Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Orchestras Feeding America

Orchestras Feeding America


This year, The Boston Civic Orchestra will participate in the League of Orchestras "Orchestras Feeding America" program.

A little background on the Boston Civic Orchestra: This orchestra was started in 1925 by the late educator, conductor and composer Joseph Wagner. This makes it the second oldest symphony in Boston. It really struck me that I had not heard more about this orchestra, being from Massachusetts so I decided to figure out who and what this orchestra is really all about.

The three main focal points this orchestra focuses on are #1) To Encourage Attendance #2) To Provide Orchestra Training #3) To Offer Performaces of Unusual and Contemporary Works

These three goals of the orchestra are all that ones that to me make the most sense for an orchestra to strive for. I like how the orchestra is a stepping stone for students and ametuer players to come together under solid managment to learn the ropes. This younger crowd will also fuel the want for playing contemporary music, which is so important to our upencoming music lifes. Music just keeps getting written, something new everyday.

Their concerts are held at Jordan Hall at New england Conservatory and Regis College in Weston.

The orchestra is currently being conducted by Max Hobart, a 27 year veteran as assistant concert master of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. 

One of the main goals this orchestra has is "To encourage attendance by a diverse population from the Greater Boston area by offering moderately priced tickets and by distribution of a number of free tickets to underserved populations in Boston."
I think its great that this orchestra is so commited to getting people into the concert hall that might not have the chance due to financial strains.  On the flip side now, this orchestra will also give back to the same people that helped into the concert hall.
All you have to do is bring a non-perishable food item to the all Beethoven concert March 9th and you will receive a discount coupon good for one of their 2014-2015 season concerts. The food then gets donated to the Greater Boston Food Bank
Orchestras Feeding America is a project that has reached over 250 orchestras from across the country and has collected nearly 450,000 pounds of food.
This is a great way to bring in audiences of all ages because they will feel a sense of duty and accomplishment by donating and helping people in need.  It's great when an orchestra is so committed to their community as a whole.

Daniel Crozier the Storyteller: Samuel Barber of the 21st Century?

Composer:  Daniel Crozier (1965-)
Title:  Capriccio for orchestra (2001)
Link to the Music

It has been more than a decade since Daniel Crozier wrote Capriccio, but the piece still sounds new. This has to do with both the novelty of the written notes of the piece and the lack of its exposure to the public at large.

Daniel Crozier, nephew of Fred Rogers (the Mr. Rogers of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood), received his DMA in composition at the Peabody Institute, and he is currently an Associate Professor of Theory and Composition at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. His music usually contains motivic elements that aim to serve as a narrative, storytelling function, and this piece is not an exception.

As the title suggests, the piece is very capricious, and numerous ideas bounce back and forth throughout the piece. The whole piece is bound together, however, by a single 7-note motive that is played by the clarinet in the energetic beginning of the piece. The motive turns into a melody in the first section of the piece, then it is truncated to 3 notes that start a new melody--calmer but still bouncy and a bit "coy"--in a slower section. Then the music comes back to a hyper-enegeric section that starts with the same motive, and it reaches the climax right before its dwindling end seconds later, where the bassoons start the subdued version of the the motive before they are abruptly cut off by jagged interjections from the other instruments.

The style of the piece is hard to pin down in my opinion, but the generally narrative nature of the piece and the the prevalence and the importance of melodies that are given in it seem to suggest a style of neo-romanticism. This style of music also entices me to make a comparison--illogical but interesting nonetheless--between Crozier and Samuel Barber, one of whose musical philosophies seemed to aim for a Romantic musical storytelling in the midst of the sea of modernism in the early 20th century.

The link to the music above is a recording of Seattle Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Gerard Schwartz. Unfortunately, the recording is not yet publicly available.

Richard Taruskin's Text and Act and Our Musical Presence

Lukáš Olejník

The chapter 19 of Richard Taruskin's book titled Text and Act , Text and Act (identical title), is a concluding chapter of the fourth larger section of the book that comprises the total number of four chapters under the larger title Antiquarian Innocence.

The main purpose of the chapter is to outline chronologically the progress of events that throughout the history led to currently, as Taruskin seems to make an impression, a rather disappointing  situation in which no one is able to appreciate classics anymore.  The discussion of the chapter centers around the four stages that, as he argues, progressively reinforced the final outcome of our musical presence.
The first such stage, according to Taruskin, is the stage of literacy. With the emergence of textual literacy music started to have a physical appearance independent of people who produced it and performed it. Its new ability to persist and prevail by bearing its witness on a page of a mediating piece of a physical substance such as parchment or paper was crucial for perception of those who were to succeed its creators. 
The second stage is the stage of printing. With the invention of typography distribution of music become much easier and cheaper. The new form of a printed book, in fact quite different from a hand-written manuscript,  found its way into libraries of private collectors, supporters, and most importantly musicians themselves. The fact that music took on an appearance of a physical object (item) had a positive impact on the circulation of music.
The third stage had to do with the temporary absorption of classics. The rise of Romanticism brought upon a rapid increase in the popularity of art primarily made for gazing. The prevalent utilitarian purpose of music making characteristic to previous centuries was compromised and music ceased to be something that an average person did. Musicians became creators and their music, being representative of a sovereign form of art, was interpreted as a reflection of their personalities.
The last of the four stages described in the Taruskin’s chapter is the stage of recording.  The beginning of twentieth century marked the start of music’s commercialization associated with technologies. The newly established recording industry fundamentally changed or at least compromised the traditionally established relationship dynamics between the performer and his audience. The initial intention of a composer and performer to make music and have money placed in their hands in exchange for a show has disappeared and has been replaced by selflessness associated with the possibility of an indefinite number of „performances“ to take place by means of a recording.
I believe that it is not Taruskin’s purpose in this chapter to convey a negative portrayal of the phenomena described above. It is beyond dispute, however, that he tries  to establish and defend a view that the history and morality of music has taken a downfall over the course of centuries.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Lindsey Stirling and the Classical Crossover Artist

