Thanks for the Memories – the Musical Cliff

I would hate to start 2013 off on a contrarian note, but since that’s the way I ended 2012 why change now?  Matter of fact, why not up the ante?  Start the year on a high note?  So my first target of 2013 is……. the New York Times. No, seriously, I don’t really have a beef with the NYT, although I did just hear that the Culture Editor is stepping down, and that makes me a little nervous.  However, there has been one article that has made the rounds the last few … Continue Reading

Cliburn: An article beyond the pale…poison Iv(r)y

Just how far behind the times is the Wall Street Journal’s Benjamin Ivry?  Close to 10 years, and bravo (not!) to him for proclaiming that the blind should not be allowed to play concertos, so does he have a problem with the deaf writing music also?  You have to read his article to believe it…

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This business is built on Universal Truths That Cannot Be Gainsaid even though we know they’re not all true.  You know them: “All conductors are domineering pricks”; “All orchestral musicians are sullen wannabes”; “All administrators are incompetent’; etc. etc.   Then there is Musical Dogma – “despite the fact that the vast majority of people think that their music is butt ugly we must proclaim the genius of the 2nd Viennese School”; or “The 9th Symphony of Beethoven is the greatest work of music ever, even though for many people it wouldn’t … Continue Reading

Smack Down – Mahler 5 – It’s personal!….

It’s been a while since we did one of these, but since mentioning that I was conducting a performance of Mahler’s 5th, Bill suggested we don the gloves for yet another round. Now this time it’s personal! Mahler 5 is like family to me, it even stopped my rebellious teenagehood in its tracks…well for a day anyway….. First things first, our performance went over big, the audience reaction was incredible. If Mahler does anything, it makes at least the Springfield Symphony musicians check out their parts way in advance (some even last … Continue Reading

CONDUCTOR SMACKDOWN! – More Musical Mistletoe Please!

How is it even possible that I like Christmas music?  I am Jewish and I grew up (well the jury is still out on that one!) in Sydney Australia where at this time of year it’s 100 degrees.  There, none of the songs such as Let it Snow, White Christmas but especially Baby It’s Cold Outside make any sense whilst having a Christmas barbecue on the beach! By the time this weekend is over, I will have conducted 30 Holiday concerts since November 23 including 2 productions of the Nutcracker and 5 … Continue Reading

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

Chasing our Tails…Conductor Smack Down!

The first in a series of Conductor Smack Downs! The topic what we wear, and what the audience wears has popped up yet again.  We so often don’t have an answer to our audience woes, so why do we turn to fashion to solve our problems?  If we are building a house and we are looking at a hole in the ground where it will eventually be, the window treatments should be the furthest  thing from our minds…. Holly’s Partial Observer article mentions the audience expectations in regards to dress.  I am … Continue Reading