolen twice in its 298-year history, The Gibson was only recovered from the second theft in 1985. Bell acquired it in 2001 for a price tag of close to $4 million, saving it from becoming a museum piece.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Classical 105.9 FM WQXR to Celebrate Mostly Mozart with Live Broadcasts and Web Exclusives

Station to Present First Live Video Webcast of Festival on August 8 at www.wqxr.org/q2

All-Mozart Webstream, Special Performances and Live Broadcasts Offered All Month Long at www.wqxr.org

Throughout the month of August, Classical 105.9 FM WQXR will celebrate MOSTLY MOZART FESTIVAL’s 45th season with an array of interviews, live radio broadcasts and online web exclusives.

On Tuesday, August 2 at 8pm, WQXR – New York’s sole dedicated classical station – will kick off MOSTLY MOZART with WQXR hosts Jeff Spurgeon and Terrance McKnight. The opening night concert, featuring Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra conducted by Louis Langrée, will be presented from Avery Fisher Hall and complemented by interviews with Langrée, Christian Tetzlaff (Violin), Antoine Tamestit (Viola) and Susanna Phillips (Soprano). (full broadcast schedule below)

Q2, WQXR’s webstream dedicated to new music, will also take part in the festivities, offering a live video webcast for the first time in MOSTLY MOZART’s history. On Monday, August 8 at 10:30pm, Q2 will stream a performance by New York’s acclaimed contemporary ensemble ICE, available at www.wqxr.org/q2.

WQXR.org will contribute to the celebration with a month-long, all-Mozart webstream. From August 2 through August 31, the 24-hour stream will present all-Mozart programming, from his most beloved works to lesser known gems. The website will also feature additional MOSTLY MOZART concert recordings, not broadcast on-air, along with WQXR Café Concert performance videos of and interviews with festival artists.

MOSTLY MOZART concerts detailed below will be presented live on Classical 105.9 FM WQXR and online at www.wqxr.org.

Digital Self-Promotion: an example of doing it right

by Jess Albertine

We've been talking a lot lately about how to promote your music online. Here is an example of someone who, in my opinion, is doing it right. Jaime Ibarra is a flamenco guitarist and photographer. He's a member of the online art community deviantArt, and has quite a following as a photographer with almost 1.5 million pageviews over 5 years. Recently he posted a journal entry discussing his work on an upcoming album. Here is what he had to say:

I have always (even today) considered myself to be a better musician, than a photographer. Many people do not know...for the past 7 years, I've been working on my newest CD, tentatively titled, "The Virru Project".

By "trade", I am a Flamenco guitarist...but for this project, I really wanted to collaborate with some of my musical heroes from around the planet. The biggest challenge was actually getting in contact with those I wanted to invite into the project. Not an easy task, as most of them have attained (what I call) "untouchable" fame status. I spent over a year, just lining up the talent I wanted to bring in. Once that happened, things began to gain momentum, but it did not truly reach full-speed until about 3 years into it.

As-of-now, the project has 13 musicians (not counting myself), each of whom I consider to be ambassadors of their respective musical genres, spread-out amongst 9 countries. Among them, 7 of my favourite female voices on this earth. To work directly with musicians who have been absolute idols of mine for years is ineffable...there are literally no words to describe what a thrill this has been.

And while the production of this project has been wonderful experience, it has also been a logistical nightmare to coordinate. Lots of waiting for windows of opportunity to open up, and the constant hope that I have the money needed to take advantage of that window.

[Photo: Stefan Brisland-Ferner (Sweden), Jaime Ibarra (USA), and Zach Page (USA)]

Most of the money spent on this project went to buying airline tickets...either to fly the musicians to the US, or fly myself to wherever I need to go record.

It has been a labour of love & perseverance, and some incredible sacrifices have been made (by myself and the other musicians) in the interest of completing this project...but it finally looks like the end of the tunnel is in sight. The CD will be released in the first quarter of 2012. I will announce more, as it gets closer to the release date.

If you would like to listen to a demo, featuring clips from 5 songs from the project, you may do so here: [link]

As always, my thanks to all of you :)

Here's what I think is so good about this post.

  • He used a site where he already is well-known for different reasons. Someone whose name is familiar, for any reason, is more likely to be listened to. It also brings in new listeners that might not otherwise be exposed to this type of music.
  • He showed how passionate he is about this project. This is a personal connection that reaches out to his readers much more than if he had just included some information about the album.
  • He explained why his readers should care about the project by describing how much effort has gone into it and how much he admires his collaborators. This is an aspect that I think many "art" musicians, and many in the academic community, overlook. It isn't given that your audience will care. It's necessary to give them reasons.
  • He was prepared with a link to a demo reel so that with one click, readers could get a sense of what the music is like. He also has used selections from the album in some of his photography submissions.

    Congratulations on your album, Jaime! I look forward to hearing it.

  • James Conlon Receives A 2011 Echo Klassik Award

    Conductor James Conlon has been honored with a 2011 ECHO Klassik Award, one of the most established and well known music awards in the world, in the category “Music DVD Recording of the Year (Documentation)” for his performance in the film A Surprise in Texas: The Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The prize will be awarded to Mr. Conlon, as well as the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, during a ceremony to be held October 2, 2011 at the Konzerthaus Berlin.

    The documentary follows James Conlon and the competitors of the 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition during the rigorous three-week competition, offering an intricate view into the inner workings of the world's most prestigious piano competition, including intense rehearsals, preconcert rituals, and finally the receipt of the gold prize. The documentary features pianists Haochen Zhang of China , 19 – the youngest competitor – as well as blind pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii, 20, of Japan and Yeol Eum Son, 23, of South Korea .

    Mr. Conlon last received an ECHO Klassik Award in 2002 in the category “Editorial Achievement of the Year” for his nine recording series of Alexander Zemlinsky’s operas and orchestral works with the Gürzenich Orchestra-Cologne Philharmonic for EMI.

    The ECHO Klassik Awards are presented yearly by the German Phono Akademie, the cultural institute of the German music industry association, and honor the outstanding performances of international artists. The recipients of the ECHO Klassik are selected by a jury of individuals in politics, the arts and media, as well as the classical division of the German music industry association. The jury selects the recipients of the Award based on the artistic quality and popular success of the performance, reflecting not only the opinion of critics but also that of music consumers.

    Mr. Conlon is currently conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in ten concerts at the 2011 Ravinia Festival where he is Music Director, including the final performance in his Mahler cycle, the continuation of his Breaking the Silence series, and an opera-in-concert performance of Puccini’s Tosca starring Patricia Racette, Bryn Terfel and Salvatore Licitra. He was most recently seen conducting at the Spoleto Festival in Naples ; the final concert of which was attended by the President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano. His visit marked the first time a president of the republic has been to the Festival in 18 years, and the concert held a special significance for the unification of Italy . Mr. Conlon also recently returned to Rome Opera to conduct Puccini’s La Bohème, a performance that was critically praised by Paolo Isotta in the Corrieri della Sera.

    Operalia Winners Announced

    Plácido Domingo's Operalia, which this year took place in Moscow, concluded Sunday with two first-prize winners, each of whom receives $30,000. Laureates soprano Pretty Yende of South Africa and tenor Rene Berbera of the U.S. were also the audience favorites.

    The ceremony began with Domingo receiving the Order of Friendship for his efforts in developing cultural exchange between Spain and Russia. He was presented the prize by Yuri Laptev, a former opera singer who is now a presidential aide.

    "Twenty years ago Domingo came to Saint Petersburg to perform at the Mariinsky Theater in Otello," said Laptev from the stage. "I could not even think then that we would be sharing one stage on an occasion like this." Domingo declared Order of Friendship "especially dear to me."

    Past winners of the competition, established in 1993, include Rolando Villazón, Erwin Schrott, and Joyce DiDonato.

    First Fully-Staged New York Production of Richard Strauss’s Opera Die Liebe der Danae Opens Friday, July 29 at Bard SummerScape

    “Bard's annual opera has become an indispensable part of the summer operatic landscape because the choice of works is invariably inspired and their productions distinctively creative.” – Musical America

    Bard SummerScape presents the first fully-staged New York production of Richard Strauss’s unjustly neglected opera Die Liebe der Danae (The Love of Danae, 1940), opening Friday, July 29 at the celebrated Richard B. Fisher Center at Bard College (five performances through August 7). The production stars soprano Meagan Miller, a grand finals winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and will be directed by dynamic young opera and theater director Kevin Newbury; both are making their SummerScape debuts. Set designs are by the renowned Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly. The opera’s five performances (July 29 & 31; August 3, 5, & 7) feature the festival’s resident American Symphony Orchestra and music director Leon Botstein, whose 2001 Telarc recording of the work won high praise; Botstein gives a free Opera Talk before the July 31 performance.

    Reviving an important but rarely performed opera is one of the ways the Bard SummerScape festival paints a nuanced portrait of the past, and this year’s exploration of “Sibelius and His World,” the subject of the 21st annual Bard Music Festival in August, is no exception. Sibelius (1865-1957) and Richard Strauss (1864-1949) were close contemporaries, whose life and work show noteworthy parallels. In selecting Die Liebe der Danae as its operatic centerpiece, Bard aims to investigate those similarities.

