Mae Mai in the press (and in print)

So, as usual, I was in the middle of writing a blog which is now going to be set aside in favor of this one.  I’d wanted to post a listicle recounting last year’s activity at my blog.  I really wanted to post it either on New Years Eve or New Years Day, but as is often the case other things took priority.  Given that I and my blog were mentioned in the New York Times (online edition here and in the print edition today) I figured I’d do that post now.

2013 was a good year for the blog, and while I haven’t done nearly as much commenting on other online venues as I might have done in past years, I have probably posted more content last year than in any other.  Some of those posts have gotten me quite a bit of recognition from other cultural bloggers. I won’t make a tedious list of all those, but will highlight some.

The most traffic I’ve gotten was after Alex Ross (music critic of the New Yorker magazine) mentioned a few of my posts that outlined the classical music crisis as it appeared in the press.  His post The orchestra crisis at 110 and The opera crisis at 332 which both link here were pleasant surprises when I happened to be checking my stats and wondering where the heck all this new traffic was coming from.

Both Drew McManus of and Joe Patti of Butts in the Seats gave a shout out to me as I mentioned in a previous post about the end of A Klingon Christmas Carol (in Chicago and Cincinnati)–and Joe actually came out to the closing night of the Cincinnati production so it was a pleasure to meet him in person as I’ve been a reader of his blog for some time and he frequently mentions my blog.  Earlier in the month, Drew nominated me and Mae Mai for the Giving Program created by Shoshana Fanizza (who runs another blog I read) stating that:

Jon’s writing about the series of labor dispute related crisis at US orchestras has been fascinating to watch evolve from casual observer to someone who is eyeball deep in the minutiae of the heavy duty topics that occupy that space. Additionally, Jon does an excellent job at providing info and insight into an area of the business that usually gets the short end of media coverage stick: ethnic orchestras; which he defines as “non-European styled Orchestras.”

Jon maintains excellent listing resource pages and covers groups via his Diversity category of posts. And when it comes to this topic, he knows his stuff; so much so that he has no trouble taking one of the usual talking head suspects in the culture blogging community to task for what he calls inane observations about the genre.

Another series of posts I’d been working on deals with the role the WPA had in developing and sustaining Symphony Orchestras during the Great Depression in the US–both Joe and Drew linked and commented and the former had some interesting insights of his own.

I decided to do a quick name search just to see what else I might have missed and was surprised to find that I was quoted and discussed in a book by Martin Barker, professor in Film and Television Studies at University of East Anglia.  The book, titled “Live To Your Local Cinema”: the Remarkable Rise of Livecasting, and published by Palgrave MacMillan in October of 2012, had this:

I close this chapter with another person’s amused thoughts on the implications of this.  The unorthodox cellist Jon Silpayamanant, who regularly blogs his thoughts on musical issues, wrote in 2011 about seeing fliers at his local cinema for the Met’s livecasts. Intriguing, he thought, and headlined his remarks ‘The Death of the Cinematic Industry’: ‘For all the folks who continue to maintain the popularity of pop culture – in conjunction with the supposed decline of high culture (Classical Music) – it’s a bit ironic that movie theaters are now showing live casts of, well, classical music.’ But an unease runs through Silpayamanant’s comments, partly about the loss of work opportunities that might follow, but partly also about the appropriateness of listening to an orchestra in the wrong place. There is a lurking sense of uncertainty, of the unknown, in discussions of this kind. (pp 79-80)

which just makes me wonder how much of my thoughts have appeared in traditional print–if this book hadn’t been digitized by Google Books, I might never had known about my tiny contribution.  Oh, here’s the blog post Barker is referencing for those interested: The Death of the Cinematic Industry….

Of course, the main reason to do this post is to thank each and every one of the folks above and all my readers for all the interaction and stimulating discussions–I look forward to another great year of reading and blogging!

