Category Archives: Pick of the week

Pick of the Week: 1 April

Hull is getting naked 

This is no April fool. The people of Hull are invited to get naked for a work of art as part of  preparations as it becomes the UK City of Culture 2017.

Who you gonna call? An opera singer! Wait, what?

You can now book your own home opera therapy session – simply call the hotline and shortly an opera singer will arrive to serenade you in the comfort of your living room.

They’re making Guitar Hero for conducting

Dig out your baton and brush off your tails, Conductrix is a video game like Guitar Hero – but instead of playing a plastic guitar hooked up to a games console you’ll conduct a virtual orchestra, using gestures to control the tempo, dynamics and articulation.

And finally: it’s hard enough to sing – but this guy can WHISTLE Mozart’s Queen of the Night aria!

Advertisements

Pick of the Week: 25 March

Now London theatres are going to start shining lasers on you if you use your phone

Last week we mentioned that Chinese theatres have been doing this for a while – we didn’t think it would be coming here so fast. Fear not, CLS is a laser free orchestra!

Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive will survive… in the Library of Congress

It’s been added to the library’s national recording registry, for its “cultural, artistic and/or historical significance to American society and the nation’s aural legacy”.

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra are redesigning musicians’ formal wear

Gone will be the suffocating bow ties and gowns. We look forward to seeing the finished designs.

And finally, here’s how you’re hardwired to listen to music. Very cool.

 

Pick of the Week: 18 March

Instagramming your food makes it yummier
It’s probably the same for concerts, right?

Chinese theatres are shining LASERS at people who use their phones in concerts.
Don’t worry, you can always use your phone at CLS concerts without fearing the laser eye – in fact we encourage it! #concert #nofilter #livetweet #greatsolo #intervaldrinks

Even more research that taking part in music is super healthy
Don’t cancel your gym membership just yet but if you’re looking to boost your happy thoughts music is one of the best ways of doing so.

..and finally this is a forest xylophone and it’s very relaxing:

Pick of the Week: 11 March

It’s been a busy week – from inspirational new technology to finding out how musicians brains ‘work’ and really work, here’s our pick of the best of the arts this week:

Eye Conductor gives disabled people a new way of making music 

It can be hard for disabled people to make music – so, as part of his final project at Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, Andreas Refsgaard has designed Eye Conductor, which lets you control sampling software with your face.

Google launches free tools for learning about music

To help everyone learn about music, Google has launched Chrome Musiclab. They’re really fun to play with – we really like the piano roll!

… and Google’s artificial brain has even started producing art.

Wonder when it will write its first symphony?

Talking of brains, we had a chuckle at these diagrams

(well the funny ones anyway)

But in all seriousness, Duke University scanned violinist Jennifer Koh’s brain

Broadway is replacing rush queues with digital lotteries
Instead of camping outside in the rain and the snow, you can now sign up for discount Broadway tickets online. We wonder how that would go down at the Proms…

…and finaly, ahead of tomorrow’s Reuse & Recycle concert, here’s a truly inspirational story of the Landfill Harmonic orchestra in Paraguay:

Pick of the week: 4 March

Here’s our pick of the week – our favourite articles, videos and stories from across the arts world.

A new film will tell Van Gogh’s life in his own paintings

A a rate of 12 hand-painted images a second – all imitating the great master’s own style and technique – the feature-length biographical film draws the plot from Van Gogh’s own letters.

Stephen King’s novel The Shining has been turned into an opera

Horror operas. Now why didn’t we think of that? Maybe the team at Opera Holland Park will programme it in the future?

A year after ‘the dress’ there’s now ‘the jacket’

It really shines a light on how everyone’s perception of identical experiences is totally different. Humans are pretty awesome

And finally this is a machine that plays music with 2000 marbles!

Pick of the Week – 26 February

What’s been happening in the arts this week? As part of our blog series, Pick of the Week, we’ve picked our favourite stories, interesting exhibitions and most thought-provoking debates we’ve seen and heard this week.

Proms composer Anna Meredith has formed a band and is playing in clubs

Exasperated at working for months on a work only to have it seldom performed, Meredith has formed a band, saying  “I don’t want to write music that people are enduring just to get to the Elgar in the second half”. Her first album, Varmints is released on 4 March on Moshi Moshi.

Scientists have created three-armed cyborg percussionists (yes, really).

It’s a brave new world as scientists have unveiled a robotic third arm that percussionists can attach to their shoulder that plays along – allowing them to perform rhythms that are totally beyond plain old two-armed humans. What’s more is that they’re now working on a version that can READ YOUR MIND.

People are reading their teen diaries in public for fun

Americans have been doing it for years, and now it’s coming to the UK. Art? Self-indulgence? Therapy? ‘Mortified’ is certainly how we’d feel!

