Sunday, June 5, 2011

Robert Gupta and Joshua Roman duet on "Passacaglia"

I'm consistently impressed by the choices at TED conferences. Well, mostly consistently. An excellent performance below by magnificent players. :)

I did find the comments below the video at the TED website interesting. It was mostly non musicians being amazed at the level of musical communication between these two performers. I sometimes forget the perspective of being on the other side of the fence.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The importance of music education in schools

Always good to hear pop musicians speak well towards general music education. Since no one wants to listen to a band director, maybe someone with a little more name recognition can help out.

Editor's note: Vince DiFiore plays trumpet in the band CAKE, which is currently touring the U.S. and Europe. The band has teamed up with the US Scholastic Band Association (USSBA) for "The Federal Funding March," a nationwide contest for high school and college marching bands. 
(CNN) -- During high school, I was a consistent member of the symphonic band. The band director regularly called on me to sight-read daily rhythm exercises for the rest of the class and, more significantly, gave me the honor of conducting one of our compositions for the annual fall concert.
That leadership experience was a milestone and will stay with me for a lifetime.

Source article.

My favorite quote?

 "It may hurt to be told your paradiddles suck, but it builds character."

I'm not too sure I'm big on the federal funding slant of the article, but the point holds true: Music truly should be a co curricular, not extra curricular, activity. Many of the lessons taught in music aren't present in any other subject in comparable form. It's too bad that we, as educators, have failed to sell our own product. Never a better time like the present.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

U.S. violinist Bell takes over London ensemble

(Reuters) - American violin virtuoso Joshua Bell was named music director of the world-renowned Academy of St Martin in the Fields chamber orchestra on Friday, replacing Sir Neville Marriner, who founded it half a century ago.
 "Joshua is very much the orchestra's choice," Marriner, 87, said at a press briefing announcing that Bell, exactly half his age, would take up the post in September as only the second music director since Marriner founded the ensemble in 1958.
"The orchestra has spoken and they want to work with Josh. They had a choice, so they obviously admire him," Marriner said.

Source article

One of my favorite performing groups, and I'm glad to see this move. I think one of their greatest strengths has been Sir Neville Marriners strong artistic influence over the group for over fifty years now. I hope this will usher in a new era for the group, not a passing fancy. Too many orchestras these days shuffle through conductors like fashion. I'm a strong believer in the benefits of focus and continuity in an ensemble. We'll see what the future holds. 

Hopefully the best, because I love the recordings this ensemble produces. It would be a sad day if the end of Sir Neville Marriner's association with the group on a regular basis began to affect the ensemble's high quality.