News » News 2016

(US) Unquiet Thoughts - Saturday Morning Post: "Puer natus est" (24 Dec 2016)

Contributed by admin on Dec 27, 2016

"This Christmas Eve we offer a dual discussion: first a brief mention of a 15th-century painting of the Nativity, and secondly a synopsis of a miniature musical masterpiece by Cristóbal de Morales (c. 1500 – 1553). ...


(UK) Opera Today Article: "The nature of narropera?" (by Claire Seymour, 23 Dec 2016)

Contributed by admin on Dec 27, 2016

"How many singers does it take to make an opera? There are single-role operas - Schönberg’s Erwartung (1924) and Eight Songs for a Mad King by Peter Maxwell Davies (1969) spring immediately to mind - and there are operas that just require a pair of performers, such as Rimsky-Korsakov’s Mozart i Salieri (1897) or The Telephone by Menotti (1947).  ...


(US) The Conversation Article: "Scientists are trying to uncover what makes Stradivarius violins special – but are they wasting their time?" (by Bruno Fazenda and Trevor Cox, 19 Dec 2016)

Contributed by admin on Dec 24, 2016

Stradivarius violins are renowned for their supposedly superior sound when compared to other instruments. This has resulted in numerous studies hunting for a scientific reason for why Strads sound so good. A number of these studies have focused on the chemical composition of the wood in violins made in Cremona by Antonio Stradivari in the 17th and 18th centuries. Others have considered the violins made by Stradivari’s contemporary, Joseph Guarneri del Gesu, whose violins are widely considered to be just as good. ...


(US) American Theatre Article: "Is the Ticket Price Right?" (by Marshall Jones III, Dec 2016)

Contributed by admin on Dec 24, 2016

"As a college student studying theatre in the early 1980s, I frequently paid 50 cents to take PATH to New York, stand on line at the TKTS booth in Duffy Square, and pay $12.50 to see a Broadway show. (A regular ticket was $25.) Venturing into midtown Manhattan during the Reagan presidency was an adventure, as you had to make your way through homeless people living in the street and avoid eye contact with the ladies of the night. Half the Broadway theatres were dark and shuttered. Tickets were relatively inexpensive, so young artists and enthusiasts had easy access to plays, which also served as an extended classroom for emerging artists. ...


(US) The Austin Chronicle Article: "Not Very Statesman-like" (by Seth Orion Schwaiger, 23 Dec 2016)

Contributed by admin on Dec 24, 2016

(A growing trend in media outlets of releasing their art critic journalists and closing down these departments should worry us. Here again is another example of such a closure.)

"There is a continual conversation about the lack of support for the arts in Austin that is so pervasive at openings and afterparties that it serves as a sort of dark, loathsome substitute for small talk. While universally accepted that funds are in short supply, there are signs that the scene is by other measures healthy. ...


(US) Createquity Article: "Everything We Know About Whether and How the Arts Improve Lives" (by By Salem Tsegaye, Ian David Moss, Katie Ingersoll, Rebecca Ratzkin, Sacha Wynne and Benzamin Yi, 19 Dec 2016)

Contributed by admin on Dec 21, 2016

The platitudes are on the lips of every arts supporter, ready to be recalled at the first sign of a public hearing or potential funding cut. “The arts are essential – a necessity, not a luxury.” “The arts help kids learn.” “The arts are the foundation of the knowledge economy.” It feels good to say those things, especially if you’re someone who has spent a life in the arts. But are they actually true? Are we pulling a fast one on ourselves and our audience by saying them? Or are we doing a service to the world by spreading the good news? ...


(UK) Fugue State Films Crowdfunding: "Max Reger: The Last Giant" (to be released in early 2017)

Contributed by admin on Dec 21, 2016

News from Fugue State Films regarding the status of their crowdfunding project of "Max Reger: The Last Giant".

As of mid-December: "Thanks to your support, we have reached a milestone with our Reger crowdfunding. We have now raised a grand total of:

£85,908. This is 95% of our goal of £90,000! We've got just £4,092 left to go. ...


(US) Unquiet Thoughts Blog: "Performing Dowland"

Contributed by admin on Dec 19, 2016

Although ’tis the season for that particularly tactless style of unapologetic American commercialism, we sidestep the sales talk, share a video of a recent performance, and reflect upon one of the primary reasons we began performing as a duo—the ayres for voice and lute by John Dowland (1563 – 1626).  Although we have released only one recording devoted to Dowland, his music is and always has been a staple in our concert repertory.   Readers who have been with us for a while will recall that we have written an ample handful of earlier posts that discussed singing Dowland’s music, as well as our in-depth series that outlined the schooling typical of professional musicians in Elizabethan England in an attempt to understand Dowland’s training. ...