Boldly going where no cellist has gone before…

Since I mainly write about the economic and cultural side of music here I decided to start a tumblr blog just for my cello (and other) performance related activities.  It’s here:

Since I get to do so many activities that most people wouldn’t associate with the cello and being a cellist, I thought it would make more sense to feature that stuff there.  I’ll leave my various cello related series/posts at this blog for now, but future will be at the Bold Cellist tumblr blog!  With that, I leave you this image of me being a Wookiee Cellist at a recent orchestra concert!

Jon Silpayamanant as a Wookiee Cellist at a recent Louisville Philharmonia Pops Concert.
Jon Silpayamanant as a Wookiee Cellist at a recent Louisville Philharmonia Pops Concert.

Hope to see some of you folks over there!

End of the year reflections and the coming new year!

I sent out an email blast to my personal mailing list, and I thought I’d share that here as it probably best reflects my thoughts on this past year for me as well as some of the exciting things coming up for the new year! So here it is:

Happy New Year, folks and I hope you had a great holiday break (if you had one).  It’s been over a year since I’ve sent you a message and that one was a rather bleak one, as I recall (due to the death of my brother, Joe).

But I couldn’t resist sending out an email with the Subject line: “Yo-Yo Ma, Klingons and Central Asia!”  And, well, that just about sums up the last quarter of my year (2011).  This is one of those epic sub lines that becomes the stuff of legends like the baconcat.  Though the reality of it is just a little bit less awesome (well, maybe for you folks, but for me–NO!) because sadly the three things mentioned don’t have anything to do with each other (other than how I overlap them).
Continue reading “End of the year reflections and the coming new year!”

What brings people here?

Sometimes I’m amused at what brings folks to my blogs (through the search engine route, that is).  I’ve been blogging a bit more about singing while playing the cello lately so it’s understandable that the biggest hit the past 30 days is for the phrase “sing while playing cello.”  The second biggest hit is, surprisingly, “hello dolly.”  Not surprising given how often that phrase has brought traffic to my blog over the past year or more since I mentioned playing a local production of that musical, but it seems to be consistently the range of search phrases that bring folks here.  Here are the top ten for the past 30 days:

sing while playing cello 110
hello dolly 32
soundcloud logo 25
nam june paik 22
kayhan kalhor 19
soundcloud 17
indian cello 15
charlotte moorman 13
louisville orchestra 12
mahler 7

Most of the hits an be grouped into related phrases even I might only have one or two hits per phrase.  For example, I’ve gotten two dozen or more combinations of phrases with “Klingon” or “Klingon Women” or “Klingon Costume” which is understandable as I occasionally talk about my Klingon music projects and band.  I’m not entirely sure what the person using the search phrase “star wars klingon costume” was looking for, but I hope he or she found it here.

I’ve got way too much on my mind and to do by the end of this coming week so my blog topics may not be incredibly heavy affairs but I hope to come back to the issues of local music economics and the elephant in the room issue I mentioned in the previous post.

New blogs added to blogroll

I just wanted to throw out a couple of blogs I’ve been reading regularly lately.  The first is Profuse and Various: Thoughts on music, teaching, and whatever else happens to strike me.  The author, Jazzman, has some fascinating takes on music education and, like me, being relatively new to the field the takes are refreshing!  He’s also asked some important and penetrating questions about some of the things I’ve posted here which is very helpful as a writer–knowing how clear I haven’t been, or just what things need more elaboration is always a good thing, IMO!

The other blog is by Bryan Townsend – The Music Salon who I discovered as he’s recently been posting quite often to Greg Sandow’s blog (with an updated look to boot!).  Bryan is unapologetic about Classical music while also understanding that there are significant factors which are shaping the decline of audiences (not the decline of Classical Music!).  I’m still reading (and re-reading) a number of his past posts and adding to the queue of ‘things to process‘ so it may take some time for me to find anything halfway intelligent to say about them, but there are a number of issues he’s brought up that complement many of the things I’ve posted about here.

And yes, I know my ‘blogroll’ is a mess and hope to get the different categories cleared up.  This new template is cleaner, but I’m not so sure it was as user friendly to navigate as the previous.  Until I have some time, it will stay as it is.