A High-Pressure Countdown for the New York Philharmonic’s New Maestro

September 20, 2018

Introducing Mr. van Zweden, 57, to New Yorkers is the Philharmonic’s first order of business. The orchestra has mounted a publicity campaign with posters, TV spots and web ads; programmed premieres to add spice to his opening weeks; and planned performances for city workers and others in April, at which all tickets will cost $5.

But rolling out a new maestro is not easy in 2018. The city may be a classical music capital, but the art form rarely breaks through to the broader culture, or even the local news. And the Philharmonic faces intense challenges as it greets him, most pressingly the much-delayed task of renovating its drab hall. So the stakes were high as the orchestra spent a week preparing to debut its new maestro on Thursday.

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New Way to Pay Songwriters and Musicians in the Streaming Age Advances

July 10, 2018

In an effort to update music copyright law for the digital age, the various players involved — tech companies, music publishers, songwriters, musicians and radio broadcasters — assembled an ambitious bill that addressed their concerns.

The bill is meant to correct the flaws and loopholes that have led musicians to complain about unfair compensation from streaming services, while also protecting companies like Spotify from lawsuits. It also establishes a truce between music publishers and digital music services over an aspect of licensing that has led to a string of multimillion-dollar lawsuits.

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No Need to Hire a Babysitter for These Concerts

June 29, 2018

For people who spent their pre-child-rearing years attending operas, symphonies and concerts, having a baby can put a damper on accessing cultural events. Bach to Baby, created by the Chinese-Canadian concert pianist Miaomiao Yu in 2009, was set up to address this issue, giving parents the opportunity to enjoy quality music without stares and shushing. Bach to Baby’s other mission is to expose children to classical music (the group also holds concerts for other musical genres including opera, jazz and traditional folk) from an early age.

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Lost John Coltrane Recording From 1963 Will Be Released at Last

June 8, 2018

In the years leading up to “A Love Supreme,” his explosive 1965 magnum opus, John Coltrane produced eight albums for Impulse! Records featuring the members of his so-called classic quartet — the bassist Jimmy Garrison, the drummer Elvin Jones and the pianist McCoy Tyner — but only two of those, “Coltrane” and “Crescent,” were earnest studio efforts aimed at distilling the band’s live ethic.

On Friday, Impulse! will announce the June 29 release of “Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album,” a full set of material recorded by the John Coltrane Quartet on a single day in March 1963, then eventually stashed away and lost. The family of Coltrane’s first wife, Juanita Naima Coltrane, recently discovered his personal copy of the recordings, which she had saved, and brought it to the label’s attention.

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Interest Grows in a Master of Choral Mystery and Power

June 6, 2018

Swiss composer Frank Martin’s works are finding new advocates in the United States, among them the conductor Joe Miller, who lead the Mass at the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, S.C., joined by his Westminster Choir.

While Martin’s instrumental pieces are occasionally heard in America, his choral music remains rare. His Requiem, which was given its premiere by the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in 1973, has been presented only once in this country, according to its publisher, Universal Edition. But interest is growing.

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A Revolutionary ‘Sinfonia’ Returns to the Philharmonic

May 30, 2018

“Sinfonia” of Luciano Berio (1925-2003) was commissioned by the Philharmonic for its 125th anniversary in 1968 and dedicated to Leonard Bernstein, the orchestra’s music director at the time. A harbinger of musical postmodernism, it uncannily captured the capacious spirit of its era and dedicatee.

“Once or twice in a century,” Mr. Bychkov said last week, “somebody will create something that will change our idea of what music can be. Beethoven did it with the ‘Eroica’ Symphony, Wagner did it with ‘Parsifal,’ and Stravinsky did it with ‘Le Sacre du Printemps.’ Luciano’s ‘Sinfonia’ was next.”

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In New York High Schools, the Sound of Music Is Muted

May 16, 2018

Between 2002 and 2013, New York City closed 69 high schools, most of them large schools with thousands of students, and in their place opened new, smaller schools. But one downside of the new, small schools is that it is much harder for them to offer specialized programs, whether advanced classes, sports teams, or art or music classes, than it was for the large schools that they replaced.

Educators say the key to maintaining a robust music program on small school campuses is collaboration. To succeed, principals must coordinate bell schedules, share classroom space and even split teacher salaries.

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Gayle Shepherd of the Singing Shepherd Sisters Dies at 81

May 10, 2018

Gayle Shepherd, a member of the vocal quartet the Shepherd Sisters, best known for the 1957 hit,  Alone (Why Must I Be Alone), died on Monday at a care facility in Allentown, Pa. She was 81.

Ms. Shepherd, the second youngest of eight siblings, grew up singing in church in Middletown, Ohio. She and two sisters, Martha and MaryLou, performed locally as the Shepherd Sisters beginning when they were teenagers, with Gayle often singing lead.

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