(US) The Washington Post Article: "Her 300-year-old instrument was in perfect condition. Had it been interred?" (by Anne Midgette, 16 Dec 2016)

Contributed by admin on Dec 17, 2016

"It’s the stuff of stories and musical legend: the buried violin, dug up and brought to sing anew. In the film “The Red Violin,” the titular instrument is at one point interred with a gifted young player, then unearthed by grave-robbing gypsies who play it for a couple of generations.

But the violinist Chee-Yun didn’t expect to have one in real life. ...


(UK) Arts Professional Article on Crowdfunding and Tips: "Collaborating with the crowds" (by Peter Baeck and Sam Mitchell, 08 Dec 2016)

Contributed by admin on Dec 16, 2016

"Over the past five years crowdfunding has grown into a vital source of finance for community groups, artists and creatives. In the US, Kickstarter famously helped raise more funds for the arts than the National Endowment for the Arts. In the UK crowdfunding for the arts has also grown rapidly, with models such as rewards-based crowdfunding – the model most popular with artists and creatives – facilitating £42m worth of donations in 2015, a growth of more than 60% from £26m in 2014. ...


(UK) The Spectator Article: "A surprising number of great composers were fond of the bottle – but can you hear it?" (by Damian Thompson, 10 Dec 2016)

Contributed by admin on Dec 15, 2016

"... The list of heavy-drinking composers is worthy of Monty Python’s ‘Philosophers’ Song’. It includes Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Liszt, Brahms, Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky and Sibelius. There are no reports of Bach getting drunk — but during a fortnight’s trip to Halle in 1713 his beer bill came to  ...


(US) New Scientist Article: "Google Translate AI Invents its Own Language" (by Sam Wong, 30 Nov 2016)

Contributed by admin on Dec 10, 2016

(For those of you doing academic research or those in need of translation of text, help is on the way from Google in the form of its Google Translation services and its artificial intelligence technology -- Editor)

"Google Translate is getting brainier. The online translation tool recently started using a neural network to translate between some of its most popular languages – and the system is now so clever it can do this for language pairs on which it has not been explicitly trained. To do this, it seems to have created its own artificial language. ...


(UK) BBC News Article: "Rare 17th Century cello loaned to teenager for life" (08 Dec 2016)

Contributed by admin on Dec 10, 2016

"A cello worth hundreds of thousands of pounds has been given on a lifetime loan to a gifted teenage musician.

Sheku Kanneh-Mason, 17, used the early 17th Century Amati instrument - which is 50 years older than the earliest-known Stradivarius - to scoop the 2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year title.

An anonymous donor has agreed to let the teenager use the cello, one of the first ever made, indefinitely. ...


(CA) Musical Toronto Article: "COFFEE BREAK | The World's Oldest Surviving Piano Sounds Better That You'd Think" (by Musical Toronto, 07 Dec 2016)

Contributed by admin on Dec 08, 2016

" ... This priceless instrument was made in 1720 by the inventor of the piano, Bartolomeo Cristofori (1655-1731). The video features pianist Dongsok Shin performing one of the first pieces ever written for the piano — a Sonata composed in 1732 from the 12 Sonate da cimbalo di piano e forte detto volgarmente di martelletti, Op. 1, by Lodovico Giustini (1685-1743). ...


(US) The Atlantic Article: "Searching for Lost Knowledge in the Age of Intelligent Machines" (by Adrienne Lafrance, 01 Dec 2016)

Contributed by admin on Dec 08, 2016

An interesting in-depth article on the evolution of search engines and what to expect in the near future. How the compilation of historical facts may be presented/offered by future search engines.

"... engineers are building computer models of neural networks, machines that mimic the elegance and complexity of human thought. But there are still many challenges ahead. Sourcing is a big one. Even a database built from tens of millions of well-vetted books and articles isn’t comprehensive. And there’s still the question of how the results from these new search engines ought to appear to the person searching. A simple graph that shows a connect-the-dots web of related resources and ideas is one way. A more sophisticated map-like interface is another—“like Google Maps,” Gramatic offers—but you’d still lose scale and context as you zoom in and out. ...


(US) Bach Collegium San Diego Seeks New Executive Director

Contributed by admin on Dec 07, 2016

(From a recent newsletter)

"Bach Collegium San Diego, the city’s premier early music performance ensemble, is searching for a new executive director, following the announcement that its first ever part-time executive director, Abigail McKee, will be leaving to become executive director of the prestigious Portland Baroque Orchestra. McKee will remain at the helm of Bach Collegium San Diego through their performances of Handel's Messiah on December 17–19. ...


(UK) Shakespeare's Globe - Play: "All the Angels" by Nick Drake (6 Dec 2016–12 Feb 2017)

Contributed by admin on Dec 07, 2016

Tuesday 6 December 2016 – Sunday 12 February 2017 Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

"Handel’s Messiah is arguably the world’s most popular choral work. But its story begins in the unlikely setting of a room above a pub in Chester, when the great Composer, detained by bad weather on his way to a season of concerts in Dublin, invites some unlikely local choristers to rehearse excerpts. It is not a success. So begins Handel’s struggle to stage the premiere of his great new work, confronted by seemingly insurmountable challenges, including the tricky librettist Charles Jennens, the actress Susannah Cibber who he trains to sing the most moving arias, and the mysterious Crazy Crow. ...


