“The government is to pay a cash premium to help schools coach bright pupils from the poorest homes…. Every school will be invited to nominate pupils on free school meals who are academically gifted or have a talent in sports or the arts to qualify for a Â£250 annual payment per pupil.” The money is intended to provide students “the additional experiences that middle-class children take for granted, such as theatre trips or extra coaching.”
“The recession is forcing some Canadian art museums and galleries to cancel, reschedule, rejig or indefinitely postpone exhibitions – both new ones and those on tour from elsewhere…. And even where it isn’t a direct contributing factor, the sputtering economy is, in the words of one director, ‘making us rethink how we go about partnering, organizing and what we bring in.’ One silver lining: The impact has been less harsh here than in the United States.”
“The Stratford Shakespeare Festival, squeezed by declining ticket sales and a vanishing pool of American tourists, is asking its board of governors to donate funds toward the 2010 season. … The board is believed to be close to approving a season of substantially fewer plays than the 14 on the 2009 playbill.”
“Christian Thielemann, chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic since 2004, will not have his contract renewed when it expires in 2011. … The sticking point was a clause which gave the orchestra’s general director, Paul Mueller, the final say in the choice of guest conductors and repertoire over Thielemann.”
“From YouTube to manufacturers’ websites, from bulletin boards to iPhone and BlackBerry applications that mimic ukes and teach chords, the Internet has been stoking the craze for nearly two years and unveiling fresh talent. ‘The number of new players keeps going up,’ said Mike DaSilva of Berkeley, who ditched a 20-year software career to make ukuleles.”
“[He] clearly tapped a rich vein of reader interest with his racy and sometimes graphic tales of affluent, ambitious, powerful black men – athletes, businessmen, lawyers and the like – who nonetheless struggled with their attraction to both men and women. His books married the superficial glamour of jet-setting potboilers with an emotional candor that shed light on a segment of society that had received little attention: black men on the down low.”
“Management of the Skylight Opera Theatre” – controversial managing (and now artistic) director Eric Dillner and a brand-new interim board chairman – “met with dissident artists Friday morning to open another chapter in the controversy that began with the firing of artistic director William Theisen on June 16.” None of the artists, including a number of company stars, “showed any inclination to return to the fold as long as Dillner is in place.”
Saying that he is “happy and relieved”, festival artistic director Jürgen Flimm “announced Friday he had signed a deal allowing him to quit Salzburg in 2010, a year early, to join the Berlin State Opera.” His successor, Alexander Pereira of the Zurich Opera House, does not begin until October 2011, so a search is on for a one-year interim director.