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British Composer and Conductor Oliver Knussen Has Died, Aged 66

July 9, 2018

Oliver Knussen was one of today’s most important composers and conductors. His work includes three symphonies, the instrumental piece Ophelia Dances and two hugely successful children’s operas – Where the Wild Things Are and Higglety Pigglety Pop!

Only last week Knussen was given an honorary doctorate by the Royal Academy of Music, where he was also the Richard Rodney Bennett Professor of Music.

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Watch: A Massive Theremin Ensemble Plays ‘Ode to Joy’

July 3, 2018

The theremin is a slightly odd instrument, which doesn’t even need to be touched to be played. Here’s how it works: the theremin player stands in front of the instrument, while moving their hands around its two metal antennae. One antenna controls the pitch, while the other determines the volume. Then, electric signals from the theremin are amplified and the sound is projected through a loudspeaker.

In the video, the Da ensemble play on what sound like theremins, but are actually matryomins. Matryomins are one-antenna theremins, which are then inserted into a Matryoshika figure, AKA a Russian doll.

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Study Reveals Brains of Jazz and Classical Musicians Work Differently

June 4, 2018

A study published by the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (MPI CBS) in January found that musicians who work in the two fields demonstrate substantially different brain activity, even when they’re playing the same music.

The research could help explain why musicians seem to excel in one or other style, and not usually in both.

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Royal Wedding Cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason Is Now a Chart Topper

May 22, 2018

The Royal Wedding cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason has shot to the top of the US iTunes pop chart with his album, Inspiration. Saturday’s wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex St George’s Chapel in Windsor was watched by millions around the world, and while all still recover from a weekend of celebrations, an extraordinary classical legacy has emerged.

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What Music Was Played at the Royal Wedding?

May 21, 2018

During the beautiful service that saw Prince Harry marry Meghan Markle, we heard some truly stunning music – but what was it? In the prelude to the ceremony itself, it’s no surprise to see a large quotient of British composers represented, including Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Peter Warlock.

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