Lindsey Stirling is a up and coming violinist who first achieved fame when she made her debut appearance on season five of America's Got Talent back in 2010. She called herself a "hip hop violinist" and during her performances would dance while simultaneously playing her violin. Unfortunately, she only made it to the quarter-finals and was eliminated from the competition. Shortly after, she was approached by Devin Graham, a cinematographer, who was interested in making a music video from her own song, "Spontaneous Me" and posting it to YouTube. Years later, that same video, now on Stirling's own YouTube channel, has over 15 million views. Lindsey Stirling is what some people call a "classical crossover" artist. What that means is that she is considered a classical musicians who has become so popular that she has ranked on popular music charts. Other examples of this kind of artist are the Three Tenors and Mario Lanza. Regardless, Stirling is also well known amongst the electronic and (more specifically) the dubstep musical community. She has worked Shaun Barrowes of the Decemberists, The Piano Guys, John Legend, the Pentatonix, Alex Boyé, and even the Salt Lake Pops Orchestra on various musical works. In December of 2012, Stirling's music video for her song "Crystallize" was the No. 8 most viewed video having over 42 million views. Her only studio album Lindsey Stirling (originally realsed in September 2012 ad re-released this past October) peaked at No. 23 on the US Billboard 200 as well as hitting No. 1 on both the US Classical and US Dance charts. Stirling has played everything from "Silent Night" to "Thrift Shop" and shows no discrimination to any genre that she comes across.

In this day and age, it is difficult for a classical artist to compete with the likes of pop artists. Go up to anyone you find on the street asking them first who Katy Perry is, and then who Joshua Bell is. I guarantee that more people will know the first artist better then the second. Of course, this should really come to no surprise. The average classical artists does not see the same media exposure that most pop artists receive. What ends up happening is that the classical artists end up performing for just a niche market while the pop artists enjoys the attention of the majority. There is however a small majority of classical artists that get comparable attention; these are the classical crossover artists such as Lindsey Stirling. By playing music and becoming associated with many genres and markets, Stirling has gotten a lot more exposure than most classical artists her same age. She has diversified her talents and it has paid off for her immensely. She is a classical musician, performance artist, dancer, and composer that has expanded to more than just the classical repertory. She has not only survived be is flourishing in the environment she has created for herself. Aspiring artists in any genre of music would do well to take notice of this genre mixture. The more diverse an artist can be, the higher the chances they have of succeeding in the musical world.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Mozart's magic (REVISED)

Once upon a time, there was a story describing a noble prince who was ordered by the mysterious queen of the night to rescue a beautiful princess who had been kidnapped. People used to get deeper into the details of this story by following along with the background music featuring a witty romantic comedy. “Magic flute” is just one of our well-known operas from W. A. Mozart.

Today, the magic flute is the most frequently performed German opera, and one of the top ten operas in the world; the characters of this timeless opera attract a large age range of audiences , many cities’ theatres, or groups of artist, are performing this outstanding masterpiece for the public to give audiences a feast of audio and visual. Fortunately, as one of the Bostonian, I am looking forward to this show featuring the BSO on Mar.30.

From the official news of BSO, this Concert will be updated with dialogue, puppetry, and imbedded with unexpected surprises.  Considering that there are many existing visions of the magic flute, I really hope that this show will embrace the heterogeneous nature of the opera, which will continue to display the glorious classical style of Mozart’s later years.

Spring for Music

The last of four annual Spring for Music festivals will occur May 5 through 10 at Carnegie Hall. The festival "...has been driven by the empowering idea that orchestras, big and small, should take chances and even dream in their programming. Ensembles are chosen to take part not for their institutional clout but for the artistic creativity of their proposed program." The festival has showcased orchestras running the gamut of regional ensembles such as the Alabama Symphony and Toledo Symphony, to this year's showcase of the New York Philharmonic in collaboration with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus and Westminster Symphonic Choir on the Requiem by Christopher Rouse, the NY Philharmonic's composer in residence. What a first caliber opportunity for these New York youngsters, as well as Rouse. Subsequent evenings include performances by the Seattle Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Winnipeg Symphony (Julian Pellicano, resident conductor), Cincinnati Symphony and the Pittsburgh Symphony. The Spring for Music festival has been well-received by audiences, with ticket prices at just $25. The festival will terminate this year due to difficulty in securing funds and corporate support. nytimes.com Accessed 2/23/14

Classical Music for Smartphones

Last week I wrote about symphonies presenting music in radio and on-line broadcasts and how both major and regional orchestras take advantage of media to reach broader audiences. With increasing numbers of people carrying around web-connected phones, smartphone apps can provide perhaps an even more important means by which orchestras connect with audiences. As the public becomes ever more connected and tech-savvy, these apps could provide an increasingly important avenue for the younger generation to become acquainted to the classical music tradition. This article begins a series exploring smartphone apps that target the various facets of classical music.

A variety of novel smartphone apps have cropped up with classical music themes. Larson Associates has released an app to Apple’s App Store titled 4' 33" - John Cage (http://www.johncage.org/4_33.html). Like Cage’s famous and controversial composition, this app doesn’t produce any sound. Instead, it allows the user to capture recordings of ambient sounds inmovements of lengths specified in John Cage’s piece. Users from around the world have uploaded their own “compositions” to share with others.

InstantEncore provides a development solution upon which organizations can build mobile apps for both iOS and Android platforms (http://www.instantencore.com/Learn/Mobile). Orchestras, opera companies, theaters, and ballets can all build apps that display event details; provide music, photos, and videos; send notifications to users; integrate with social media; and display custom content such as performer bios. Users can call the organization from within their app or purchase tickets online. Orchestras such as the Austin Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, and the Columbus Symphony have all taken advantage of the InstantEncore solution to connect with audiences.

As apps such as InstantEncore help orchestras reach broader audiences, the hope is they will bring more people to concerts to here live performances. There is a sense that classical music is the domain of elderly, stuffy, predominantly white audiences, and smartphone apps may help change this perception.

Check out all the articles in the Classical Music for Smartphones Series:

Thursday, February 20, 2014

NUBERG Competition - participation in an open vote deadline Februruary 21, 6 pm EST

Dear friends,

I would like to remind you that the open vote for the Nuberg Composition Competition closes tomorrow, February 21, at 6 pm.  If you like to listen to new European music and want to help some of those young composers gain more recognition for their music please take the vote.


Lukas O.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Detroit Symphony Partnership with PBS

An invitation from PBS will kick off a new live project by The Detroit Symphony.  The series will be called "Live From Orchestra Hall" and will give the symphony a chance to play on the largest stage they have ever experienced. These live HD webcast style concert will open the doors for many people who cannot get to the hall during their daily lives.   First webcast kicked of on February 14th, featuring conductor Giancarlo Guerrero presenting Rachmaninoff's rhapsody of a Theme of Paganini.  These concerts will happen weekly.

