New research: music training delays brain decay
A study at Northwestern University indicates that older people with a music background suffer less from age-related neural damage. The study was specifically aimed at hearing loss, but may apply to other faculties. Read on here.
English composer stages malodorous German premiere
The Stolen Smells, a comic opera by Simon Wills, receives its German premiere in Hamburg this weekend. The plot hinges on whether a baker can charge passers-by for savouring the smells from his fresh-bakes. Inevitably, it winds up in court. The opera, a co-production of Lucerne Theatre and NDR, is conducted by Thomas Hengelbrock.
What, pray, is a 'pubic performance'?
I’ve attended some hair-raising concerts in my time, but a new biography of Robert Schumann adds a new dimension to the experience. According to a TLS review, proof-reading is now so lax at Cambridge University Press that the book refers three times to works of Schumann which received a pubic performance, an interpretation I’ve occasionally […]
When Mahler came to California
In the thick of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Mahler Project, I found myself musing aloud about the great man’s career on the West Coast. He never quite made it there himself – though if he’d lived another couple of years he was planning to take the New York Phil to Chicago, and from there, who […]
Criticising the critics 5: pianist says no-one should write about music
There’s an odd piece in the Telegraph by the US pianist Jonathan Biss, in which he seems to be arguing that, since it’s impossible to convey music in words, everybody ought to just shut up and listen. I hope he’s writing tongue in cheek, though I fear not. The piece sounds like a publicist working […]
Breaking: Sharp decline in German orchestras
A survey by the German Orchestra Union (DOV) shows that 36 orchestras have been forced out of business in 20 years, since track was first kept after reunification. The number of orchestra jobs fell even more steeply from 12,159 to 9,844, a reduction of 19 percent. More here. The decline comes in marked contrast to […]
Just in: Philadelphia Orchestra extends its CEO – by four weeks
Things are so bleak in Bell town that the orchestra has allowed its chief executive’s contract to lapse. Allison Vulgamore’s term has been extended by just four weeks. And no-one else will be rushing in for the job. More here.
Death of a breakthrough soprano
Camilla Williams was the first African-American to play a star role with a mainstream US company when she played Madam Butterfly with New York City Opera on May 15, 1946. She has died in Bloomington, Ind., aged 92. Her memory will live on as a blessing.
At Last: Christina Aguilera bids farewell to Etta James
Where Beyonce sang it sweet and nice to the Obamas, Aguilera gave the late diva’s signature song the rage treatment at her funeral.
How Gustavo Dudamel spends his Sunday
On Sunday morning, Gustavo Dudamel conducted a rehearsal of Mahler’s ninth symphony. At 2pm, he led a public performance of the sixth. At 7pm, he held sway over a choral rehearsal of the eighth. That is a work rate of which Mahler at his most manic would not have been ashamed. But Gustavo, when I […]