Posts tagged arts

"Over the past year, an increasing number of classical musicians have been launching into unannounced performances in marketplaces and transit hubs — and videos of these impromptu concerts have reached a wide audience on the internet."

"So what drives musicians to do this? At the heart of it is the pure satisfaction of making mischief and surprising people. But for most artists, the goal is to bring classical music to people who wouldn’t otherwise hear it. Sometimes, as in the case of the video above, it’s to promote an "official" performance. Other times, there’s no profit involved, and musicians just want to reignite the spirit of fun and improvisation that was behind the music in the first place."

(via Out Of The Concert Hall, Into The Street: Random Acts Of Classical Music : Deceptive Cadence : NPR)

Dancing on the Page: the art of scripting ballet

Via utnereader:

“Ballet Austin, despite its modest size, creates top-rated dance. The man responsible is artistic director Stephen Mills, one of the country’s top young choreographers of contemporary ballet. Troupes across the country have performed his Hamlet, set to music by Philip Glass. I was listening to Mills talk about his new Firebird at a preview event when I began to wonder how he records his choreography. Then I watched as a ballerina took to her toes, leaned hard to the right, swept her arms behind her, cocked her head even farther to the right, strained her eyes to the left, and then ran in a half circle across the stage. How do you write that down? I just used 40 words to describe three seconds of dance.”

Project Storefronts promotes economic development

From the Yale Daily News: Project Storefronts, a pilot program of New Haven’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Economic Development Corporation, has filled empty storefronts with four arts-related businesses (selected from a pool of 50 applicants), stimulating economic development in an economically depressed neighborhood. The vacant space was made available for three months at no cost to the selected artists and organizations.

Sounds like a logical project. Other cities should look at it as a potential model for/component of their revitalization efforts.

Americans for the Arts names top 10 companies that support the arts

Via hydeordie:

•       Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.
•       Capital Bank, Raleigh, N.C.
•       Con Edison, New York
•       Conoco Phillips, Houston
•       Devon Energy Corp., Oklahoma City
•       Halifax EMC, Enfield, N.C.
•       M.C. Ginsberg Jewelers and Objects of Art, Iowa City, Iowa
•       Northeast Utilities, Hartford, Conn.
•       Portland General Electric, Portland, Oregon
•       Strata-G Communications, Cincinnati

San Francisco Opera Makes Free Simulcasts Pay Off

Last month, the simulcast of a live San Francisco Opera “Aida” performance reached some 32,000 Bay-area audience members. That’s an impressive fact in and of itself. What’s even more noteworthy: by holding such events (free for attendees) at a gated venue (AT&T Park), and encouraging audience members to make reservations online in advance (giving them early admission to the ballpark), the SFO is able to capture audience contact information (simulcasts held in the past in public plazas did not) and link subsequent activity (ticket purchases, donations) to it.

The Wall Street Journal says:

"Using that data, the opera says it has been able to figure out that new-patron tickets linked to the simulcasts have brought in about $880,000. That puts the opera — which says it has spent about $800,000 on its four previous simulcasts — slightly in the black with its simulcast endeavors.”

"At least one other opera company has followed the San Francisco Opera in holding ballpark simulcasts. In 2008, the Washington National Opera moved its simulcast from the National Mall to the brand new Nationals Park — home of the Washington Nationals — in an effort to get people to sign up and secure better customer-tracking data."

Trend likelihood: high (assuming organizations’ live-production/broadcast logistics aren’t overly complicated).

Related: Post about the Metropolitan Opera’s broadcasts, which can be seen in 1,500 venues in 46 countries.

Via unconsumption:

Speaking of *trashy* performances:
What do you get when you cross a recycling company with a classical composer? A symphony, written at the San Francisco dump, that’s played on musical instruments made from garbage.
During an artist residency in 2007 at waste management company Recology San Francisco, composer Nathaniel Stookey (pictured above) composed Junkestra, a symphony in three movements, for 30 or so “instruments” created from trash — pipes, pans, mixing bowls, bottles, serving trays, dresser drawers, oil drums, bike wheels, saws, garbage cans, and shopping carts, among other items — he found in San Francisco’s dump. 
San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra musicians premiered the 12-minute-long Junkestra in a performance, conducted by Benjamin Shwartz, held at the dump’s warehouse. (Watch the third movement in this video.)
Junkestra has since been performed in San Francisco at the Herbst Theater, the new California Academy of Sciences, and, by San Francisco Symphony musicians, at Davies Symphony Hall. A CD was released earlier this year.
Recology’s artist-in-residence program aims to inspire and educate people about recycling and resource conservation by providing Bay-area artists with access to materials, a work space, and other resources at the company’s solid waste transfer and recycling center.
Junkestra symphony is pure garbage | Crave - CNET
(hat tip to Chrissy Smith, @marimbamaiden18!)

