Born Sept. 5, 1912 in Los Angeles, California Died Aug. 11, 1992 in Manhattan, New York “There are two things that don’t have to mean anything; one is music, and the other is laughter.” – John Cage, paraphrasing Immanuel Kant. (Cage agreed with Kant that music and laughter don’t have to mean anything in order … Read more
Born Sept. 4, 1892 in Aix-en-Provence, France Died June 22, 1974 in Geneva, Switzerland “Don’t be afraid of writing something people can remember and whistle. Don’t ever feel discomfited by a melody". Milhaud to his student Burt Bacharach Milhaud was a student of Charles Widor, Vincent d’Indy, and Paul Dukas. A member of Les … Read more
Educator Guides to the Operas Plan an opera study unit for your students based on one of the operas in the 2010-11 Metropolitan Opera season, climaxing with a Night at the Opera in a local movie theater or at your school. The Met Live in HD series offers free opera-specific educational guides you can use … Read more
The fifth season of the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series is coming to a movie theater near you! Enjoy front row seats at these live opening night productions. It is so easy to feel more engaged with opera on a large screen, where you can see everything “up close and personal.” Feel the pre-performance … Read more
Don’t underestimate the power of either sports or music when it comes to exciting a crowd. Even as a tormented composer writing under the harsh restrictions and demands of Communism, in his 1929 ballet The Golden Age big-time soccer fan and sometime soccer referee Shostakovich recreated a soccer match. In this ballet, a communist soccer team … Read more
There’s a lot more to World Cup soccer music than national anthems and the penetrating blare of “vuvuzela” horns. WQXR classical FM station, highlights the top 5 soccer pieces from 100 years of soccer-inspired classical music.
A scholar in England just announced his discovery of a secret music code in the writings of Plato. As a closeted follower of Pythagoras, whose heretical beliefs threatened traditional religion, Plato believed that music and mathematics were closely related, and that music was a reflection of the mathematical principles that governed the universe. Pythagoras codified … Read more
When famed Broadway songwriter Jason Bert Brown discovered his songs were being “traded” freely online by those who had never purchased a legal copy, he thoughtfully requested that the traders stop the illegal trading. Read this fascinating exchange with a recalcitrant yet extremely bright and articulate teenager. Eleanor’s teenage sense of entitlement is absolutely breathtaking. … Read more
Here are links & dates for jazz festivals around the world, so plan a trip around an enticing jazz venue that beckons you to kick back and enjoy live jazz at its convivial best. Jazz Festivals in USA Jazz Festivals in Canada UK Jazz Festivals European Jazz Festivals Worldwide jazz festivals are also listed geographically, … Read more
Since 1998, the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra has performed on musical instruments they make from fresh vegetables. (I couldn’t make this up.) They shop for veggies at the local produce market, spend a few hours making their vegetable instruments, then after their concert, they throw them into the pot and serve up vegetable soup. Contrary to … Read more
Bring full-scale Metropolitan Opera productions into your classroom! The free Live in HD school program from the Met is now available in some school districts around the country, and online educational guides put the icing on the cake. Teaching guides for each Metropolitan opera production include classroom activities, musical highlights, story synopses, accompanying audio clips, … Read more
Listening skills should be stock in trade for musicians, but experienced musicians face the same challenges of concentration and active listening that audiences do. Timothy Walker’s keynote speech at Great Britain’s ISM (Incorporated Society of Musicians) hopefully didn’t fall on tin ears. Walker, Chief Executive of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, realistically addresses the difficulties musicians … Read more
These are hard times, especially in nearly bankrupt California. But are we content to see the California legislature gut the heart (i.e., the arts) out of education? The arts and foreign languages are fundamental to education, especially in the world we live in today. If creative thinking and global communications were ever needed in this … Read more
Can’t go to the opera? Does your busy schedule or a pinched pocketbook or an illness make you miss the magic of the live performance? While there is nothing like the excitement of being in the theater for the real event, there are now 2 wonderful and affordable alternatives: Option 1. Opera Night at the … Read more
Is music something we share with the animal kingdom? Or did they first introduce us to music? This is the musical chicken-or-egg question, and I might just lay my bet on the animals. From singing whales in the seas to birds in the trees, frogs on a log to crickets in a fog, the … Read more
If you thought boomwhackers were just for kids, think again. Better still, listen to the percussion group Plastik Musik in their astounding Boomwhacker performance: The first time I met Craig Ramsell, creator of the Boomwhackers, was in Phoenix, Arizona, about 15 years ago at a music education conference. At the time, I knew his newly … Read more
There are a few lines that should never be crossed in a democracy. One of those is the line separating church and state. For very good reasons, our founding fathers (while most of them shared the same basic Christian faith) had seen what happened in Europe when religion and politics got mixed. Heads rolled … Read more
The hills are alive with the sound of men singing in Great Britain. Television shows like Glee and The Choir, along with increasing numbers of You Tube videos of barbershop music, may be contributing to the surge of popularity in Great Britain for close harmony singing. This week over 2500 eager singers are heading to … Read more
The Lion’s Face, a new opera on the effects of ageing and memory loss, premieres in Brighton, England May 20, 2010, then tours the UK for the summer. The music is by Elena Langer, and the lyrics by Glyn Maxwell. The creation of the opera involved an intense collaboration with scientists and doctors at the … Read more
King Henry VIII, famous for his marriages on the rocks (and the blocks), is lesser known for his talent as a musician and composer. Tall, handsome, and charming in his youth, he played several musical instruments, and was a skilled singer and dancer. Some of his musical compositions are still performed today.
Three Musicians by Picasso After a day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, mostly spent in the special Picasso exhibit (the largest ever), I was virtually blinded by “the embarrassment of riches” he left to the world. The chronological exhibit of his works gave cohesion to his life and his many artistic … Read more
The scene was straight out of Hollywood. As my husband Jim and I left our small hotel room on 49th Street we had only 20 minutes to go before the curtains rose at Broadway theaters throughout the district. I had only 30 minutes earlier purchased tickets at TKTS (the half-price ticket booth on Times Square—see … Read more
How musical is a bonsai? Let me count the ways. . . In the words of the composer/performer Diego Stocco: “I always liked bonsai trees, and I was curious to try the approach I used for "Music from a Tree" on a smaller scale, so I bought a bonsai and recorded this little experimental piece. … Read more
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