The Detroit Symphony will be the first Orchestra in the world to offer a global free webcast of their concerts.  This is possibly because of the latest PBS application updates, allowing viewers to pull the concert up on their iPads iPhones an other mobile devices.  This will allow anyone with internet or data outlets to see the concert series for free, and from the touch of a button. It will we very interesting to see how this new idea pans out with in the mass media.

Click Here!

Classical musical in recycled orchestra

Do you ever think about the sound of classical music can produced by a pile of trash? Well, a group of talented people from a small village of cateura, Paraguay, which called “Landfill Philharmonic”, makes their music attractively. Today, their amazing video has been subscribed on Youtube by thousands of musicians and people who love the music. In this constrictive orchestra, all the musicians’ instruments created out of literal trash, which most of material comes from recycling stuff and made creatively for them by their community.

The young musicians’ performing has deeply touched me. Through their talented showing, I can fairly been told that classical music like a valuable heritage to build upon people’s artistic conception, moreover, the inhabitants in this village can using their hands to not only succeed the sounds of classical music, but also create the imagination of classical music in the land of slum.

At meantime, this classical music arouses the people’s consciousness of how important about living environment. It is meaningful to tell their audience the fact of their life through the music, because the young musicians represent that not everything is disposable. Just like the words they said: “the world sends us garbage, we send back music”.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Danish String Quartet at Lincoln Center

This season, the Danish String Quartet began a three-year residency at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. The quartet gave its first performance at Alice Tully Hall on Sunday, February 9. "Demand was so great for this sold-out concert that an encore event of the same program was added for Monday night at the Rose Studio. The program consisted of Mendelssohn's early Quartet in A minor (Op.13), and two Beethoven quartets: No. 11 in f minor (Op.95) and No. 15 in a minor (Op. 132). The quartet's members met as students in Copenhagen ten years ago, each around the age of twenty. Originally calling itself the Young Danish String Quartet, the quartet changed its name due to ribbing around the insinuation that the ensemble was not anticipating a long career.  Other alterations include the inevitable personell changes that accompany the careers of chamber ensembles.  In 2008, Fredrik Sjolin became the group's cellist, joining violinists Frederik Oland and Rune Tonsgaard Sorensen, and violist Asbjorn Norgaard.
Accessed 2/17/2014

Luna Pearl Woolf at the Longy School of Music of Bard College

by Lukáš Olejník

Called "blazingly ardent and softly haunting" by the New York Times, composer/producer Luna Pearl Woolf has visited the Longy School of Music of Bard College this past Monday February 17, 2014. In nearly two hours lasting lecture she presented her work to the body of students at the department of Music Theory and Composition. Her appearance was a truly remarkable event in the life of the composition department. Leaving apart her musical language, which could be characterized as fresh or pleasing and yet with a strong identity expressed by moderately avant-garde tastes and interest in unusual but approachable sounds, one had to be entirely impressed by the clarity of her artistic vision which does include many components beyond the creation/composition of music itself and is perfectly thought through. With the lightness of her own, Luna Pearl Woolf demonstrates that effective solutions of the hard situation of a music composer in our contemporary society do not have to be excessively complicated. One finds himself easily developing a sympathy for a composer who does not overtly exaggerate an importance of technology and overdone marketing strategies in presentation of their music, yet using it with a great success and elegance. What is the recipe we are all looking for then? Perhaps just being a well balanced person with healthy judgement?

Luna Pearl Woolf's profile can be found on the following web page:

Radio and the Symphony

Classical music has long been seen as an art form that runs on public support (ticket sales typically comprise less than half an orchestra’s revenue). So it seems natural that many of the nation’s symphonies have partnerships with their cities’ public radio stations to broadcast and archive their concerts. In other cities, the “commercial” classical stations – most of which are partially listener-supported – broadcast the local orchestra’s performances. And while nothing beats a live performance, these radio broadcasts help their orchestras reach a wider audience and give their listeners the opportunity to hear music with minimal editing that was created live in front of an audience instead of in a studio.

For over a half century, Boston public radio has broadcasted Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) concerts live and now offers them on-demand via online streaming. This partnership started in 1951 when WGBH radio signed onto the air for the first time - broadcasting a symphony concert.  WGBH and later WCRB 99.5 FM Classical New England (a WGBH station) have broadcast BSO concerts live almost uninterrupted since. Classical New England and the BSO, in a groundbreaking partnership called BSO Concert Channel, offer an online archive of a full year’s worth of performances streamed in high-quality 192 kbps audio (150% industry standard). More information about the BSO/Classical New England partnership is available at http://www.wgbh.org/995/bso.cfm.

The BSO/WGBH association is certainly unique in scope, but other major orchestras broadcast on their local radio stations and offer some sort of online archive or periodic podcasts. For example, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) can be heard at 1 pm on Sundays on WFMT 98.7 FM, with live broadcasts during the subscription season and selections from the orchestra’s extensive commercial recording output at other times. The CSO also produces a two-week concert archive available at http://csosoundsandstories.org/category/cso-radio.

Even less well known and regional orchestras can be heard on the airwaves. In the Dallas/Fort Worth area, broadcasts of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra are available on some Mondays at 8 pm on WRR 101.1 FM Classical 101 (see http://www.wrr101.com). Colorado Public Radio’s Colorado Spotlight program offers broadcasts of orchestras from throughout Colorado on KVOD 88.1 FM in Denver and state-wide relays. Featured orchestras include the Denver-based Colorado Symphony (the state’s only full time professional orchestra), the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra (see http://www.cpr.org/classical/colorado-spotlight). In Idaho, Boise State Public Radio presents seasonal broadcasts of the Boise Philharmonic’s Masterworks concerts (see http://boisestatepublicradio.org/programs/boise-philharmonic).

Observance of Pluralism, a Progeny of Postmodernism (Part 1)


I have two listening examples.

