R.I.P. Rachel Blanton (1974-2014)

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I knew Rachel since we were both in the Floyd County Youth Symphony, so basically since High School.  While she and my brother Joe knew each other better (I believe they were in the same class) one of the unique aspects of classical music organizations in educational institutions is that folks are always interacting at very different age groups.

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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 34,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 13 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Discovering your Band or Orchestra’s Roots

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One of the local research projects I’ve been working on is charting the evolution of Classical Music in Kentuckiana (i.e. the Louisville-Jefferson County, KY-IN MSA). Being one of the MSA’s which lies over two states, this makes some of the data gathering a little trickier, but lately I’ve decided to focus very specifically on New Albany, Indiana which is where I currently live and where I spent most of my school years before going to music school.

After the recent passing of Rubin Sher and Don McMahel, two giants of music education in this area, I decided it might be time to really get my hands dirty with data in honor of them and all the other music teachers still with us that I’ve had the honor and pleasure of working with since I’ve moved back.

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“Last time I checked there isn’t an orchestra in the US that can fill an auditorium like major pop names.”

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The quote in the title of this post is from a Chip Michael’s piece from a few years ago.

It’s also something that is symptomatic about what’s wrong with comparisons between different kinds of musical genres. In the end, yes, what we’re talking about is live music played by live musicians for a live audience, but as the old adage goes, “The Devil’s in the Details.”

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Walking with Dinosaurs

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In a recent Telegraph piece by Hannah Furness we’re told that Peter Sellars has called for the end of Mass art forms

In a speech about the importance of art, Sellars argued the changing world had left consumers wanting a different experience from simple, traditional mass market.

Saying opera had an “irrational beauty” which is “incredibly powerful” in front of an audience, he added: “Meanwhile the new technology means you don’t to have an opera house to do an opera

“In fact, most young people don’t want to go to an opera house and it’s not how those people want to have a good time, to sit with 5,000 other people.

“In fact, what’s very exciting is some of the most exciting opera experience I’ve had is in a room with 15 other people, or 30 or 40 whatever, in an intimate situation.

As I’ve shown numerous times at this blog, the same can be said about large scale pop or stadium/arena rock shows as well as Sporting events which often take place in big stadiums. But does this mean the end of large scale mass entertainment or art forms?  I’m not so sure.

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