Showing posts from 2013

Modern Music for Modern Times

Taking a page of music from today to create music that fits with a modern audience
When Bach wrote multi-movement works, he used dances of the day as a basis, a framework for this music. Moving further back there are numerous examples of composers using "popular" tunes folded into religious works so listeners would hear familiar elements in the music of the church, adding layers of meaning and pleasure for all involved. Mozart and Haydn framed their music with styles popular in their day. Beethoven and Liszt were performers as well as composers, getting rave reviews from their improvisational styles, which (again) echoed music of the day. All of these composers took the music of their day and made it something more, but they started with the familiar, with the current music of the day.

We do have examples of this same sort of treatment. Lee Johnson wrote the "Dead Symphony No. 6" as a tribute to the Grateful Dead. There if FuGaGa (Lady Gaga Fugue) by Larry Moore …

Does your organization (or union) hinder you from being a fan?

Musicians lead busy lives, particularly classical musicians. It takes hours and hours (and hours) of practice to hone our craft, to really be at the top of our game. Add to that many classical musicians juggle multiple jobs, from teaching students, to random gigs and large ensemble rehearsals just to make ends meet. Time is at a premium for many of them, so when do they have the chance to be a fan? When are they suppose to spend time on Facebook and Twitter talking about what their ensemble is up to?
However, many musicians are on Facebook and Twitter, thousands of them! They are talking about their lives just like everyone else. The root for their favorite teams, share recipes, post pictures of their travels - but seldom do they talk about the organization they play for. Knowing a lot musicians, connecting with them on Facebook and Twitter, and talking to them on (and off) line, I believe there is a culture in the American orchestra that stifles musicians from sharing their passion ab…

Why New Classical Music is Important

And why we need to change the preception of new classical music
A hundred years ago classical music was going through growing pains. It had been in a 'Romantic' style of music since Beethoven premiered his 3rd symphony in 1805. Composers of the early 20th century were looking for something new, to make a change from the previous hundred years. Society was also going through changes from the industrial age to the age of steel. New inventions for the home and for the battle field were flooding Patent Offices - a new world was dawning. Some of these changes lead to two world wars and the invention of nuclear weapons which many still consider the ultimate deterrent. Now, in the 21st century, we are discovering a new kind of warfare - terrorism.
While the 20th century saw drastic changes in the way we wage war, it also brought changes to the music industry. Early on the invention of the phonograph brought music into the homes of people who couldn't play an instrument - music bec…

Congrats to Marin Alsop, who not only continues to thrill audiences around the world, but is paving the way for other women conductors

It shouldn't matter the sex of the person on the podium, but it's nice to see some 'traditions' are being broken.
I remember seeing Marin Alsop conduct the Colorado Symphony way back when she was still the Music Director. I remember the headlines when she moves from Colorado to Baltimore to become the first female conductor of a major US orchestra. I started following her career watching what she did with the Cabrillo New Music Festival in California, and reading about her exploits in Europe and Asia. She was quickly becoming the woman to watch on the podium.
Several years later I was treated to a brief conversation with her about new music and her advocacy for composers and the performance of new music. As a composer, her support was trilling. She continues to thrill audiences around the world proving it isn't the sex of the person on the podium, but their passion for the music that makes the difference. Over the past 15 years, I have been blessed to see many of the…

Evening the Odds for Men & Women in the Music Industry

My response to the NewMusicBox blogpost: Why Women Aren’t Equals In New Music Leadership and Innovation
Women are not treated on equal footing in either the corporate or music world and much of this is outlined in the article above. Social stigmas go a long way to treating women unfavorably for exhibiting the same behavior as men - while men get favorable treatment for the same behavior (see #1 from the Sandberg research). Many of the other elements discussed in the research can be put up to cultural stereo types and environmental learning we foist on our young men and women as they grow up, putting women at a further disadvantage. One key to getting out of this hole we have dug for ourselves, at least in the music industry, is finding a way to give musicians a chance at success without regard to anything but their performance.
TwtrSymphony holds auditions for musicians. There is no discussion as to sex, race, religion or other aspects of the musician. All we require are two things:

1) A…

The Music Industry is Moving in a New Direction. How will Classical Music Follow Suit?

