BERLIN’S COUP

Franz Xaver Ohnesorg was controversial as the head of Carnegie Hall. But news he’s going to run the Berlin Philharmonic is being greeted by the Germans as a coup.  He was first considered for the job with Berlin’s leading orchestra in 1996, but withdrew because the Berlin Senate’s regulations seemed too restrictive. He believes that cultural institutions need to be managed as business enterprises, as “cultural service providers.” – Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

RICHEST PRIZE

The American Academy of Arts and Letters has awarded Chen Yi, a prolific composer who was born in China and became an American citizen last year, as the second winner of the Charles Ives Living, a $225,000 prize awarded every three years. “The Ives Living, which is the largest prize available exclusively to composers, was established in 1998, and is paid in three annual installments of $75,000.”  New York Times

DEATH BY DICTIONARY

The long-awaited new edition of the New Grove music dictionary – the definitive music reference work, has mistakenly killed off Gilles Tremblay, one of Canada’s most well-known composers. “Naturally, these mistakes do happen, but that’s a particularly bad one. We really do try not to kill people off if at all possible.” – CBC

A PROTEST UPHELD

When they stood up and booed Harrison Birtwistle’s “Gawain” at the Royal Opera House, they were branded “musical terrorists,” protesting Birtwistle’s gnarly music. Subsequently they were known as “The Hecklers”, fighting against modern music by disrupting high-profile performances. But “when a national newspaper labelled Keith Burstein, one of the co-founders of the group, a heckler, he angrily claimed it was ‘an outright lie’. He successfully sued for libel and was awarded £8,000.” – The Scotsman

NAPSTER BACKLASH?

Fans understand Napster’s just trying to survive, but its alliance with corporate biggies and the likelihood it will start charging turns fans off. “Napster is just one of many ways for people to get music. It can easily be substituted with a similar service. Its not about Napster, its about what it can do for me – even though I do love Napster.” – Chicago Tribune

WHY WE STILL CELEBRATE BACH

“More than any other composer, Bach revealed within this language the immense power of the small detail, the significance each motif could have within the tonal language: he can make his contemporaries seem insipid. Nevertheless, in addition to the grand and even startlingly original effects of his imagination conceived throughout his life, he was able to demonstrate the latent expressive force that resided in pure craftsmanship, in a simple technical competence that amounted to genius.” – New York Review of Books