The Greatest piece you’ve never heard……..

I have two firm and fast rules of music:

1. There are no undiscovered masterpieces – if someone starts waxing poetic about the symphonies of Arnold Bax just nod and move on.

2. Everyone – you, me, the average Joe/Jane on the street – gets to nominate one, and only one piece, that they can claim as their own personal Undiscovered Masterpiece. Here is my choice:

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When even the Brits are ahead of you…. Conductor Smack Down!

There has been much brouhaha concerning concert attire lately. Now, for the record, I love my Tails. They are made by my good and dear friend tailor John here in Minneapolis. John is a self-described stereotypical Italian Jewish tailor who knows much more music than I do and is one of the happiest people I know. He loves his job and I love working with him. When I put on the Tails he made for me it’s like I slip into another world of fancy dress and high society. Or in the … Continue Reading

What if Classical Music actually functioned as a business?

I am struck by a dichotomy this morning. Like many “classical” musicians of my generation I have a really strong interest in Rock, Jazz, World music, just about anything that strikes my fancy. You could call me part of the iPod generation that way. So I also study the business of the Other Side of Music. In today’s NYTimes is this very interesting article on 360 deals for rising bands. Suddenly my brain drifts into a fantasy —–

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What every musician needs…….

Musicians live in a world of fantasy, aural color, imagination, and all to frequently self-delusion.  But I am fond of reminding people that what we do on a daily basis certainly beats working for a living.  That’s not to say it isn’t hard work, but it is to say that we frequently get much more joy out of what we do than do most people.  But every musician wants to go beyond the daily performance.  We want to be known for all time, for posterity, and be known beyond our little home audience, be that some small town in Wyoming or downtown, New York City.   So, what do we need?  We need a place to make our dreams come true.

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To cut, or not to cut: that is the question!

I’m a purist.  I admit that.  I prefer my Beethoven fast and furious, the only version of Rhapsody in Blue that I have  or will ever perform is the original Paul Whiteman Jazz Band version, and God help me but every time a Canadian asks me about their national treasure Glenn Gould my blood pressure goes through the roof.  But what about opera?  Specifically, what about Porgy & Bess?

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The First Official Post!

Welcome to Sticks and Drones, the offbeat and probably irreverent new blog about Conducting and all its foibles co-authored by myself and my colleague Ron Spigelman.  Much thought has gone into what should be my first official post and I have decided to make this a tribute to one of the great musicians alive today, my friend, colleague, and mentor Daniel Barenboim.

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