The first contains an example of musical postmodernism. Postmodernism came into being in the mid-1960's when some composers in the United States and Europe decided to react against the music of serialism by writing music that both promoted new musical techniques and styles and inserted old techniques and styles to convey a sort of irony or a commentary about whatever the music wanted to convey. William Bolcom is one of those reactionary composers. His Songs of Innocence and of Experience (1984) is a 150-minute behemoth of a work that is a musical setting of the complete set of the poems of the same name written by William Blake. The piece is written for various solo singers, chorus, and and a rather eclectic orchestra that includes an electric guitar, a bass guitar, and an harmonica. The musical style and the genre of each song is very diverse as well--the Songs contain modern classical using pentatonic scales, tonal classical, jazz, bluegrass, musical and "popera," and even reggae--and each strives to text-paint a given poem or to convey a deeper meaning. Take, for example, the reggae, which is the style of the last poem of this piece:

For me, reggae usually sounds happy and carefree, and Bolcom's version is indeed jovial; but the poem that is contained in this setting is anything but jovial in meaning. The direction that is given to the musicians at the point where reggae starts also seems to betray the seemingly innate mood of the music:

What is going on? I asked the composer in 2012 about this apparent paradox.

Bob Marley had just passed away when "A Divine Image" was being written, he said, and what struck him when he listed to Marley's music was that the music itself sounded "happy" but that the lyrics were serious in meaning. He decided to incorporate this element to this last song of the piece:
Experience tells you, after the innocence, what really happens to people, and it somehow gives you a sense to distance yourself a little bit...and I think that reggae...allows the same kind of distancing because you can see the anger of the words versus the seemingly positive, bounciness of the music.
It seems that the definition of postmodernism may not be sufficient enough to describe this method of putting seemingly disparate elements--musical or extra-musical--harmoniously in a single setting; perhaps it can be better explained by incorporating a term called "pluralism."

Click here for Part 2

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Piano Guys

The Piano Guys are a musical group consisting of Jon Schmidt (piano), Steven Nelson (cello), Paul Anderson (producer), and Al van der Beek (producer). They got their start on YouTube, and gained a large following. Their channel currently has over 2.5 million subscribers and has had over 350 million views. With their popularity so high, they ended up being signed by Sony in September of 2012. Their music consists of both classical and pop arrangements with some of their songs being both. One of their most viewed videos, "Beethoven's 5 Secrets," is a combination of the various melodies from Beethoven's fifth symphony and OneRepublic's "Secrets." Another one of their popular videos, "The Cello Song," is an arrangement of the prelude from Bach's Cello Suite No. 1 that was made for seven cellos, but each part is played by Nelson superimposed over himself. The quality of their videos is outstanding, and they are entertaining to watch. The Piano Guys have performed with a number of other musical artists and groups such as the American Heritage Lyceum Philharmonic, Lindsey Sterling, Alex Boyé, and Tiffany Alvord. Their three most recent albums, The Piano Guys (2012), The Piano Guys 2 (2013), and A Family Christmas (2013) have all topped the Billboard Classical charts at No. 1. They are currently preparing for a world tour stopping in the US, Brazil, Germany, Austria, Italy, the UK, Switzerland, Turkey, and Russia. Their music can be seen as a "popularizing" of some pieces of classical music or simply making classical arrangements of pop tunes, but their website does share the ideology that they follow, "We believe that good music can be a source of joy, inspiration, and fulfillment. We believe as Bobby McFerrin once said, listening to only one kind of music is like insisting on living in only one room of your home your entire life."


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Pittsburgh Symphony is to Play a Concert of Music of Queen and Ben Folds!

Tickets went on sale today, conerts on June 17th and 24th!!!

Ben Folds will return to the Heinz Hall stage for his third apearance with the Pittsburgh Symphony on June 17th.  On this concert Fold will play is new Piano Concerto, as well as a pop arangement of all of his popular tunes.  Recently, Fold was one of the judges for "The Sing Off" and is seen as a current icon in todays popular musc world.  Even though Folds is seen as a popular music type of person, he currently serves on the board of the Nashville Symphony.  This is one of the lukiest symophonies in the country because they get to work with grammy award winning artists or all different genres.  In addition to his interest with the Nashville Symphony, Folds has also had a close relationship with the Austrailian symphony, selling record breaking amounts of tickets.  He has also performed with The National Symphony as well as The Boston Pops.  This concert with the Pittsburgh Symphony will surely sell out, and is a wonderful conversion of popular music and symphonic tradition.  Tickets start at $30

Getting this series a little more rock n' roll, arranger/composer Brent Haven will present his show, The Music of Queen on June 24th.  This spectacular will feature a full orchestra, with an amplified rock band and lead vocals.  Playing the key roll of Freddie Mercury will be the same star of The Music od Led Zeplin last year at Heinz Hall, Brody Dolyniuk.  This match will make things super exciting when a traditonal outlet is mixed with different sounds and colors.  Tickets start at $25

The innovation of Bach music

At the year of 2000, which was the 250 years of celebration of J. S. Bach’s birthday, there was an unprecedented celebration activities showing on the piazza Leipzig, German.  As the major part of this collective celebration, the local government was promoted the classical music performing connect with up-to-date music elements. Thus, the music maestro who comes from all over the world are provided there amazingly virtuosity to this music festival.

One of the brightest stars on the stage should be Bobby McFerrin. His is known for his unique voice and creativity about singing music. In his performances, he gives a lot of imagination that people can thinking about Bach’s music. His improvisation of “Ave Maria” gives me a very impressive memory about the innovation of music performing.  At the beginning of the show, he begins to tell audience how to sing the each pitch in a scale and pairing different groups to sing their certain notes, then, he stands in the middle of the stage by using the conductor position to lead each groups doing the accompany harmony while he improvising a melody over the top. Through his guidance, he brings all the audience to the music as the interactive playing the classical music.

It is unexpected success that this could work. It just goes to show how innovation of music is. He only needed to give the audience a certain range of pitches before they could know the effect of the harmony. More importantly, through the audiences participated, classical music are not only to playing in concert hall with people’s expectation, also can reverberating at the outdoor with people’s participation. 

NUBERG Composition Contest and a Public Vote

by Lukáš Olejník

… Six young composers and their new works
… Live recordings of premiere performances
… Streaming and public vote open to everyone world-wide

The Chamber Orchestra BERG, a Prague based ensemble specialized in performance of contemporary music, invites you to take part in its annual compositional contest NUBERG. New works of six young composers from The Czech Republic commissioned and premiered by the orchestra in the past year are available to you on a friendly looking interactive orchestra’s web. Streaming is free and can be repeated as many times as needed. Don’t miss your chance to actively take part in the project recognized as The Year of Czech Music, an initiative of the cabinet of music history of The Czech Academy of  Sciences and The Ministry of Culture of The Czech Republic to promote and advertise the whole spectrum of Czech music at home as well as abroad. Past years showed the strength of the competition’s concept. The number of votes collected during 2012 and 2013 terms exceeded one thousand each year.

