Cellist Zoe Keating says she doesn’t fit neatly into the classical realm. “I actually haven’t gotten a lot of acceptance in the classical community, to be honest,” she says. “For a while, there was a stigma to tonality —- it wasn’t challenging enough or something. And I do use electronics.”

Well, I like tonality. I like electronics. I like a lot of different things. Mostly I like music that hits me emotionally in some way or another. If it’s “good” I like it. And yes, “good” can be subjective. If it’s “bad” (subjective again) I don’t care for it. If it’s “boring” (yep, subjective) I’m just irked. (But I really do love the word “irked” so in some ways being irked is kind of enjoyable. Sort of.)

Will I tell you if I like the following? Oh. Hmmm. Probably not. I’ll let you decide if you like it instead. I’m just that way sometimes. Mostly I just sort of posted this because of the quote about how the community I’m in can bug a lot of people. (Surprise, surprise.)

Old people get a bad rap in classical music circles. They’re the audience one always assumes, never the audience one seeks. And when we imagine concertgoers streaming out of a hall during a “challenging” piece, we invariably visualize a sea of white-haired heads bobbing up the aisle, leaving the young and hip to sprawl across their now-empty seats.

It wasn’t a surprise that a good number of people walked out of the New York Philharmonic’s concert last night during the New York premiere of Magnus Lindberg’s aggressive, stunning masterpiece of the early 1980s, Kraft. But it was unexpected to see so many younger people headed for the exits, and so many older people among those who were standing and cheering at the end. We have to rethink the standard narrative about the kind of audience we’re seeking to draw to the concert hall. So much emphasis is placed on attracting young people that it can obscure the more important goal: getting an audience, whatever the age breakdown, that is open to a range of musical experiences.

How interesting to hear that it was the younger ones leaving.


I can’t say what I would have thought … it does sound like a wild piece! It does bring back memories of 1976, when John Cage conducted San Jose Symphony in Atlas Eclipticalis (at least I think that’s the work we did; that was a while ago). It’s the only concert I’ve ever played where the audience booed. Loudly.

08. October 2010 · Comments Off on Spring Is Here · Categories: Videos

I hear …

Okay, so this is a bit early. Or late. Whatever. I enjoyed it! Isn’t that all that matters?

08. October 2010 · Comments Off on I Want A Video Of This! · Categories: News

A choir of 2,000 attempted to set a world record on Saturday by singing one of Switzerland’s best-loved traditional songs, a herdsman’s melody from canton Fribourg. Saturday’s performance at Villars-sur-Glâne was recorded on camera, and a legal attestation will be sent to the Guinness Book of Records for approval.

The coordinator of the event, Véronique Monney, said the aim was not to break an existing record but to set one. However, she admitted to the “La Liberté” newspaper that it would be difficult to get it accepted.

The Gruyères Ranz des Vaches was originally an unaccompanied song used to call cows for milking, well known for its haunting “lyôba” refrain.

It is said that it was forbidden to sing the song in the presence of Swiss mercenary soldiers as it made them homesick and unable to fight. The composer Rossini used the melody in his famous William Tell overture.

I read it here.

08. October 2010 · Comments Off on Asked Online · Categories: Asked Online

Is the English Horn still popular?

Yep. Really. Someone asked that.

08. October 2010 · 7 comments · Categories: FBQD

what’s up with all the oboe teachers living in a white house with their pets?

08. October 2010 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

Don’t know what this baroque oboe concerto is (BBC Radio 3) but it’s delicious. Like a Sunday croissant.

Really. I think this future we’ve all pondered is here. Detroit has to figure it out. We all have to figure it out. I don’t pretend to have answers.

I believe — I know — music is important. I know the arts are important. I haven’t a doubt. But right now it’s about survival, without compromising quality. I’m don’t know what the answer is, but I do know we have to find it.

It’s going to be tough, but the trick is going to be finding arguments that don’t make classical music and musicians sound like a spoilt, whinging elite who believe things ought to continue as they are because of their innate superiority, but rather show how essential our cultural and musical provision is to the whole of society, how relatively little it costs the taxpayer, and how, especially in a time of economic and social difficulty, music becomes more, not less, important. Let’s get to it.


08. October 2010 · 2 comments · Categories: Opera

A reminder …

The fifth season of The Met: Live in HD kicks off this weekend with Robert Lepage’s stunning new production of Wagner’s Das Rheingold, conducted by James Levine. The cast includes “as strong a lineup of vocal artists for a Wagner opera as I have heard in years,” says Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times: Bryn Terfel as Wotan, Stephanie Blythe as Fricka, Eric Owens as Alberich, and Richard Croft as Loge. Don’t miss the staging the Associated Press calls “worth its weight in gold…with enough awe inspiring effects and haunting images to create a sense of wonderment that befits Wagner’s mythological epic.”

Go here for tickets.