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Showing posts from June, 2012

TwtrSymphony's Debut track The Hawk Goes Hunting Due Out Friday July 6th

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TwtrSymphony will release their debut track The Hawk Goes Hunting Friday July 6th, 2012.Hawk is the 1st movement of Chip Michael's Symphony No. 2 -Birds of a Feather, a new composition created specifically for a Social Media Symphony. TwtrSymphony, a new concept in the symphony orchestra, would only be possible in our modern era of global communications. A collection of musicians from around the world met over Twitter and conspired to form an orchestra participating in the TwtrSymphony project. This newly formed organization works to create new music in keeping with the character limit of a tweet - 140 seconds at a time.
For each symphonic movement and each chamber piece, the composer must create the score, the individual parts and click tracks which provide the necessary framework for playing together without a conductor. The musicians must then record their part in remote sessions and upload them to the web. Finally, the various tracks are put together and engineered by Garry …

Engaging a Younger Audience in the Concert Hall (2)

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Review: BRAVE and the music of Patrick Doyle

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The Society of Composers & Lyricist had a special showing of BRAVE last night with a Q&A session with Patrick Doyle after the film.
Let me start of by say Pixar has done it again. BRAVE is a wonderful film, with a charming story line that really captures the beauty of Scotland. This is not a twee (cheezy) film that mocks Scotland like Brigadoon, but captures both the attitudes (good and bad) of the people, the feeling of the landscape and heart of the music without pandering to stereotypes. The voices are alive with the accent, albeit the accents have been softened a bit to be understandable (for an American audience). The rich colors of the countryside occasionally look cartoon-ish, but for someone who lived there for 10 years and traveled highlands, lowlands and islands extensively, believe the colors are real. Patrick Doyle dug deep into his roots growing up in Uddingston Scotland (just outside Glasgow) and brought in some stellar Celtic musicians to give the film an authe…

Rethinking What Orchestra Music Means to Those Under 40

The world has changed over the past 40 years since Don McLean recorded “American Pie” –the day the music died.
I don't think we need to start any riots to get those under 40 into the concert hall. Nor do I think we need to abandon what we have (and the audience that loves it) just to get a younger audience in attendance. However, I do think there are some things we should think about when approaching the problem --mainly, the ways that the changing cultural landscape has created a very different way of thinking about and interacting with the world as a whole for those under 40.

The last four decades have seen a huge shift in the way we think and interact with each other. People who are less than 40 years old were not yet born when Neil Armstrong took the first steps on the moon (1969). While they may have been old enough to remember when MTV came out (1981), they weren't yet into their teens. The term 'personal computer' was used as early as 1972, and the first IB…

Talking About Audiences - Roundtable Discussion

from American Orchestra Forum
While classical music continues to grow artistically via commissions, new music, and new channels of distribution, the core orchestral presentation—a live, on-stage concert—is essentially unchanged over the past 100 years. Will that, can that, remain the case for the next 100 years?
Mark Clague, associate professor of music, University of Michigan; Matthew VanBesien, Executive Director Designate, New York Philharmonic; Sunil Iyengar, Director of Research & Analysis, National Endowment for the Arts; Elizabeth Scott, Chief Media and Digital Officer, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts - formerly V.P., Major League Baseball Productions; Brent Assink, Executive Director, San Francisco Symphony; and Steven Winn, San Francisco arts journalist and author
Recorded May 13, 2012 in San Francisco, CA.

Celebrate Independence Eve with a free concert by the Colorado Symphony, a spectacular fireworks display and more!

Join Colorado Symphony for Independence Eve presented by Anadarko, a FREE Colorado Symphony concert, light show and fireworks display on Tuesday, July 3, in Denver’s Civic Center Park (Colfax & Broadway) beginning at 8:00 pm.
Lawn seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis; arriving early is greatly encouraged, as are blankets or low-rise concert/beach chairs. Attendees are welcome to bring their own picnics; concessions will also be available on-site.

