The Trouble With This Orchestra Is… Classical Music?

The Oregon Symphony’s new manager says bold steps are needed if she’s going to save the orchestra. What needs changing, according to her analysis? “We do a lot of classical programming.” Too much, she means. “At the beginning of the 21st century, you can no longer look at any market as homogenous. You’ve got to find niche markets, and I don’t see too much of that here.”

Are We Getting Less British?

“Blaming foreigners for an imagined decline in Britishness is a terrible but commonplace calumny. In fact, as a handful of the more Enlightened traditionalists have noticed, immigrants are more likely to uphold Victorian values of family self-sufficiency, modesty, reserve, piety than native-born British libertines, who never pray, can’t keep their trousers on and vomit on tradition.”

Finding Good Music In The Age Of Hype

“Today, it’s hard to know when buzz is more than just noise. In an age of accelerated connection, the buzz around every art form has intensified, but nowhere as much as in music. The growing ease of music-making and distribution resulted in 60,000 releases (that’s in the U.S. alone) last year. Downloadable music multiplies that number like bunnies in spring. And pop’s historical embrace of novelty and amateurism means that few heavy gates stop the flow.”

Diagnosis Dickens

“Dickens has long been recognized as a skillful and accurate chronicler of human behavior. His characters are rendered with a realist’s dedicated, unstinting eye. Physician readers of Dickens’s stories have commented on the precision with which he portrays his characters’ quirks and oddities — many of which are now recognized as disease states. Some of his most memorable characters are virtual case studies of diseases that were not described or understood until long after Dickens’s time.”