Monday, July 25, 2011

Who, and Where, Are America’s Composers?

"I never wanted to be a composer.

Even well into college, the thought had not even crossed my mind. I wanted to be a band director. Or a music teacher. Because when you’re in high school in northern Illinois, as I was in the 1980s, with 45 miles of cornfields in every direction, and the music bug bit you, that’s what you did."

For the full story, please see the New York Times.

Lack of testes gave castrato superstar headaches

"THERE was at least one downside to Farinelli's castration. The operation may have preserved the 18th-century singer's treble voice into adulthood, making him a musical legend, but it also condemned him to a skull deformity that may have affected his mind.""

For the full story, please see New Scientist.

Monday, July 18, 2011

How Astronauts Fill Their Space With Music

"All week, the astronauts of space shuttle Atlantis have been serenaded with music from stars back on Earth. Elton John, Michael Stipe and Paul McCartney have all recorded messages for the crew."

For the full story, please see

Crazy Vibrations: What Strings Look Like From Inside A Guitar

For the story & video, please see

Through The Static, The Voice Of History

"The voice on the little antique cylinder record is tinny, scratchy, barely audible through storms of static. But if you listen closely, you can just hear a young woman reciting a nursery rhyme: "Twinkle, twinkle, little star.""

For the full story, please see

Monday, July 11, 2011

Seattle Symphony Director Gets Brussels Post

"The opera house of Brussels has appointed the Frenchman Ludovic Morlot as its chief conductor, an assignment being heralded halfway around the world, in Seattle."

For the full story, please see the Seattle Times.

The Puzzle of Rossini’s Brief Career

"THERE are lots of theories. Maybe Gioachino Rossini was tired. He might have been devastated by the death of his beloved mother.

For the full story, please see the New York Times.

Mozart Died of What?

"UPI reports a new bit of research indicating that Mozart’s death may have been caused by a lack of vitamin D. He died on Dec. 5, 1791 after having suffered from years of persistent colds, fever and stomach upset."

For the full story, please see Musical America.

Mozart, Beethoven... now meteorology?

"Variable 4 is the brainchild of composer James Bulley and erstwhile computer scientist Daniel Jones. The pair met when they were shortlisted for the New Cross Art Prize in 2008 and a discussion about where music, art and computing meet ensued. This led them to the idea of a sound art installation where the music played was composed by contemporaneous weather conditions."

For the full story, please see the New York Times.

Still Searching For Bruckner’s True Intentions

"POSTERITY has not always treated Anton Bruckner kindly. The popular image of this composer as an unwitting visionary — “half genius, half klutz,” as the conductor Hans von B├╝low once said — developed early on. During Bruckner’s lifetime conservative critics recoiled from his music. Eduard Hanslick called him the “gentlest and most peaceable of men who becomes an anarchist during the act of composition.”"

For the full story, please see New York Times.