The New Superstars Of The Steppes

In Soviet times, scouts from Moscow and Leningrad regularly roamed into the USSR’s furthest outposts, discovering children for free training – the Siberian Rudolf Nureyev, the Kazakhi Altynai Asylmuratova, the Uzbekh Farouk Ruzimatov and the Georgian Nina Ananiashvili, for example. Since the end of communism, regions have lost free access to the Mariinsky and Bolshoi schools, and increasingly the companies’ profile is narrowing on to a north-western population. This has opened interesting opportunities for ex-republics such as Georgia who are building their own…

A Lot Of Fanfare Over Nothing?

A debate about Fanfare magazine’s pay-for-review policy has broken out, but Kyle Gann believes the debate is overblown. “Given the largely labor-of-love basis on which Fanfare was run, the paid ads seemed to do little beyond ensuring that the magazine would continue to appear. Nobody was getting rich off it, or even anywhere near well-recompensed. With so much massive corporate evil besetting the music business and everyone else from all sides, I have to regard poor little Fanfare as a rather uncharitably chosen target.”

A New Respect For Chicago’s Drawing Power

For years, Chicago’s theatre scene has been treated by New York as just another stop on the national touring schedule, and unworthy of the semi-permanent productions enjoyed by audiences in select cities like Toronto and Los Angeles. But a touring production of Wicked has proved so successful in the Windy City that it has been granted permanent status, thus breaking the so-called ‘Chicago curse’. “

Cleveland Orchestra Bassist Killed

Charles Barr, 31, was the ultimate orchestral success story: he graduated from Curtis in 1997, became principal bassist of the Charleston Symphony shortly thereafter, and in 2002, landed a dream job in the bass section of the Cleveland Orchestra. He was an active outdoorsman and avid mountain biker. And all of that came to an abrupt and tragic end last week when Barr lost control of his bike and swerved into the path of a pickup truck.

Beijing Bans Foreign Cartoons

In an effort to promote homegrown productions, the Chinese government has banned foreign-made cartoons from prime-time television schedules. “Foreign cartoons, especially from Japan, are hugely popular with China’s 250 million children and the country’s own animation studios have struggled to compete. Communist leaders are said to be frustrated that so many cartoons are foreign-made, especially after efforts to build up Chinese animation studios.”

Orchestras Struggling With New Flight Rules

The strict no-hand luggage measures imposed on UK air travelers following the arrest of 24 individuals suspected of a plot to blow up transatlantic flights is wreaking havoc with touring orchestras accustomed to carrying their instruments on board. Members of the Bolshoi Theatre’s orchestra, in the waning days of a summer residence in London, will likely have to travel home by rail to avoid risking damage to their instruments, which cannot safely be stowed in a plane’s cargo hold. Meanwhile, at least two American orchestras (Pittsburgh and Minnesota) will be kicking off European tours which include stops in the UK within the next week, and organizers are scrambling to make contingency plans.

AMPAS Grant Goes To SF Film Fest

“The San Francisco International Film Festival, approaching its 50th anniversary, has received a three-year grant from the Academy Foundation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The grant, totaling $150,000, has been awarded to only two festivals in past years: the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Telluride Film Festival.”

Architect Problems in Cleveland

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is well on the way to raising the money it needs for an ambitious expansion and renovation, and museum officials have spent the last several years selling local residents and civic leaders on the necessity of such a project. There’s just one problem: “The architect selection process, which the museum hopes to complete by Oct. 31, doesn’t match the sophistication of the institution itself.”

Caught Up In Events

Multiculturalism has been a defining goal for European societies for decades, but terrorism fears have recently caused many to question whether certain groups (namely, hardline Islamists) should have a role i western societies. For a generation of young Islamic authors living in Europe, it is more than an idle debate. “Until the literary world is fully integrated (both in terms of the authors out there, and what they write), and in light of the unnerving events that rattled the world this week, writers… wonder if they will continue to face questions about representation and authenticity ad nauseum.”