The power of social media is driving music in a new direction - people are choosing what they want, rather than being dictated to by major media
Times are changing and with it the way new music finds an audience. Change in inevitable. The real question: who will follow the trend and catch the wave of this new way of thinking?
Over 1800 years ago a man wrote down his thoughts about his relationship with God. St Augustine is considered the first person to write about having a personal relationship with God. His writings eventually became the seeds for the reformation (almost a thousand years later). There were lots of reasons for the strife surrounding the Reformation, but a key element was the quest for people to have a direct communion with God, rather than have to seek it through an intermediary (or priest). People began seeing their relationship with God as personal, something they could determine what works for them as an individual.
The printing press also had a great deal to do wit…

MEDIA ALERT: St. Louis Symphony Performs The Matrix

Composer Don Davis to conduct performances April 5-6
The St. Louis Symphony will once again return Powell Hall to its movie hall roots on Friday, April 5 and Saturday, April 6, when it performs the live score to The Matrix, while the unforgettable futuristic film plays on a big screen above the stage. Bother performances start at 7pm.
Don Davis, who composed the original score for the movie, will conduct both St. Louis Symphony performances, which promise to be fast-paced fusions between movie and music. Members of the St. Louis Symphony Chorus, directed by Amy Kaiser, will also perform on the program.
Prior to each concert there will be a costume contest, so don’t forget to bring your shades and futuristic gear. Tickets are still available and may be purchased on-line at or by calling 314-534-1700.

Music is an experience, that goes beyond the music

TwtrSymphony wants to bring Classical Music back into the forefront of our musical experience.
The other night I was at a hockey game. It was amazing how much a part of the whole experience of the game was the music that played during the breaks. The music was what got the crowd roaring and excited for the event, the music was what peaked emotions during the game and the music was what encouraged the chanting for the victory. Sometimes the music was hard pounding rock, sometimes it was elements of film scores with the sweeping strings driving people to a frenzy. The audience was experiencing music and responding to the music physically. Classical music has this power and (IMHO) more ability to achieve this than any other music form due to its rich complexities and possibilities.
Disneyland has a show, "The World of Color" which features a light and water fountain show set to music from Disney movies. The most enthusiastic moment in the show is when the music of "Pirates…

Minnesota Orchestra Cancels Concerts Through April 27

Four programs cancelled and two are re-scheduled
The Minnesota Orchestral Association announced today that it has cancelled further concert performances through Saturday, April 27, 2013, noting that nearly a year into contract negotiations its musicians have yet to put forward a counterproposal and no contract settlement has been reached. All ticketholders of affected concerts are being contacted and offered a variety of options including the opportunity to exchange tickets for a future concert or receive a full refund. A complete list of affected concerts is available below.

“We will soon mark one full year since the start of our negotiations, and we renew our call to the musicians to issue a counterproposal that helps resolve the Orchestra’s financial challenges. It is confounding that over the last 11 months the Union has neither been willing to suggest a proposal of their own nor accept ours,” said Minnesota Orchestra Board Chair Jon Campbell. “In order to initiate progress ea…

London Symphony Orchestra and Valery Gergiev Give a Free Concert in Trafalgar Square

MONDAY 27 MAY 2013 AT 6.30 PM

Following the outstandingly successful first open-air, free concert in May 2012, the London Symphony Orchestra in partnership with BMW and the Mayor of London is returning to Trafalgar Square this year. The next annual BMW LSO Open Air Classics concert, which last year attracted an audience estimated in the press to be up to 10,000 people, will take place in the square on Monday 27 May 2013, Spring Bank Holiday Monday, at 6.30 pm. Principal Conductor of the LSO, Valery Gergiev will conduct an all-Berlioz programme. The aim of BMW LSO Open Air Classics is to bring outstanding music performed in the open air – free for everyone in an informal atmosphere.

