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Recently in Music Industry Category

Goodbye to an Institution

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Swan Song for a Music Store and Clubhouse

A crossroads of maestros and tyros, the venerable Joseph Patelson Music House in Manhattan has been like a living room for the classical music world.

By Daniel J. Wakin
New York Times

For more than six decades its shelves bulged with the fruit of Mozart and Bach, Stravinsky and Strauss, to be plucked by shoppers who wore its wooden floors black and sought counsel from expert and sometimes cantankerous sales clerks.

Yes, you know it is coming: Goodbye, Patelson's.

Marsha Patelson, the daughter-in-law of the founder, said she planned to close the store and sell its home, an 1879 carriage house that sits a baton's throw across 56th Street from the Carnegie Hall stage door. It is falling victim to a transfigured world, in which the power of digital retail has made places like used bookshops, record stores and sheet-music dealers little more than quaint relics.

Read more about this at the New York Times website:

   www.nytimes.com/2009/04/13/arts/music/13pate.html

New President for Sony Classical

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Sony Classical

Bogdan Roscic heads up Sony Classical

By Jen Wilson, Billboard
Hollywood Reporter

Bogdan Roscic has been appointed president, Sony Music Classical by Sony CEO Rolf Scmidt-Holtz. Effective April 6, the newly created role gives Roscic responsibility for all of Sony's Classical operations. He will report directly to Schmidt-Holtz. Sony could not confirm where he will be based at this stage, however it is expected to be in Europe.

"Classical music not only remains a vital part of our company's DNA but also this is a business we are determined to grow and promote again," said Mr. Schmidt-Holtz. "While genres like classical remain under tremendous pressure in the marketplace, we believe it has enduring appeal with consumers and we plan to harness it with a renewed commitment to strong leadership, a rich catalog and a world-class roster."

Read more about this at the Hollywood Reporter website:

   www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/features/people/e3idb2c398ada1252b70bd153cc33976c51

Rozhdestvensky Upset with BSO

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Miffed at BSO, famed maestro backs out

By Jeremy Eichler
Boston Globe

There is an eminent Russian conductor encamped at a private home in Brookline, and he is fuming.

In an extremely rare public flare-up in the outwardly genteel world of major symphony orchestras, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, the 77-year-old maestro who is one of the last living links to a golden era of Russian music, has pulled out of the entire run of four concerts he was scheduled to conduct with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, which began on Thursday.

He is outraged, he said yesterday, at how disrespectfully, in his view, the BSO administration had marketed his appearances to the public.

In an emotional 40-minute interview at the home of a friend, Rozhdestvensky and his wife, Viktoria Postnikova, explained the maestro's abrupt decision to withdraw from the performances, including concerts scheduled for tonight and Tuesday, and to return today to Moscow. He began with a pointed clarification.

"The BSO told its audiences I was 'unable to conduct this performance as planned,' " he said, referring to an announcement that appeared in a program insert and on the BSO's website. "I must say that I was able to conduct." Full stop. "And how."

Read more about this at the Boston Globe website:

   www.boston.com/ae/music/articles/2008/11/22/miffed_at_bso_famed_maestro_backs_out/

High-Quality Classical Downloads

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Passionato

Classical download store launches

DRM-free tracks mean music
can be transferred to other audio devices

BBC News

Classical music lovers in the UK will now be able to download their favourite works from the web, thanks to a new resource launched today.

Passionato is providing the world's biggest collection of high-quality classical downloads, first in the UK and later worldwide. The company says more than 18,000 recordings are available. Many fans of classical music have previously shunned MP3 downloads because of disappointing quality. Passionato offers its downloads – single tracks, works or albums – at high-quality 320kbps MP3 or lossless FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec).

Read more about this at the BBC News website:

   http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7608442.stm

Making a Decent Living

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Dollarnote

Classical music: A fair wage – but those in bigger cities make more

By Kyle MacMillan
Denver Post

With bachelor and master of music performance degrees under her belt, Tamara Meredith envisioned a life as a college professor, focusing on her specialization in early music. But things didn't quite work out that way.

Instead, she is the full-time director of the Eaton Public Library, and the flutist and violist performs on the side with the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado and the Dallas Bach Society, and substitutes as needed in a few area modern orchestras. She couldn't be happier. "I have a day job in a place that I really enjoy," Meredith said. "I get to help a lot of people with the work that I do, so that's very fulfulling. And my evenings and weekends, I'm free to perform whenever and wherever I want."

Read more about this at the Denver Post website:

   http://www.denverpost.com/ci_9843953

Challenging Steinway

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Estonia Piano

Estonian factory major player in piano production

By Shelley Emling for Cox News Service
Columbus Dispatch

Tallinn, Estonia – Buying a grand piano from Estonia might seem as absurd as looking for fine champagne at McDonald's. But what were once Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's favorite pianos are now in hot demand at dealerships across the United States.