China has banned “weird” architecture 

After a spate of fake White Houses, Eiffel Towers and ‘strangely shaped’ buildings that make the Walkie Talkie look positively bland, the Chinese government has banned ‘weird’ architecture.

And finally… Is this the happiest conductor on the planet?

Maestro Joseph Olefirowicz radiates energy in this performance of  Bob Wright and Chet Forrest’s Opera ‘Kismet’.

Pick of the Week – 5 February

What’s been happening in the arts this week? As part of our blog series, Pick of the Week, we’ve picked our favourite stories, interesting exhibitions and most thought-provoking debates we’ve seen and heard this week.

Courting the “lay” listener

A couple of weeks ago we shared this article about whether classical music should be re-named ‘composed music’. We thought it probably shouldn’t. After all, isn’t all music composed? Adding to the wider debate is this blog by composer Mari Valverde. She asks whether it’s not the name that needs to change, but the way we listen and the way we learn to listen?

Scientists have found a way to help you learn new skills twice as fast

It seems there’s a better way to learn new things than simply repeating them over and over again. Scientists have been testing theories around ‘reconsolidation’ – that is, repeating tasks with slight modifications – and the results look promising. Handy to bear in mind during practise sessions!

This Huge Cat’s Cradle Embodies the Great Fugues of Bach

How can you portray music in architecture? Architect Gabriel Calatrava was asked to do just that, to design a set to complement a performance of Bach’s The Art of the Fugue. The result is quite amazing!

brentano-quartet-gabriel-calatrava-art-of-the-fugue-92y-seeing-music-festival

Pick of the Week – 29 January

What’s been happening in the arts this week? As part of our blog series, Pick of the Week, we’ve picked our favourite stories, interesting exhibitions and most thought-provoking debates we’ve seen and heard this week.

Ed Vaizey: ‘no excuse’ for lack of diversity in British orchestras

Two weeks ago we wrote about positive action in classical music. The culture minister has now added his voice to the call for orchestras to do more to become more ethnically diverse; “I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to see people from all our communities reflected in our arts”.

Repeating some lessons

Every few months it seems someone new is warning us that classical music is dying out, only to be contradicted almost immediately by someone else saying that classical music is doing better than ever. One thing that’s clear, though, is that classical music’s audiences are changing. In this blog, Greg Sandow discusses ways music organisations can keep up with that change.

Dutch police smashed an opera singer’s front door in because they thought he was screaming in agony

And finally! On the one hand this is an hilarious story. On the other hand, it’s not the best review of this poor man’s singing!

 

Pick of the Week – 22 January

What’s been happening in the arts this week? As part of our blog series, Pick of the Week, we’ve picked our favourite stories, interesting exhibitions and most thought-provoking debates we’ve seen and heard this week.

Why should becoming a parent curb your cultural life?

Is art which is created specifically for children worse than other art? (We don’t think so!) What can we do in the arts to ensure that parents and children have access to the best on offer?

London has a new roaming orchestra

This week we’ve been in Birmingham for the Association of British Orchestras’ annual conference. Once of our favourite topics was that of place making. On that note, here is the new Street Orchestra of London, inspired by Amsterdam’s Ricciotti Ensemble

How a YouTuber hoaxed the world media

We’re finishing on something light this week. An amateur visual effects artist accidentally caused global intrigue earlier this year by posting a video of “strange lights” in the sky over Canberra. Journalists and scientists jumped on the story, believing it to be real, so the creator of the video stepped in to show just how he did it.

Pick of the Week – 15 January

What’s been happening in the arts this week? As part of our blog series, Pick of the Week, we’ve picked our favourite stories, interesting exhibitions and most thought-provoking debates we’ve seen and heard this week.

This is what happens when you sing an 800 year old Icelandic hymn in a train station

This video has been doing the rounds online since 2013, but it’s worth revisiting. Icelandic indie-folk band, Árstíðir gathered in a train station for an impromptu performance. That’s certainly one way to improve your commute!

Why positive action is needed to make classical music inclusive for women and minorities

Composer Hannah Kendall confronts the issue of lack of diversity in classical music, and what we can do to address the balance. She advocates positive action, mentioning Chineke!, Europe’s first Black and Minority Ethnic orchestra as a huge success story. But positive action also has plenty of detractors. Where do you stand? How should the classical music world work towards becoming more diverse?

Philip Glass and David Bowie

We were all so saddened to hear of David Bowie’s death this week. It’s been a very moving few days here in Brixton, as people have been gathering to pay their respects and share their memories. Here’s a conversation between Bowie and Philip Glass, after Glass had written a symphony based on Bowie’s music.