Gergiev and the LSO will perform Berlioz’s Overture Le corsaire, and Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique. In a performance of a specially arranged version of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique by Gareth Glyn 80 young musicians including conservatoire students and LSO On Track young musicians from LSO Discovery, t…

My take on musicians on strike

Hard decisions by both management and union organizers affecting classical music
I'm going to make a lot of enemies with this post. I'll probably get told I'm unreasonable and it may even affect my future in terms of orchestra administration, but sometimes it's important to take a stand.
THESE OPINIONS ARE MINE AND MINE ALONEComposing music is my real passion. So, I'm not sure I really fit with either the administrative camp or the musician camp. When I get paid by an orchestra (not including my day job) it's for a piece of music. It's a one time payment whether it's for a commission or performance rights to an existing work.
However, the musicians are the core to the orchestra. As Music Director for TwtrSymphony, I am certain I spend more time worried about the details of orchestra operation than any of the musicians. I might even go so far as to say I worry about it more than all the musicians put together. But that doesn't change the fact, the mus…

When it comes to making new music, what is a good investment?

What does it mean to invest yourself in music? What is a good investment?
If you had $100 and wanted to invest it, you could put it in a savings account and earn 0.5% interest. You would have access to your money, but it wouldn't earn much interest. If you put your $100 into a certificate of deposit account you might earn 2 to 2.5% but you'd have to leave it there for the long haul. While you might make more money, you have no access to it. You might find a scheme somewhere that would pay 5-6% interest on your money, but there is a much greater risk that you'll lose it all. At the riskiest schemes it would take you twelve years to make $100 on your initial investment. But this isn't an blog post about money.
If you wanted to earn $100 - in California minimum wage is $8/hr -- so it would take you 12.5 hours to make $100. Actually, it would take you a bit longer than that as you'd have taxes taken out. Let's say 15 hours. That's a lot quicker than twelve ye…

Women's Day: Quotes worth thinking about

"For the first time in history, children are growing up whose earliest sexual imprinting derives not from a living human being, or fantasies of their own; since the 1960s pornographic upsurge, the sexuality of children has begun to be shaped in response to cues that are no longer human. Nothing comparable has ever happened in the history of our species; it dislodges Freud. Today's children and young men and women have sexual identities that spiral around paper and celluloid phantoms: from Playboy to music videos to the blank females torsos in women's magazines, features obscured and eyes extinguished, they are being imprinted with a sexuality that is mass-produced, deliberately dehumanizing and inhuman."

— Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty are Used Against Women)
"Although the sexual sell, overt and subliminal, is at a fever pitch throughout all forms of the media, depictions of sex as an important and potentially profound human activity are nota…

TwtrSymphony is Breaking the Paradigm

by Eddie Louise

TwtrSymphony is breaking the paradigm of Classical Music as the art form that just IS - an always present rarely acknowledged facet of the cultural landscape. The symphony as an institution has its place, but new music is not the focus in that reality. TwtrSymphony believes in the power of music to inspire, to excite and to move people. We believe that there is a hunger for new orchestral music. We believe in the magic that is created when musicians devote themselves to the expression of the ideas and emotions which inhabit the music of our time.
Social media is the perfect medium for the exploration of a new musical world. One where new music is embraced and celebrated. Where audiences are acknowledged and encouraged. Where dialogue between musicians, composers and audience create the sparks of new ideas and ignite new passions. In order to take advantage of the opportunities inherent in this landscape, we need to learn to share our passion, to share of ourselves.