(CA) Globe and Mail Article: "Making arts experiences accessible to all is more important than ever" (by Kate Taylor, 25 Nov 2016)

Contributed by admin on Dec 05, 2016

"Everywhere you turn, arts institutions are getting wildly creative about drawing new audiences – or is that wildly desperate? Anecdotal evidence from arts administrators suggests their audiences are in serious decline. And this week the Canadian Index of Wellbeing came out with a challenging report suggesting that the decline is real and part of a larger social trend. ...


(US) New Comma Baroque Announces Residency at Emmanuel Episcopal Church of La Grange, Illinois

Contributed by admin on Dec 01, 2016

New Comma Baroque, the Chicago-based early music ensemble, is honored to announce its residency at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in La Grange. The partnership signifies the ensemble's dedication to bringing music directly into the communities, as well as making historically informed performance accessible to audiences. ...


(US) San Francisco Classical Voice Article: "“Kitka Remix” Filters Ancient Tones Through Modern Sensibilities" (by Lou Fancher, 28 Nov 2016)

Contributed by admin on Nov 30, 2016

"When the world’s oldest song-transmission method meets the world’s most progressive song-production tools and techniques, is it bliss, or a blowout?

The women’s vocal ensemble Kitka specializes in traditional Eastern European songs, some of which predate Christianity and have been passed down by oral tradition — from mouth-to-ear-to-mouth — for centuries. ...


(UK) The Stage Article: "Government vows to tackle ticketing bots that would ’disarm the worst’ touts" (by Georgia Snow, 29 Nov 2016)

Contributed by admin on Nov 30, 2016

"A law banning software used to exploit the secondary ticketing market has moved one step closer to reality, after arts minister Matt Hancock confirmed the government would consider implementing legislation. ...


(US) The New Yorker Article: "The Factory of Fakes - How a workshop uses digital technology to craft perfect copies of imperilled art." (by Daniel Zalewski, 28 Nov 2016)

Contributed by admin on Nov 24, 2016

" ... The man who led the facsimile project, a proudly dishevelled Englishman named Adam Lowe, was admiring the fake walls alongside me. Lowe prefers to call them “rematerialized” walls. He whispered, “Amazing—it looks just like the real thing, doesn’t it?” He is fifty-seven years old, and looks like what Paul McCartney might look like had McCartney never undergone restoration. Lowe, a former painter, who, in the nineteen-eighties, became obsessed with printmaking, runs Factum Arte, a “digital mediation” workshop that is based in Madrid. It took two years for Lowe and several dozen technicians to remake the Tutankhamun walls—considerably longer than the ancient Egyptians took to produce them. Perfecting the digital printout, he told me, had involved hundreds of hours of analog assessment: thousands of paint samples were mixed by hand, in Luxor, to match the tones in the original tomb, then compared with ink-jet outputs.  ...


(US) Public Radio International (PRI) Article: "Historians imagine what Paris sounded like in the 18th century" (by David Leveille, 21 Nov 2016)

Contributed by admin on Nov 24, 2016

"Imagine the sounds coming out of a busy blacksmith shop in an alleyway in Paris sometime back in the 18th century: the hammering of wrought iron, the rhythmic whoosh of air as the blacksmith uses a bellows to stoke a fire.

We have no recordings of the actual sounds of Paris in those early days, so to try and make those 18th-century streets and alleys of Paris come to life takes a bit of careful historical research and a little imagination.

That's where French musicologist Mylène Pardoen, who's been described as an "archaeologist of sound," comes in. She's created an "interpretation" of what Paris might have sounded like way back then. ...


(ES) Murcia Today Article: "Repair works in Lorca palace reveal 18th century flute" (Oct 2016)

Contributed by admin on Nov 22, 2016

"Following the major earthquake which hit Lorca in May 2011, substantial repairs were required to many of the historic buildings in the city of Lorca, amongst them the Palacio de Guevara. During the repair works a flute was discovered, which has now been examined and found to be an eighteenth century instrument, a very rare find in Spain. ...


(US) The New York Times Article "Victoria’s Secrets: What the Royal Archives Didn’t Want You to Know About England’s Queen" (by Julia Baird, 19 Nov 2016)

Contributed by admin on Nov 22, 2016

"To work in the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle in England is one of the most delicious prizes for a researcher. Climbing the steps to the Round Tower, where you can read centuries-old correspondence between monarchs and their ministers, untie ribbons binding intimate family records and feel the parchment crackling in your fingers, is viscerally thrilling. ...

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