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Classical News

In our news today, arts organisations commit to address their gender imbalances, Humber Bridge becomes sound installation for Hull 2017, and the Canadian International Organ Competition’s 2016 festival will take place in October. Also, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra appoints new guest conductors.

Classical Music Magazine

Arts organisations pledge to address gender imbalances

A number of performing arts companies have committed to address their gender imbalances. The Royal Opera House and Mahogany Opera Group were among those to participate in Tonic’s Advance programme.

Humber Bridge to become sound installation for Hull 2017

A new commission from Opera North will turn the Humber Bridge into a sound installation for Hull UK City of Culture 2017. Ten Worlds upon Humber Bridge will mix music by artists Arve Henriksen, Jan Bang and Eivind Aarset with recordings of the Chorus and Orchestra of Opera North, and field recordings made at the bridge itself.

CIOC Festival 2016

The Canadian International Organ Competition’s 2016 festival will take place 2-30 October. The event will celebrate a variety of Montreal pipe organs through concert broadcasts, guided tours of churches and historical organs, an event for children, and a film screening.

Edmonton Journal

Edmonton classical audiences treated to South American music

The Edmonton Accordion Society held their annual three-day Extravaganza. The University of Alberta presented a recital of contemporary Brazilian music at Convocation Hall.

BBC News

Sydney Opera House: How to fix an Australian icon

No other piece of architecture epitomises Australia so well. Now plans have been unveiled for its largest renovations ever, begging the question: how do you upgrade one of the most iconic structures in the world?

The Korea Times

Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra appoints new guest conductors

The new members are Thierry Fischer, principal guest conductor, and Markus Stenz, conductor-in-residence, who will begin their terms in January next year on a three-year contract.

Broadwayworld

Italian Maestro Ludovico Einaudi Tours his Latest Album ELEMENTS this February

Chart-topping Italian composer and pianist Ludovico Einaudi returns to Australia with his band in February 2017 to tour his highly anticipated release Elements.

klassik.com

Dirigent Johannes Braun mit Ernst-von-Schuch-Preis ausgezeichnet

Der Dirigent Johannes Braun hat den Ernst-von-Schuch-Preis erhalten. Die Auszeichnung wurde in diesem Jahr zum dritten Mal verliehen und ist mit 2.000 Euro dotiert.

Klassik heute

Internationaler Meisterkurs für Gesang mit Graham Johnson

Der renommierte britische Pianist und Liedbegleiter Graham Johnson ist erstmals zu Gast an der Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin und gibt ab dem 4. Oktober einen fünftägigen öffentlichen Meisterkurs.

RBB Kulturradio

Bund fördert Sanierung von Orgeln

National bedeutsame Orgeln sollen mit fünf Millionen aus zusätzlichen Bundesmitteln saniert und modernisiert werden.

Twitter

CMUSE.org @cmuseorg Try songs on the harpsichord, viola and cello

klassik.com @klassikcom Robert--Preis der Stadt Zwickau für Heinz

neue musikzeitung @musikzeitung Kleiner für und

arve-henriksen-and-jan-bang-in-recording-session-at-opera-north-leeds-photo-credit-danny-payne-04

Arve Henriksen and Jan Bang in a recording session at Opera North. Photo credit: Danny Payne

(Written on September 26, 2016 )

It would seem that state-funded arts organisations are having a bit of a rough time at the moment. Subsequent to Harriet Harman‘s discontent at the lack of inclusion by state-funded organisations, Andrew Mellor of the New Statesman has also weighed in on the argument. This time it is the lack of appropriate advertising which the likes of the Royal Opera House and the English National Opera– “Ads range from totally unfathomable[…]to the borderline conceited”- are suffering for. According to Mellor “What opera needs is a new audience intake, people who aren’t on the mailing list and don’t have the CDs at home”. This is an opinion which indisputably chimes with all types of music, and whilst classical music is, well, classic, it is getting increasingly difficult for this genre to compete with rugged-looking, curly-haired, blue-eyed boy bands and the curvy, feminist, female soloists which dominate the popular music charts and whose faces we see plastered across newspapers, television and the internet 24 hours a day . Without infiltrating everyday life and being more accessible, Mellor is right, opera and classical music will succumb to exclusivity as a result of “ineffectual” and “inappropriate” advertising.

WildKat PR places particular emphasis on promoting clients through mainstream press, as well as music press, in order to generate interest from the general public. An extremely innovative team enabled Cellist Alban Gerhardt to embark on an interactive radio tour in summer 2010. He was the first classical musician to tour national mainstream radio stations, where listeners could phone in and suggest unusual places for Gerhardt to perform Bach Cello Suites. Eventual performance venues therefore included a protest rally, a student house, a supermarket isle, and even a maternity ward, to but name a few. As a result, there bloomed national and international press coverage, both in print and on television and videos of his tour went viral.

