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Classical 101

Masur on Beethoven

I have been blessed over the years to have had conversations with many musicians.  Some of them have said studying with a teacher who studied with so-and-so (repeat, repeat, repeat) who studied with, say, Stravinsky, is not really that important.

While the personal search is important, I cannot help but believe that those who think they can find more on their own than they can with some guidance are missing out.

Certainly the 16 conducting students who were part of a master class with Kurt Masur must have come away with a huge leg up on conducting and exploring Beethoven.  While all of us have probably conducted orchestras in our car, at our desk, or in our living room, reading an account of Masur's guidance in the "art of Beethoven" reinforces the fact that being a musician or conductor is about more than picking up an instrument or waving a stick. On a related note, when you watch the video above, you'll notice Masur is conducting without a score.  Beethoven's music, Masur's conducting, and the stellar musicians, make it impossible to stop watching.  Anyone who thinks that working to support and promote orchestras performing music such as this is pointless should be locked in a room with Justin Bieber. Read Masur on Beethoven (Creative Destruction)

Different Styles No Problem for Soprano Patricia Racette

For opera fans, the name Patricia Racette conjures up images of Madama Butterfly, Violetta, and Desdemona, to name a few. Many opera singers love to sing other styles of music.  Oftentimes, however, switching gears into jazz, Broadway, or standards is a tough, sometimes impossible task. According to one music programmer and writer, Racette was born to sing Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter, and George Gershwin. Read Diva on Detour (Arts Journal)

Robot Composers?  Really?

In a recent posting, I wrote of attempts to program computers to "write" music, learn from trial and error, and improve.  The learning curve turned out to be a bit steep.  Another computer programmer, who is also a composer, seems to have found the balance between human and machine. Read The Fear Mongers Guide to Robot Composers (Vice.com)