Motto of this season:
New music … a different cup of tea (coffee)

NUBERG is not afraid to enter public space. Their accompanying events feature new music in more unusual (concerts in old abandoned industrial architecture complexes) and sometimes rather personal context settings. The purpose or a goal is to meet a listener halfway in a space where he or she feels comfortable.

How does the contest work?

The chamber orchestra BERG commissions Czech composers of young generation annually. Live recordings of pieces premiered in 2013 and during all previous seasons (7) are recorded on the orchestra’s own label. Recordings are also available online.

The vote is open to wide public in any country around the world. The internet based system of the vote puts down all the barriers that could potentially arise in a more traditionally designed type of contest. Anyone can vote from any place.

Alongside the public there is also an expert jury that evaluates pieces. In order to ensure the highest measure of objectivity and comparison with production in other countries, the orchestra’s management puts a lot of effort into assembling a representative international panel of judges. Eloquent example of this important proposition of the contest, says the general manager of the orchestra Eva Kesslová, is the participation of an important American composer Joan Tower in the 2012 season.

The contest announces awards in three categories – public, expert jury, jury of young audiences. The third category was added last year due to large amount of votes from schools.

This seasons’s international expert jury:

Composers Michael Gordon (USA) and Michel van der Aa (Netherlands)

Violoncellist Konstanze von Gutheit (Germany)

Music publicist Bernard Clarke (Ireland)

Editor in chief / Czech Radio Public Broadcasting Company – Lukáš Hurník (The Czech Republic)

Artistic director of the Chamber Orchestra Berg – Peter Vrábel (Slovakia)

Pieces entering the competition:

Jakub Rataj (*1984) - Proraketon 
Jan Šikl (*1984) - Skrytý půvab hydrometeorologie
Michal Rataj (*1975) - Spatialis 
Tomáš Pálka (*1978) a Michaela Plachká (*1981) - in-den-BERG-en 
Martin Klusák (*1987) - In paradisum    

The vote is available to you until February 21, 2014.

The link to orchestra's web where the vote can be taken:

Monday, February 10, 2014

Classical's Top 100

The classical music genre has always had a sense of ambiguity when it comes down to the pieces that are "the most well-known" or "the most popular." Those familiar with the genre always end up using their own knowledge when naming pieces that they think is the most familiar. Luckily, there is a website that has compiled a list of the Top 100 classical pieces of music. Kickass Classical lists the 100 most well-known pieces of classical music to date. The formed this list based off of thier won research. These pieces were placed in order based off of use in commercials, movies, TV shows, ringtones, video games, and the amount of airplay each one has received through various music providers (radio, streaming services, live concerts, etc.). Topping the list is none other than Beethoven with the opening movement to his Symphony No. 5in C minor. Following him is Tchaikovsky with the 1812 Overture. Third is the "Allegro" movement to Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. The list goes on and features multiple entries from those listed previously as well as Rossini and Bach. Most of the pieces are from composers who have long since passed but there are two entries from living composers. Welsh composer Karl Jenkins has an entry with the first movement of his Palladio Suite along with John Williams with the "Imperial March" from the Star Wars series. Kickass Classical's Top 100 is surprisingly diverse featuring the works of Dvořák, Vivaldi, Verdi, Handel, Gershwin, Puccini, Bizet, Saint-Saëns, Sousa, Chopin, and many more. Even with the numerous amounts of composers, the Top 100 does lack any pieces from such famous composers as Stravinsky or Berlioz. Luckily, Kickass Classical has also created two more lists: the Top 200 and Top 300. While the Top 100 lists purely the most well-known classical pieces period, the Top 200 lists the most well-known within the classical genre (minus the ones in the Top 100). It is here that classical buffs will find more of what they think would be the most popular. The Top 300 is currently still being constructed and will feature the 100 most culturally influential pieces of classical music. Each list contains a short sample of the piece and gives the title, composer, date, and a keyword associated with each for every piece. The Top 100 is extremely interesting to look over because these are supposedly the pieces of classical music that anyone, familiar with the genre or not, would be able to recognize. On their YouTube channel, they have a video playing short sections of each piece back to back from 100 to 1. To test their list, I have played it for numerous people and they have all been able to recognize each one (although they were hit and miss with the composers or actual names of the pieces). The people behind Kickass Classical surely deserve praise for the amount of work they have put into their research in order to generate such a list.

Classical's Top "200"

Kickass Classical

New York-Based Orchestra Presents Only American Composers

Based in New York City, the American Composers Orchestra (ACO) is the world’s only symphony orchestra whose sole purpose is the “creation, performance, preservation, and promulgation” of American composers’ music (http://www.americancomposers.org/about-aco/mission). As a young American composer, I am grateful for the existence of this organization, and I would love to at least one more on the west coast. The ACO presents an annual concert series at Carnegie Hall in Manhattan and from 2005 to 2010 ventured periodically to Philadelphia’s Annenberg Center. In the last 36 years, the orchestra has presented works by roughly 600 composers, including more than 200 world premieres and new commissions.

The orchestra was founded in 1975 by composers Dennis Russell Davies and Francis Thorne who were frustrated that major American orchestras passed over domestic composers in favor of Europeans. (This mirrors a trend we have discussed in class: Americans being proud of everything but our own art.) According the their website, the ACO’s commissioning program has led the way since its founding, cultivating more new music than any other.  Ellen Taaffe Zwilich and Joseph Schwantner received their first symphonic commissions from the ACO, and both pieces won a Pulitzer Prize for Music.

The ACO has actively sought the broadest definitions of American composer and symphonic music. The Sonidos de las Américas festival series from 1994 to 1999 showcased the music of Latin America, while Immigrant Sounds/Immigrant Voices in 2000 presented the work of our new arrivals. The Orchestra Underground series, launched in 2004, “challenges conventional notions about orchestral music, deconstructing the symphonic experience, with unusual instrumentations and multimedia collaborations” (http://www.americancomposers.org/about-aco/mission). Some of the featured artists – dancers, “laptopists,” software developers, and more – have never worked with an orchestra before. In 2007, the ACO launched Playing it UNsafe, the first professional laboratory for active experimentation in orchestral music. They also encourage improvisation and have partnered with Jazz at Lincoln Center to present it.

