01/15/2021

Chicago Symphony Orchestra cancels in-person concerts through June 13, will continue virtual series

Media View

As part of the online CSO Sessions Series, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Lincoln Quartet—violinists Qing Hou and Lei Hou, violist Lawrence Neuman, and cellist Kenneth Olsen—performed a virtual recital in August. Photo by Clay Baker / Chicago Symphony Orchestra

“All Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association-presented concerts through June 13 have been canceled, the CSOA announced Thursday,” writes Howard Reich in Thursday’s (1/14) Chicago Tribune. “ ‘The decision follows a careful review of the continually evolving conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, is in accordance with the State of Illinois and City of Chicago’s multiphase recovery plans, and in response to the current safety guidelines from public health officials,’ according to a CSOA statement. The CSOA continues to explore the possibility of rescheduling affected programs…. Programming plans for the 2021/22 season [will] be announced later in the spring.’ Said CSOA President Jeff Alexander in a statement: ‘We reached the decision that it is not possible to present the programs we had originally planned for spring 2021 but are pleased to continue our digital offerings, which have been so well received…. We remain focused on preparations that allow maestro (Riccardo) Muti and the orchestra to come together to make music and to welcome audiences again to Symphony Center when it is safe to do so.’ New episodes of the ‘CSO Sessions’ series featuring orchestra musicians and filmed in Orchestra Hall will continue to be released on https://cso.org/tv.”

January 15, 2021

Santa Rosa Symphony adds an artistic partner: Ellen Taaffe Zwilich

Media View

“Santa Rosa Symphony is making the exigencies of the pandemic into an opportunity to explore all-new programming in its 2021 SRS & Home spring season,” writes Paul Kotapish in Tuesday’s (1/12) San Francisco Classical Voice. “Each of the concerts features pieces that require no more than 32 musicians on stage for any time. And Music Director Francesco Lecce-Chong decided to shake things up further by inviting Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich aboard as SRS’s new artistic partner…. Every concert this spring will feature a Zwilich composition, ranging from her Concerto Grosso 1985 in homage to Handel to … her popular Peanuts Gallery, a piano concerto inspired by the characters of the comic strip Peanuts by cartoonist and Santa Rosa resident Charles M. Schulz, who was Zwilich’s friend. Prerecorded introductions to each concert will offer insight into Zwilich’s creative process…. Concerts will be available on the SRS YouTube channel and on the SRS website.” Other repertoire will include Marianna Martines’s Sinfonia in C Major, William Grant Still’s Serenade, Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll for Small Orchestra, Jessie Montgomery’s Starburst for String Orchestra, Charles Ives’s The Unanswered Question, Caroline Shaw’s Entr’acte for String Orchestra, and Haydn’s Symphony No. 45 (“Farewell”).

January 15, 2021

Then and now, the ongoing importance of government support for the arts

Media View

“In 1935, during the depths of the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt unveiled the Works Progress Administration, a hugely ambitious initiative to use the economic might of the federal government to boost employment,” writes Joshua Kosman in Tuesday’s (1/12) San Francisco Chronicle. “On the payroll were tens of thousands of artists—painters, writers, composers, performing musicians, theater directors and more. Why? Because the arts, too, are part of the nation’s critical infrastructure…. Music, literature, dance, the visual arts—all of these activities exist right at the heart of what it means to be human…. For help in understanding what it means to live the way we live now—from the quotidian details to the overarching themes—only the arts will serve…. It is incumbent on the government to lend its support. The rationale for the WPA’s arts programs may have been primarily economic … but its cultural impact was enormous. It bequeathed us a wealth of public art, music, literature and cultural knowledge that continues to delight us today. Maybe another way to say it is that art, in addition to all its other virtues, is an economic multiplier. The dollar we invest today repays us, and our descendants, a thousandfold.”

January 15, 2021

Streaming services and software expected to continue record growth in 2021 

Media View

“Total spending on streaming services and software is projected to reach a record $112 billion in 2021, an 11 percent growth over 2020, according to Consumer Technology Association projections,” writes Carolyn Giardina in Monday’s (1/11) Hollywood Reporter. “This follows 31 percent growth in 2020 over 2019.… The CTA research suggests that overall retail sales revenue for the technology industry will climb to $461 billion in the U.S. in 2021—a 4.3 percent increase year-over-year—with streaming services, 5G connectivity and digital health devices (including health monitoring and sanitizing technology) as leading drivers due to Americans staying home during the pandemic. Noting that Disney+ hit 50 million subscribers in five months, CTA execs forecast that 2021 spending on streaming subscriptions could reach $41 billion. Additionally, music, audio book and podcast listening could top $10 billion, while video game software and services could exceed $47 billion…. CTA cited a trend toward households upgrading TVs during 2020 [although] TV shipments are expected to drop 8 percent to 43 million units in 2021. Growth areas for the TV category in 2021 may include large displays over 70 inches. Underscoring attention on 5G, new 5G-supported smartphones are expected to generate $39 billion.”

