Back In The Fold

San Antonio’s Kronkosky Foundation withdrew its support for the San Antonio Symphony a year ago, saying it had no confidence that the organization was capable of operating responsibly. Now, as the SAS prepares to return to the stage after a dark year, the foundation is returning as well, offering up a $250,000 grant with tough financial triggers. “Beginning in August, the folks at Kronkosky want the symphony to meet specific monthly revenue targets through ticket sales, sponsorships and fund raising” in exchange for the money. The hope is that the Kronkosky grant will be a sign to other funders that the orchestra is worthy of their attention.

Should The Bamiyans Be Rebuilt?

Should the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan be rebuilt? They were destroyed two years ago by the Taliban. “The statues looked solid but they were fashioned out of the cliff here because the sandstone is soft. Now the remains are mostly sand. The idea of rebuilding seems laughable. But these piles are the cause of one of the most passionate debates in archaeology.”

When Pop Musicians Break “Classical”

Many pop musicians seem to want to take a whack at composing “classical” music. But why, wonders Greg Sandow. “Why do these terrific musicians — really lively spirits, in their own area — put on handcuffs when they write classical music? There might be two reasons. First, classical music is too well-bred. Or, at least, the classical music world is. People come to it from outside with genuine respect, and do what the Romans do. Second, classical music is largely defined by older repertoire, so when people from outside come to it, that’s what attracts them, and that’s what they move towards.”

America’s First Arts Journalism Degree (It’s In Syracuse)

Syracuse Universuty has announced America’s first degree program in arts journalism. “While a few general cultural reporting and some short-term mid-career enhancement programs exist throughout the United States, this is the first program from an accredited university to grant a degree in arts journalism.” It starts in the 2005-06 school year.

Been There, Done That…

“The fleeting melancholy and euphoria associated with déjà vu have attracted the interest of poets, novelists, and occultists of many stripes. St. Augustine, Sir Walter Scott, Dickens, and Tolstoy all wrote detailed accounts of such experiences. Most academic psychologists, however, have ignored the topic since around 1890, when there was a brief flurry of interest. The phenomenon seems at once too rare and too ephemeral to capture in a laboratory.”

Magnificent Organ (If Only It Worked)

The Royal Albert Hall organ is a magnificent beast. “It has 9,999 pipes, 147 stops, weighs 150 tons, and at its loudest sounds like a jet taking off. It is a quite magnificent beast that the Royal Albert Hall has just spent £1.7m restoring to all its Victorian majesty. Which is why there was a palpable air of embarrassment hanging over the hall yesterday, because on Saturday the damn thing wouldn’t work: not a squeak from one of its much-vaunted 9,999 pipes.”

Poetry And The Presidential Candidate

Improbably, US presidential candidate John Kerry has been reciting poetry oon the campaign trail. “Although there isn’t a strict separation between the worlds of presidential politics and poetry, they don’t collide with great frequency these days. And Kerry’s use of Let America Be America Again, a poem written by the late Langston Hughes, represents a head-on collision.”