TwtrSymphony is One Year Old - Thanks to the following people and organizations

There are SO many people who have helped us this first year.
Here is a short list of those who have made it all possible
TwtrSymphony Musicians Alexis Del Palazzo, Nikki Warrington, Catherine Coulter-Young, Bobbi Blood, Macy McClain, Lish Lindsey, Jonathan Hunt, Ronnal Ford, Peter Cigleris, Michael Ormond, Scott Harris, Adam Lusk, Garrett McQueen, Stephanie Unverricht, Keri Degg, Rachael Forsyth, William Bard, Tracy Bass, Robert Perlick-Molinari, Aileen Douthwaite, Laurel Roseborrough, Jessica Mullen, Ettore Rivarola, Timothy Breckon, Jeff Freeman, Paul Emmett, Blaine Cunningham, Dave Hutchings, Steve Flory, Shana Norton, Erica Sipes, Craig Stratton, Manoela Wunder, Zane Merritt, Susanne Hehenberger, Anna Rose, Bonnie Gartley, Sarah Richardson, Christian Chinchilla, Elyssa Gilmar, Alison Wrenn, Janet Horvath, Natalie Spehar, Matt Erion, Alvaro Rosso, Stephen Kreuger, Jodi Bortz, Janet Bordeaux, Joss Campbell, Kim Hickey, Andrea Myers, Carla R…

Not sure if this is an apology or just an awakening

I often rant about the need for more musicians to Tweet and Post about their involvement with the orchestras they play. I may be changing my tune
Post after post I have railed at the musicians who don't talk about what they're doing in terms of orchestra performance. I have gone on and on about how more musicians need to be vocal about classical music, because if we don't who will? And yet, looking back on my own tweets and Facebook posts over the past year I'm not sure I can honestly maintain that diatribe.
For nearly a year I have been the Music Director for TwtrSymphony. The organization was started because of my need for an orchestra and the wealth of musician friends on social media. However, managing an orchestra and the 60+ musicians we have 'on staff' is a great deal of work - so much so, it has impacted my ability to communicate over social media. I have not held conversations with a number of the friends I grew very accustomed to chatting with regularl…

London Symphony Orchestra Celebrates Composing Talent with LSO Futures, Curated by François-Xavier Roth

LSO Futures celebrates composers at the cutting edge of music today through a week of events at the Barbican
LSO Futures and LSO St Luke’s including two concerts curated by François-Xavier Roth. The LSO has been nurturing the talent of young composers for several years through its Panufnik Young Composers Scheme (set up in memory of composer Andrzej Panufnik), the UBS Sound Adventures Scheme and the recent creation of LSO Soundhub, a laboratory for composers at LSO St Luke’s. LSO Futures throws the doors to these initiatives open, showcasing both the music of today? and the minds behind it. In the words of François-Xavier Roth, it’s a ‘homage to modernity, to new ways, and to creation’, a celebration of music in the 21st-century.

On 9 April at 8pm, composer Tansy Davies presents a UBS Soundscapes: Eclectica concert at LSO St Luke’s which recreates her acclaimed album Troubairitz, putting her own music, with its hints of funk, experimental rock, industrial techno, atonalism and electron…

A new trick for Orchestras to Engage new audiences on Social Media

Honestly, this isn't a new trick. Several orchestras are already doing this. Other orchestras could learn to leverage this technique to build new audiences via social media
Both Facebook and Twitter are about engagement. However, what most orchestras currently do with their social media is to talk 'at' their audience and not with them. By changing the way they post and tweet, by devoting a bit more time for their social media campaigns, orchestras could find a wealth of new patrons for their concert halls. They will certainly expand their existing fan base. The key to this technique is re-posting/sharing what classical music fans are already posting.

It is possible to post on other people's timeline as a person, but not as a page. When someone posts something to an orchestra's page, it doesn't show up in the main feed unless the administrator(s) actually shares the post. If orchestras would encourage their fans and musicians to start posting on their …

Is Social Media Important to Classical Music? The discussion continues

Jo Johnson, Digital Marketing Manager for the London Symphony Orchestra, replied to my previous post:

Classical Music continues to lag behind in social media

My reply was too lengthy to put into a comment field.
Jo -
Thank you for you Excellent Reply!

