What’s been happening in the arts this week? As part of our latest blog series, Pick of the Week, we’ve picked our favourite stories and most thought-provoking debates we’ve seen and heard in the news this week.
One of the biggest pieces of news in the classical music world this week has been the launch of Steve Reich’s Clapping Music app. Apparently very addictive, the app ‘challenges users to pit their musical wits against the machine as they attempt to learn and play the 1972 piece’. If you make it to the highest level, you’ll even be in with a chance of performing it live on stage with the London Sinfonietta! The app is more than just a game, though: Queen Mary’s University are analysing the data to explore whether digital technology can teach rhythmic skills. Have you had a go on the app? Is this just the beginning of a new digital sphere that helps people learn musical skills and engage with the arts?
While it is generally accepted that the arts has a positive effect on our education, health, wellbeing and communities around us, it is often assumed this is to the detriment of the national economy. However, according to a recently published report by the Arts Council England, the sector is more than paying its way: ‘every pound of public funding going to the Arts Council’s National portfolio organisations pays back £5 in tax contributions from the sector as a whole’.
Whether it’s a dispute over rap at the Proms or a rape scene at Royal Opera House’s Guillaume Tell, Ed Vulliamy thinks music lovers need to show less outrage at radical art. After giving historic examples of the lucrative results of cross-pollinating the classical and pop/rock/rap worlds, Ed notes that ‘shockwaves across the stage are as old as theatre itself’. The comment section of the article proves a good read, as readers ask why there is no classical music at Glastonbury and whether pop music has the same inherent value as high art. What do you think?