Another huge success was the launch of the “Classical Takeover” in 2012. WildKat was keen to bring the work of composer Max Richter to the attention of the general public. His work Recomposed: The Four Seasons has divided audiences and the industry but hit Number 1 in iTunes UK over the weekend after the Takeover. The idea was to approach stores and venues which could be ‘taken over’; in other words, the venue would donate a stereo, on which a movement of Richter’s ‘recomposition’ could be played. Several high profile venues took part including Hoss Intropia, and a Spanish boutique brand on Regent Street who even created and styled four outfits for each of the Four Seasons. The Takeover was launched at London Fashion Week when the finale of the Jonathan Saunders show was taken over by the Spring movement and ended with Takeovers of Apple stores in London and New York.

Finally, a true testimony to the power of mainstream advertising is in the case of violinist Daniel Hope. Hope was booked onto BBC Breakfast, which draws a daily audience of 1.5 million, in July 2013 to promote his album Spheres. By the next morning, Hope had rocketed to no.1 on iTunes UK and was also top ten in the classical music charts. WildKat had placed Hope in view of an inquisitive general public and had, once again, generated intense mainstream interest in a classical artist.

The way in which WildKat PR utilises the mainstream press is one of the things which makes us so unique. A team capable of thinking outside of the box (a box which classical music seems to be beating its arms and legs against with all its might) enables the general public to access classical music and to express an interest. Mellor is right, opera and classical music should not be something directed at the people who “are already on the mailing list”; instead more should be done to imagine creative ways in which to make it appeal to the general public. WildKat has been utilising the mainstream press creatively ever since it began in 2007 and continues to do so. Whilst the industry keeps TALKING about it, WildKat is busy DOING it. So perhaps others in the industry need to take a leaf out of our book: let’s bring classical music to people in a way that doesn’t scream “CLASSICAL MUSIC AND OPERA IS BORING AND OUTDATED AND ONLY FOR PEOPLE WHO WENT TO PRIVATE SCHOOLS” and perhaps Harriet Harman may be faced with an audience of a slightly different demographic the next time she goes to the Opera.

 

Opera Anna Nicole premieres at London’s Royal Opera House

Photo: BILL COOPER / THE ROYAL OPERA / EPA

Anna-Nicole-Opera_2910146b

(Written on June 13, 2014 )

Harriet Harman has made a speech criticising publicly funded arts organisations for not being inclusive enough. Having attended a concert at The Royal Opera House, the shadow culture secretary was quoted as saying that the audience in attendance was predominantly “white, metropolitan and middle class” and further stated that there was a danger of the arts becoming “the prerogative of the metropolitan elite”.  Sharing Harman’s views that the arts need to be more universally accessible is new Culture Secretary Sajid Javid, who stated that “I didn’t grow up in the kind of family that went to the Donmar Warehouse”. He has also cited statistics that demonstrate a decrease in black and ethnic minority groups’ involvement in the arts.

In response, Josie Rourke, the artistic director of The Donmar Warehouse in Covent Garden, has highlighted her own effort to make the theatre more inclusive. Launched 18 months ago, the Barclays Front Row Initiative is a scheme whereby two thirds of the seats closest to the stage are released on a Monday at 10am a fortnight in advance. The tickets cost just £10 and Rourke states that more than half of the 24,000 people who have bought tickets in the scheme so far had never been to The Donmar before.

Not everyone agrees with Harman, however. Writing for The Guardian, Stephen Moss claims that “The arts only start to make sense when you put the pieces together, which is why getting any coherent sense of opera or classical music or serious drama takes years”. Moss argues that children would be “bored out of their heads” by a performance of L’Orfeo and cultural awareness and inclusion is just as achievable through the Internet. Igor Toronyl-Lalic points towards education as the key to inclusivity, rather than cheaper tickets at prestigious venues; “Teach all kids about opera and theatre and dance, and they will go to the opera and theatre and dance. Don’t and they won’t.”

Ultimately, whilst all make good points, many questions appear to remain unanswered. How could the government make it affordable for families to go to these concerts at the weekend, taking travel expenses into account? Harman may be keen to make music more accessible but it may be that initiating more schemes such as the Barclays Front Row Initiative is only the tip of the iceberg. Even educating children might not be enough; it is certainly possible that, despite a good education on the subject, the younger generation still may not wish to attend. Would a twelve year old choose to see Fidelio over One Direction? What do you think?

The Donmar Warehouse
Donmar Warehouse    Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

(Written on June 11, 2014 )