This spring the ACO will present multiple readings and Orchestra Underground performances (http://www.americancomposers.org/concerts-and-events). Orchestra Underground @ Zankel: Lines on a Point features Steve Reich’s Eight Lines and world premieres by Lisa Renée Coons and Amy Beth Kirsten on February 20. March features the Detroit Symphony EarShot Classical Roots Readings of works by Jonathan Bailey Holland, Kevin Scott, Matthew Even Taylor, and Eric Lindsay in Detroit on the 9th and 10th. Orchestra Underground @ Zankel: Border Vanguards presents Latin and jazz influences including Gunther Schuller’s Countours as well as a world premiere by Marcos Balter on April 4. In May the Berkeley Symphony EarShot Under Construction Readings offers composers the opportunity to “test-drive” works in progress on the 4th and 5th. Finally, The ACO will present the 23rd Annual Underwood New Music Readings on June 6 and 7. These reading offer aspiring young composers the chance to have their music played and is free to the public.

ACO Website: http://www.americancomposers.org

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Modernized performance of classical music

People around the globe celebrate the lunar year last week, and as one of them, I did my own celebrating by watching a classical music performance on TV featuring Chinese pianist - Lang Lang and his collaborators.

Lang Lang, a world renowned classical pianist, appeared in the China Spring Festival Gala this year. He played a transcription of Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee." For most of the audience, both the piece and performance felt very familiar. Hearing "Flight of the Bumblebee" is not a surprise to anyway, but seeing how Lang Lang and duo electric cellists were able to make it a new audio and visual experience was a special performance for the audience. Lang Lang's act included two electric cellist and a vocalist. Mazas's "Czardas"is another familiar tune to most listener,but what they weren't expecting was to hear it with voice. In this boisterous and crowed-rousing act, Lang Lang saved the virtuosic vocalist as a surprise for the end of the show. While watching this performance on TV, I was surprised and excited by the combination of classical music in a modernized atmosphere. There was a large visual element in this production, from the cellist spinning his instrument to the flare of "Czardas" , to Lang Lang standing up playing the piano with one hand and striking the piano strings with a mallet in the other hand.

This performance proved that classical music can include vagarious ideas on stage and bring a fresh interpretation to familiar pieces not only in a splendid concert hall, but also in an arena where the audience is bound to participate between and during acts.

YouTube:  http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bcWZ73B02Iw

BSO Presents All-Ravel Program

The Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) presented an all-Ravel program on Thursday, January 31, Friday, February 1, and Saturday February 2. The concerts opened with “Alborada del Gracioso”, which Ravel original composed in 1905 as a solo piano piece, the fourth of his five work Miroirs suite. More than a simple transcription for orchestra, his 1918 reimagining of the piece transformed it with the signature rhapsodic orchestration for which he is glorified and which the BSO presented with great integrity under the baton of Conductor Emeritus Bernard Haitink.

In the middle-of-the-program “concerto slot” was 1903’s Shéhérazade, a cycle of three songs for mezzo-soprano and orchestra. Shéhérazade­ is a great example of Ravel’s exotic style works, set to the One Thousand and One Nights-themed poetry of Tristan Klingsor. Rather favor the soloist, the work showcases her and the orchestra rather equally and somewhat subdued, true to the ethereal, mysterious nature of the music. Renowned mezzo-sopranno Susan Graham (born in my home state of New Mexico!) delivered the French poetry with sensuous reverence, even coming dressed to the nines in a long flowing Arabesque dress and wrap.

Concluding the evening was Ravel’s score to the ballet Daphnis et Chloé, based on a Greek romance and commissioned bySergei Diaghilev of Ballet Russes fame. Far from any kind of incidental music, this is Ravel’s longest and most ambitious work1 at an hour long and featuring a giant orchestra: 10 parts for strings alone, expanded winds, percussion of all sorts including wind machine, two harps, off-stage instruments, and wordless choir. The wordless choir adds interesting color to the piece, a superb of example of Ravel the timbre magician’s cherished orchestration. Ravel described the ballet, which when presented in concert is usually in one of two suites, as a “choreographic symphony” (see the program notes). Haitink delivered the complete work, which was delightful if feeling a bit long without the choreography. I did not feel the complete score worked as well on its own as say a Beethoven or Shostakovich symphony devised from its inception as a concert piece with an integrated emotional contour.

I enjoyed the program immensely, and especially appreciated Maestro Haitink’s gracious nature. The program featured especially lush flute passages in Shéhérazade­’s “La flûte enchantée” (The Echanted Flute) and throughout Daphnis et Chloé, and Haitink invited the BSO’s principal flutist Elizabeth Row to the front of the orchestra to take her own bow. As far as Susan Graham goes, I hope that the audience will take the time to hear her in concerts that more readily showcase her vocal prowess, but I admired her subdued and faithful performance as a true artist. I was also interested in how the audience exhibited the polite training that we have been in class developed around the turn of the twentieth century. For example, when several “wayward” audience members applauded after the first song in Shéhérazade­, Haitink raised his hands slightly to remind them of the proper etiquette to show admiration only at the conclusion of multi-movement work. I am starting to lose my conviction in the universal truth of this imperative, something on which I hope to reflect more as I attend concerts in the coming weeks.

1 Ravel is not known for lengthy works. According to the concert’s program notes, his musical ideas come out “perfect” and do not require the same Mahlerian development, something which gives me hope for my own composition, as I tend to labor over every bar yet produce shorter, compact works

Muti signs with Chicago Symphony

Riccardo Muti led the Philadelphia Orchestra for 12 years, from 1980-1992, then decided to back away from the "social responsibilities that an American directorship involves." (NY Times) Muti made several brief appearances with the New York Philharmonic; then began associating with the Chicago Symphony in 2010. On Monday, the seventy-two year old conductor signed his second contract with the CSO, extending his tenure through August, 2020. Both of Muti's CSO contracts have and will continue to require him to conduct 10 subscription weeks each season, as well as recordings (the orchestra has its own label, CSO Resound. Source: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/03/muti-signs-new-contract-with-chicago-symphony-orchestra/?_php=true&_type=blogs&ref=music&_r=0 Accessed February 4, 2014

Bravo! Vail has just announced their 27th season

The New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Dallas Symphony wo be joined by nationally acclaimed soloists June 27th to August 2nd of 2014.  Violinist Joshua Bell(July 6th) and Midori.  The Dallas symphony will open up it's season June 27th with jazz guitarist John Pizzarelli, playing music by Richard Rogers, Gershwin and Duke Ellington.  The Dallas symphony will then follow up thy concert with Beethovens 9th symphony the next night, June 28th.  A fun Hollywood concert with music from James Bond will be on July 2nd, and ending their residency with a patriotic concert on July 4th.

