Posts tagged arts

New York Philharmonic Halted by iPhone During Mahler’s Ninth Symphony — WSJ.com

The final movement of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony is a slow rumination on mortality, with quiet sections played by strings alone.
During the New York Philharmonic’s performance Tuesday night, it was interrupted by an iPhone.
The jarring ringtone—the device’s “Marimba” sound, which simulates the mallet instrument—intruded in the middle of the movement, emanating from the first row at Avery Fisher Hall.
When the phone wasn’t immediately hushed, audience members shook their heads. It continued to chime, and music director Alan Gilbert turned his head sharply to the left, signaling his displeasure.
Minutes passed. Each time the orchestra reached a quiet section, the phone could be heard above the hushed, reverent notes.
Finally, Mr. Gilbert could take no more: He stopped the orchestra.
A Philharmonic spokeswoman said Wednesday the music director has never before halted a performance because of a cellphone or any other type of disruption.
As the offending noise continued in a loop, Mr. Gilbert turned in its direction and pointedly asked that the phone be turned off. The audience let out a collective gasp.
The ringtone—believed to be an alarm—played on.
The audience wasn’t pleased. A Wall Street Journal reporter seated in the 19th row heard jeers hurled from the balconies. One man screamed: “Enough!” Another yelled: “Throw him out!” The audience clapped and hollered in agreement—and still the tone continued to sound amid the din.

Read the rest: New York Philharmonic Halted by iPhone During Mahler’s Ninth Symphony — WSJ.com
Apparently none of Lincoln Center’s ushers heard anything unusual — the sound of the phone, the music stopping, or the in-hall commotion — to then kindly escort the patron out of the hall. Had I been an audience member sitting near a door during the phone-chiming episode, I think I would have left the hall to find an usher in the lobby and ask that he/she take action! 

New York Philharmonic Halted by iPhone During Mahler’s Ninth Symphony — WSJ.com

The final movement of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony is a slow rumination on mortality, with quiet sections played by strings alone.

During the New York Philharmonic’s performance Tuesday night, it was interrupted by an iPhone.

The jarring ringtone—the device’s “Marimba” sound, which simulates the mallet instrument—intruded in the middle of the movement, emanating from the first row at Avery Fisher Hall.

When the phone wasn’t immediately hushed, audience members shook their heads. It continued to chime, and music director Alan Gilbert turned his head sharply to the left, signaling his displeasure.

Minutes passed. Each time the orchestra reached a quiet section, the phone could be heard above the hushed, reverent notes.

Finally, Mr. Gilbert could take no more: He stopped the orchestra.

A Philharmonic spokeswoman said Wednesday the music director has never before halted a performance because of a cellphone or any other type of disruption.

As the offending noise continued in a loop, Mr. Gilbert turned in its direction and pointedly asked that the phone be turned off. The audience let out a collective gasp.

The ringtone—believed to be an alarm—played on.

The audience wasn’t pleased. A Wall Street Journal reporter seated in the 19th row heard jeers hurled from the balconies. One man screamed: “Enough!” Another yelled: “Throw him out!” The audience clapped and hollered in agreement—and still the tone continued to sound amid the din.

Read the rest: New York Philharmonic Halted by iPhone During Mahler’s Ninth Symphony — WSJ.com

Apparently none of Lincoln Center’s ushers heard anything unusual — the sound of the phone, the music stopping, or the in-hall commotion — to then kindly escort the patron out of the hall. Had I been an audience member sitting near a door during the phone-chiming episode, I think I would have left the hall to find an usher in the lobby and ask that he/she take action! 

Via unconsumption:

For a project known as Scrapheap Orchestra, some top instrument makers in the UK transformed junk, including pieces of broken furniture, into 44 instruments for members of the BBC Concert Orchestra to play.

The quest to build an orchestra of instruments out of rubbish is more than just a musical spectacle - in the construction of these instruments we delve into the history of instrument making and the science of music, why different instruments are made the way they are, why some designs haven’t changed for hundreds of years and why, when played together, the sound of an orchestra is unlike anything else on earth.  (via BBC Four)

Next week, BBC Four will broadcast a 90-minute documentary that follows the project, which features the orchestra performing Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture on the scrap instruments at the 2011 BBC Proms. (Click here for broadcast info.)
For project photos, see Gramophone’s gallery, source of the above photo of orchestra members with instruments and conductor Charles Hazlewood. (Photo credit: BBC/Chris Christodoulou)
On a similar (instruments-made-from-junk) note, check out the Unconsumption posts on San Francisco’s Junkestra and New York Philharmonic’s percussion-from-junk exploration.