    Like Sibelius, Strauss excelled at painting nature in sound, and the two manifested greater command of orchestral color than any other composers of the 20th century. Both flirted briefly with atonality in the wake of Schoenberg’s first expressionist experiments: Strauss with Salome and Elektra and Sibelius with his Fourth Symphony and Luonnotar. Both composers, moreover, abandoned it soon afterwards, Strauss re-embracing a more tonal musical language with Der Rosenkavalier and Sibelius with The Oceanides and the Fifth Symphony. In addition, both composers turned to the distant past, and in particular to myth, to deal with issues of their day. For Sibelius, the Kalevala provided the basis of his exploration of national identity and nationhood. And Strauss turned to the Greeks to explore love, human nature, and money.

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011

    No Response: What does it really mean in the Classical Music World?

    We live in a civilized world, and part of being civilized is being polite. I wonder, however, if classical musicians have developed the habit of being too polite.

    I've made lots of comparisons to the classical music world and the publishing world. Partly, this is because my wife is an author and I see firsthand the process of getting new work noticed, but mostly as a process of trying to understand how the classical music world works (or doesn't). I don't know if I'm any closer to understanding, but some possibilities have occurred to me recently.

    As a composer, I am constantly trying to get my music played. There are several conductors who like and perform pieces I've written (even commissioned new works). This is good. Wanting to gain a wider audience, I've sent dozens of scores to other conductors often getting no response --not even an "Thanks, but I'm not interested at this time."

    I've been called narcissistic, and perhaps wanting feedback is a form of narcissism. But in the book publishing world, if you send a query letter or a manuscript to an agent or a publisher, 9 times out of 10, you'll get a response. Even a "thanks, but not at this time" is better than nothing at all.

    When I don't get a response I'm left wondering: Did the conductor get the score, or did the orchestral librarian (or some other admin) just file it away? Has the conductor been out of town and/or just too busy to get to it? Did they see it but weren't interested (for whatever reason), and in an attempt to be polite, chose not to say anything? The first couple of possibilities suggest conductors are extremely busy and just don't have the time to respond. The last suggests our civilized society believes no response is better than saying no.
    Here are some experiences I've had with professional musicians and attempts on my part to get comments from them regarding my music.

    I sent a score to a professional conductor who often programs new music. Unfortunately, the only address I have is through this conductor's agent. In the envelope with the score, I included a note asking for an email from the agent saying they'd received the score and it had been forwarded on to the conductor. A month later, after hearing nothing, I emailed the agent asking if they'd received it. "Yes, Chip, it arrived and we sent it on," was the entire email.

    I'd become familiar with a professional musician, if only to the point of saying hello to each other by name in the hall. I'd asked this musician to look over a concerto I'd written. My hope was that he'd like it to the point he'd want to play it, but even just feedback on what works/what doesn't would have been nice. A month later I'd heard nothing. I spoke to the musician again and he said he hadn't gotten around to it yet. Ok, to me that implies he was at least intending on looking at it. Almost two months later I had an opportunity for a portion of the concerto to be performed.  This non-professional performer said sections were unplayable.  I went back to the professional for clarification and finally got a response. The professional musician admired what I'd written and spoke highly of the craft, yet difficulty of the piece --playable, yes, but only by the cream of the crop. This response was very valuable to me.

    I was introduced to a local conductor of a first rate semi-professional orchestra via a mutual professional musician friend. My initial email to this conductor got a response asking for more information about my music. So, I sent more information. A month later I sent a query asking if they had any questions or comments. Another month went by and I sent another query copying my friend --and to date still no response.

    One of my lecturers once told me the music education industry has changed dramatically since she was in school. Now, it's important for teachers to be supportive and not overly critical. Ack!!! How are we supposed to learn if we are not critiqued? In my own studies I found the "kind" comments about my music frustrating. I wanted to know what worked and what didn't. The 'nice' comments really didn't help, and the lack of specific critique left me with too many questions. For example: during work on an orchestral work, at no point in time did my instructor comment on the problem of cross rhythms for an orchestra.  He/she even suggested it wasn't a challenging enough piece for a professional orchestra to consider. Thinking this meant it would be good for a community level orchestra, I submitted it. During the performance, by a community orchestra that played Brahms 4th reasonably well, my own piece was just short of a train wreck.  The conductor told me after the concert, my music is deceptively difficult.  It looks easy on the page, but putting it together is extremely difficult.  The orchestra spent the same amount of time on my piece (10 mins of performance time) as they did on the final movement of the Brahms (9.5 mins), yet (according to the conductor) they should have spent twice that amount of time in rehearsal to do the piece justice.

    On yet another occasion I asked a professional conductor to look over one of my pieces, even offered to pay him for his time.  He asked for a bottle of wine, so I gave him a very nice old vine Zinfandel.  A month later, no response.  Two months later when I asked about it, he got rather testy saying he'd been busy.  Three months later when I asked if I could have the score back, (scores are expensive to produce), he acted as if I'd somehow insulted him.  A year later and he is charming and friendly as if the event never took place, but he still hasn't commented on the work.

    I'm OK with someone telling me they don't like my music. Sure, I want everyone to love it as much as I do, but I'm realistic enough to know that's not going to happen. Some people like Mozart, some find his music boring. Some people like Beethoven, Brahms or Mahler, while still others think anything written before 1930 is old and stuffy. People have different opinions.

    Here are some suggestions I would like to make to conductors, conductor's agents, musical directors and performers in terms of responding to composers:

  • A composer takes the time to produce a clean score, to print, bind and mail it to a conductor asking for consideration - it would be helpful to let the composer know you've received the score and when they can expect a reply.
  • If you know on first glance you're not going to consider it, say "Sorry, but not at this time."
  • If you don't want to ever get unsolicited scores, say so.
  • If you don't want your personal email or address known, have your agent, your orchestra's admin or a friend (acting like your agent or admin) respond.
  • Composers take a lot of time writing the music you have received. They spent money printing, binding and mailing it. We also realize that without the wonderful artists willing to play our music, it would never get heard. Similar to the publishing industry, I believe that an more responsive query system will be positive for both conductors and composers. Responding to an honest appeal for consideration can help us to know whether we should continue to send music your way.

    On a personal note, I've recently had a spate of great luck getting responses from musicians regarding my piano preludes. Dr. Gail Fischler started it with her review on her blog pianoaddict.com. Erica Sipes said of the Preluds, "Beautiful colors - mesmerizing! Do take a listen." followed by another comment by Jason of Jazz and Liberal politics blog. Prior to that I had a review by Anne Ku on one of my piano duets. Plus I have several commissions in the works and a number of nibbles from others who haven't "officially" put anything in writing but are likely to want something in the coming months.

    Monday, July 25, 2011

    Soprano Aleksandra Kurzak Releases Her Decca Debut Album, Gioia!, Available September 13th

    Kurzak to Appear With Both the Los Angeles Opera and Metropolitan Opera In 2011

    Decca is proud to present Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak in her Decca debut recording: Gioia! Kurzak, supported by conductor Omer Meir Wellber and the Orquesta de la Comunitat Valenciana, performs arias by Rossini, Mozart, Donizetti, Strauss II, Puccini, Verdi, Bellini and Moniuszko. The album will be released on September 13th in advance of Kurzak’s performances with the LA Opera in Così fan Tutte and the Metropolitan Opera in Hansel and Gretel.

    Originally, Aleksandra Kurzak trained to be a violinist in her native Poland and only took her first voice lessons a mere three weeks before auditioning to study voice at the Karol Liniński Musical Academy. She was accepted and started on the road that would eventually bring her to the major opera houses of the world. Though Kurzak won many prizes in competitions, it was Plácido Domingo’s Operalia event in 2000 when she didn’t win a prize that had the most impact on her future. The director of casting for the Royal Opera House was in attendance and this eventually led to Kurzak performing at short notice in Mozart’s Mitridate, re di Ponto as a substitute for an ailing singer. This bravura performance caught the attention of the opera world and Kurzak quickly made debuts around the world.

    Kurzak’s early success came with high-flying coloratura roles (The Queen of the Night, Olympia, Blonde, etc) but then she recognized that her voice was beginning to subtly change and with it so did her roles. For her Decca debut she has chosen a variety of arias and roles, some of which she has performed since the beginning of her career and others that are still new for her. Many of these roles served as house debuts and have consistently drawn the highest praise. Of her debut at the Seattle Opera in Lucia di Lammermoor, Opera Magazine stated: “Like Sutherland, Donizetti's coloratura held few terrors for her [Kurzak], and every run and trill had a Sills-like emotional connection and expressivity. At times Kurzak's comely physical grace and detailed vocal inflection even evoked memories of the legendary Callas … It was as if the heady days of the Bel Canto Revival, with Sills, Sutherland and Callas, were back again, eerie and unforgettable.”

    Why Symphony Tweets aren't getting the responses they should

    Every major orchestra uses twitter now. Sometimes they post marketing blurbs, or links to marketing blurbs. Sometimes they pay for other people to put their tweets into various hash (#) groups to get broader focused attention. But mostly they are thinking the wrong way about tweets.

    There is a wonderful article on The Secret to Using Twitter by Jason Seiden. He talks about what twitter really is - rather than linear thought as in a discussion, it's more an inner dialog.