The London Symphony Orchestra, Nashville Symphony and San Francisco Symphony are some of the shinning examples of organizations that are succeeding with out-reach into Social Media. You really are out there engaging.

Yes, orchestra musicians may not be as engaged in social media as their 'pop' counter parts. But we live in a world where people question the value of the arts. Here in the US, orchestras are finding an attitude of "why should we support classical music, when pop music doesn't?" I am not trying to argue the value of classical music (I am very much a member of that choir). However, if those of us involved do not beat our own drum, how can we honestly expect other's to do it for us? A strugg…

Minnesota Orchestra Cancels Concerts Through April 7

Four programs are cancelled and four are rescheduled as negotiations continue
The Minnesota Orchestral Association announced today that it has cancelled or rescheduled its concert performances through Sunday, April 7, 2013, due to the current labor dispute. All ticketholders of affected concerts are being contacted and offered a variety of options including the opportunity to exchange tickets for a future concert or receive a full refund. A complete list of impacted concerts is available on page 2.

In the ongoing contract talks with the Musicians’ Union, the Orchestra Board agreed on
January 2 to conduct the joint financial analysis musicians have sought in order to verify the organization’s financial position. Last week, the Board suggested that the terms of this analysis should focus on testing the accuracy of the organization’s Fiscal 2012 results and the forward-looking financial assumptions upon which the organization’s strategic plan is based. Discussions between the Board an…

Why does Classical Music Festival of "Modern Music" call any music written in the last 50 years NOW music?

Music of Now Marathon Begins Composers Now Series is HARDLY music on NOW.
The above article by Steven Smith starts out, "No concert, however epic in duration, could encompass the entirety of the contemporary classical world, which has grown too broad and variegated to sample in one sitting." Ok, I agree. But then the article goes on to highlight some of the pieces performed

Libby Larsen’s 1991 string quartet “Schoenberg, Schenker, Schillinger”

Bernard Rands "Memo 5" written in 1975Looking through the rest of the program on, there are pieces from the 70's, 80's, 90's and even a few from the early 21st century. This seems incredibly odd to me for a festival to be promoting itself as music now, when only a small percentage of the pieces are from the last decade.
Composers go through periods of music. Beethoven has his early, middle and later period of music. The style of music he wrote in each one is fairly different from the other perio…

Classical Music continues to lag behind in social media

While more and more orchestras and classical music artists venture into the social media space, they lag behind other industry artists in leveraging their fan base. This has less to do with use and more with how their fans respond.
If you follow classical music artists on Twitter and Facebook, you'll get the feeling they are keeping up with the times. Numerous orchestras posts daily on Facebook and several times a day on Twitter. Compare that with how often Justin Bieber or Miley Cirus post on either and you'll see classical music artists are far more active. So, why aren't classical music artists getting the millions of fans of their pop counterparts?
It has to do with fan leveraging. Pop music fans tend to share posts, re-tweet and are far more fanatical about spreading the word for their idols. Miley has only three posts on Facebook this past week. But, each post was shared by her fans a minimum of 64 times. One post was shared over 648 times. Justin Bieber is a bit mo…

Popularity Contests - are Classical Musicians not interested?

Shorty Awards are given for excellence in Social Media. However, Classical Music seems to be glaringly absent in the #music category
Shorty Awards are for "Honoring the Best in Social Media" - at least according to their website. If you look at the list of people 'nominated' for awards in the music category, you'll see all your favorite pop and 'talent TV' stars prominently listed. What you won't see are classical music artists.

You can 'search' for artists by putting their Twitter name after the opening URL:
but you'll be hard pressed to find anyone with any votes. There are a couple:

TwtrSymphony ranks 55th and Versailees_P_Q ranks 62nd.
Where are the rest of them???
As of writing this post Demetria Lovato has 1,700 votes, Miley Ray Cyrus has 1,697 and Justin Bieber has 719 (shock, he hasn't even broke the 1,000 mark yet). Jonas Brothers has 633 votes in #music but 2281 in #band. Justin Bieber has 2454 vote…