All That And He’ll Need To Conduct, Too

The Baltimore Symphony has a little more than a year to go before the final departure of music director Yuri Temirkanov, and the search for a replacement has been underway for months. But so far, there doesn’t appear to be a frontrunner (despite early rumors that BSO management was tilting towards Marin Alsop) and community surveys have indicated that concertgoers don’t much care whether the new boss is an American or agrees to live in Baltimore, two qualifications frequently valued by music critics and orchestra insiders. The BSO is also struggling to bring a massive accumulated deficit under control, and the very real need for reinvigorated fundraising will figure prominently in the search process.

Another Arrest In Munch Theft

Police have nabbed a fourth suspect in the brazen theft of Edvard Munch’s classic painting, The Scream, arresting the man at his job in suburban Oslo. The paintings stolen from the city’s Munch Museum have yet to be recovered, and media speculation has raised the possibility that the works were burned. Police officials deny that this is the case, and insist that they are still hopeful that the art can be recovered.

An Attempt To Stop TV Piracy

Come July, American TV programs will carry a digital flag that producers hope will deter piracy. “The flag will be attached to ‘over the air’ digital content–both network and local station programs, such as movies or prime-time series on NBC. Any device with a digital TV tuner can grab that content, whether it comes over an antenna or through a cable or satellite set-top box. The flag, basically a piece of code, will travel with any show that the broadcaster wants to protect.”

Is Free Music The Successful Musician’s Strategy?

“In the USA, free downloads of copyrighted music are driving the recording industry to sue teenagers and holler about the morality of obtaining songs for free. But if China is the future, that’s all in vain. The genie is out of the bottle. Eventually, recorded music will no longer make money. That would be nice for consumers and really bad for record companies and retailers. But the biggest concern is that this will be terrible for artists. If artists can’t earn money, economic logic says they might stop making music, which would be a major loss for society. But is that equation true?”

Saving Chinese Artifacts (A Complicated Job)

“Chinese officials have asked the United States government to share responsibility for the depletion of Chinese artifacts in the country by imposing restrictions on the import to the U.S. of all cultural property over 95 years old. They argue that huge demand in the United States for China’s rich cultural heritage is the root cause for increased looting and smuggling of artifacts and works of art. China is not the first country to ask the United States to impose import restrictions on antiquities. The controversy surrounding China’s request stems from the fact that the list of items presented to U.S. customs authorities as imports to be prohibited is far more sweeping than current restrictions on export of cultural items from the country.”

Operatic Fast Food, Quite Enjoyable

One might be skeptical of Lorin Maazel’s new opera “1984,” getting its premiere this week at the Royal Opera House, writes Rupert Christiansen. But “stir the mixture, and the result is a cleverly concocted piece of operatic fast-food, stuffed with musical additives and devoid of substantial nurtritional value, but quite engrossing and enjoyable. The audience was clearly absorbed throughout and the reception was generally enthusiastic.”

The Philly Orchestra’s New Record-Everything Policy

The Philadelphia Orchestra’ has decided to record all of its concerts, and will release recordings of the performances it likes. “We are in the business of telling audiences that every performance is different. The recordings we’re making are not designed to document perfection, but to capture the excitement of the live concert experience. If it’s good and we’re happy with it, we’ll release it. The orchestra’s new three-year agreement with Ondine for at least three releases a year makes it the only Big Five orchestra (Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, New York and Philadelphia) with a record deal.”