    Mostly the article talks about how people tweet and therefore how to glean information about them by their tweets --reading their minds, so to speak.

    However, look at it inversely, how are my tweets coming across? What are people engaging in on Twitter and how? You'll find people are engaging in short "conversations" or status updates that require additional information to be a complete thought.

    So, rather than tweeting,

      "X_Symphony is performing Dvorak's 9th Symphony, New World tonight http://bit.ly/1.2.2"
      Start with a tweet "It will be a New world tonight at 7pm #X_Symphony"
      Then later tweet "Are you Dressing to the nights for Dvorak tonight #X_Symphony?"
      Finally tweet the url "If you've been listening #X_Symphony http://bit.ly/1.2.2"

    What this creates is a thread, a stream where it peaks interest, alludes to something, but not everything. It would be even better if the symphony had someone within the organization, but not the main organization twitter account, write the first message "It will be a New world tonight at 7pm @X_Symphony". Then the organization's twitter can reply with the second twitter "Are you Dressing to the nights for Dvorak tonight @employee?" This dialog is better than using the hash tag because it feels more familiar to your audience, as if they're listening into a conversation.

    This sort of twitter tactic needs planning to execute well. But, the personal touch will lend itself to more followers commenting and attempting to join in the conversation. When you have people talking about you (not just you talking at them) you get more engagement, and that's what you want.

    Video Game Heroes with the London Philharmonic Orchestra Sept 2nd

    Come and hear the music that brings video games alive. The evening offers a rare opportunity to enjoy a captivating experience that conjures up both a taste of nostalgia and a sense of adventure. The evening's playlist includes music from Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect, Super Mario Bros, Angry Birds, Little Big Planet, Heavenly Sword and more. Suitable for gamers & non-gamers, young & old! Andrew Skeet conductor

    Part of the Vision Sound Music festival at Southbank Centre
    Friday 2 September 2011 | 7.30pm
    Royal Festival Hall, London

    Tickets for this concert are only available from the Southbank Centre Ticket Office £16-£39
    0844 847 9920 (Daily, 9am-8pm)

    Sunday, July 24, 2011

    Joseph Calleja Is “Live from Jerusalem” in Theaters across America on July 28

    “The Maltese tenor’s beautifully rounded voice oozes old-school class – he’s shiveringly good.”– Times (London)

    Music lovers across America from Albuquerque to Zanesville can see and hear Joseph Calleja on Thursday, July 28, when he stars in “Live from Jerusalem”: a special one-night event to be beamed (with a time delay) to 480 U.S. theaters. The concert will present the Maltese tenor in a program of opera arias and duets, featuring renowned soprano Renée Fleming and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Zubin Mehta. For this special occasion (honoring the legacy of the great American tenor Richard Tucker), the two celebrated singers will perform excerpts from Verdi’s Rigoletto and La traviata, Puccini’s Tosca and Madama Butterfly, Gounod’s Faust, and Massenet’s Cléopâtre. When Calleja teamed up with Fleming for a recent Covent Garden production of La traviata, the Sunday Times observed: “Fleming gets luxury support from Joseph Calleja’s elegantly phrased Alfredo… . Not to be missed if you can get a ticket.” The “Live from Jerusalem” concert marks Calleja’s first trip to Israel and his debut with the Philharmonic. It also crowns a banner week: the tenor returns to London’s BBC Proms on Sunday, July 24, as a soloist in Verdi’s Requiem with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Semyon Bychkov; the following day sees the UK release of The Maltese Tenor, his solo album that debuted at number two on the German classical charts.

    Calleja’s July 24 appearance at London’s Royal Albert Hall will be broadcast live on BBC Radio Three, and then on television – BBC Four – on August 21. The tenor’s return to the BBC Proms follows a successful Verdi outing last year in Simon Boccanegra; on that occasion, as both the Guardian and the Sunday Times reported, Calleja “brought the house down”; indeed, according to Opera Today, he “almost stole the show.”

    Deutsche Grammophon Releases Ildebrando D’Arcangelo’s All-New Recording of Mozart Arias, Available September 13th

    The Bass-Baritone Makes His LA Opera Debut in Così fan Tutte this September

    Italian bass-baritone Ildebrando D’Arcangelo returns to the start of his international career with his new Deutsche Grammophon recording of Mozart arias. He is joined by conductor Gianandrea Noseda and the Orchestra del Teatro Regio di Torino for a selection of both popular and rare opera and concert arias, available September 13th in advance of his performances at the LA Opera in Mozart’s Così fan Tutte.

    “Mozart is my god,” says Ildebrando D’Arcangelo simply. “He is the composer who inspired in me the passion for music and my career.” Right from the bass-baritone’s 1994 breakthrough performance in Parma as Leporello under Gardiner which established the young singer as a velvet-voiced charmer, to the recent triumphant addition of Don Giovanni to his repertoire, Mozart has been central to the singer’s work. “I feel that he is my ‘house composer’, and I think – I hope – my voice is ready to do him justice.”

    D’Arcangelo sings Mozart regularly and has performed in the composer’s operas around the world for almost 20 years. It is no surprise then to find arias from Don Giovanni, Le Nozze di Figaro and Così fan Tutte on the disc. These have been and remain the cornerstone of D’Arcangelo’s performance repertoire. In fact, he will make his LA Opera debut as Guglielmo in Così fan Tutte this September.

    The album also includes a number of concert arias. “They’re not often sung because of their difficulty,” explains the soloist. “You need a huge vocal range and considerable agility. But I love a challenge.” Per questa bella mano (a lover’s vow of fidelity) was written for Franz Gerl, the first Sarastro in The Magic Flute. The aria features an obbligato double bass, a rather unusual choice especially with such virtuosic writing that demands technical brilliance and musical maturity from both the instrumentalist and singer.

    Single Tickets for Colorado Symphony 2011/12 Season Available August 1st

    Ticket sales for holiday and one-night-only events such as Renée Fleming, Joshua Bell, Patti LuPone and Celtic Woman also available to public Monday, August 1

    The Colorado Symphony announced today that single tickets for all 2011/12 season concerts will go on sale Monday, August 1 at 10 a.m. The Colorado Symphony's 2011/12 season line-up features a dynamic array of programs that speak to the passions and personal favorites of all music lovers. Among the stars joining the Colorado Symphony during the 2011/12 season are virtuoso violinists Joshua Bell and Karen Gomyo, GRAMMY®-nominated country music artist David Nail, the "First Lady of Broadway" Patti LuPone, Ireland's Celtic Woman, acclaimed pianists Valentina Lisitsa and Olga Kern, beloved soprano Renée Fleming, and the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance company. These artists and many more are featured in a stellar line-up of concerts that form the Colorado Symphony's Masterworks, Pops, Inside the Score, Family and Holiday Series.

    In addition to series concerts, tickets for all Colorado Symphony holiday concert events also go on sale to the public Monday, August 1. These concerts have sold out in recent seasons and music lovers are encouraged to secure their tickets early. Come celebrate the holidays with the Colorado Symphony:

    • Dec. 9, 10 and 11: It’s time to Deck the Halls at Colorado Christmas! The whole family will enjoy time-honored carols and favorite Christmas music.
    • Dec. 13, 14 and 18: Make plans today to experience Messiah By Candlelight. These concerts sold out in 2011 and promise to be one of the most inspirational of the season.
    • Dec. 16 and 17: Too Hot to Handel – The name says it all! Join conductor laureate, Marin Alsop for this entertaining R&B, jazz and gospel reworking of Handel’s Messiah.
    • Dec. 21: Delight in the magic of Ireland's Celtic Woman performing a mix of Celtic, New Age and adult contemporary music on their first American symphonic holiday tour.

    Prior to August 1, single tickets are only available to Colorado Symphony season subscribers, who have the option to get the best seats and and purchase extra tickets prior to tickets going on sale to the general public.

    Tickets: Subscriptions and tickets are sold at the Colorado Symphony Box Office at www.coloradosymphony.org, by calling (303) 623-7876 or (877) 292-7979, or in-person in the lobby of Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Hours are Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

    Hilary Hahn Releases Charles Ives: Four Sonatas on October 11, 2011

    She couldn't release it one day earlier for my birthday???

    Hilary Hahn will release her newest album Charles Ives: Four Sonatas on October 11, 2011. Of recording these seldom-performed pieces, Hahn writes, "Their brooding, plotted beauty, their wit, their quicksilver modernity, and the dreams they evoke of a changing time and place, drew us through every hour." Hahn's long-time collaborator, pianist Valentina Lisitsa, joins her on the album.

    This Deutsche Grammophon disc contains all four of Ives's sonatas for violin and piano. The First Sonata is relatively conservative: dense but mostly tonal. Packed with quotations from American folk music, the First Sonata in many ways evokes, in Ives's own words, "the sadness of the old Civil War days." The Second Sonata is split into three movements, each carrying an affective name: "Autumn", "In the Barn", and "The Revival". This sonata is, as album liner notes written by Robert Kirzinger explain, "in the unusual slow-fast-slow pattern". Shifting from Adagio maestoso to ragtime fiddle-dance syncopations to Largo, the piece quotes substantially from American hymnal music. The next sonata was completed in 1914. In Ives's own words, the Third Sonata aims to "express the feeling and fervor - a fervor that was often more vociferous than religious - with which the hymns and revival tunes were sung at the Camp Meetings held extensively in New England in the 70's and 80's." Kinzinger notes that the Third Sonata is "the most individual from a structural standpoint". The final sonata was originally intended for Ives's eleven-year-old nephew, and is consequently lighter in mood and smaller in scope than the other three pieces. Kinzinger writes, "As with many old and pleasant memories, this one is slippery, fading, hesitating, and finally stopping altogether, as though we find ourselves drifting off in mid-thought."