January 15, 2021

Findings released from aerosol study in German concert hall

Media View

“The Konzerthaus Dortmund has commissioned the Fraunhofer Heinrich Institute Goslar to investigate the spatial spread of aerosols and carbon dioxide in a concert hall,” writes Edjan Vukosavljevic in Wednesday’s (1/13) Operawire. “A study looked at the risk of infection for visitors to concert halls, theaters and opera houses…. Tests in the auditorium and foyers of the Dortmund Konzerthaus took place on November 2, 3 & 20, 2020. The project … conducted in collaboration with the German Environment Agency and hygiene experts … demonstrated that the existing central ventilation system and wearing a face mask would greatly reduce aerosol and carbon dioxide pollution…. The overall recommendation was that only half of the auditorium capacity should be used [and] seats should be distributed in a checkerboard pattern.” In addition, the study recommended “complete air exchange with outside air at least every 20 minutes…. North-Rhine Westphalia’s Minister of Culture and Science, Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen, said, ‘In view of the great relevance of ventilation, the state government has set up a joint working group with cultural institution representatives who, among others, are currently developing a differentiated opening strategy based on scientific findings.’ ”

January 15, 2021

Review: Spotlighting Philadelphia Orchestra’s new principal oboe, and composer Saint-Georges

Media View

“One of the most reassuring sounds anywhere these days can be heard in this week’s Philadelphia Orchestra online concert: applause, warm and human, … from orchestra members on stage at Verizon Hall in response to the first concerto appearance here of the ensemble’s new principal oboist, Philippe Tondre,” writes Peter Dobrin in Wednesday’s (1/13) Philadelphia Inquirer. “Praise is warranted.… All three works on the program reveal different aspects of this key artist’s presence. He’s a team player in Haydn’s Symphony No. 44…. He has a surprising cameo solo in the last movement of the Symphony No. 2 by the 18th-century … composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges. And his performance of Mozart’s Oboe Concerto is sweet and soaring.… Tondre … follows Richard Woodhams, one of only three principal oboists to occupy the chair over the span of a century…. The concert brings another first. It marks the orchestra’s introduction to Saint-Georges, … a celebrated polymath: military man, fencer, violinist, conductor, and composer. Saint-Georges is being rediscovered by classical musicians, and here, in Dominique-René de Lerma’s edition, this short second symphony … receives a bright, crisp reading from the orchestra and music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin…. More from the composer, please.”

January 15, 2021

Oakland Symphony to stream event honoring Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, an Oakland native

Industry Buzz

On Sunday, January 17, California’s Oakland Symphony will present a free streamed event entitled “Oakland Salutes Madame Vice President: A Virtual Inauguration Ball,” celebrating Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris, who was born in Oakland. “Oakland Salutes” will be streamed live on January 17, 2021 at 3 p.m. PT / 6 p.m. ET at the Oakland Symphony’s website and will later be available on demand. The event, curated by Oakland Symphony Music Director Michael Morgan and hosted by Oakland Port Commissioner Michael Colbruno, features a collection of performances and commentary from members of the Oakland arts community.

January 15, 2021

Classical Movements’ “Inauguration Fanfare for Joe and Kamala” to stream on Jan. 19

Industry Buzz

Musicians from fourteen orchestras will perform in a virtual event entitled “Inauguration Fanfare for Joe and Kamala,” set to stream on Tuesday, January 19 at 12 p.m. ET, the day before the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as President and Vice President. The event was conceived and produced by Classical Movements President Neeta Helms, and conducted by Marin Alsop. The performance features two works: Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man and Joan Tower’s Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman No. 1. The fourteen brass and percussion musicians in the “Hope and Harmony” ensemble represent the Atlanta Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, National Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Pacific Symphony, Peabody Institute, South Asian Symphony, St. Louis Symphony and Utah Symphony. The performance will be livestreamed simultaneously by Classical Movements and the partner orchestras. Musicians recorded music in their homes and on site across the country. In announcing the event, Helms said, “Conceived to bring together a divided country through the power of music, this diverse and representative ensemble of musicians from across the United States reflects and celebrates our country’s own beautiful patchwork.” Visit Classical Movements for more.

January 15, 2021

01/15/2021