The schedule heats up when the Philadelphia orchestra takes over on July 5th with the world famous violinist Joshua Bell.  If that wasn't exciting enough, Bravo! Vail will present it's first ever play along with the film Fantasia.  It's sure to be a family packed event.  Getting a little more serious, on July 11th and 12th,  The Philadelphia orchestra will play Beethovens 3rd sympjony, the Eroica.

Taking the reins on July 18th, The New York Philharmoic will invite violinist Madori to play the Tchaikovsky violin concerto.  The next night it just as exciting, with pianist Yefim Bronfmin playing both the 1st and 5th beethoven piano concertos.  On July 20th, the Phil will dabble in a bunch of classics, including works by Strauss, Rouse and Tchaikovsky and the 21st will be another all Erica's Gershwin type concert.
The orchestral residency with Bravo! Vail will wrap up on Julu 25th, with Russian classics, featuring the Rachmaninoff piano concerto no 1.

Anecdotes and Opinions

Medtner and Audience Participation

A friend of mine recently came to Boston to accompany a violin recital, and I was asked to page-turn for him. Before the concert, we had a brief chat to catch up and to discuss the art of performing the music of composers whose works are impeccably written but are relatively unknown for a variety of (usually non-musical) reasons. One composer about whom we discussed was Nikolai Medtner. My friend remarked that he does not mention anything about Medtner's life or about particular aspects of the music that may be worth pointing out to the audience before he sits down and play. He contended that Medtner is not a composer whom he feels has to "bow down" to the audience because he believes that the music--like the music of Beethoven or Chopin that is deemed great enough not to require an introduction--will speak for itself.

There is a sense of wonder I feel, however, about whether certain kinds of music need no introduction in the current era of information overload and instant gratification. A usually justified preconception about classical music is that listening to it requires a great deal of patience, focus, and time; and some--especially those who are uninitiated to the accepted art of listening to classical music--may turn to other forms of entertainment or enlightenment that are as readily available and that may be easier for them to obtain gratification from. Perhaps all music needs and deserves to be introduced, and what is said before the performance does not have to be the same for all the performers.

Aspen and Audience Decorum

When the Detroit Symphony Orchestra re-emerged from strike a few years ago, a public press conference was held. One of the audience members asked a question:  would the dress code change? When I heard this question, my first understanding was that the question pertained to the musicians of the orchestra, who almost always had to dress up for performances.

Recently, I was reading an article in The New Yorker that countered the arguments that were made by an article in Slate concerning an apparent death of classical music. In the comments section, I have noticed a person who had mentioned the words "patrons" and "dress code" in a same sentence. I then realized that the "dress code" that the person in the Detroit press conference mentioned was in fact about what the audience members were to wear.

To my knowledge, I believe that no dress codes are required for most classical music concerts (perhaps except for benefit party concerts that usually cost in the hundreds). This fact apparently does not help abate the popular misconception--through movies or spoken and written words--that people who attend operas and classical music concerts must be patrons who have to dress well and who have to donate thousands of dollars to keep these concert organizations in business.

Enter the concerts of the Aspen Music Festival. A seat in the concerts in this festival usually costs at least $75, and the benefit concerts cost at least $500 per attender. Many audience members are those who live and vacation in Aspen, and my understanding is that their monetary status is quite above average.

I would like to invite you to observe the dress code for one of these concerts:

Click the photo for a bigger view, and observe the dress code!

And this dress code is held for all of the concerts in the Festival.

Some people seem to state their ambivalence of classical music by mentioning an appropriate and proper decorum in a concert hall. Perhaps they are right on the money, and perhaps they are misinformed.

Coming soon:  a post about music and disability, or a post about something entirely different. Stay tuned!