    Charles Ives (1874-1954) is considered by many to be the father of American classical music. After the musical guidance and encouragement of his father, a U.S. Army bandleader in the Civil War, Ives began his career while a student at Yale University. After college, he became a successful businessman in the insurance industry but still found time to follow his true passions: composition and musical innovation. His work is characterized by experimentations with structure, harmony, and tone as well as an awareness and fondness for America's rich musical tradition. Ives's sonatas in particular engage with and often quote extensively from American folk songs, hymnals, and spirituals. His oeuvre is perhaps most accurately described as both fearlessly avant-garde and nostalgic for a forgotten New England. Throughout his life, Ives was a generous patron and friend to struggling young composers and financially fragile new music projects. He gave large amounts of his own money to support musicians and often paid for the publication of original works. Ives's compositions were not widely recognized during his lifetime until his work was championed by Aaron Copland and Gustav Mahler, among others. In 1947, at the age of 72, Ives was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his Third Symphony, a piece then more than three decades old.

    Saturday, July 23, 2011

    The World will Always have Entertainment, but will it always have Orchestras

    The survival of the orchestra in its current form is in question -- not the music they play, just the form of the orchestra, and its role in the concert hall.

    Orchestras are struggling for money, but the problem isn't the music they play; it's how they market themselves. They are approaching pops audiences with the same approach as they do lovers of Mozart or Beethoven. Summer concert goers are drastically different from the regular season audience as are the way orchestras play/perform their Summer shows verses their Winter ones. New forms of communication and media are being given the same marketing brush as previous forms of printed media. But, like the difference between Summer and Winter, the audience is different.

    Studies show people under the age of 40 are 80% more likely to get their news from the internet than they are from printed media. Less than 5% of the people under the age of 30 even list printed media as a source for their news. When choosing what restaurants to go to, and what concerts to attend, social media plays a huge role in the decision process. Social media allows people to, at a glance, to not only see what's available (and there are LOTS of choices), but to see what other's think. Feedback from the "average Joe" has more weight than a critic's review. As a reviewer, I hate to think my days are numbered - but honestly, the younger crowd is more interested in how many people like something than what one particular person says.

    What this means is orchestras need to engage with their target audience --Social media is the tool(s) of choice. But are they really engaging their target audience?

    Posting a news release to their facebook page or tweeting the same information is just attempting to deliver the same message they've been sending out for years in a new media. Even if an orchestra has 10k followers on twitter, the chances of any of these users actually re-tweeting any of the "press release" type-tweets to their audience is pretty slim. Users on Twitter value personal information and a 'peek behind the curtain'. Press releases they can see on their news feeds.

    Over the past month I've been watching what orchestras say on Facebook and twitter. Few are saying anything other than marketing-speak. Some of them even go so far as to publicize events 2, 3 & 4 months from now. While, yes, it's a good idea to get the word out early, social media is a very "now" form of communication.

    It's also social, which means to get people engaged orchestras need to engage with users. IF someone says something nice on twitter, re-tweet it with a thank you. Get people IN the organization involved chatting about events, both before and after. The more people talk about something, the more people will be talking about it.

    Marketing is changing, however, I don't see many orchestras changing their message. Yes, they're using new forms of media but they aren't saying anything new or engaging in a new way. If the audiences are dwindling, it's time to change the message, join the conversation and engage.

    Review of “Amaranthinesque” - a pianist's report of my music with a sample

    Constant, perpetual, everlasting piano duet by Chip Michael

    Wow, it's hard to express my excitement.
    It is always nice to get feedback, thank you.
    Music ought to be fun to play as well as to listen to.
    Based on this review it sounds like I hit the mark with Amaranthinesque.

    Thanks again Anne...

    Marketing Classical Music - Is the Music Enough?

    Gidon Kremer wrote a letter to the Verbier Festival withdrawing from the performance: "Gidon Kremer: why I quit the celebrity rat race"

    There are some important elements in the letter I'd like to point out. The letter is overall a comment on the sensationalism of the current classical music culture, the need of stars to draw crowds, and Kremer's desire to no longer be part of that culture. After stating he is withdrawing from the festival, in the second paragraph he says, "I can only imagine how disappointed you will be." That one line speaks volumes. It has an arrogance that implies he feels he is so important his appearance (or lack of) will be damaging to the festival. Looking at the list of performers at the Verbier Festival Kremer is hardly the star attraction --rather one of many.

    In Jessica Duchan's article about Kremer's letter, "Kremer versus...?" she points to several young artists which are exceptional performers --perhaps some of the very ones who Kremer feels provide an air "filled by sensationalism and distorted values." Maybe there is some showmanship in their performances, but don't let that take away from the music.

    While I understand his reasoning, rage against the machine, classical music festivals, orchestras and artists are struggling in today's market driven, media centric environment. Too often I've spoken with musicians who feel the music should be enough to get a crowd --"If we play, they will come."

    Yes, it's frustrating to think this beautiful music isn't enough to draw thousands of supporters, fill concert halls and festival stands for every event. But thinking the music is enough simply isn't true.

    Music is a performance and there is more to the performance than just the music. A great musician must be more than just technically accurate. One of the reasons Hilary Hahn gets such rave reviews is because not only is she able to perform all the notes with technical accuracy, but there is a passion in her performance. The same goes for Sarah Chang, Joshua Bell, Julia Fischer, Nicola Benedetti ... the list continues. Great violinists who understand performance is more than just music. Bryn Terfel is a world class Baritone and appearing at the festival. Is his "stardom" merely flash? I think not!

    I've written several articles on this blog about the use of sex-appeal in selling classical music. Do I agree with the concept? Hard question. On one point, no - the appearance of an artist doesn't have anything to do with how well they play. However, if it gets people into seats who then become fans --is that a bad thing? If all it becomes is a sex show, or a carnival act then yes, we have lost something. But at some point classical music venues and ensembles have to reach out to an audience.

    Classical music marketing departments shouldn't rely on flash to sell their product. If the musician isn't up for the performance, don't make more of him/her than their ability. However, if they are exceptional, then using any angle to draw an audience is worthwhile (in my book). Let's get audiences to see just how exceptional these artists are.

    Friday, July 22, 2011

    Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival: New York Philharmonic Opening Night Tonight

    Violinist Veronika Eberle joins the New York Philharmonic and Conductor Alan Gilbert for Dvorak's Violin Concerto.

    Join Bravo as it welcomes the prestigous members of the New York Philharmonic to Vail for it's 2011 residency, July 22-29. This is the ninth annual residency for the Philharmonic in Vail. Founded in 1842, the New York Philharmonic is the oldest symphony orchestra in the United States and one of the oldest in the world. Since its inception, it has played a leading role in American musical life, championing new music of its time with commissions and world premieres of important works.

    Led by Music Director Alan Gilbert, the Orchestra has become renowned around the globe, having appeared in 425 cities in 59 countries on five continents. Get tickets now to see one of the world's preeminent orchestras perform in the beautiful setting of Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.

    TONIGHT, July 22

    Tickets start at $24

    6:00 pm - Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater

    Alan Gilbert, Conductor

    Veronika Eberle, Violin

    DVORAK: Violin Concerto

    BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 3

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

    Get Seats Now for the 24th Annual Gala, Dinner, Dance & Auction for Bravo! Vail Valley Music

    Alice in Wonderland themes this season's signature extravaganza.

    Don’t be late for this very important date! Fall down the rabbit hole and spend a whimsical evening with Bravo this Saturday night at the 24th annual gala--Through the Looking Glass. Enjoy a night filled with cocktails, dinner, dancing, silent and live auctions, and a performance by the New York Philharmonic.

    The Gala is at the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens and begins at 5:00 pm with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction. Guests will then proceed to the New York Philharmonic concert at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater featuring Music Director Alan Gilbert and sensational violin soloist Augustin Hadelich. Programming includes Mozart’s Violin Concerto and Mahler’s Symphony No. 5.

    Immediately following the concert, guests will return to the gala tent for a seated dinner provided by Vail Catering Concepts, a live auction, and dancing to the music of The Nacho Men. All proceeds from the gala benefit Bravo’s Music Matters Education and Outreach Programs, which provide free and affordable opportunities for students, teachers, families and visitors to explore diverse musical endeavors. Annually, the programs reach over 12,000 children and adults.

    Individual gala tickets and tables are still available. Individual tickets start at $300. Tickets $500 and above include a ticket to the New York Philharmonic concert that evening. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Caitlin Murray at 970-827-4305.


