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Following a wonderful party at Fort Worth Zoo yesterday evening (including appearances from flamingos, baby racoons, and a skunk), first on the menu this morning was a fascinating symposium on Cultural Diplomacy.  After Stuart Isacoff’s introduction to arts diplomacy between America and Russia from the end of  World War Two up until the fall of the Berlin Wall, we heard from panellists Marc Thayer, Sarah Tanguy, and Patrick Castillo.

Images: Fort Worth Zoo

First we heard from Marc Thayer, former deputy director of American Voices, which takes musicians abroad to countries including Iraq and Afghanistan, to teach and perform music to locals.  Marc emphasised the good relations this forms with local musicians, leaving a favourable and lasting impression of American culture. Rather than just taking American music to these communities, they build on the practices already in place, using the music of the countries they visit together with American music.

Founded in 1953 and formalised by President Kennedy, Arts in Embassies takes American artists to participate abroad, engaging over 20,000 people to date in 189 countries.  Professional curators, such as Sarah Tanguy, create around 60 exhibitions per year, and since the turn of the century over 58 permanent collections have been installed in diplomatic facilities all over the world.

Patrick Castillo, a composer, performer, writer, and educator, has taken part at The Festival de Música Contemporánea de La Habana three times.  Having started as the only American participant, the most recent festival saw ten members of the American Composers Forum attend.  Patrick cited lack of equipment in Cuba as a major problem, and said that on subsequent visits, composers and musicians took across suitcases of reeds, strings, pencils, and manuscript paper.

Throughout the discussion it emerged that sadly these schemes are not something that the State Department likes to trumpet, fearing accusations of misspending of public money.  Thus reciprocal schemes giving opportunities for oversees artists to visit the States have not yet taken flight.  All three speakers were also nervous about funding cuts, with the future of their organisations not guaranteed.

Image: Cultural Exchange Symposium, The Cliburn

Concert 1 of the Final Round begins this evening at 7.30pm, and can be viewed on cliburn2017.medici.tv.

(Written on June 7, 2017 )

Classical News

In today’s news fifteen North Korean senior officials have been put to death, including four musicians from the state orchestra. Karim Wasfi, cellist and director of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra responds to terrorist attacks in Iraq through music. Also, Joyce DiDonato has been elected to the Carnegie Hall’s board of trustees with Renée Fleming, Emanuel Ax, Yo-Yo Ma and Jessye Norman.

The Times

Musicians among 15 executed in Kim purge

Kim Jong Un, the North Korean dictator, has put to death 15 senior officials, including four members of the state orchestra and a forestry manager in another purge of his critics.

Classic FM

This cellist found the most powerful way to respond to a day of terrorist attacks in Iraq

Cellist and director of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra Karim Wasfi wanted to send a message to those ‘who consider bombs to be the only way’. So he took out his cello.

Classical Music Magazine

DiDonato joins Carnegie Hall board

Joyce DiDonato has been elected as a member of Carnegie Hall’s board of trustees, joining Renée Fleming, Emanuel Ax, Yo-Yo Ma and Jessye Norman.

Classical Source

London Symphony Orchestra with Valery Gergiev and violinist Nicola Benedetti perform Fourth Annual Free Concert in Trafalgar Square

The London Symphony Orchestra with Principal Conductor Valery Gergiev will give their next free, open-air concert in London’s Trafalgar Square on Sunday 17 May.

Sinfini

$2.5m Bach portrait returns to Leipzig

One of only two surviving portraits of JS Bach is to return to the city of Leipzig where it was painted from life 265 years ago.

San Francisco Classical Voice

California Symphony Rolls Out Details on 2015-16 Season

The California Symphony, led by music director Donato Cabrera, is rolling out its 2015-16 program.

pizzicato

Pernoo And His Dream For A Chamber Music Centre In Paris

French cellist Jérôme Pernoo (43), a professor at the National Conservatory in Paris and a well-known soloist, has launched a crowd-funding on Kiss Bank in order to get the money for a planned Chamber Music Centre at Salle Cortot in Paris

Bach-Medaille 2015 für Peter Neumann

Der Kirchenmusiker, Dirigent und Chorleiter Peter Neumann wird mit der Bach-Medaille der Stadt Leipzig ausgezeichnet.

Musik Heute

Rheinoper legt neuen “Ring” auf – Kompletter Zyklus Premiere für Regisseur Hilsdorf

Düsseldorf – Die “Walküre” hat Dietrich W. Hilsdorf bereits inszeniert, für das Aalto-Musiktheater Essen.

Twitter

Teach Through Music ‏@TTMLondon: 23% of UK adults said they would love to learn a musical instrument, & 17% said they would love to do more singing! http://bbc.co.uk/news/education-32487385 …

Arts Council England ‏@ace_national:As #GE2015 nears, we summarise the latest arts + culture policy announcements: http://bit.ly/1GLf5KD  #culturematters

Classic FM @ClassicFM: As soon as he walks off stage in Maastricht, André Rieu will be answering your questions. Details here: http://classfm.co/wWEyPF 

cellist-in-BaghdadKarim Wasfi of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra wanted to send a message to those ‘who consider bombs to be the only way’.

(Written on May 1, 2015 )

Classical News

Guardian

Baghdad’s ballet school: a tiny island of creativity amid inescapable violence

Though the Iraqi capital’s past as a cultural center is a distant memory, the music and ballet school has remained a cultural safe haven for its 500-odd students

Anthony Burgess musical composition discovered

Song based on Shakespeare sonnet found among possessions of woman to whom the writer had dedicated it

Classic FM

World’s smallest portrait of Mozart sells for £218,500

A rare miniature of the composer has been sold for £218,500 at auction.