Via unconsumption:

For a project known as Scrapheap Orchestra, some top instrument makers in the UK transformed junk, including pieces of broken furniture, into 44 instruments for members of the BBC Concert Orchestra to play.

The quest to build an orchestra of instruments out of rubbish is more than just a musical spectacle - in the construction of these instruments we delve into the history of instrument making and the science of music, why different instruments are made the way they are, why some designs haven’t changed for hundreds of years and why, when played together, the sound of an orchestra is unlike anything else on earth.  (via BBC Four)

Next week, BBC Four will broadcast a 90-minute documentary that follows the project, which features the orchestra performing Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture on the scrap instruments at the 2011 BBC Proms. (Click here for broadcast info.)

For project photos, see Gramophone’s gallery, source of the above photo of orchestra members with instruments and conductor Charles Hazlewood. (Photo credit: BBC/Chris Christodoulou)

On a similar (instruments-made-from-junk) note, check out the Unconsumption posts on San Francisco’s Junkestra and New York Philharmonic’s percussion-from-junk exploration.

Cultured People Feel Less Stress

Via utnereader:

Art snobs and dance fanatics, relax! People who go to museums and concerts or create art or play an instrument are more satisfied with their lives, regardless of how educated or rich they are, according to a study highlighted by Discover.

In a world of instant musical gratification, where tunes from any genre or artist are available at the click of a mouse, can classical music remain relevant to the digital generation?

BBC News — Is classical music doomed?

A video of the debate (between participants Stephen Fry, BBC Radio 1 DJ Kissy Sell Out, Greg Sandow, et al.) will be available on the Cambridge Union Society’s Web site.

BBC

Could baseball have a lesson for music lovers that would allow us to appreciate the past and the present at the same time? What is behind this ability of baseball fans to connect the present action to the sport’s past glory and still appreciate the moment-to-moment excitement of the players on the field? These aren’t distinct functions of sports fandom; they are closely related to each other, and they inform each other. A fan appreciates the successes of the past more as he or she sees contemporary players working to succeed now, and vice versa. This is the kind of thinking that the institutions of classical music need to promote if we want the field refreshed by new music and musicians.
David Lang, composer, in a New York Times editorial, “A Pitch For New Music.” (via joshsternberg)

Via poptech:

Here’s an entertaining collaboration for your viewing pleasure - cellist Yo-Yo Ma and dancer Lil Buck caught on tape by Spike Jonze. Jonze explains:

The other day, I was lucky enough to be at an event to bring the arts back into schools and got to see an amazing collaboration between Yo-Yo Ma and a young dancer in LA, Lil Buck. Someone who knows Yo-Yo Ma had seen Lil Buck on YouTube and put them together. The dancing is Lil Buck’s own creation and unlike anything I’ve seen. Hope you enjoy.

Fabulous interpretations — from both Mr. Ma and Lil Buck — of Saint-Saens’s The Swan. Love performances in intimate settings like this one.

Today, there's this news: "Philadelphia Orchestra's Board Votes to File for Bankruptcy"

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

The move makes Philadelphia’s the first major U.S. orchestra to file for bankruptcy, say industry groups and veteran observers.

Concerts and business operations continue unfettered. In fact, orchestra leaders in the next few days expect to roll out a $160 million fund-raising campaign - their largest and riskiest ever - to save the orchestra from the worst-case scenario of liquidation.

It will be interesting to learn how the orchestra’s major asset of $140 million in endowed funds is viewed by the bankruptcy court.

See also earlier Everything Matters posts here about the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s saga.

So there was this news last week . . . "Detroit Symphony Returns From Strike to a Giddy Reception"

From The New York Times:

The moment was about something more than the end of a bitter labor dispute. The sounds of music at the hall (along with the Tigers’ victory in their home opener on Friday) were like the chirpings of a bird in the bleak days of late winter. It finally meant some good news in a town so often described as hollowed out, shriveled up and abandoned.

The census figures in March were the latest gloomy development. They showed that over the past decade the population dropped by a quarter in Detroit, where a fifth of the lots are vacant, and the city’s leaders are demolishing 10,000 empty residential buildings.