    24th Annual Gala, Dinner, Dance & Auction

    5:00 p.m. - Cocktails, Hors d'oeuvres & Silent Auction

    Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

    6:00 p.m. - New York Philharmonic Performance

    Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater

    MOZART: Violin Concerto No. 5

    MAHLER: Symphony No. 5

    8:00 p.m. - Dinner, Dancing & Live Auction

    Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

    Jurowski conducts Liszt's A Faust Symphony 26 July

    Vladimir Jurowski and the London Philharmonic Orchestra will appear at the BBC Proms on Tuesday 26 July. The all-Hungarian programme begins with Kodály's Dances of Galánta before pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet joins the Orchestra for Bartók's Piano Concerto No.1. Liszt's A Faust Symphony concludes the programme.

    This performance will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and will be shown on BBC Four on 29 July.

    To book tickets

    Tuesday 26 July 2011 | 7.30pm

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    Here's a great way to find Classical Music on Spotify

    Spotify Classical Playlists...

    Jeremy Denk’s High-Profile Summer Includes Hollywood Bowl Debut and Mostly Mozart Appearances

    “Hearing Mr. Denk’s bracing, effortlessly virtuosic, and utterly joyous performance,
    one would never guess how phenomenally difficult the piano part is.”– New York Times

    Pianist Jeremy Denk looks forward to a high-profile summer across the U.S., performing works by Beethoven and John Adams at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival (Aug 12-13) before playing more Beethoven for his debut performance at the Hollywood Bowl (Aug 18). He also plays a typically wide range of repertoire at top chamber music festivals, from Brahms and Ives in Seattle (July 15-17) to Brahms, Fauré, and Weinberg in Santa Fe (Aug 3-7).

    For Mostly Mozart, Denk performs Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in an all-Beethoven program with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra under Louis Langrée. Before each of the concerts, which take place in Avery Fisher Hall at New York’s Lincoln Center on August 12 and 13, audiences will have the chance to hear Denk in a 7pm pre-concert recital playing John Adams’s Phrygian Gates – the pulsing, 22-minute solo piece that was one of the composer’s first breakthroughs. Adams has said that the work “requires a pianist capable of considerable physical endurance and with an ability to sustain long arches of sound.” Such intensity and commitment are hallmarks of Denk’s performances, the New York Times noting that his recital in last summer’s Mostly Mozart Festival had “an explosive ferocity and a fragile delicacy that were thrilling to witness.”

    At the Hollywood Bowl on August 18, Denk performs the solo piano part in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy (in a program that includes the related Symphony No. 9, “Choral”). The pianist’s partners for the event are the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Los Angeles Master Chorale, conducted by Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos. It was with Beethoven that Denk made his L.A. Philharmonic debut this spring, stepping in at the eleventh hour to replace Martha Argerich with conductor Gustavo Dudamel. The Los Angeles Times reported: “Denk unravels mysteries. He commands an impressive clarity of tone and thought. He brings out delicious details. In many passages, his fingers catch the sparkle in his eye.”

    Tuesday, July 19, 2011

    Working with Online Music Options - SoundCloud, Spotify and Reverbnation

    I've only be using the first two options for a week now, and I'm certainly I don't have all the ins-and-outs figured out. I just opened a Reverbnation account today. Still, they all have different advantages and uses, so here are some of my thoughts into the process.

    Sound Cloud:

    A nice place to start. With a basic subscription I was able to upload 2 hours worth of music, join groups and share my music with friends, family and other artists. There is a limit of only 3 sets (playlists) of music, but a workable limitation.

    I only joined 11 groups and posted a piece to each one, so several of my pieces didn't get posted at all. I also posted links to the pieces (or the sets) on facebook and twitter. The end result is nearly 100 plays in just a week.

    Top songs are

    Easy on the Tonic performed by Reggie Berg: 15 plays

    Taken for Granite performed by the Edinburgh Quartet: 11 plays

    Piano Prelude 3 performed by Ani Gyulamiryan: 9 plays

    Trusting performed by Reggie Berg and Drew Rackow: 9 plays

    Osculum Pacis performed by Firesign: 9 plays

    5 songs have been downloaded and a couple of people have commented. Most of the plays have come from the US, but there are the occasional "fans" from Sweden and UK.


    Spotify doesn't have the same kind of stats but it does have a sizable following beyond musicians. It's huge in Europe and just coming over the the US (currently in beta). I can't tell how many people have played my music or even get comments directly back - but I have received some comments from people via email or otherwise who mentioned they heard it on Spotify.

    Like SoundCloud, Spotify has different levels of participation. The "free" version doesn't allow the music to be online unless I'm actually online and connected -downside. BUT, the $4.99 a month version does. No, I haven't upgraded (yet)...

    Another nice feature of Spotify is the vast number of uploads already in play. If you're a music lover (and not just a composer or performer), this is a great way to get access to lots of music.


    As a musician this one is particularly nice as it allows up to 8mb files to be uploaded. Ok, Chasing Dark Matter Galaxies had to be redone to be a bit smaller, but it's 10 mins of orchestral music!

    Musicians, you can also create t-shirts, mugs and other "fan gear" without the cost of purchasing the t-shirts and such ahead of time. Reverbnation also submits your music to iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Last.fm and more - but you have to pay for it (surprise!).

    So, for the indy artist this is a pretty good deal; I should have created my account some time ago!

    Wow, that was a chore, uploading music, selecting merchandise and trying to get my profile put together. It's not done, but then self-promotion is never finished...

    Sunday, July 17, 2011

    Idina Menzel at Red Rocks, Enough Personality to Fill the Rocky Mountains

    From barefoot entrance to delightful banter with Marvin Hamlisch, Idina charmed her fans at Red Rocks

    I knew of her from Wicked and her role as Elphaba, the 'Wicked' witch. She a Tony nomination for her portrayal of Maureen in Rent and is now part of the television hit show "Glee." Knowing all this didn't prepare me for the overwhelming personality she has on the concert stage.

    In tonight's concert she wasn't just saying pre-prepared lines of a character created by someone else. Many of the songs she sang were from her previous performances, but it was her personality that really filled the 9000+ venue of Red Rocks. She gallivanted on stage in a light yellow dress and bare-feet. From that first bubbly step she had the audience enamored.

    Her set list included "I'm not that girl" where she ripped our hearts out with the agony she portrayed as the character Elphaba, "Poker-face" which was the song she sang on her first appearance on "Glee" and closed with "Defying Gravity" causing the very rocks to want to join in the applause. She also sang Barbra Streisand numbers "Rain on my Parade," "The Way We Were" with just as much power, finesse and feeling. AND she song a medley of John Denver hits especially for the Red Rocks concert --complete and utter class, a 1st rate performer!

    Throughout the concert she included tidbits about herself, why particular songs have meaning to her or to those around her (ending the double encore with "Tomorrow" from Annie for Idina's mother who lives in the area and was at the concert). She joked, laughed, told touching stories and got very personal with the audience. This wasn't just a series of great songs sung beautifully, but a chance for Idina to reach out and touch the hearts of several thousand people enjoying a balmy Colorado Summer evening.

    Marvin Hamlisch conducted the Colorado Symphony, adding several moments of banter along the way. The personalities of Idina and Marvin obviously clicked, as they joked their way through the evening. Even when Idina stopped a song (several times) to include more tidbits about why she was singing "Poker-face" the chemistry between the conductor and singer remained in perfect balance. The audience laughed and cried with every emotional journey.

    I'd buy tickets to see her in a couple weeks in Deer Park Utah if I could make the trip. She has an amazing voice, but it was her personality that lit up the Rocky Mountains.

    BBC Wales Orchestra Taps New Chief Conductor

    Thomas Søndergård, principal conductor of the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, will succeed Thierry Fischer as principal conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (BBC NOW) starting in September 2012.

    Søndergård's first outing with the orchestra, in December 2009, was apparently a mutually satisfactory experience. "It was an amazing moment for me," said the conductor, "and I retain a vivid memory of the players' involvement and sheer enthusiasm from the very first note."

    BBC NOW Executive Director David Murray concurred: "Thomas has won over the Orchestra with his natural musicianship, dynamic drive and deep commitment.''

    Saturday, July 16, 2011

    A Tale of Two Press Conferences: NYC Opera, Before and After

    There were two press conferences at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on Tuesday. At 1 p.m., and by invitation only, New York City Opera officially announced its slimmed down, multi-venue 2011-2012 season. At noon, and open to anyone who would listen, members of the NYCO orchestra and chorus gathered to protest the dismantling of the New York City Opera as it has been known for 45 years -- a full-season opera company with a permanent chorus and orchestra.

    The "legit" event was hosted in the museum's theater by City Opera General Manager and Artistic Director George Steel; the union rally took place just outside on the sidewalk, and was hosted by local leaders of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) and the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA). Both sides called themselves the New York City Opera. Both sides claimed to be "the people's opera," referencing Fiorello LaGuardia's famous moniker for the company. "Those people can't say they are the New York City Opera," shouted AGMA President James Odom, jabbing his finger in the air toward the museum. "But we can say we are the New York City Opera."

    The crowd, comprised of about 100 union members, press and passers-by, roared its approval.

    EMI Classics & Virgin Classics Celebrating Liszt’s Bicentennial with CD Set

    The July 2011 releases from EMI Classics and Virgin Classics, drawn from their illustrious catalogues, offer an enormous variety of music suited for all tastes – perfect for hours of satisfying summer listening. Liszt – The Piano Collection, a beautifully packaged ten-CD set, celebrates the bicentennial of the birth of composer/virtuoso Franz Liszt, one of the greatest pianists of all time, and a composer whose works were, by turns, dazzlingly difficult, emotionally gripping, and transcendent.

