21. October 2007 · Comments Off on No Lack Of Ego · Categories: Links, Read!

In an interview, Mr. Alagna said he had been a cover before and also understood Mr. Melo’s disappointment, but he pointed out that sometimes a lesser-known singer can hurt his career by performing poorly as a fill-in. Mr. Alagna, smiling, then brought up the Gospel story of Jesus’ anointment with expensive perfume, when Judas Iscariot objected that the money should be used for the poor. Jesus replied that the poor would always exist but that he would not always be there.

“You will never have me forever,” Mr. Alagna said. “Better to have me now.” (RTWT)

No. Words.

19. October 2007 · Comments Off on What Every Music Department Should Do · Categories: Links, Read!

Like beauty, success is defined in the eye of the beholder. Most classical music students tend to define their future success as a career playing in orchestras, chamber groups or as a soloist. This traditional view leaves other important career opportunities overlooked, a situation Rice’s Shepherd School of Music is determined to remedy.

Already known for its leadership in training top-tier classical musicians, the Shepherd School officially launched a national effort to reset students’ definition of career success with the Oct. 12-14, forum “Careers in Music Performance: Convening Student Perspectives and Creating Models for the 21st Century.” Students and faculty from the most highly respected music training institutions in the U.S. attended, including New England Conservatory, Oberlin Conservatory, Northwestern University and Juilliard.


We do our students a disservice if we give them no idea that there are options in the music biz. We do them an even larger disservice if we don’t make it clear that no matter how fabulous they are as musicians they still might not find that dream playing gig. It’s just the way things are. In addition, we do our students a disservice if we aren’t honest about the struggles and difficulties in our performance professions.

I love what I do. But that doesn’t mean everyone is always happy, that everyone in the orchestras to which I belong get along all the time. It also doesn’t mean that there aren’t times I just want to toss my oboe and try something less stressful. Fortunately the better times always win out.

“When students have a narrow view of the profession, they limit themselves in finding their own best career path,” Kamins said. “There is a misconception amongst music students that you get a job in an orchestra and you live happily ever after. It’s incredible to get and keep that job, but it doesn’t guarantee artistic satisfaction.”

So shouldn’t all music schools provide this realistic sort of thing? I think so.

09. October 2007 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: Quotes, Ramble, Read!

I’m solid into the Major League Baseball season. I’ve tracked Barry Bonds all year.

-Dennis Russell Davies (Well, okay, the article is really about Glass and Appomattox, not baseball. But still … 😉 RTWT)

05. October 2007 · Comments Off on It’s not THIS musician’s dream … · Categories: Links, Quotes, Ramble, Read!

The truth of the matter is that Wagner and Mahler and Bruckner would love to have played this loud – I guarantee you. It’s like having access to your own nuclear weapon or something. It’s a musician’s dream.

-Glenn Branca

Branca is talking about his very loud symphony written for 100 electric guitars. You can read the entire article and see what you think.

Now 100 oboes? Um. No. That wouldn’t be my dream either. Go figure.

05. October 2007 · Comments Off on How Never To Worry About Reeds Again · Categories: Links, Read!

Become a conductor!

I didn’t realize Sir Charles Mackerras was an oboist before he became a conductor. Now I know.

03. October 2007 · Comments Off on Awwwww · Categories: Read!

When the time came for his big Act 2 aria, the meltingly beautiful “Una furtiva lagrima,” (a favorite showpiece of both Caruso and Pavarotti), he stepped out of the rehearsed staging format and strode bravely to the front of the stage. Then he gestured toward Zagoroba and sang the beguiling song right to her.

The initial fury of the stage director, some other cast members and the conductor eventually gave way to an amused forgiveness — and Zagoroba and Margita have been happily married for the past 20 years.


30. September 2007 · Comments Off on I’d Stick Around · Categories: Ramble, Read!, You Gotta Be Kidding

So here’s a problem for an opera company: Lead singer gets sick. The cover can’t sing that night. Major phoning goes on. Singer located. New singer arrives after a messy bit of travel woes. New singer finds out that the version is different than he thought. He can sing some of it in German. Some in French. Some not at all. Conductor covers what singer can’t sing. Singer sings rest. All is acted by a different person entirely.

This is all just too good … I’d certainly not ask for a refund!

Is it true? Guess so.

26. September 2007 · Comments Off on Busy. Again. · Categories: Listen, Ramble, Read!, Videos

Today: SCU faculty recital at noon (no, I’m not playing, but I think I should go and hear my colleagues, don’t you?). Two symphony rehearsals. With a (yum!) nice (free!) dinner in between. We’ll begin the afternoon rehearsal with Beethoven 6th, move to Amram, and get to the Janacek in the evening. Lots of notes. Not as many as the strings, of course, but still, lots of notes.

So of I go ….

While I’m away you can go read about Oliver Sack’s iPod playlist. No oboe concerti listed. Say what?!

Or … as an alternative, you could watch and listen to some jazz oboe. (Here’s more.)

OR … as an alternative to that, you can watch and listen to the Prokofiev Quintet: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5. (The sound isn’t fabulous, but at least you get to hear the work … one that doesn’t seem to be frequently performed. At least not to my knowledge.)

And finally … a little Mozart. You can watch and listen to Yigal Kamink playing the Mozart Oboe Concerto for what looks to be a class. (I read a bit about the oboist here, as he had participated in Daniel Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. I love listening to oboists from around the world. Give him a go!

Happy reading, watching and listening! See you in a bit.

11. August 2007 · Comments Off on Music In Venezuela · Categories: Quotes, Ramble, Read!

Just some snippets for you:

“Music has not just opened doors for me professionally,” says Felix, “it has opened my mind to a whole world of possibilities.”

Under programmes run by the Foundation for the National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras of Venezuela (Fesnojiv), Venezuela’s pioneering music education network commonly known as “El Sistema”, all children in Guarenas have access to a free education in classical music. Demand for the scheme from the local people seems insatiable; there are currently 700 students, and another 600 are on the waiting list.

“I practise for three or four hours when I get home every day, between finishing school and coming here,” he says. “At first, my friends didn’t understand, but now lots of them have started coming, too.”


I have read about this before, but I’ve not blogged about it. So here you go.

02. August 2007 · Comments Off on Classical Music UnStuffed · Categories: News, Ramble, Read!

The National Symphony Orchestra has turned to the iPod to make classical music less stuffy to people more likely to rock ‘n’ roll.

… because anyone who is someone knows that an iPod is not stuffy and will unstuff anything that is stuffy.

Whew! Who knew the answer would be so simple?