Sondheim In The Round

At 74, Stephen Sondheim remains “available to his work, ever ready to amend and develop. As a result no two revivals are likely to sound the same. The small-bore Sweeney Todd at Trafalgar Square at the end of the month will be worlds apart from the full-orchestra Royal Opera House production, yet both are true to concept, as are many fringe and amateur stagings; there are 17 Sweeneys this summer across the UK and North America. For a man without a Broadway blockbuster or a pop-chart song, Sondheim has unrivalled diversity to his appeal.”

Source: La Scena Musicale - 07/13/04

FCC Crackdown Has Public Broadcasters Running Scared

The FCC’s recent crackdown on “obscenity” isn’t likely to change much of what commercial broadcasters choose to put on the air. After all, with most TV networks and radio stations now owned by a few multi-billion dollar corporations, the potential $500,000 fines are a slap on the wrist. But for public broadcasting, where every dollar of programming money has to be begged and cajoled from either viewers or the government, the fines have the potential to be crippling. Accordingly, PBS, public radio, and some individual public stations are working overtime to get rid of anything that sounds even remotely controversial, even when it’s just a single word from an innocuous British sitcom or a sound byte embedded in an award-winning documentary series.

Source: The Christian Science Monitor - 07/13/04

Zero Sum Game – Libeskind Sues Over WTC Job

Architect Daniel Libeskind is suing the developer of the World Trade Center site. “In court papers filed July 13, Mr. Libeskind claimed that Mr. Silverstein owes his firm $843,750 for the architectural work it performed on the Freedom Tower between July and December of 2003. Mr. Silverstein allegedly last offered around $225,000 for the work, a figure that Mr. Libeskind has called “insulting,” and which he has said is in retaliation for the way his vision for the skyscraper clashed with that of Mr. Silverstein’s architect on the project, David Childs, of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill.”

Source: New York Observer - 07/13/04

Aix – Reinventing, One Year After Nothing

Last year’s AIx Festival had to be canceled because of labor unrest. This year the festival starts over. “Aix has always been the prince of French music festivals since it was founded in 1948. It is based in a rich university town with well-preserved aristocratic mansions, winding streets and squares protected from the strong provençal sun by the essential plane trees; a white collar town full of lawyers that looks down on blue collar city of Marseilles, barely 30 kilometres away.”

Source: Financial Times - 07/13/04

Nothing Amateur About This Music Competition

The second Washington International Piano Amateur Competition wasn’t about starting careers. “Participants seemed to take sheer pleasure in refining their technique and playing before an audience. It was also apparent that the amateur piano-playing world is a bit of an incestuous society, and the event was as much a chance for the participants to catch up with old friends as an opportunity to hone their Schubert or Beethoven. There was a nice purity to it all: comfortable people reveling in all the aspects of music and piano playing.”

Source: Washington Post - 07/13/04

Teachout Named To National Arts Council

AJBlogger Terry Teachout has been named by President George Bush to be a member of the National Council on the Arts. Terry is also drama critic for The Wall Street Journal and music critic for Commentary magazine. Also nominated is “James K. Ballinger, who specializes in American art, has been director of the Phoenix Art Museum since 1982. He has overseen major exhibitions on the works of Diego Rivera, Frank Lloyd Wright and Frederic Remington.”

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - 07/13/04