    Franz Liszt (1811-86) was one of the very greatest piano virtuosos of all time. He created works that not only required extreme dexterity but also demanded a strong sense of emotion and musicianship. Together with his sensational piano music, Liszt’s flowing hair and good looks caused audiences to adore and idolize him, but he was also an artist of questing spirituality and a forward-looking composer whose advanced harmonies opened a window through which many future composers would pass.

    To honor Liszt’s 200th birthday and celebrate the ingenuity and diversity of his works, EMI Classics is pleased to release an exclusive ten-CD set uniting his major works for piano – such as the famous Sonata in B minor – with a number of less frequently heard pieces. The beautiful boxed set features world-class recordings from some of the most celebrated pianists of the past and present, including Leif Ove Andsnes, Aldo Ciccolini, Georges Cziffra, and Lionel Rogg. The collection includes selections from his Années de pèlerinage (Years of Pilgrimage), a set of three suites where Liszt’s complete musical style is evident, from virtuosic fireworks to transcendent spirituality.

    Friday, July 15, 2011

    Jessica Rivera wins praise for Górecki & Adams

    Soprano Jessica Rivera is winning a lot of acclaim as an inspired interpreter of 20th- and 21st-century composers, from Benjamin Britten (in whose "Spring" Symphony she joined Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony and was declared "radiant" by Atlanta critic Pierre Ruhe) to Henryk Górecki and John Adams. "Jessica embodies the music she sings," says conductor Michael Christie, with whom the Californian performed Górecki's Symphony No. 3 ("Symphony of Sorrowful Songs") at the Colorado Music Festival (July 7 & 8). "She brings out the humanity of this music and touches the heart with it." Read the review: "Orchestra, Rivera, stunning in minimalist symphony" --Daily Camera, 7/8/11

    Praising Rivera's late May performances of the "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs" with Gustavo Dudamel and the L.A. Philharmonic, Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times referenced Dawn Upshaw's iconic Nonesuch recording of the piece. He wrote that Rivera's "soprano soared...and conveyed continual intensity. ...A young singer who has worked closely with Upshaw, she now owns Górecki's Third."

    Rivera also received raves for reprising the leading role of Kumudha in Cincinnati Opera's recent staging of A Flowering Tree by John Adams. Productions of A Flowering Tree have taken her to three continents, and she is featured on the Nonesuch CD conducted by Adams himself. The Cincinnati Enquirer said of Rivera's June-July portrayal: "Rivera gave a deeply moving performance as Kumudha, both vulnerable as the young bride and tragic in the darker moments. She fully inhabited her role, and sang radiantly." Read Q&A with Rivera and view video clip from Cincinnati Opera.

    Thomas Hampson Creates Title Role in Heart of a Soldier, Opening at San Francisco Opera in September

    Thomas Hampson’s 2011-12 season will begin on September 10 at San Francisco Opera, where he will create the role of Rick Rescorla in the world premiere of Christopher Theofanidis’s Heart of a Soldier. The new opera (seven performances through September 30), commemorating the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, features a libretto by Donna Di Novelli and is directed by Francesca Zambello. Based on the 2002 book by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist James B. Stewart, the opera is inspired by the true story of Rescorla, his wife, Susan, and his friend Daniel J. Hill, culminating in Rescorla’s tragic death in the collapse of the South Tower of the World Trade Center following his heroic evacuation of all 2,700 employees of Morgan Stanley. “This role is a great challenge and I feel honored – and very motivated – to meet it,” says Hampson.

    medici.tv’s exclusive webcasts of the Verbier Festival TONIGHT July 15

    For five consecutive seasons, medici.tv has been the place for classical music lovers around the world to enjoy the spectacular array of top artists who perform at the Verbier Festival, which this summer takes place July 15 – 31. As Martin T:son Engstroem, the festival's founder and executive director, says: "Verbier is a tiny Swiss mountain village, far from any big towns, but we can connect with the global internet community and share our wonderful programs with a worldwide audience. People have followed our concerts from some mind-boggling places. Hats off to medici!" This summer, medici.tv will stream concerts again from Verbier, with more than 20 live events from the 18th annual festival; tomorrow’s festival opening-night concert features the Verbier Festival Orchestra under music director Charles Dutoit, performing Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 2 with soloist Nelson Freire and Stravinsky’s Petrushka.

    The freshly redesigned medici.tv has reaped acclaim as one of the web's leading classical music experiences. A column by editor-in-chief James Jolly in the June issue of Gramophone magazine details the medici.tv experience at length, marveling over the "treasures aplenty" on the site. The medici.tv app for iPads, iPhones and other digital devices – available for free at the Apple app store – was recently named one of the top five apps for classical music by WQXR, the classical music station of New York City.

    For complete programs and additional information about the 2011 Verbier Festival, visit www.verbierfestival.com.

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

    Bravo! Vail Valley Music: TONIGHT! Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Saturday Carmina Burana

    Exhilarating. Passionate. Charismatic. Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg performs Bruch's Violin Concerto, Prokofiev and Brahms with The Philadelphia Orchestra.

    Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg is known for her exhilarating performances, passionate interpretations, musical depth, and unique charisma. Music Director of the New Century Chamber Orchestra, in 2010-11 Nadja led this 19-member string orchestra into their third season, which included a U.S tour. Ms. Salerno-Sonnenberg’s energetic personality has served her well in numerous environments: on camera, in a commercial for Signet Bank, hosting a Backstage/Live from Lincoln Center program for PBS, appearing in the PBS/BBC series The Mind, even talking to Big Bird on Sesame Street. She was the subject of the 2000 Academy Award-nominated film, Speaking In Strings, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

    Visit Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival for more details and tickets.

    Call for Scores: Juventas New Music Ensemble due July 15th

    Juventas New Music Ensemble announces its 2011-2012 Season Semi-Annual Call
    for Scores. Compositions selected from this call will go into Juventas's
    repertoire for programing in the 2011-2012 season and beyond.

    Juventas is seeking chamber works by young, living composers for any
    instrumentation or length, however preference will be given to works that
    draw on the Juventas core instrumentation: flute (including piccolo and/or
    alto flute), clarinet (including Eb, Bb, and bass clarinet), violin, viola,
    cello, and piano. Additionally, all composers must be age 35 or under as of
    Janurary 1st of the present year to be eligible for consideration.

    The application deadline is July 15, 2011.

    Details and application instructions are available at www.juventasmusic.com.

    Another Orchestra in Trouble: Players reject Louisville Orchestra offer

    If the Bankruptcy of Philadelphia Orchestra wasn't bad enough, or the players strike in Detroit, now there's the ultimatum by management and rejection by the players in Louisville to shake up the classical music world.

    Management offered a "per-service" model, basically stripping the musicians of collective bargaining. (which seems to be the trend, note Wisconsin) However more than 40 musicians and music patrons delivered letters and emails on Wednesday to the orchestra management. Gathered outside the orchestra offices, they answered questions about the progress.

    The Louisville Orchestra filed for Chapter 11 back in December and have been without a contract since the end of may.

    The letter, from CEO Robert Birman, was sent to players individually and as such could be grounds for a complaint to the National Labor Relations Board. The players, however, just want to get back to the bargaining table.

    These kinds of labor struggles are unfortunately not new. Colorado Symphony players spent two years under an expired contract as they worked to finally ratify a new one last April, and their tickets sales were way up this year. Detroit Symphony's 2010-2011 season was shortened because of a strike. Since resolving the strike, the organization has added $8.5M in new money and sold 83% of it's tickets. Philadelphia Orchestra is facing contract negotiations after filing bankruptcy may require they replace their existing contract. The musicians have agreed to play until mid November, giving the organization time to determine if the existing musicians contract can stand.

    It's not a happy time for orchestras; still, with Colorado and Detroit making it through and Philadelphia working on finding a solution there are bits of light in the tunnel.

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    Update on using foursquare

    Lesson: Always read the fine print

    Foursquare is "a location-based mobile platform that makes cities easier to use and more interesting to explore. By “checking in” via a smartphone app or SMS, users share their location with friends while collecting points and virtual badges."

    I don't have a smartphone so I'm SOL... nice. While I understand the concept, knowing this I find it even harder to believe it's going to be a measure of Social Media. According to TechZone360 about 1/4 of a million people use smartphones, primarily for the internet. Considering there are 310 million people according the US Census 2010, that means .16% of the country is even eligible to be social media savvy. According to Internet World Stats over 77% (240m) of the US population are connected to the internet now. Facebook has more than 750m users (over twice the US population); Twitter passed the 300m mark recently. In comparison it seems Foursquare is barely a drop in the bucket --hardly worth market research just yet.

    Will I keep my account? Of course, sitting idle does nothing. Looking at the various options, a lot of other users, channels and add on's have been idle for a while too.

    Recommendation, unless you have a smartphone, don't bother. If you do, still not sure it's worth your while. Wait for version 2 to come out. Maybe Google+ will add something to it's circles to do the same thing.

