SONG OF FREEDOM

In the 1970’s a group of musicians in Chile set the revolution to music by forming the New Song movement – a mix of folk music, contemporary protest song, popular poetry and added Andean pan pipes, flutes and the charango, a tiny mandolin-style guitar. The Pinochet regime quickly banned all instruments associated with the movement, and one singer was murdered.  Pinochet’s return to Chile has brought fear of oppression, causing musicians to raise their instruments again in protest. – The Scotsman

JOFFREY REBIRTH

When it fled New York and landed in Chicago five years ago, the Joffrey Ballet was broke and nearly busted. But the Midwest has been kind, and the company has staged a rebirth. “People ask me when we’re going back to New York to dance, says artistic director Gerald Arpino. “I tell them, `When the New York dance companies tour to Chicago, then we’ll return for a visit to New York.’ But this is a Chicago company now.” – Chicago Tribune

SO WHAT’S IN A NAME?

The famed Imperial Ballet of Russia finally made its North American debut this week in Toronto. Or did it? Well, something called the Imperial ballet showed up, but in name only. Like many Russian performing arts companies these days, the Imperial is little more than one of those Russian pick-up troupes of freelance dancers that spends most of its time touring the world and trading off the dwindling mystique of an appropriated name. – National Post (Canada)

CAN PASSION BE TAUGHT?

Conductor Seiji Ozawa thinks so. He’s set up a school in Japan and hopes to teach students to express their passions by exploring and performing Mozart’s operas. “He hopes the undercurrents intended by the 18th century composer–be they romantic, melancholic or tragic–will stir the students enough to overcome their cultural reserve and play with more zeal.” – Los Angeles Times