A Tale Of Two Book Festivals

“For obvious cultural and plainly practical reasons, it runs counter to logic that Spokane should have a better literary festival than Seattle does. The disparity between what Get Lit!’s organizers have to work with and what Bookfest’s organizers have to work with is staggering. Bookfest has name recognition, a 10-year history, and a $600,000 annual budget. Get Lit! has hardly any name recognition, a six-year history, and a $180,000 budget. And don’t forget that it takes place in Spokane. So how is it possible that Bookfest fails on so many levels where Get Lit! succeeds? How can it be that Spokane, a city so putatively inferior, does this book-festival thing so much better than we do?”

Cleveland Orch Spurns Proms Over Web Payments

The Cleveland Orchestra has declined an invitation to perform at the BBC Proms because its concerts would be webcast on a BBC website with no additional payment to the Cleveland musicians. Norman Lebrecht cannot believe his ears: “Open access is what makes the Proms a magnet for the world’s great orchestras who, after the formalities of their overlong seasons, feast upon its effervescent atmosphere like nomads at an oasis. The trade-off is that everyone does it on the cheap… We are not talking here of the poor and downtrodden of the musical earth. The basic wage in the Cleveland Orchestra is $97,090 per annum, twice the going rate for London musicians and for less than half the work.”

BBC To Up Culture Programming

The BBC says it will dramatically increase its arts anc culture programming. “A new arts programme called The Culture Show will air on BBC Two along with a media analysis show on BBC Four. BBC Radio 2 will relaunch its weekly arts strand and increase the number of hours it dedicates to the arts to more than 100 hours per year.”

Ontario Orchestra Decides Not To Rehire Music Director

Several months ago the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony fired music director Martin Fischer-Dieskau. But an uprising among the orchestra’s supporters won a commitment to re-hire him. After months of negotiations, though, the orchestra has decided not to rehire him. “Negotiations between Fischer-Dieskau, the symphony board and management fell apart over the weekend, with the symphony eventually deciding Tuesday evening that it could not meet with the Berlin-based conductor’s demands, which reportedly included full artistic leadership of the symphony.”

The Writing Soldiers

A new National Endowment for the Arts program aims to teach soldiers how to write. The program will involve some popular literary stars. “Workshops in fiction and non-fiction will be open to U.S. military personnel and their families, at bases across America and elsewhere in the world. The instructors will include poet Marilyn Nelson, as well as Tom Clancy, the author of best-selling technothrillers, and the award winning novelists and short story writers Bobbie Ann Mason and Tobias Wolff.”

iTunes At One

“When Apple launched its online music store in the US on 28 April 2003, few could have predicted the impact it would have. But a year later, iTunes has helped transform the fortunes of the flagging global music industry, selling about 70 million songs and proving, once and for all, that there is a market for paid-for music online.”

The Man Who Loved Words

“What started out as a memorial service for Daniel J. Boorstin yesterday at the Library of Congress also turned into a lovefest for books, reading and the power of the written word. More than 200 people gathered in the Thomas Jefferson Building to honor the bookish, bespectacled, super-brainy man who was given to wearing bow ties. Boorstin served as the 12th librarian of Congress, from 1975 to 1987, and he died in late February of pneumonia at age 89.”

Curtis Hits Its Goal Early

Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music, arguably the nation’s top conservatory, has raised the $35 million it set as a goal in its latest fund drive several months ahead of schedule. The money will be distributed to several parts of the institution, but the bulk will go the the school’s endowment, which – at $127 million – is larger than that of all but a few major American orchestras, and is a huge boon for a school which does not charge tuition to its 161 students.