    Getting Lost in the Social Media Maze

    Previously on Interchanging Idioms: Trying to Managing All the Online Resources

    Well, klout is going to add foursquare to their algorithms. Not sure why Google+ isn't on their list, but I figured, since I'm trying to keep abreast of what's going on in the social media world, ahead of the game in terms of what it means to be truly effective with social media and I don't have enough to do right now (ok, that last one isn't true)... I thought I'd open a Foursquare account.

    Hmmmm, 30 mins later, added 3 restaurants, 2 performance venues and not sure I get the concept. I'll venture back again later today, but not sure the relevance in terms of social media. Facebook, Twitter and even LinkedIn I get. Google+ is too new (and still beta) so not sure it's viable, yet.

    If I were the folks at Klout I'd look at finding a way to add blogs and websites to people's personal klout scores. They seems to me to be much more viable in terms of social/internet reach.

    This week's Top Ticket in Denver: Idina Menzel

    Broadway powerhouse Idina Menzel – the Tony award-winning "Elphaba" from international blockbuster Wicked – returns by popular demand for one-night-only at Red Rocks Amphitheatre with the Colorado Symphony. With a diverse repertoire of classic pop, musical theater favorites (including hits from Wicked, Rent and Glee) as well as songs from her album "I Stand," Idina Menzel demonstrates why she is one of the great vocal performers of our time.

    Idina Menzel
    7/17 - 7:30 p.m.
    Red Rocks Amphitheatre

    Marvin Hamlisch, conductor

    Tickets are available online at coloradosymphony.org or call the box office at 303.623.7876.

    Sony Masterworks Releases 2cellos (Sulic & Hauser) Debut Recording On July 19

    Discovered Via YouTube For Their Fresh And Unique Covers of Hit Rock And Pop Songs Recreated On Their Cellos

    Living in a small town in Croatia, 24-year-old music students, Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser, are living a dream come true – and quickly! After posting a self-made music video of them performing Michael Jackson's “Smooth Criminal” on their cellos, the longtime friends received more attention than they ever expected.

    Within days, the video became a viral sensation and received millions of views. It got the attention of Sony Masterworks who signed them to a record deal. Concurrently, they received a phone call from legend Elton John who invited them to join him on his European tour this Summer and Fall. They recently made their U.S. TV debut on The Ellen DeGeneres Show where they performed “Smooth Criminal.” (see my post here for the video)

    “I feel so blessed that all of this is happening – a record deal with Sony Masterworks and a tour with Elton John – who would have imagined?!” relays Stjepan Hauser.

    Their debut album will be released on July 19 and will feature Sulic & Hauser’s unique spin on hits by Guns N’ Roses, U2, Coldplay and Kings of Leon among others.

    “We grew up with Michael Jackson, U2 and Nirvana. The melody and structure of their songs really inspired us to arrange them for 2 cellos. Bands like Coldplay, Kings of Leon and Muse also write songs with those similar melodic qualities – so we had a great time digging in and making them part of this album too,” says Luka Sulic.

    The duo just released a second single and music video to Guns N’ Roses classic “Welcome To The Jungle” and like their first video, it is spreading quickly, getting over 1 million views in the first week!

    Of the new single Hauser says: “Covering ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ was a real challenge but that one we were up for! We chose this song because we thought that it could sound like a whole symphony using only our 2 cellos. We’re really proud of it and think it rocks!”

    The Boston Symphony Orchestra Opened Its 2011 Summer Season At Tanglewood With An All-Italian Program, Under The Direction Of Charles Dutoit, On July 8

    From an all-Italian Opening Night Boston Symphony Orchestra program under the direction of Charles Dutoit on July 8, four appearances by living legend Yo-Yo Ma (June 28, 29, August 13, 14), a Boston Pops Cole Porter tribute led by Keith Lockhart (July 17), and the incredibly popular Film Night with John Williams (August 20), to the welcome returns of Itzhak Perlman (August 27) and Christoph Eschenbach (July 30, 31, August 2) and special appearances by favorite artists Joshua Bell (July 10), Stephanie Blythe (August 10, 14), Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos (August 2, 5, 12, 14), Christoph von Dohnányi (August 13, 19), Kurt Masur (July 15, 17), and Peter Serkin (July 30) to the closing BSO performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony under the direction of Lorin Maazel (August 28), Tanglewood 2011 brings classical music lovers and Boston Pops fans a wonderfully wide-ranging selection of artists and repertoire.

    From a world premiere performance by the Mark Morris Dance Group (June 28, 29), two all-Ravel solo piano programs by Jean-Yves Thibaudet (July 20, 21), a concert version of Handel’s Orlando, and a recital by Stephanie Blythe (August 10) to the debut of the Mark O’Connor String Quartet (July 7), and mid-season jazz appearances by Brad Mehldau (August 25) and John Pizzarelli’s Radio Deluxe (August 21), the Ozawa Hall schedule offers concertgoers a rich variety of performances in the intimate surroundings of this acclaimed concert setting.
    Nurturing and presenting the best of the future of classical music, Tanglewood 2011 brings the debut of 26 important new artists, a Festival of Contemporary Music program under the esteemed direction of Charles Wuorinen (August 3-7), and a wide variety of orchestral, operatic, and chamber music performances by the young musicians of the Tanglewood Music Center, the BSO’s world-renowned music academy for young professional musicians.

    The 2011 Tanglewood season opened with Earth, Wind, and Fire on June 25 and closes with the annual Labor Day Weekend Jazz Festival, this year also featuring the Tanglewood Wine and Food Classic, September 2-4, with appearances by Steely Dan (July 25) and Train (August 8) also featured. Further season details are available at www.tanglewood.org.

    The Tanglewood Backstage Pass Weekends, July 22-24 and August 5-7 (sold out), offers patrons a look at Tanglewood from an insider’s experience, with a private post-concert reception and meet-and-greet with BSO musicians; intimate seminars with BSO musicians, administrators, and TMC administrators; informative lectures, and a behind-the-scenes tour of the Tanglewood grounds.

    One Day University, the acclaimed adult education series, is returning to Tanglewood on Sunday, August 28, presenting three lectures by professors from Columbia, Brown, and Vanderbilt. Topics to be discussed include “FDR and the Path to WWII: What We Know Now That We Didn’t Know Then” with Columbia University’s Richard M. Pious; “Where Are My Keys? Understanding How Memory Works” with Brown University’s John J. Stein; and “The Beatles and Beethoven: Hearing the Connection” with Vanderbilt University’s Michael Alec Rose.

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011

    ONErpm Launches Facebook App to Help Musicians Connect with and Sell Music to their Fans

    ONErpm.com announces the debut of its Facebook App, ONErpm, a robust social commerce application enabling musicians and labels to market and sell their music globally to fans right from their Facebook page. Artists can sell by territory, set pricing tiers, and offer free downloads in exchange for an email address. Emphasizing globality, ONErpm also supports multiple currencies and languages including English, Portuguese, and Spanish.

    The ONErpm application features a one-click install with no restriction on the number of albums, making it an ideal solution for artists or labels with large catalogs. Payment processing also occurs within Facebook (unless the user opts for PayPal) to make the experience seamless for the fan. ONErpm also boasts some impressive promotional features for the artist, including “fan-gating” whereby a listener is encouraged to “Like” an artist’s page before listening to the music; numerous sharing options; email list sign up; and listener comments.

    One of ONErpm's most unique features is that a consumer can jump between various ONErpm artist pages on Facebook while keeping shopping cart information persistent. “Our focus is to help artists promote their brands and sell their music by harnessing the social media power of their fans,” says Matt Olim, CTO and Co-Founder of ONErpm (formerly, CTO and Co-Founder of CDNow). “We've built the ONErpm service so that it can become a fully integrated music store with a recommendation engine – all residing within Facebook.”

    ONErpm is already working on the next release which will include even more social commerce features and customization options. “We’re constantly listening to our artists and labels and building that feedback into our product as fast as we can,” states Emmanuel Zunz, Company CEO and Co-Founder.

    From Brazil to Brooklyn, prominent indie artists and record labels have selected ONErpm to power their Facebook pages with social commerce, including Hip Hop sensation Blitz the Ambassador (Brooklyn, NY), electro-cumbia pioneers Systema Solar (Colombia), and Brazilian Country music superstars Chitaozinho & Xororo. According to Blitz the Ambassador, “We’ve looked at many options for social commerce storefronts and we decided to work with ONErpm in the end because it provides a comprehensive way to manage our digital distribution across multiple platforms, and we’re truly excited about the options that will be available to us in the future – we’ve had a sneak peek.”

    Getting Heard: Trying to Manage all the Online Resources

    There was a flurry of resources and options tossed out at me after my post on Getting Heard: Making Noise in a Digital World". I already had this blog and my website, but it seems to really get heard by the general public I need to do more.

    My Myspace account wasn't a musician's account so I couldn't effectively post music. In the end I deleted the old account, waited 4 days and made a new one. Because of the cross pollination with Facebook, I had a bunch of friends from the get go. However, there's been almost no traffic to it since I put it up 3 days ago.

    My twitter, Facebook and Linked In accounts were already really active. But managing them is a chore, even with all the linking apps they have. So, I added TweetDeck to my desktop to keep on track of whose saying what where, and make relevant posts, re-tweets and comments as necessary.

