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News & Information

Academics & Education: April 2008 Archives

Music School Enrollment Soaring

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The Colburn School by Dennis Keeley

Music schools seeing influx of funds

By Howard Reich
Chicago Tribune

The numbers alone are staggering:

$90 million
for Northwestern University's new music school building in Evanston;

$120 million
for the recently completed Colburn School conservatory in Los Angeles;

$193 million
for the physical expansion of the Juilliard School in New York.

And that's not all. Tens of millions of dollars more are pouring into other music schools across the country – in an era when professional symphony orchestras are struggling to survive and jazz clubs are an increasingly endangered species (outside urban centers such as Chicago, New York and New Orleans).

Which raises the question: Why is so much money from foundations, individuals and universities funneling into institutions that train ultra-sophisticated musicians? Performance opportunities for classical and jazz artists – primary beneficiaries of higher education in music – would seem limited in a pop culture world.

Read more about this at the Chicago Tribune website:

   http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/chi-0420_musicapr20,1,6305410.story

Fiske Museum Collection Sold

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A Departure Sadly Noted

Seldom shown for lack of funding, the Claremont Colleges' rare musical instrument collection is sold.

By Larry Gordon
Los Angeles Times

For lovers of rare musical instruments, the Fiske Museum at the Claremont Colleges long has been an astonishing if somewhat mysterious collection.

Its 1,200 instruments from around the world include an 18th-century Italian mandolin, unusual over-the-shoulder military brasses from the Civil War era, a gourd fiddle from Africa and a 9-foot-long temple trumpet from Tibet.

The museum had limited visiting hours at its home in the windowless basement of Bridges Auditorium for three decades, and then it closed altogether 16 months ago, partly because of a lack of upkeep funds. Now, almost the entire batch – harpsichords, pianos, clarinets, banjos and cymbals – will leave its home in Claremont and be sold for an undisclosed price to a music museum under construction in Arizona.

The move is triggering strong protests from some music faculty members, who say Claremont is losing a cultural treasure. But other officials are expressing relief that the collection will have a better-funded steward and a lot more public exposure at the new Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, an ambitious project financially backed by Robert Ulrich, chairman of Target Corp.

Read more about this at the Los Angeles Times website:

   http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-fiske21apr21,0,4155195.story

Top European Music Festivals

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Ensemble L'Aura Soave performing at the Monteverdi Festival, Cremona 2001

Europe's top classical music festivals

By Alexandra Ferguson
The Telegraph

Time your holiday to tie in with one of Europe's classical music festivals. Alexandra Ferguson picks 10 of the best.

The final notes of a Bach partita reverberate in the still air of the Thomaskirche. A string quartet plays beneath flamboyant frescoes in an Austrian palace. And in Bayreuth, Brünnhilde charges once more into the flames.

Soon the summer music festival season will be upon us, and the world's top orchestras and conductors, soloists and chamber groups will converge on the towns and cities where the great composers lived and worked, to perform in palaces and churches, town halls and theatres.

From obscure suites played on period instruments to familiar orchestral works, there is music to suit the casual listener as well as the connoisseur. And with ticket offices open for advance bookings, if you are thinking of combining a holiday with some of the best classical concerts in Europe, you should be making plans already.

Read more about this at the The Telegraph website:

   http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/artsandculture/1308162/Europe's-top-classical-music-festivals.html

Exploring Different Musical Traditions

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Home from Japan

By Barry Davis
Jerusalem Post

Even in an era where cultural and ethnic boundaries are leapfrogged with ever increasing frequency, the idea of a Western classically trained Japanese woman immersing herself in Eastern Jewish liturgical texts and music takes some getting used to.

Today, Kumiko Yayama Bar-Yossef knows more than a thing or two about piyutim (liturgical poems) and, in fact, can enlighten most native Israelis about the subject.

Yayama – who is married to musicology professor Amatzia Bar-Yossef – first came to Jerusalem in 1992 to pursue a PhD in musicology, but her music education began much earlier. "I studied ballet from the age of four and I took up Western classical piano from the age of six," she explains in fluent Hebrew.

While Yayama didn't exactly come from a family of musicians, there was always something interesting to listen to at home. "My father was just a taxi driver. He didn't have a lot of money but he was crazy about stereo technology and we always had the best system going at home. We listened mostly to Western classical music and, at some stage, my father also taught himself to play guitar."

Read more about this at the Jerusalem Post website:

   http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1207649979802&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Trumpet