Classical Music is Waging War

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Tents have been pitched, flags are flying with various colors demarking the armies who have come to do battle. Soldiers are busy sharpening their weapons, polishing their armor, making sure every thing is ready to reap maximum carnage when the time comes. Leaders are rallying their troops, spurring them on with motivational speeches designed to prove their cause is just. Tactics are carefully planned to maximize the effectiveness of each arsenal. Each army convinced they will win the day.
The problem with this picture is the war being waged isn't against another foe, some foreign invader. The war in Classical Music is a civil war, armies which should be on the same side are fighting against each other. People who should be cooperating to look for the future of Classical Music are entrenching their ideas. Ideas are selective rather than inclusive. It is a Solomon's dilemma --do we hack the baby in pieces to appease everyone?
This battle isn't a one off, winner takes all. The…

LIVE discussion of Engaging a Younger Audience in the Concert Hall

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Engaging a Younger Audience in the Concert Hall

An invitation to join an online discussion: Engaging a younger audience in the concert hall
Greg Sandow wrote an excellent article back in 2008 "Age of the audience" which discusses how the classical music audience is aging. He posted "A wild time" today about the classical music crisis, fact or fiction. Industry professional all over the country are exploring options to stem the tide of an aging audience and dwindling ticket sales.
I have invited some of my colleges to join me on Google Hangout to openly discuss this issue, and present ways we can change the trend. There is no date set, as invitations have just been sent out.
Watch this space for when the discussion will take place. You can also send your questions and suggestions to me via twitter @Chipmichael.

New Music Readings Highlight Nation's Top Young Composers Audience Choice Winner Announced

Six talented composers participated in the 21st annual Underwood New Music Readings -- ACO's roundup of the country's brightest emerging composers, June 1-2. George Manahan conducted new music by Ryan Chase, Peter Fahey, Michael-Thomas Foumai, Paul Kerekes, Pin Hsin Lin and Benjamin Taylor. Several composers blogged about their experiences. (Check below.) Next month we will announce the winner of the coveted $15,000 Underwood commission. Today we are proud to announce that Ryan Chase is the winner of the Audience Choice Award with his thrill-ride, The Light Fantastic. Every audience member who voted will receive a newly composed ringtone from the winner. Congratulations Ryan!

Narcissist or Enthusiast: Is My Promotion of Classical Music Self-Serving?

A line from the film "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (1992) comes to mind: "Does the word "duh" mean anything to you?"
Yes, unabashedly my promotion of classical music is very self-serving. Not only am I a passionate admirer of classical music, but I am a composer who writes for orchestras and classical chamber ensembles. The better the classical industry does, the more likely I am to get my pieces played. There is no doubt that some of my passionate promotion of the art form has a personal agenda.
However, I often tweet or post on Facebook concerts or conversations from orchestras I have no personal stake in. Many of the musicians I converse with over social media are not currently performing my music nor do they have plans to do so in the foreseeable future. Very little of what I write about on this blog is even indirectly related to potential future income. Most of it is just "getting the word out" --a very important task in my opinion.
Yesterday I…

How to Get More People to Listen to Classical Music

Creating a desire for people to attend and support classical music organizations
I just finished reading Michael Kaiser's "The Art of the Turnaround --creating and maintaining healthy arts organizations." It's a wonderful read for anyone interested in promoting the arts. As a composer, my interest lies with Symphony Orchestra's, but Michael's experience is applicable to any arts organization.
One of the big messages is the concept that arts organizations need to create a sense of interest in the public and supporters. IF an organization looks to be creating something worthy, then people will want to support it. Michael gives case studies of the organizations he's worked with and how he created a sense of value for each. This value is important. People want to feel as though the money they are giving is going to something worthwhile, whether it's for the purchase of a ticket, or in a donation. If the organization is elitist, or exclusionary, you lim…

Composing for a Moving Target: The Growth and Attrition of TwtrSymphony

With the genesis of a project there are always numerous people excited by the new idea and wanting to participate. As projects stabilize, some of the initial enthusiasm is lost resulting in natural growing pains and attrition. TwtrSymphony, like all new projects is a bit of a moving target as we negotiate the stabilization process.
Trying to compose a symphony for an orchestra in the throes of genesis has been challenging!
TwtrSymphony is a living organism, growing, changing and maturing, made up of musicians who have their own very busy lives. Often the most talented musicians are also those most in demand. So, when musicians already playing in established orchestras, or with solo careers in their own right, inquire about playing with TwtrSymphony, we're over-joyed at the prospect. However, we must also be realistic. TwtrSymphony, by nature of Remote Session recording and tight deadlines, is not for everyone.As we negotiated the audition process, it became apparent we were going …