    Add to this I'm also up on Google+ which isn't very active yet... but, knowing Google it will be.

    I've had accounts with 4shared and Box.net, but until today I wasn't up on SoundCloud. The first two accounts were so I could share music files with interested parties. But, once my website was up it became much easier to just post the mp3 files and player up there, plus I could add a page with a description, program notes, images and even link to paypal if someone wanted to buy the printed music. We'll see how well SoundCloud does in terms of music exposure.

    Reverbnation is a site I've yet to tackle, but next on my list. If anyone has any other sites they use (and find effective), I'd love to hear about them.

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    The joy of music, for the sake of music

    A friend, fellow composer and previous instructor posted some of his music on SoundCloud the other day (actually he posted his links to SoundCloud on Google+ which is where I caught them). So, I took a moment to listen. We don't always see eye-to-eye in terms of what is listenable music. To my great delight, his posted pieces were really interesting, very much in "his sound" and just delightful to listen to.

    It made me reflect on my own recent writings. Much of what I've been attempting to do is complicate the music, obfuscate the rhythms, add greater angularity to the melodies, harmonies and tonality to veer away from romantic tonality. The result has been an increased sense of frustration on my part, with no better results in terms of getting pieces performed.

    While I still like a couple of my most recent orchestra pieces, Insecta and Chasing Dark Matter Galaxies, and Flute Toys (still in progress) has been enjoyable to write, however a little piece for flute and guitar I wrote numerous years ago still thrills me when I listen to it.

    In a previous post when I asked the question, "What sort of music should I write?" lots of people told me to follow my heart. Well, for the next few weeks this sort of music is what my heart is telling me to write.

    Sunday, July 10, 2011

    Getting Heard: Lead by Example (with a letter to Orchestra's Senior Management)

    Start from the top if you want to get something done

    The actual letter is toward the bottom

    I posted an article the other day that pi**ed a fair number of musicians off. It seems many of them felt I was saying they were lazy for not getting involved in the social media revolution. My sincere apologies... I didn't mean to suggest anyone was lazy.

    Worse thing about the whole affair is I may have shot myself in the foot (although this wouldn't be the first time). You see, I'm a composer, not a composer/performer; I need musicians in order to get my music played. Since I write primarily orchestral music, I need a lot of musicians, a whole orchestra full of them! Pi**ing them off isn't a great way to get my music played.

    All the furor over my comments got me to thinking. The problem isn't about having passion - I KNOW musicians have passion - it takes far too much effort to be involved in the modern classical world - you would never do it if you were not passionate. I think the orchestral world has just been slow to adapt to the new landscape of communication that social media presents.

    After much thought, I still believe the audience would benefit from musicians who got involved in promoting the ensembles they play in. But if musicians are being treated like corporate employees that must 'stick to the script', who should be responsible for setting the tone for social media engagement? Senior management.

    I sincerely hoping I'm not shooting myself in my other foot for what I'm about to say (i.e., if an orchestra's senior management doesn't like me, I'm still not likely to get my music played), I believe the people involved in bringing orchestral music to life should be willing to share their passion in words over the internet via social media.

    This means: Senior management, who are the people whose job it is to talk up the orchestra, to meet with people and highlight what the orchestra is doing, should be tweeting at least once a week. People in senior management positions don't get to these positions without knowing people, LOTS of people. These are the same kind of people who can make or break an organization. They are donors, artists, other managers and influential people in the community --exactly the kind of people who should be getting regular updates (reminders) how important the symphony is to the community. They should be getting updates on what's going on, what guest artists are performing and how amazing these performances are when they're done.

    Senior management is already doing this, but are they using all the tools available too them? i.e., are they using twitter and facebook?

    I did some looking and was pleasantly surprised to find there are a few who not only have twitter accounts, but are actually tweeting about what's happening in the organization they work for. YES! Unfortunately, there were only about 20% of the Senior Staff I could find (out of the nearly 100 I looked for) and only about half of those are making comments. Ok, it's a start.

    To see if we can increase that number, here is my letter

    Dear Senior Management

    You work for an organization that plays amazing music. You know it, I know it and even some of your community know it. Still, every year you struggle to balance the budget, some concerts play to filled halls, but not many and your musicians are frustrated because they feel they aren't getting the appreciation they deserve for all their hard work and practice.

    Classical music is still popular with people, as is evidenced by the number of classical music downloads. Naxos and Classical Music Library make their entire living off just this industry. Yet, our concert halls and symphony orchestras are struggling. We need to find a way to get the people who download our music into our concerts. Lots of suggestions have been made, but there's one I think you should employ, right away --Social Media.

    You, and your fellow administrative staff members, should each create simple facebook and twitter accounts (Google+ accounts if you really want to cover your bases, write to me and I'll invite you), spend half an hour connecting these social media outlets with people in your email address book (you'll be surprised how many people you know who already have these types of accounts) and then ONCE or TWICE a week, tweet (use twitter) to let your "friends" know what's going on with the symphony, your job, your organization. Once the setup is done, we're talking about 3-5 mins of your time every week. Yet, each of these comments will reach potentially hundreds of people. And the more you do it, the wider this circle will grow.

    You can add a step to this process: Get a social media manager in your organization to follow these twitter accounts and re-tweet comments that highlight your organization. Suddenly your comments are not just getting to your friends, but all the fans of your organization as well. This will provide a personal, passionate touch to your outreach. Showing the passion will help the people who are interested in you get more passionate too. Passionate people attend more concerts!

    If you really want to be enthusiastic, contact the staff you know at other orchestras. Get them to do the same thing. Follow their tweets and have them follow yours. You'll not only get to see what else is going on, what other people are saying (which might give you ideas about what to say), but they'll be listening to you - and potentially sharing your "good news" with their friends. Imagine for a moment how huge this kind of simple communication could be.

    This isn't a perfect solution and it won't solve all your problems. But it's a small step that can have a huge impact on not only your organization, but classical music as a whole. Social media works because it gets people talking. The more people who are talking about your orchestra the better.

    Start using social media. Get your staff to use social media. Get the word out. You deserve sold out concerts.


    Chip Michael

    PS my twitter feed is #ChipMichael. Let me know your twitter and I'll follow you and re-tweet relevant comments. That will add to your exposure

    I believe in classical music. I believe it deserves to be heard live! I am passionate about sharing this belief with everyone I know. Believe with me!

    Michael Hersch World Premiere Commission Will Celebrate the Eastern Music Festival’s 50th Anniversary

    Michael Hersch’s new horn concerto, a sheltered corner, will receive its world premiere during the 50th-anniversary season of the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina this summer. A commission for the festival, it is his first large-scale work for horn and orchestra. Hersch, one of the most gifted composers of his generation, has been a prolific writer of orchestral, chamber, and choral works. Music critic Tim Page heralded his arrival on the international stage more than a decade ago, referring to him in The Washington Post as “a Promethean creator who has been charged with relaying his particular message. He combines a mixture of urgency and facility that is dazzling.” The New York Times said, “If the symmetries and proportions of Mr. Hersch’s music evoke the grounded fixity of architecture, its dynamism and spontaneous evolution are those of the natural world. Its somber eloquence sings of truths that are personal yet not confessional.”

    The premiere of a sheltered corner will take on a family aspect, with Michael’s brother Jamie serving as soloist. Jamie Hersch is in the top rank of today’s horn soloists and has performed with ensembles such as the Boston Pops, the Romanian State Radio Orchestra, and the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble.

    Michael Hersch is a recipient of the Rome Prize (2000), the Berlin Prize (2001), and both the Charles Ives Scholarship (1996) and Goddard Lieberson Fellowship (2006) from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

    Maestro Gerard Schwarz will lead the Eastern Festival Orchestra in the premiere of a sheltered corner on July 16, 2011 at 8 pm in Dana Auditorium at Guilford College.

    Colorado Symphony Celebrates Legacy Of Arthur Fiedler And Bostonpops

    The Colorado Symphony returns to the Arvada Center in a wonderful evening of music under the stars with their much-anticipated tribute to Arthur Fiedler on Thursday, July 21. A long-time conductor of the Boston Pops, Fiedler (1894 - 1979) brought fresh life to the "pops orchestra" sound and pioneered lighter concerts of popular masterworks, as well as the tradition of outdoor summer concerts and fifteen minute intermissions. In its tribute, the Colorado Symphony will perform an array of popular classics: works that hold both mass appeal and emotional ties for many music lovers. Concertgoers can look forward to works ranging from Johann Strauss Jr.'s Tales from the Vienna Woods to John Williams' score for E.T.: Adventures on Earth, as well as Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever and Willson's Symphonic Impressions from the score for the Broadway hit, The Music Man.

    Two members of the Colorado Symphony also shine in this exceptional concert. Associate concertmaster Claude Sim performs the haunting Ashoken Farewell, and principal trumpet Justin Bartels performs the virtuosic Carnival of Venice – considered among the most demanding works in the repertoire.


    A limited number of CenterFest tickets are available for sale at the Colorado Symphony Box Office at www.coloradosymphony.org, by calling (303) 623-7876 or (877) 292-7979, or in-person in the lobby of Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Hours are Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets are also available at The Arvada Center: (720) 898-7200 or www.arvadacenter.org.