In an age where fusion of musical genres are increasingly commonplace, and where "mash ups" are regular DJ fare, there are still too few collaborations that jump disciplines and genres.
The question that remains, and which I shall attempt to answer, is "What happened to classical music?"
Orchestras are running scared these days, with some going bankrupt, locked out, downsized or having their seasons shortened. Actually, you could say something similar of the entire classical music world. To counteract this, various scenarios are being attempted.
Why am I writing all this? Everyone has an Obama Care story and this is mine. I hope our legislature will soon grasp that the ranks of the self-employed are responsible, valuable members of society and should not be swept under the rug.
I want to offer a few general thoughts about music - what we call classical music and what it actually is - free of politics and free of esthetic evaluations--and the latter frequently acting as a mask for the former.
My friend and collaborator Seamus Heaney was buried two months ago. It seemed particularly cruel to me that we would lose a poetic giant in a time when the need for a return to language seems to be vital to the future of humanity.
I was recently in Chicago for a weekend, passing through from engagement to engagement. I love Chicago for its arts and culture, architecture and the compact and walkable downtown arts area.
On a warm summer weekend last August, something happened in Cincinnati that you would have to call a remarkable accomplishment; in complete defiance of anything you would ever realistically expect, thirty-five thousand people went to see the Symphony.
There's no denying the entertainment value of high-level classical music competitions. They come pre-loaded with a 24/7 soundtrack of the most 50 Shades of Grey, romantic music ever written. Sure, competitions are barbaric but so is the Super Bowl.
As a mere observer I am not privy to the inner workings of the NYC Opera or the Minnesota Orchestra. However, the bizarre logic of our congress allowing the NFL to not carry its weight while arts groups are gasping for air is insulting.
For the past six years I have directed a festival of 20/21st century music at the University of Arizona. Any festival worthy of the name has a vision or reason for being.
The opera begins and ends with Anna saying, "I want to blow you all... a kiss." As I bid farewell to City Opera, I too blow them a kiss for their brave attempt to bring opera to the people and to convert me to the opera Queen that I am.
Classical music participation rates have held steady for the last five years, stopping a steady decline through 2008. Orchestras have been keeping their feet to the pedals as they innovate at unprecedented rates to develop audiences.
My own journey with Tarragó began several years ago on a hot afternoon in Madrid when, taking refuge from the midday sun in a dusty music shop, I stumbled across some out-of-print folios.
It had been more than eight years since we were in Amsterdam. When the much-reconfigured Rijksmuseum re-opened, we were ready for another visit to the Netherlands. It was just a matter of following our usual practice of finding a musical event around which to build an itinerary.
Al-Sham is a tribute to the people of Syria: a letter of love and solidarity. I am preparing for the premiere of this new cello suite with a deep desire of peace for the Syrian people and with the hope that, in a year from now, we will not have another massacre that eclipses the killings of this year.