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Archive for May, 2008

If you’ve been listening to classical music for long enough — meaning, say, 50 years or so — you probably remember when albums looked like this. If you haven’t, here’s a bit of history from the days when the classical music divisions were considered the prestigious side of the business — and when "media corporations" and "content providers" were just called record companies.

More from Flickr.

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Earlier this month, the Columbus Symphony announced that they planned to shut down operations on the first of June, putting paid to the idea of summer picnic pops performances, and leaving next season’s concerts in limbo.

Columbus Symphony musicians rehearse (Photo: symphonymusicians.com)Could the orchestra yet save itself? Today the Columbus Dispatch reported that members of the Columbus Symphony were to announce their plan to work within the orchestra’s management’s proposed US$9.5 million budget while maintaining their current stable of 53 full-time players. No details were provided, and at this writing none has yet been posted on the musicians’ website.

Last week, the orchestra’s shutdown threat prompted the grants committee of the Greater Columbus Arts Council to recommend no funding for the orchestra. President Bryan Knicely said the Council "shouldn’t be giving operational support to an organization that’s not going to be here after June 1." Last year the Columbus Symphony received $261,417 from the Council.

In April, the orchestra’s musicians voted to reject management’s final offer for next season’s contract. It included a 40% salary cut for all 53 full-time musicians. In 2005, the players had agreed to $1.3 million worth of reductions in the length of the season and in benefits.

More background from the New York Times (Note: registration required)

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Conductor David Zinman returns to his alma mater to direct a free concert this Sunday.David Zinman

Zinman will lead the Oberlin College Commencement Orchestra in Dvorak’s eighth symphony and the Brahms Academic Festival Overture. Brahms’s overture is based on student tunes. In 1879, Breslau University had awarded him an honorary Doctorate, and he composed the Academic Festival Overture as a musical thanks.

The concert is part of festivities surrounding Oberlin’s 175th commencement. Zinman, who studied violin at Oberlin, graduated at the college’s 125th. He is music director of the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, and of the Aspen Music Festival and School.

Zinman will conduct the concert on Sunday the 25th at 8pm, in Finney Chapel.

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Students in the Chiquitos Missions FestivalThis afternoon (Sunday, 18 May) Tuesday Musical salutes the musicians and music educators of the future with their scholarship recital. This is part of what keeps the torch of classical music going, generation after generation.

WKSU is proud to do its part, keeping this music on the airwaves so that it fills ears in Northeast Ohio (and indeed everywhere the internet reaches), almost from birth.

Among the heroes in the world of music are the musicians and music lovers who push the boundaries even farther, sharing their passion with young people who might otherwise never know classical music. These are deeply dedicated music boosters who help children discover classical music while their minds are still wide open to it. They teach kids that listening to classical music is rewarding — and that making it is sheer joy.

Despite the diminished state of music education in many of the world’s nations, these music lovers keep the torch burning. Often they take it to unexpected and music-hungry places.

Some are taking it deep into the rural heart of Bolivia, for example. There children are discovering — and making — Baroque and classical music.

More from The Christian Science Monitor.

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Perhaps not quite a sweatshop. But years ago, legions of unemployed and underemployed Eastern European musicians enabled one record label to churn out CDs by the dozen, selling them at low prices while still enjoying a good return. That label has since grown to a major player in the classical music world.

Now Hollywood filmmakers and London video game producers are finding that having their soundtracks recorded offshore can save them big money. One company obliges them with Czech musicians, who are often paid one-seventh to one-fifth what their US and UK counterparts make.

More from the Christian Science Monitor.

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