We’ve seen music adapt to new technologies over the last one hundred years . Formats determined song length: when singles had to fit on a 33 rpm vinyl record, for example. Hits in the 50’s, 60’s 70’s, and up until the 2000’s were three and a half minutes because that was the duration of a 33 rpm “side”. Today Spotify determines the average listener moves on after 30 seconds. What does this do to formats? Songs are getting shorter. A full minute shorter according to TikTok. Writers are ditching the third chorus to shorten the song, and the pre-chorus in an effort to get to the hook sooner. One theory- a short song is very likely to get multiple plays, and that is what drives streaming analytics. Going forward what will listeners expect from streaming services? Can Classical music survive on streaming channels like Sirius? Can we do anything about it? One cellist from the MET is trying to save the Opera channel on Sirius.
When digital downloads made it easy to get music for free, artists had to make big adjustments. Loyal fans would still buy CD’s but the handwriting was on the wall. We see a shift to concert tours and an increase in the ticket prices. Today we rely on philanthropy on every level in the Arts. Consider which musicians and causes you’ll support this Giving Tuesday (November 28). Enjoy the Thanksgiving Holiday!
Applying scientific knowledge to music inevitably changes the course of what gets published, what gets popular. In the earliest electrical adaptation- the phonograph- we find certain instruments and certain ranges work better than others. As a result some artists’ careers are defined by the invention of the phonograph. Also- particular instruments became associated with certain genres of music simply because they sounded the best on the discs. Finally, the recording process prompts innovation in the studio when a musician has to improvise on the spot, creating a new type of Jazz.
TheViolins of Hope, visiting cities around the world, makes a seven week stop in Pittsburgh. They are both a museum exhibit and an interactive display because Violins of Hope lets musicians play on their violins for concerts and educational programs. The instruments (including over 70 violins violas, cello and bass) have a rich history that relate to the lives of their Jewish owners during World War II. Over thirty five programs by Arts Organizations in the region have already, or will present the instruments. Musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Orchestra, Edgewood Symphony Orchestra, Carnegie Mellon, Pitt, Duquesne and Chatham Universities, to name just a few, had opportunity to play and perform on the Violins of Hope. On this episode we hear Aron Zelkowicz, a cellist who directed over 80 programs centered around Jewish music as founder of the Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival. Aron tells us about his journey discovering and bringing Jewish music to Pittsburgh and elsewhere. We also hear Glenn Lewis, the Head of Music at Pittsburgh Opera talk about an upcoming event at the Bitz Opera Factory where the Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artists and Concertmaster Charles Stegeman present music of Ernest Bloch, Viktor Ullman, Alexander Zemlinsky and other Jewish composers of note. Four violinists who played the instruments will talk about their experience, the instruments’ stories and the music they performed. Charles Stegeman, Concertmaster for Pittsburgh Opera plays on a Violin of Hope that Shlomo Mintz performed on at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum. Rachel Stegeman played on two Violins of Hope for Wheeling Symphony and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in several World Premieres and other works by or about Jewish composers. Tina Faigen had multiple opportunities to play on a Violin of Hope with Edgewood Symphony and related chamber performances. Juan Jaramillo gives his thoughts on the experience playing a Violin of Hope with the Wheeling Symphony.
In 1820 François Sudre, a musician and a music teacher, created a language based on the musical scale. For twenty years he worked to complete this auxlang. He offered it to the military first, calling it La Telephone. For a while his language was considered because it seemed codeable. When the government declined, he continued writing the language in the hopes people wouldn’t need to learn foreign languages. Solresol wouldn’t catch on to the degree Esperanto as a universal language, but some groups enjoy exploring it, even today.
Christopher is known to the world of trumpet players as a clinician, YouTuber and multi-career classical trumpeter. Today he talks about his passion for teaching young players and sheperding them through the rigorous audition process. The auditions for Military Bands are both special and similar to symphonies. He gets into the particulars about excerpts and we get a picture of life as a Military Musician. He joins trumpeters and buglers across the nation on the Memorial Day Taps Across America, and anyone with a trumpet can do the same.
Being a performer and a union member doesn’t usually compute. The two seem to be worlds apart. Thats why its hard for musicians to join committees and negotiating panels. They play on a stage for a living. And this might seem glamourous, maybe even powerful, and anything but mundane. And Unions seem like trouble makers for blue collar workers, teachers, electricians, service industry workers and factory labor. But orchestras are protected by a union specific to musicians. So most of us tend to bury our heads in the sand since these two personas of classical performer and union member are very dissimilar. We don’t embrace the label laborer very well. The dictionary definition under laborer is unskilled worker. Well, maybe there’s the problem. As a result, most of us are unaware of the entitlements and priviledges that come with union membership. The best way to learn? Become an active member of the Orchestra Committee. Its not going to be what you think it will be. I guarantee.
Marc Reisman is bringing together over 34 musicians at the Thunderbird Cafe in Laurenceville on October 26 to celebrate the music and the milestones he shared with friends and colleagues in the music scene of the ‘Burgh. Joining him on stage will be Joe Grushecky, Billy Price, Ernie Hawkins, Bill Toms, Melinda Colaizzi, Jon Bindley, Gil Snyder, Peter King, Wil Kondrich, Don Hollowood, Richard Sleigh, Rick Witkowski and many more. On today’s show he talks about his musical roots and his path to becoming a harmonica specialist around the city and the world.
Composition was a practical skill in Naples in the sixteenth century. There were over 3000 Churches in need of music. And they needed lots of musicians and singers too. The conservatories pumped out a lot of music apprentices, organists, singers, instrumentalists. These conservatories and the churches they served made up a large portion of the economy, and the welfare system in Naples. Naple’s conservatory syllabus was adopted by conservatories all over Italy and Europe. The first conservatory in Naples was built in 1535, the Santa Maria di Loreto. Today the San Pietro a Majella is the main conservatory. Composers that studied there include Alessandro Scarlatti, Pergolesi, Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti. The secrets to making the most prolofic composers lies in their daily exercises. More in the show notes at https://accelerandocast.com/show_notes/
The Pittsburgh PNC Broadway Series opens the Season with the 2021 Tony Award winner for Best Musical Moulin Rouge. Katie Kresek is the original Concertmaster for the Broadway production and talks today about the orchestration and her role in that regard. Stephen Weiss will become the latest violinist to perform the Concertmaster role in the touring production when he steps into the Benedum Pit on Wednesday night. More in the show notes at https://accelerandocast.com/show_notes/