A New Star Conductor?

Comparisons between Gustavo Dudamel (26) and Britain’s Simon Rattle have been frequently voiced, and Rattle has, indeed, been eloquent in praise of this remarkable newcomer. It’s not just the mop of curly hair, however; if you watch early Rattle DVDs… you see that same eagerness to put things across, that obsession almost to reach into the orchestra and pull things out into the light, that made everything in last week’s concert, wherever you sat in Disney Hall, more vivid, more thrilling. We need conductors like that; now we have one more.”

Procrastination As A Scientific Formula

“Insights into our procrastinating ways may help explain why humans struggle with long-term problems that require immediate solutions such as climate change and mounting public debt. And by reducing human motivation to a formula, powerful computer models can be put to work to predict our choices (and perhaps create avatars that will successfully mimic us in online worlds).”

Sri Lanka Draws Foreign Authors For Festival

The 61 authors attending Sri Lanka’s inaugural Galle Literary Festival include “author and historian William Dalrymple, Man Booker prize winner Kiran Desai, Arthur C Clarke and chef and actress Madhur Jaffrey. That they came at all to a first and untested book festival is commendable. But to an island which appears to be sliding towards civil war in the north and east is all the more remarkable.”

Thankyou On The Job Site

Faculty members of Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music decided to thank workers building a new concert hall for the school by going out to the construction site and playing music for them. “The 1,140-seat concert hall is set to open early next year. When the conservatory faculty heard about PCL’s thank-you lunch, members offered to provide a half hour of music.”

Is The Art Market Ready To Cool?

“The ArtTactic Market Confidence Indicator increased 1 percent in the six months through November after a 26 percent surge in the previous year, said surveyor ArtTactic Ltd. Collectors said a global economic slowdown would be the art market’s greatest risk. Hedge funds’ use of leverage and soaring prices for young, unproven artists also were a concern, ArtTactic said.”

A Theatre Legacy Prepared For The Future?

“The Royal Court has arguably been the engine that has driven British theatre for the past 50 years, a contention more widely recognised abroad than at home. Living dramatists, you might think, have never had it so good. Yet there is a strong opposition that argues that the future lies elsewhere – that young audiences are bored with text-based plays, and crave group-devised work, visual and physical theatre, and site-specific experiments.”

Celebrity Bios – Irrational Exuberance?

“Gleeful predictions that the celebrity biography bubble would burst and leave an almighty mess over publishing were all the rage in the run-up to Christmas. Shelves in bookshops and supermarkets were groaning under the weight of the offspring of this publishing frenzy: new tomes by more than 50 famous folk. Instead, the book business reaped a bumper harvest in cash terms…