Last year the Estonia Piano Factory exported 300 pianos, both grands and baby grands, with 90 percent headed to the United States. In quality and reputation, Estonia pianos are giving Steinway & Sons a serious challenge. And many discerning musicians say that owning an Estonia piano – almost completely made by hand – is akin to owning a Stradivarius, the iconic violin famous for the high quality of its sound.

Read more about this at the Columbus Dispatch website:

   http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/arts/stories/2008/07/13/2_ESTONIA_PIANOS.ART_ART_07-13-08_E7_IKAMMNE.html

Taking Criticism Seriously

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Keith Burstein

Panned by reviewer, then told to go bankrupt

By Amol Rajan
Independent

A British composer was told to go bankrupt yesterday after he unsuccessfully tried to sue the London Evening Standard for libel. Keith Burstein ran up legal costs of £67,000 defending a test-case libel action against Associated Newspapers, publishers of the Standard, over a critical review of one of his operas.

He told Chief Registrar Stephen Baister in the Royal Courts of Justice that he was taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights. The registrar said Mr Burstein was entitled to take the case in Europe but he was required to pay the legal costs already run up. This would entail complying with a court order against him by paying the £67,000.

When Mr Burstein told the registrar he could not pay, Mr Baister replied: "Then you go bankrupt." He added that, in balancing the rights of Associated Newspapers against the speculative nature of what Mr Burstein was hoping to do, it was proper to rule on the side of the newspaper group, which also publishes the Daily Mail, in forcing him to pay legal costs.

Mr Burstein, 51, confirmed that he would not be able to pay. He is working on a new symphony for the South Bank Symphonia and on an opera with Ben Okri, the Booker Prize winner. "I lead a rather simple life and don't have many material possessions," he said later.

Read more about this at the Independent website:

   http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/panned-by-reviewer-then-bankrupted-by-libel-action-867640.html

Not All Bad News, Journalistically

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Anne Midgette

Washington Post Hires Full-time Music Critic

By Susan Elliott
Musical America

Amid the current trend to the contrary among newspapers, The Washington Post last week hired a permanent staff music critic to succeed Tim Page. Anne Midgette, who has been in the job on an interim basis since January, when Page took a leave of absence, has been hired officially as The Post's classical music critic.

"In light of all the lay-offs around the country, they're really bucking the trend in committing to serious arts journalism," said a delighted Midgette in a brief telephone conversation.

Read more about this at the Musical America website:

   http://www.musicalamerica.com/news/newsstory.cfm?archived=0&storyid=18457

Everybody Gets A Piano

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Pearl River Piano Company

Keyboard moment in China's cultural evolution

By Petroc Trelawny
The Australian

As my plane makes its final approach into the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, the mountains give way briefly to green paddy fields, and then industry takes over.

Beneath are hundreds of vast blue-roofed sheds and smoking red-brick chimney stacks. The landscape is mapped with rail yards and lorry parks; heavily laden barges crawl along the creeks of the Pearl River. With a vast economy that's now larger than that of nearby Hong Kong, Guangdong Province deserves its title as the factory of China. …

I've come to visit a company that last year made 100,000 pianos. The Pearl River Piano Company says it's now the world's largest: 3000 staff work on eight production lines, and it feels more like a car factory than a place making things as delicate and tactile as pianos.

A basic Pearl River piano costs about $1600, a fortune to many Chinese, but well within the budget of the country's burgeoning urban middle class. Their new wealth, combined with a desire to give their offspring a better childhood than they experienced, has led to an obsession with the piano in China. Conservative estimates suggest that 30 million Chinese children are learning the instrument; many reckon the figure is much higher. One academic told me the country was in the grip of piano fever.

Read more about this at The Australian website:

   http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,,23910488-16947,00.html

Rise of the Machines

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Are Digital Orchestras a Sign of the Times?

By David Pogue
New York Times

This past weekend, I attended an astonishing performance of "Les Misérables" performed by 13- to 17-year olds at a local theater program. Two things made it memorable: first, that this program's director was able to find such amazing voices in this age group, especially for a show where most of the characters are men. (In my experience, more teenage girls than boys are interested in theater.)

Second, the production came breathtakingly close to simulating a full professional production – on a church rec-room stage that measures about 30 feet across and 12 feet deep. We're talking tiny. "Les Minirables."

And yet it worked, partly because the carefully built, minimal sets and props were just enough to suggest their big-budget Broadway equivalents – and partly because of a digital orchestra that accompanied the cast.

Read more about this at the New York Times website:

   http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/05/technology/05pogue-email.html

Trumpet