Via unconsumption:

Speaking of *trashy* performances:

What do you get when you cross a recycling company with a classical composer? A symphony, written at the San Francisco dump, that’s played on musical instruments made from garbage.

During an artist residency in 2007 at waste management company Recology San Francisco, composer Nathaniel Stookey (pictured above) composed Junkestra, a symphony in three movements, for 30 or so “instruments” created from trash — pipes, pans, mixing bowls, bottles, serving trays, dresser drawers, oil drums, bike wheels, saws, garbage cans, and shopping carts, among other items — he found in San Francisco’s dump. 

San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra musicians premiered the 12-minute-long Junkestra in a performance, conducted by Benjamin Shwartz, held at the dump’s warehouse. (Watch the third movement in this video.)

Junkestra has since been performed in San Francisco at the Herbst Theater, the new California Academy of Sciences, and, by San Francisco Symphony musicians, at Davies Symphony Hall. A CD was released earlier this year.

Recology’s artist-in-residence program aims to inspire and educate people about recycling and resource conservation by providing Bay-area artists with access to materials, a work space, and other resources at the company’s solid waste transfer and recycling center.

Junkestra symphony is pure garbage | Crave - CNET

(hat tip to Chrissy Smith, @marimbamaiden18!)


Via unconsumption:

The New York Philharmonic Searches for Heavy Metal for Magnus Lindberg’s Kraft (NewYorkPhilharmonic YouTube video)

Last week marked the New York premiere of New York Philharmonic composer-in-residence Magnus Lindberg’s “Kraft,” composed (in 1985 for the Helsinki Festival) for orchestra and percussion — percussion made from found items. 

New York Times music critic Anthony Tommasini noted in his review of Thursday’s New York Philharmonic performance of the work:

“Kraft” (German for “power”) is seldom performed, partly because it is so challenging, but also because Mr. Lindberg stipulates that the percussion resources of the orchestra be fortified with stuff collected from junkyards in the city where the piece is being played, to lend the music local flavor. Mr. Lindberg and the Philharmonic’s game percussionists recently made a fruitful scavenger trip to a junkyard on Staten Island.

Besides the usual assortment of gongs and drums, placed onstage and in stations all around the hall, there were helium tanks, table legs, plastic tubes and bowls filled with water (to make gurgling sounds), and a car hood advertising “Rapid Sewer Cleaning,” which, as Mr. Gilbert [Alan Gilbert, NY Phil’s music director] admitted in some helpful spoken comments before the performance, had no function in the piece. “We just liked it,” he said.

But all sorts of other car parts were conscripted for this elaborate performance: suspension coils, ventilator screens, cranks for tire pumps. Only a longtime auto mechanic could identify all these period instruments.

States of the arts:
Today, in Detroit Symphony Orchestra (not-so-good) news: Day of a Strike Dawns for Detroit Musicians - NYTimes.com. With contract negotiations between DSO management and musicians as contentious as they are, and the musicians declining the DSO’s latest financial offer with its “extensive cuts in pay and benefits and extensive changes in how they perform their jobs,” I have a hard time seeing how a work stoppage could end very soon.
From the DSO’s Web site: 

"Any increase beyond our last offer will put the DSO in a deeper hole that would ultimately drive the organization out of business. There is nobody who winds in that situation."

Of note, on the fiscal housekeeping side of things: the DSO, following years of living beyond its means, has an accumulated deficit of $9+ million (I think I’m understanding various figures correctly), and, per Dan Wakin in The New York Times, has been “raiding its endowment to pay for operations.”
Evidently money isn’t the only issue in the negotiations; the historical orchestra model in which musicians spend the majority of their “work” time rehearsing and performing series of classical and pops concerts is at risk of evolving greatly. The DSO’s proposed contract offer includes a reduced season (fewer weeks; reduced pay), plus musicians’ increased involvement in community and education programs (which could include teaching or performing chamber concerts). Future operations of orchestras — not only in Detroit, but elsewhere — may include a similarly pronounced emphasis on musicians’ participation in community and education concerts/programs which could, in fact, make orchestras more relevant to and valued by the communities they serve. Detroit’s proposed work-model, regardless of whether it’s ratified, could serve as a precedent for other orchestras.
Meanwhile, on Saturday, good news announced in Houston: Houston Symphony Musicians Ratify New Contract - chron.com