At the least the orchestra survived, albeit with the phrase “near-death experience” repeated often. 

“This is a blue-collar factory town,” said David Lewin, 56, a native of the city and a 10-year subscriber to the orchestra who works in advertising for the two Detroit newspapers. “Our image is the Rust Belt. Just down-and-out Detroit, and a lot of that is true,” he said, as he waited for the concert to start in the Max M. Fisher Music Center’s atrium.

He got emotional at the thought of the city’s decline. “But we have gems — the Detroit Symphony and this hall,” Mr. Lewin said. “What classical music represents, human expression at the highest level, juxtaposed with this hell hole we call our city,” he said, stopping to fight back tears. ’“It’s remarkable.”

Read the rest in the Times here.

Related: Previous Everything Matters posts about the Detroit situation (from February) here and (from October) here.

In arts matters:
SSO [Syracuse Symphony Orchestra] board votes to suspend operations; season canceled, no refunds planned — syracuse.com

The Syracuse Symphony Orchestra’s board of trustees voted Tuesday to suspend operations as of Sunday because of a shortage of funds.
The decision will bring the 50th anniversary season of the orchestra to an unceremonious end. There were more than 20 Syracuse and regional concerts remaining in the 2010-11 season.
The orchestra’s 18 full- and part-time staffers and 61 core and 14 contract musicians will be laid off Monday. However, eight employees will remain to help in the transition, Interim Executive Director Paul Brooks said, although he added that the organization has very little cash to carry out an orderly transition.
Brooks said no refunds would be issued to ticket holders, and he said any donations received during the SSO’s public fundraising campaign, “Keep the Music Playing” will not be returned.
Its April 27 concert by renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma also is canceled. But despite suspension of operations, Brooks said, the Syracuse Opera has been assured that the orchestra will play for its two performances of “The Pearl Fishers” April 8 and 10, said Brooks.
He said the SSO was without funds to continue operations because it fell short of its March fundraising goal of $445,000, failed to receive $1.3 million in concessions from the musicians for the 2011-12 season and had $5.5 million debt as the major reasons for the suspension. The SSO has a budget of $6.9 million for 2010-11 [down from $7.4 million for last season]. 
During the past eight months, the board has struggled to put its finances in order. In July, it was on the verge of being broke and being forced to close. An “angel investor” came to the rescue with operating funds.
Last summer, the SSO and musicians agreed to a shorter season, from 40 weeks to 34 weeks, but the same number of performances.

I expect additional information about next steps will be available on the Symphony’s Web site; however, at present there is no information about the suspension on it (or on the SSO’s Facebook or Twitter pages).
Related: The Detroit Symphony Orchestra remains on strike. Musicians there walked off the job last fall; last month, DSO management canceled the remainder of the season. The musicians and board reportedly are still trying to reach a (contract agreement) settlement.
Challenging times.

In arts matters:

SSO [Syracuse Symphony Orchestra] board votes to suspend operations; season canceled, no refunds planned — syracuse.com

The Syracuse Symphony Orchestra’s board of trustees voted Tuesday to suspend operations as of Sunday because of a shortage of funds.

The decision will bring the 50th anniversary season of the orchestra to an unceremonious end. There were more than 20 Syracuse and regional concerts remaining in the 2010-11 season.

The orchestra’s 18 full- and part-time staffers and 61 core and 14 contract musicians will be laid off Monday. However, eight employees will remain to help in the transition, Interim Executive Director Paul Brooks said, although he added that the organization has very little cash to carry out an orderly transition.

Brooks said no refunds would be issued to ticket holders, and he said any donations received during the SSO’s public fundraising campaign, “Keep the Music Playing” will not be returned.

Its April 27 concert by renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma also is canceled. But despite suspension of operations, Brooks said, the Syracuse Opera has been assured that the orchestra will play for its two performances of “The Pearl Fishers” April 8 and 10, said Brooks.

He said the SSO was without funds to continue operations because it fell short of its March fundraising goal of $445,000, failed to receive $1.3 million in concessions from the musicians for the 2011-12 season and had $5.5 million debt as the major reasons for the suspension. The SSO has a budget of $6.9 million for 2010-11 [down from $7.4 million for last season]. 

During the past eight months, the board has struggled to put its finances in order. In July, it was on the verge of being broke and being forced to close. An “angel investor” came to the rescue with operating funds.

