20. January 2011 · Comments Off · Categories: FBQD

stupid oboe why are you so difficult?!

20. January 2011 · Comments Off · Categories: Huh?, Videos

Opera star Elina Garanca sings “Age of Aquarius” … and again I have to credit Opera Chic who seems to find everything!

First Netrebko and now this? What shall I put up next? Hmm?

How about we put both Netrebko and Garanca together and have ‘em sing something … oh I dunno … operatic or something? Hmm?

I don’t know what to make of this, but I suppose I should thank Opera Chic for bringing it to my attention.

Philipp Kirkorov & Anna Netrebko:

20. January 2011 · Comments Off · Categories: News, Symphony

After posting a $5.6 million deficit for the 2008-2009 season, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra announced Wednesday that a balanced budget was achieved for the 2009-2010 season. That fiscal year, which ended Aug. 31, 2010, yielded an operating surplus of $4,116. This is the third balanced budget in the past four years.
“We’re moving in a cautiously forward direction,” said BSO president and CEO Paul Meecham. “It feels very different from last year.”

Although there were sufficient cash reserves to cover the ’08-’09 deficit, the challenges of balancing the ’09-’10 budget during the lingering recession proved considerable. Cost-reduction measures were taken across the board.

The budget was reduced to

$24.3 million from $28.3 million the previous year.
BSO musicians volunteered $1 million in reduced pay and benefits and spearheaded a productive fundraising campaign called Music Matters. Music director Marin Alsop contributed $50,000 to that campaign and also donated back $100,000 in conducting fees. Administration staffers also absorbed cuts.

On the other side of the ledger during FY2010, the orchestra received more than 10,000 contributions, the highest number in BSO history, up from 7,000 four years earlier.

Read that and more here.

20. January 2011 · Comments Off · Categories: Other People's Words

Some orchestral musicians in the US and elsewhere can be tough customers, especially those who labor away in the back of large string sections and feel that their efforts rarely matter. As a conductor you can experience their attitude when you walk off the podium after a performance. The audience may be going berserk with pleasure, but the back section violinists will just sit there with grim, stony expressions on their faces.

But the Met Orchestra players, even though they play in the relative obscurity of the orchestra pit, seem to exude a sense of pride and pleasure in what they are doing. On my first day of orchestra readings more than a few of the players came up to me and expressed their excitement over the project and told me that they’d downloaded the recording and listened to it in advance of the rehearsal. This is something you don’t often hear coming from the majority of orchestra players.

You can read John Adams’ entire blogpost here. (I always have to control-option-command-8 the darn thing because he uses white type on black background and it absolutely KILLS my eyes!)

I’ve never sat in the back of a string section. Heck, I’ve never played a string instrument! Do they really have a glum look on their faces after performances? I’m going to have to check next time we are on stage!

And yeah, I’ve heard that some musicians don’t actually study the music. (Some even admit it at the first rehearsal.) I can’t imagine not studying a work before going into the first rehearsal. I’d be far too scared!

20. January 2011 · 1 comment · Categories: Videos

WITH a slight blue glow bathing their faces, the four musicians tapped their feet. It was not to keep time but to send pages of music flying by electronically on their stands.

The Borromeo String Quartet was rehearsing Beethoven’s Quartet in C (Op. 59, No. 3) last week. But instead of reading parts perched on music stands, they followed Beethoven’s notes, in his own handwriting, from the screens of MacBooks. A projector attached to a laptop beamed the manuscript onto a screen behind them.

“It’s an incredible experience, watching the handwriting of Beethoven as it passes by you,” said Nicholas Kitchen, the group’s first violinist.

RTWT

… of course sometimes it’s nearly impossible to read a composer’s scrawl, so there might be issues there. But I love this idea, even while I worry about computer’s freezing up on a person.

Here are a few videos for you:

It does look as if the second violinist is using hard copy music here:

20. January 2011 · Comments Off · Categories: TQOD

sufjan tonight. i’ve been waiting for this moment since i played oboe on “the predatory wasp of the palisades” for my 12th grade talent show