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Liner Notes Vol. XI

Written by Elizabeth Bloom on .

From the New York Times, black composers and the role of race in classical music http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/10/arts/music/black-composers-discuss-the-role-of-race.html 
From Scientific American, the inevitable rise of digital music in "live" performance http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-digital-music-looks-set-to-replace-live-performances/ 
From the New York Times, live music streaming services http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/24/arts/music/an-opera-lover-tests-streaming-services.html 
From NPR, that time a butterfly landed on a flutist's face during a flute competition http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptivecadence/2014/09/16/348986742/watch-a-sweet-little-butterfly-nearly-crush-a-womans-hopes-and-dreams 
From the Guardian, a modern-day editor takes on Chopin http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/jan/20/alan-rusbridger-play-again-review 
From the Verge, the violinist who played during brain surgery http://www.theverge.com/2014/8/18/6030579/watch-a-violinist-play-through-his-brain-surgery 
From the New York Times, the Boston Symphony's new music director http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/14/arts/music/andris-nelsons-gets-ready-to-lead-the-boston-symphony.html 
From Newsweek, the rise of prodigies http://www.newsweek.com/2014/09/12/musical-prodigies-find-plenty-youthful-company-268623.html 

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Small protest outside Heinz Hall

Written by Elizabeth Bloom on .

ICYMI: The PSO opened its classical subscription season with a terrific concert featuring "Symphonie fantastique," "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini" and more. 

And there was more excitement—reports of a small protest outside of Heinz Hall against guest artist Valentina Lisitsa, who performed the "Paganini Rhapsody." While she lives in North Carolina, the pianist grew up in Ukraine and has vociferously argued on her active Twitter account about the current conflict there (and other issues). While I don't want to try to articulate her viewpoints—you can read through her tweets—it is fair to say she is taking a staunch, pro-Russia stance. 

Louise Sciannameo, the PSO's vice president of communications and external relations, said it was just "two or four individuals" protesting for a short time prior to Saturday night's concert only.

"I think the important thing to remember is clearly the views of our guests artists are not necessarily the views of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra," she said.

"There are no reports of arrests or citations or of police being called to a Heinz Hall protest," said Sonya Toler, Pittsburgh public safety spokeswoman.

Ms. Lisitsa will join the PSO for a short concert tour of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she will once again perform the Rachmaninoff. Ms. Sciannameo said the PSO has not been alerted to any possible issues on that trip.

Of course, artists have long used their platform to make political stances—or be silent about such issues. Recent examples of musicians taking flak for their views (or non-views) include Russian soprano Anna Netrebko, Russian conductor Valery Gergiev and Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel. 

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PNME adds to the Lime Green team

Written by Elizabeth Bloom on .

The Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble has grown its ranks with a new education director and a new board member. More from PNME below: 

Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble (PNME) is pleased to announce the addition of two team members as it begins its 40th season of new music in Pittsburgh.

Jennie Dorris joins PNME in the newly created position, Director of Education. A musician, educator, and journalist, Ms. Dorris moved to Pittsburgh in October 2013, and quickly integrated into the arts community. She teaches a course in Creative Expression at Carnegie Mellon University's Preparatory School, writes for Pittsburgh Magazine, and works with the Center for Arts innovation at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Music. An active performer, Ms. Dorris performs with Alia Musica, Musicians with a Mission, and Shelter Music Boston. In addition to expanding PNME's current educational initiatives, Ms. Dorris will work with students at the Neighborhood Academy for an 8-week residence in the spring, presenting her workshop "Telling Stories," in which students will write memoires and create music and other artwork, culminating in a performance at the end of the residency. When asked about her new appointment, Ms. Dorris said "I'm excited for students across Pittsburgh to create their own musical works and share them with the community." For more information on Ms. Dorris, please visit http://www.jenniedorris.com.

PNME also welcomes Linda Kernohan as its newest member to its Board of Directors. Ms. Kernohan is a composer and pianist, and the author of the Miss Music Nerd blog. Her music has been performed throughout the United States and Europe, and her most recent project is A Book of Hours, a cycle of piano pieces based on the writings of Thomas Merton. She has served as classical music blogger for the Grammy Awards since 2009, and is also a contributor to Burgh Vivant, Pittsburgh's cultural talk magazine. Ms. Kernohan teaches music courses at Community College of Allegheny County, South Campus, and private piano lessons at the Winchester Thurston School. She moved from Boston to Pittsburgh two years ago and has been thrilled to find a rich, vibrant and welcoming music community here. For more information on Ms. Kernohan, please visit http://missmusicnerd.com/.

"The Board and artists of PNME are delighted to welcome such vibrant and community-oriented individuals to our team. Both Ms. Dorris and Ms. Kernohan will be vital assests as our team works to develop and strengthen our relationship with the Pittsburgh community" said Executive Director, Pamela Murchison. PNME's Board President, Jeffrey Nytch, echoed the sentiment, sharing that "Linda and Jennie are both terrific additions to our team, and are part of an ongoing strategy to grow our board and broaden the scope of activities beyond those of our summer season."

For more information, visit www.pnme.org.

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Atlanta Symphony Orchestra musicians locked out

Written by Elizabeth Bloom on .

ICYMI: The Atlanta Symphony musicians have been locked out for the second time in two years. The musicians took a pay cut and saw their ranks diminish last time. More from the New York Times: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/07/the-atlanta-symphony-orchestra-locks-out-its-players-again/

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PSO chamber music concerts in September

Written by Elizabeth Bloom on .

The Pittsburgh Symphony is offering some chamber music concerts as part of its "Music for the Spirit" series. More from the PSO:

PITTSBURGH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA'S MUSIC FOR THE SPIRIT EXPANDS TO INCLUDE THREE SEPTEMBER NEIGHBORHOOD CHAMBER MUSIC CONCERTS

PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's Music for the Spirit program is expanding to include three chamber music concerts at local churches in the North Side, East Liberty and Wilkinsburg in September.

The Music for the Spirit program explores the connection between music and spirituality during free Pittsburgh Symphony concerts, at both Heinz Hall as part of the BNY Mellon Grand Classics series and in rotating community venues. In September, the Music for the Spirit program adds three concerts featuring the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Brass and which follow the Music for the Spirit concert format, melding music, poetry, readings and other spoken word pieces.

Monday Night Neighborhood Concerts will take place at Allegheny Center Alliance Church on the North Side on September 8, East Liberty Presbyterian Church on September 15 and Deliverance Baptist Church in Wilkinsburg on September 22. Each Monday Night Neighborhood Concert will present the same program.

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Brass includes Craig Knox, tuba; Murray Crewe, bass trombone; Neal Berntsen, trumpet; William Caballero, horn; Peter Sullivan, trombone; and George Vosburgh, trumpet.

All concerts start at 8 p.m. and are free and open to the public. Reservations are required and can be made at pittsburghsymphony.org/neighborhoodseries or 412-392-8991.

The annual Music for the Spirit concerts will take place on November 20 at Westminster Presbyterian in Upper St. Clair and November 22 at Cardinal Wuerl High School in Cranberry. More details about these concerts will be released in the fall.

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