Last summer, the SSO and musicians agreed to a shorter season, from 40 weeks to 34 weeks, but the same number of performances.

I expect additional information about next steps will be available on the Symphony’s Web site; however, at present there is no information about the suspension on it (or on the SSO’s Facebook or Twitter pages).

Related: The Detroit Symphony Orchestra remains on strike. Musicians there walked off the job last fall; last month, DSO management canceled the remainder of the season. The musicians and board reportedly are still trying to reach a (contract agreement) settlement.

Challenging times.

[Museum of Fine Arts, Houston] MFAH’s James Turrell acquisition adds to Houston’s bounty | Houston Art | via 29-95.com
Bonus: “Rice University has commissioned a [Turrell] skyspace for its campus following a multimillion-dollar gift from alumna Suzanne Deal Booth.”
Related: Earlier post about the Turrell skyspace in Houston’s Live Oak Friends Meeting House.
Update: Info from today, March 18, via The Rice Thresher, Rice University’s newspaper: The $6-million skyspace “will be situated on a raised grass hill so that people will be able to walk through it into a covered tunnel inside, where there will be space for 30 to 40 people to sit on benches. The second floor will have standing room for 60 to 70 people, along with a panel in the ceiling to display the sky and frame an LED display for shows at sunrise and sunset. The skyspace will be outfitted for musical performances by small ensembles.” The installation is expected to be completed by December.

[Museum of Fine Arts, Houston] MFAH’s James Turrell acquisition adds to Houston’s bounty | Houston Art | via 29-95.com

Bonus: “Rice University has commissioned a [Turrell] skyspace for its campus following a multimillion-dollar gift from alumna Suzanne Deal Booth.”

Related: Earlier post about the Turrell skyspace in Houston’s Live Oak Friends Meeting House.

Update: Info from today, March 18, via The Rice Thresher, Rice University’s newspaper: The $6-million skyspace “will be situated on a raised grass hill so that people will be able to walk through it into a covered tunnel inside, where there will be space for 30 to 40 people to sit on benches. The second floor will have standing room for 60 to 70 people, along with a panel in the ceiling to display the sky and frame an LED display for shows at sunrise and sunset. The skyspace will be outfitted for musical performances by small ensembles.” The installation is expected to be completed by December.

Opera House provides live streaming for mobile phones

Via emergentfutures:

USUALLY when patrons attend a performance at Sydney’s Opera House, they’re politely asked to switch off their mobile phones.

But this Sunday, when music lovers converge on the iconic Sydney venue for the 2011 YouTube Symphony Orchestra concert, audience members will be asked for the first time in the history of the Opera House to turn on their mobile phones and live stream the event worldwide.

Full Story: AustralianIT

Via kateoplis:

Zaha Hadid’s Guangzhou Opera House has finally opened in China (video)

Beautifully shot video, with overwhelmingly positive remarks about the opera house from The Guardian’s architecture critic, Jonathan Glancey, including this gem: “It’s one of the most remarkable buildings not just in China, but in the whole world.”

Via kateoplis:

Zaha Hadid’s Guangzhou Opera House has finally opened in China (video)

Beautifully shot video, with overwhelmingly positive remarks about the opera house from The Guardian’s architecture critic, Jonathan Glancey, including this gem: “It’s one of the most remarkable buildings not just in China, but in the whole world.”

Via poptech:

Q: Why Save PBS?
A: PBS is America’s largest classroom, the nation’s largest stage for the arts and a trusted window to the world. 
(via world-shaker) 

Via poptech:

Q: Why Save PBS?

A: PBS is America’s largest classroom, the nation’s largest stage for the arts and a trusted window to the world. 

(via world-shaker

Detroit Symphony Cancels Season as Musicians Strike - NYTimes.com

"The management of the debt-burdened Detroit Symphony Orchestra canceled the rest of its season on Saturday [today], after executives and the players failed to resolve a strike that has lasted four and a half months."

The news, posted on the DSO’s Web site: http://blog.detroitsymphony.com/2011/02/musicians-rejection-of-dso-final-offer-causes-suspension-of-remaining-dso-orchestral-season/

See also: earlier post from November 4 — around the time of the start of the musicians’ work stoppage/strike.

It’s always interesting to see how organizations and their communities rebound from such situations.