Building A Better Orchestra Player

“Too many orchestras, intent on recruiting absolutely the best players (however such a subjective thing may be measured), have tended to undervalue a musician’s skills at outreach. With a new program announced on Tuesday, Clive Gillinson, the executive and artistic director of Carnegie Hall, and Joseph W. Polisi, the president of the Juilliard School, will try to alter that thinking.”

Pappano Extends His Stay At Covent Garden

To the great relief of many, Antonio Pappano has re-upped as music director of Covent Garden. “With New York’s Metropolitan Opera allegedly grooming him for succession on the event of James Levine’s retirement, the rumour mill went into overdrive when Pappano’s contract came up for renewal. The consensus was that, stung by the constant criticism of his choice of directors and weary of being ‘dismissed in one sentence’ in reviews of Götterdämmerung, he would not be staying.”

Why Do People Hate LA?

“Los Angeles has been hated and disrespected for a long time, publicly and privately, by people who live here, by people who visit, by newcomers and old-timers, by writers and commentators and immigrants and transients. For a city that has produced so much art — in film, painting and literature — it remains the place, as Woody Allen famously noted, whose ‘only cultural advantage is that you can make a right turn on a red light’.”

Zubin Mehta’s Edge

“Of the many words written about Mehta over the years, ‘subtle’ has rarely been one of them. His nearly five-decade professional career has propelled him from a musical home in Mumbai (then called Bombay) through a prestigious apprenticeship in Vienna to the head of the most demanding orchestras on three continents. Along the path from prodigy to graying star he has emerged as perhaps the most dashing personality in the ostensibly staid world of classical music, the embodiment of a quickening cultural globalization that he has harnessed often in service of his beliefs, artistic and otherwise.”

On Erasing The Language Of Hatred

Actor-comedian Michael Richards’ explosive onstage use of the word “nigger” has ignited a movement to obliterate the term and substitute the euphemism “the ‘n’ word.” The idea has comedians debating the power of language, and some, like Dick Gregory, are pointing to the danger of sanitizing speech. ” ‘Calling it “the ‘n’ word” is an insult,’ said Mr. Gregory, whose 1964 memoir was titled ‘Nigger.’ ‘It should be just as much an insult to Jews if they started changing concentration camp to “the ‘c’ word” and swastika to “the ‘s’ word.” You just destroyed history.’ “

Borrowing As Artistry, Not Theft

Contemplating the Ian McEwan plagiarism accusations, Charles Isherwood nearly sighs aloud. “Doesn’t it seem wearying, this stream of ‘gotcha’ stories trumpeting the news that a novelist or a lyricist or a playwright has used a few turns of phrase or the curves of somebody else’s life story without proper accreditation, or with improper specificity? I half expect to read of a lawsuit brought by a journalist covering last year’s plagiarism scandal against a journalist covering this year’s, asserting copyright infringement.”