Click here for Anecdotes and Opinions 2

Prehistoric New Music – Notes on a New Piece by Kryštof Mařatka

Prehistoric New Music – Notes on a New Piece by Kryštof Mařatka

Written by Lukáš Olejník

The first Prague Spring International Music Festival was held nearly 70 years ago, under the patronage of the second president of Czechoslovakia, Edvard Beneš. The project was initiated by Rafael Kubelík, conductor of the Prague Philharmonic, which that year was celebrating its fiftieth anniversary.
The festival has since become a permanent showcase for outstanding performing artists, symphonic orchestras and chamber music ensembles from around the world. The list of  musicians who appeared on the festival’s stage includes Karel Ančerl, Leonard Bernstein, David Oistrakh, Sviatoslav Richter, Mstislav Rostropovich, Herbert von Karajan, Leopold Stokowski, Arthur Honegger among many others of equal renown.
This past year (2013) the Prague Spring Festival has shown a particular inclination to feature contemporary music, more so than it has in previous seasons. Several striking examples were the performances by the Ensemble Intercontemporain on May 19, the Stamic Quartet and the Prague Wind Quintet on May 21 and Ostravská banda (with New York City– based Prague native Petr Kotík conducting) on May 31. But the most significant example of this trend was the Czech premiere of Vábení, a composition by the Paris-based Czech composer Kryštof Mařatka.
Vábení is part of a tryptich of compositions inspired by prehistoric art and was written between 2009 and 2011. The work received its premiere on November 19, 2012, at the Tansman International Festival in Lodz, Poland, when it was performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra under Mařatka’s direction. It was also performed in March of this year in Toronto. Its subtitle is Ritual of Prehistoric Fossils of Man” and it is dedicated to the late Václav Havel.
Regarding the spirit behind the composition of Vábení, Mařatka told Radio France earlier last year: I regard prehistoric creations with a great deal of respect. What fascinates me is that we ask ourselves the same questions about existence [as did prehistoric man]. We have absolutely no right to say that we are better. Of course, we leave traces when we create. It’s one way to go beyond the idea of death.“
Compared to his festival debut, in 2003, during which he conducted the Prague Symphonic Orchestra, with soloist Michel Lethiec, in a performance of his clarinet concerto, Mařatka this time returned with a larger, almost monumental piece. Vábení is approximately 50 minutes in duration, in six movements scored for for piccolo, two flutes, two oboes, English horn, three slide whistles, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, two bassoons, contra-bassoon, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani, percussion, orchestral strings and mixed chorus.
The work’s generosity of proportions as well as its orchestration reflect its deep purpose, to create a synthesis. According to Mařatka, Vábení is the third part of a cycle, in a form of synthesis, and recapitulates the two conceptions from the previous parts of the cycle.
In his program notes to the piece, he describes these concepts as follows: At the heart of the triptych resides an experience of incredible beauty [and] of authentic expressions facing existence and which are freed from the temporal significance of the concept of beauty of any given civilization. And this absolute freedom is precisely the key to Vábení. Vábení is the third part of the trilogy, freely drawing its inspiration from prehistoric art — a trilogy which became a kind of Symphony from the Old World whose first part is Otisk, for symphony orchestra; the second, Zvěrohra, for soprano and orchestra; and the third Vábení, for choir and orchestra.
The piece was performed on May 14 in the Rudolfinum’s Dvořák Hall in Prague by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, under the direction of  Peter Oundjian, and the Choeur de Radio France. Also on the program was Ravel’s “Bolero” and the Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 33, by Camille Saint-Saëns.
Mařatka was born in Prague in 1972 and studied at the Prague Conservatory with Bohuslav Řehoř and Petr Eben. He moved to France in 1994, with the help of a grant from the French Institute in Prague, and tells the Prague Post that he regards himself as “a Czech composer living in Paris.”
Asked if his nearly two decades of living abroad have changed his relationship with his homeland, he replies that it has not.
 “I never felt like an immigrant because I didn’t decide to live in Paris out of political protest or some other dissatisfaction,” he explains. “I see myself instead as a migrant on the move.”
He says that he returns to the Czech capital fairly often, about every two months, to conduct various orchestras and ensembles, particularly the Talich Chamber Philharmonic and the innovative Berg Orchestra. He is married to the French violist and artistic director of the prestigious Ensemble Calliopée, Karine Lethiec.  
The 68th Prague Spring Festival ran from May 12 to June 2, 2013.


Monday, February 3, 2014

ForOrchestra - "Popular" Orchestral Music

There currently exists a channel on YouTube called ForOrchestra. The channel is owned by composer Walt Ribeiro. The channel was created on May 18, 2009 and, as of February 2014, it boasts just under 23,000 subscribers and over 4.5 million views. Upon viewing Ribeiro's channel, one will notice that the channel almost solely consists of various pops tunes (ranging from Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" to the theme from The Legend of Zelda video game series) all arranged for orchestra. Unfortunately, Ribeiro has no orchestra of his own, so what ends up playing his arrangements is high-end orchestra sampling software that Ribeiro simply pumps his arrangements into. Ribeiro has also uploaded some of his original orchestral works but they are not nearly as popular as his arrangements. His arrangements gained him a lot of popularity and he has been featured on perezhilton.com, The Wall Street Journal, Tosh.O, CBS, and numerous times on various internet blogs. Needless to say,Ribeiro has gotten many people outside the classical tradition to listen to orchestral music (even if it is ultimately generated by software). From time to time, Ribeiro will put in quotations of other works inside his arrangements; for example. in his arrangement of LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" he put in a quote of Beethoven's "Für Elise." Ribeiro most recent video is an orchestral arrangement of Lady Gaga's "Applause." This video shows that Ribeiro is taking a larger interest in the presentation of his videos as he a silhouette of him is seen "conducting" the music while the actual notation of some of the parts scroll across the screen. It can be debated if what Ribeiro is doing is beneficial or detrimental to orchestral music as a whole, but it is definitely has brought the orchestral sound to more ears who would have not heard it otherwise.

YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/user/ForOrchestra
Website - http://fororchestra.com/

Study Questions for Cook, "Music: A Very Short Introduction"

In what regard does music function as an agent of meaning?

Chapter 1
1.  What are some defining characteristics of musical authenticity in rock? In its construct, who is privileged and who is disparaged?  What cultural work do such distinctions do?
2.  What are our some of our transparent assumptions about music?
3.  How do they reflect the structure of a classic industrial economy?

Chapter 2
1.  What role does music play in the early nineteenth century’s construction of bourgeois subjectivity?
2.  How does Beethoven differ from his predecessors?
3.  What is the Beethoven cult?
4.  Which two aspects of the Beethoven cult does Cook discuss? What is their significance beyond Beethoven?
5.  What components of music’s mystical qualities does the Beethoven cult celebrate? How?
6.  How does such spiritualization affect the historic relationship between words and music?
7.  What irony ensued?

Chapter 3
1.  How have 21st-century realities inverted the basic assumptions of 19th-century musical culture?
2.  By what process did modern music become “modern music”?
3.  In Cook’s view, what are some signs of vitality in classical music?  Which aspects are “beyond resuscitation”?

Chapter 4
1.  What is the abiding paradox of musical notation?
2.  Discuss the following statement: “[N]otations…transmit a whole way of thinking about music.”
3.  Why were 19th-century writers inclined to believe specious incidents attributed to Mozart and Beethoven?
4.  What is the underlying root metaphor of Western musical culture?
5.  What does Cook see as the “basic paradox” of music?
6.  How does Cook apply Dawkins’s “river of genes” image to music?

Chapter 5
1.  How do our perceptions of “Nikosi Sikelel iAfrica” differ from our perceptions of the “Hammerklavier”?
2.   What hierarchy ensues from the traditional understanding of classical music?
3.   How does a reception-based approach alter our perception of music?

Chapter 6
1.   Why is the concept of a definitive edition problematic?
2.   Why can there be no certifiably “authentic” performance?
3.   Conversely, how do “authentic” performances mirror our own time?
4.   How did musicologists and theorists come to realize the necessity for engagement that had previously been the exclusive province of ethnomusicologists?

Chapter 7
1.   What is a transparent system of beliefs? Examples?
2.   What applications does critical theory find in music?
3.   What is Cook’s antidote to Tomlinson’s extreme pessimism?

1.  Comment on the following quote from Philip Brett:  “[Music is] an enclave in our society—a sisterhood or brotherhood of lovers, music lovers, united by an unmediated form of communication that is only by imperfect analogy called a language, ‘the’ language of feeling.”
2.  In what regards does music have “unique powers as an agent of ideology”?