We are very excited that, beginning next spring, the WFMT Radio Network will syndicate a 13-week series of The Chicago Chamber Musicians performances! We expect that the series will be picked up by 140 stations across the country. CCM’s series will be preceded by music from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and followed by the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival to constitute a wonderful year of chamber music for listeners around the U.S.Also, tune in to WFMT this Saturday morning from 9 am to noon for CCM’s 20th anniversary subscription drive for the 2006-2007 season. CCM’s founding artists, Larry Combs, Joseph Genualdi, Deborah Sobol and Gail Williams, will share stories and talk with host Lisa Flynn, and we’ll air some terrific music and offer special premiums and giveaways. Some highlights of next season include an all-Schubert concert, a set of concerts with the fabulous clarinetist Eddie Daniels, the charming Brahms Liebeslieder Waltzes, the world premiere of a work by John Harbison for the entire CCM ensemble, and an all-Hungarian program.Speaking of Schubert, John Gibbons is offering a class on “Schubert and the Rise of Romanticism” through the U of C’s Graham School. He seems to be extremely popular among his students and will also offer a course on Brahms this summer.
Here is an interesting article at the Boston Globe about a group of scientists conducting an experiment with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at a family matinee this Saturday. The scientists in the study are trying to find out if the gesticulations of a conductor translate into emotional intensity for the orchestra and audience, or if it's mere showmanship.
Hello everybody. I offer apologies for not contributing last week. We are up to our necks in stuff at COT and now that we have started rehearsals for our production of Die Entfuehrung things will not get easier!I am concerned but amused this week about the reaction to the move at the Harris Theater to raise its profile by bringing the New York City Ballet to Chicago this coming fall. Everyone is being very nice about it, including me. But I detect some clenched teeth through which some of the welcoming noises are being transmitted. You must read the piece in the Tribune on Sunday.If this enterprise ensures that we Harris companies will all have full houses in the future for the wonderful stuff that we produce, the whole expensive exercise will pay off handsomely. That is the intention - so whilst I am not holding my breath I hope it works. However two million dollars is a huge amount of money to take out of the pot for Chicago based companies. That said I am sure we will all be thrilled to see Balanchine's great company in Chicago.
I seem to be thinking a lot about technology right now. My last post covered some thoughts I have about downloads and the lack of vision in the recording industry that were inspired by an article in the New York Times from a few weeks ago. So along comes yet another New York Times article – this one about music composed on computers written by Michael Walker. The article talks about how you can “compose” a piece of music using Apple’s amazing program, GarageBand. For those of you who haven’t wandered into an Apple store and played around with this program, it allows the user to assemble a piece of music by mixing a number of instrument tracks together into a song, or dare I say it, a composition. Can you compose great classical (or any other kind) music using computer technology? Sure. In the right hands, composition programs are a great tool for talented composers. But do we cross a line with a program like GarageBand? Is it a good thing if literally anyone can assemble a piece of music using a clever program like this? I’m all for musical democracy, but let's not remove talent from the equation. Classical music has to embrace technological change where it makes sense. Just look at the evolution of the piano from a technological basis.So this week’s question is, what do you think is the best use of technology in our field? Or, what use of technology in classical music is making you sick to your stomach?
Happy April!Tonight we move our clocks ahead an hour and I can’t tell you how symbolic this is for me. I feel like we are moving fast-forward-full-speed-ahead into another season at Ravinia Festival. That means one thing; winter is over! (Crossing my fingers it doesn’t snow at the end of April.)For those of you like me, Ravinia is synonymous with summer. It’s a tradition. It’s the light at the end of the dark, winter tunnel. I remember getting so excited to see the announcement of the season in the paper before I became a part of the Ravinia staff. Memories of sitting on the lawn and listening to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra or Celia Cruz or Bonnie Raitt always reminded me why I love summer at Ravinia.Now it’s weird being on the other end of the schedule and being a part of the team that actually gets the information out to the public. I don’t get the surprise element of seeing the calendar as a whole along with everyone else. I guess that does take away part of the excitement. However, I still think about how nice it is to drink wine and picnic outside while listening to great music. Plus, I get the inside scoop before anyone.I feel like I’m getting performance jitters, even though I’m not performing. Does anyone else get that “rush” before the start of a season? I think part of those jitters is just hoping that everything goes off without a hitch. I’m sure we all dream of wonderful performances, high ticket sales, rave reviews and big success stories. In reality, there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes of any arts organization. The challenge we all face (and the reason this site even exists) is getting people just as excited for classical music as they do popular music. What else can we do to get the younger audience in to fill the seats? We started the “Full House” initiative last year, which was very successful. The surveys we conducted all showed positive reactions from first-time patrons. While seeing a classical concert might not be at the top of a young person’s “To Do” list, I think that a lot of people would enjoy it more than they would expect. The problem is getting them out to experience it and discover that for themselves. From the thunder of the full orchestra or the softness of a soloist, the experience is really magical. Then again, you know that. How do we convince others?