Classical Source

Detroit Symphony and Tod Machover Invite Local Residents to Capture Sounds of Detroit for New Collaborative Symphony, to Premiere in November 2015

What does Detroit sound like? This month sees the launch of a new, yearlong partnership between the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and American composer Tod Machover.

The Strad

International Boris Goldstein Violin Competition Bern announces shortlisted candidates

Launched by Professor Zakhar Bron, the event takes place from 22 to 31 January 2015

The Stage

Opera Holland Park could receive £5m from council to become independent

Opera Holland Park could become independent from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea with the help of a £5 million grant.

New York Times

Metropolitan Opera’s Deficit Swells to $22 Million

The company faces its most serious shortfall in decades, but says a new business model and endowment drive will put it on better footing.

concerti

Interview mit Sol Gabetta: „Ich glaube, du bist süchtig“

Sol Gabettas Erfolgsformel: Nichts erwarten und doch Ziele vor Augen haben – ein Gespräch über Zufriedenheit und emotionale Stärk

Klassik.com

Terumi Oishibashi gewinnt Possehl-Musikpreis 2014

Japanische Schlagzeugerin erhält Preisgeld von 5.000 Euro

Le Figaro

Opéras cherchent chanteurs lyriques à prix abordables

Quand ils ne peuvent s’offrir une distribution de premier plan, souvent trop coûteuse, les directeurs de théâtre font appel à leur flair pour dénicher les perles rares capables de coller à leurs ambitions.

Twitter

Darren Henley ‏@HENLEYDARREN: The @MayorofLondon launches his visionary #LondonMusicPledge today at #MayorsEducationConference supporting Music Education across London.

BBC Newsnight ‏@BBCNewsnight: The Gospel According to the Other Mary: @katierazz gets exclusive access to new opera http://bbc.in/1xWXNGJ 

Royal Opera House ‏@RoyalOperaHouse: Edison announced his phonograph #onthisday in 1877,changing music forever Early recording: http://bit.ly/1xxfmgU ^C

mozart-portrait-to-scale-1416483023-article-0The world’s smallest portrait of Mozart. Photo: Classic FM

(Written on November 21, 2014 )

Classic FM Online

National Youth Orchestra of Iraq launches Kickstarter campaign

Young Iraqi classical musicians have launched an online fundraising campaign to get the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq to the United States for a major tour in August 2014.

BBC News

‘Lost’ Mendelssohn song re-discovered

A song written by German composer Mendelssohn has had its first public hearing since it went missing 140 years ago.

Thetford Forest wildlife ‘performs’ Living Symphonies’ premier

Listening to an open-air concert from a live orchestra in one of England’s beautiful forests will always connect you with Mother Nature – but thanks to musical science our forests are now set to become the actual performers, conducted by the flora and fauna in a series of “live” sound installations.

Guardian

Antony Hopkins obituary

Broadcaster, writer and composer best known for his Talking About Music series on Radio 3 and then Radio 4 has died at age 93.

International Business Times 

Double Bass Player Duncan McTier Charged in Manchester Music School Abuse Investigation

Duncan McTier, 59, a former teacher at the Royal Northern College of Music, has been charged with four counts of indecent assault relating to three women. The offences are alleged to have taken place between 1985 and 1994.

The State

Poland philharmonic worker convicted of 2 murders

A court in western Poland has convicted a former concert hall stagehand and sentenced him to life in prison for the double homicide of a female harpist and a male security guard, in a crime that has shocked the country.

China Weekly

China Philharmonic Orchestra to debut at BBC Proms

The China Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) will debut at the BBC Proms in July in London, the CPO announced on Tuesday. The CPO will stage a concert on the evening of July 19 at the Royal Albert Hall.

Classical Music on Twitter

Classic FM@ClassicFM 17 awesome classical music gifts: http://classfm.co/qdJgyb

Gramophone@GramophoneMag Happy Birthday to Brahms and Tchaikovsky! Tchaikovsky couldn’t stand Brahms’s music, but Brahms was polite about Tchaikovsky’s…

ACE North@ace_thenorth Only 1 space left at #CultureHive Liverpool Surgery day on 15 May. 90 mins support for arts orgs. Free to NPOs: http://ow.ly/wxOSh

Welsh National Opera@WNOtweet …Take a look ahead of our debate @RoyalOperaHouse on 2 June. ‘Is there room in Britishness for cultural difference?’ http://bit.ly/1uzbvOf

Tim O’Reilly@timoreilly Winston Churchill on arts funding: how twitter twists history to suit modern agendas http://bit.ly/1j2j6Aa People misquoted long b4 twitter

Classical Music Magazine

Classical Music Magazine

 

(Written on May 7, 2014 )

Gramophone

Violinist Israel Baker Has Died, Aged 92.

The violinist Israel Baker has died at his home in Los Angeles aged 92.

Thomas Quasthoff Withdraws From The Spotlight.

Citing ill health, the German baritone retires.

BBC News

Letter Penned By Beethoven Uncovered In Germany.

A letter written by composer Ludwig van Beethoven has emerged in Germany after being left in a will.

BBC Music Magazine

BBC Proms Launches Competition For Young Composers.

Entries to be judged by composers including Stuart MacRae and Nico Muhly.

New York Times

Carnegie Hall To Establish National Youth Orchestra In 2013.

Ireland has one. Norway has one. Sweden has one, and it will be at Carnegie Hall on Jan. 26. Even Iraq has one.

The Telegraph

Jonathan McGovern: New Face.

Jonathan McGovern is a 26 year-old baritone who looks poised for a brilliant career.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/opera/9007749/Jonathan-McGovern-New-Face.html

 

(Written on January 12, 2012 )