So we did this thing in Times Square, and some people have seen the video. Among the many responses: we gave Marcia Adair, writing for the Los Angeles Times, a long-sought opportunity to make a minimalism joke in print (you're welcome!); the Huffington Post called us "famously smart" (I don't think they overhear our office chatter); and the New Yorkishly cranky Gothamist called it "lovely." So what was this all about? Leave it to The Awl for a singularly unadorned explanation: "A Bunch Of People In Times Square Sing Philip Glass."
The French Canadian conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin has been signed to Deutsche Grammophon — a rare honor for a young, North American-born talent. Yesterday, DG announced a plan of ten recordings with the 37-year-old at the helm: three albums with his Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra (beginning with Tchaikovsky's "Pathétique") and no less than seven Mozart operas — all of which will feature Rolando Villazón in the lead tenor roles, which is news in itself.
Athens-born harpsichordist, impresario and former Chanel model Lina Lalandi, who founded the English Bach Festival in 1962, has died at 91: "Stravinsky, Bernstein, Iannis Xenakis, Oliver Messiaen, Karlheinz Stockhausen and other wonderful musicians were tempted to Britain by Lina, many for the first time. So many musical 'firsts' were scored by the EBF that orchestras were well advised to check with her office before claiming one for themselves."
Daniel Barenboim brought his pan-Middle Eastern West-Eastern Divan Orchestra to play for the music-loving Pope. (Not widely known: many of the orchestra's Arab members come from Christian backgrounds.)
Here's a very sweet profile of the enthusiastic amateurs who participated in the latest iteration of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's summer camp for grownups. A retired neurosurgeon and Cold War-era Navy pilot who began participating last year as a clarinetist (an instrument he first picked up at age 63) called his first time on the stage with the group "one of the signal moments" of his life.
Sopranos live longer: that's the result of a recent study made by doctors in Detroit. The study compared the lifespans of sopranos versus mezzos and altos (who were lumped together in the study) as well as male singers born between 1850 and 1930 — and it turns out that sopranos lived about five years longer than the lower-voiced women.
A reflection on "Papa" Haydn: "He refutes in his own person the romantic notion that a creative person must either be tormented or a swine. ... A very great, if not perhaps a supreme, artist, he proves that it is possible to do brilliant work and yet be a good man."
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