States of the arts:

Today, in Detroit Symphony Orchestra (not-so-good) news: Day of a Strike Dawns for Detroit Musicians - NYTimes.com. With contract negotiations between DSO management and musicians as contentious as they are, and the musicians declining the DSO’s latest financial offer with its “extensive cuts in pay and benefits and extensive changes in how they perform their jobs,” I have a hard time seeing how a work stoppage could end very soon.

From the DSO’s Web site

"Any increase beyond our last offer will put the DSO in a deeper hole that would ultimately drive the organization out of business. There is nobody who winds in that situation."

Of note, on the fiscal housekeeping side of things: the DSO, following years of living beyond its means, has an accumulated deficit of $9+ million (I think I’m understanding various figures correctly), and, per Dan Wakin in The New York Times, has been “raiding its endowment to pay for operations.”

Evidently money isn’t the only issue in the negotiations; the historical orchestra model in which musicians spend the majority of their “work” time rehearsing and performing series of classical and pops concerts is at risk of evolving greatly. The DSO’s proposed contract offer includes a reduced season (fewer weeks; reduced pay), plus musicians’ increased involvement in community and education programs (which could include teaching or performing chamber concerts). Future operations of orchestras — not only in Detroit, but elsewhere — may include a similarly pronounced emphasis on musicians’ participation in community and education concerts/programs which could, in fact, make orchestras more relevant to and valued by the communities they serve. Detroit’s proposed work-model, regardless of whether it’s ratified, could serve as a precedent for other orchestras.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, good news announced in Houston: Houston Symphony Musicians Ratify New Contract - chron.com

Objects With Back Stories - NYTimes.com

This is a great NYT Magazine “Consumed” column by Rob Walker, and worth a read, even if you don’t find the thing-story subject as intriguing as I do.

The longer I think about it, the more I want to see such barcoding technology adopted by performing arts groups and other organizations, e.g., in the tagging (by building managers) of seats in concert halls, theaters, and other venues. Audience members could, over time, add their stories to their seats’ tags, recording their reactions to performances and/or information about other aspects of their experiences, leaving, in effect, a digital legacy that connects them to fellow patrons, the performers, the arts organization(s). The general idea is the creation of recorded stories, layers of experiential kinds of anecdotes.

Also, if, say, I were to make a financial gift that helped support the installation of a seat in the concert hall, or bench in my favorite park, I — the donor — could record digitally what inspired me to make such a gift. Many gifts of this nature are recognized with the placement of a plaque on the funded item; the use of coded tags would complement the plaque thing. If I record my “story” on my object’s tag, it’s likely that I (donor Molly) will be linked even more deeply to both the object and the non-profit entity that oversees it (think donor relationship-building opportunities here). Perhaps that part of the park is my favorite people-watching spot, or maybe my mother was a master gardener, and I made the gift in her honor or memory — anyway, you get the story-legacy-sharing picture.

So, thanks to Rob’s influence, I’ve uploaded over the past month two — count ‘em, two — items (and their stories!) to Itizen.com. (The two stories can be accessed via the Itizen Web site or by scanning the two QR-coded tags.) This post about the the second object and story contains a link to the first one, along with other QR Code-related info.

I’m now giving some thought to uploading to Itizen a third item. Stay tuned.

Met Opera adds 300 theaters to its HD broadcasts
Making arts offerings more accessible to a greater number of people: “Like.”

Met Opera adds 300 theaters to its HD broadcasts

Making arts offerings more accessible to a greater number of people: “Like.”

artgalleryofontario:

Edgar DegasL’Orchestre de l’Opéra1870, oil on canvasParis, Musée d’Orsay
Click here to learn more.

Happy start of “Classical Music Month”!
(And thanks to whomever deemed September as such!)

artgalleryofontario:

Edgar Degas
L’Orchestre de l’Opéra
1870, oil on canvas
Paris, Musée d’Orsay

Click here to learn more.

Happy start of “Classical Music Month”!

(And thanks to whomever deemed September as such!)

