The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music new clips for Nov. 20: Yo-Yo Ma to get Medal of Freedom from President Obama. James Levine withdraws but James Conlon stays on. Will populism and politics help or hurt classical music?

November 20, 2010

By Jacob Stockinger

It’s Saturday – so here is my weekly news update with some clips that I hope you find as enjoyable and informative as I did.

Some patterns are beginning to emerge as the first half of the season closes out:

One is that some major organizations, symphonic and operatic, are in trouble. It all makes the Madison scene look healthy.

Another is that all the talk about mixing pop music and classical music to attract younger viewers may be misguided. But people want to know more.

Read on and see what you think:


Does the classical aspect help or hurt songwriter Rufus Wainwright (below)?


The health of conductor James Levine (below) is still in question, especially after he withdrew from a live performance:


Music director James Conlon (below) extends his time with LA Opera:


Superstar cellist Yo-Yo Ma (below), champion of classical and ethnic world music (The Silk Road Ensemble) is to be awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama, for whose inauguration he played:


New recordings suggest the future of Minimalism as practiced by Steve Reich (below top) and Arvo Part (below bottom) is assured:


Politics is hurting the chances of China’s possible dominance in classical music:


Will taking classical music to the streets — as superstar violinist Joshua Bell (below) did in a subway — benefit its future?


Now 42 years later, the Berlin Philharmonic with conductor Simon Rattle (below) returns to the Arab world – with Brahms:


Will Opera Cleveland (below) fall silent?


Things remain bleak at the Detroit Symphony (below):

Posted in Classical music

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