Arts matters:
In preparation for Houston Grand Opera’s planned mounting of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, I wonder if the Wortham Center’s Brown Theatre can be retrofitted with Continental Airlines’ plush BusinessFirst flat-bed (fully reclining) seats? It’s a logical partnership: Houston-based (well, for now, at least) Continental is a major sponsor of the HGO.
Note: Seating upgrade suggestion is meant to enhance patron comfort, not to imply that one will (or should) sleep during opera performances.
Of course, the replacement of existing seats with recliners would reduce the inventory of seats in the hall that could be sold to season subscribers and single ticket buyers (thereby affecting the amount of potential revenue that can be generated from ticket sales). To help offset that, perhaps HGO could bill the reclining seats as “super premium” and command “super premium” prices for them?
P.S. I’m joking about all of this. (Sort of.)

Arts matters:

In preparation for Houston Grand Opera’s planned mounting of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, I wonder if the Wortham Center’s Brown Theatre can be retrofitted with Continental Airlines’ plush BusinessFirst flat-bed (fully reclining) seats? It’s a logical partnership: Houston-based (well, for now, at least) Continental is a major sponsor of the HGO.

Note: Seating upgrade suggestion is meant to enhance patron comfort, not to imply that one will (or should) sleep during opera performances.

Of course, the replacement of existing seats with recliners would reduce the inventory of seats in the hall that could be sold to season subscribers and single ticket buyers (thereby affecting the amount of potential revenue that can be generated from ticket sales). To help offset that, perhaps HGO could bill the reclining seats as “super premium” and command “super premium” prices for them?

P.S. I’m joking about all of this. (Sort of.)

Pacific Symphony wants you to follow Twitter during concert

[from Los Angeles Times (Culture Monster blog)]

The Pacific Symphony’s “Tweetcert” event is modeled, in part, on Houston Symphony’s June Tweetcert and National Symphony Orchestra performances held last summer at Wolf Trap in Vienna, VA.

[N.B. - The venues for all three organizations’ performances are amphitheatres, not enclosed, indoor (dark) concert halls, so concert-goers looking at their phone (or iPad) screens aren’t likely to be too distracting to the folks sitting near them.]

Performing arts trend likelihood: high.

Reblogging my post from unconsumption:

problemsolver:

ninakix:

Elbphilharmonie is Herzog & de  Meuron’s new glass structure  atop a red brick warehouse built in 1963 by the late Hamburg architect  Werner Kallmorgen.
via dezeen


[This post is an atypical one in the Unconsumption mix … ]
The adaptive reuse of a formerly abandoned warehouse in Hamburg, Germany, strikes me as a prime example of civic unconsumption — at a sizeable scale. Kudos to the architects, engineers, and other project partners for finding an innovative way to preserve an existing building.
The mixed-use development features a public plaza, three performance spaces (including a 2,150-seat concert hall), a hotel, restaurants, condominiums, and space for parking.
The project, slated for completion in 2012, is a component of the master plan to redevelop and revitalize Hamburg’s HafenCity (inner city) area; it’s expected to draw thousands of visitors each year to the River Elbe waterfront.
Additional information (13 pages’ worth) here, and  recent travel-focused story from The New York Times.

From a performance perspective, the design of the concert hall is unique: its bowl-shaped configuration places the “stage” area — the orchestra and conductor — in the center of the audience.
So many reasons to like this project.

Reblogging my post from unconsumption:

problemsolver:

ninakix:

Elbphilharmonie is Herzog & de  Meuron’s new glass structure atop a red brick warehouse built in 1963 by the late Hamburg architect Werner Kallmorgen.

via dezeen

[This post is an atypical one in the Unconsumption mix … ]

The adaptive reuse of a formerly abandoned warehouse in Hamburg, Germany, strikes me as a prime example of civic unconsumption — at a sizeable scale. Kudos to the architects, engineers, and other project partners for finding an innovative way to preserve an existing building.

The mixed-use development features a public plaza, three performance spaces (including a 2,150-seat concert hall), a hotel, restaurants, condominiums, and space for parking.

The project, slated for completion in 2012, is a component of the master plan to redevelop and revitalize Hamburg’s HafenCity (inner city) area; it’s expected to draw thousands of visitors each year to the River Elbe waterfront.

Additional information (13 pages’ worth) here, and recent travel-focused story from The New York Times.

From a performance perspective, the design of the concert hall is unique: its bowl-shaped configuration places the “stage” area — the orchestra and conductor — in the center of the audience.

So many reasons to like this project.