Bulletin Board : News, Tidbits, Musings, and more

New York Says Goodbye to City Opera

The New York City Opera’s acclaimed production of Anna Nicole at the Brooklyn Academy of Music was the company’s final show. On September 30, 2013, NYCO shut its doors and began bankruptcy proceedings, according to Playbill.com. The company had hoped a Kickstarter campaign could raise $1 million toward the $7 million it needed for the rest of the 2013-2014 season. Unfortunately, by the end of its fundraising window, it had garnered just a little over $301,000.

In recent years the opera used $24 million from its endowment to cover expenses and repay loans. The organization, which Artistic Director George Steel described to the New York Times as having lived from hand-to-mouth for a number of years, was never able to repay it. At one time that endowment provided $3 million in annual funding. Later, it was able to provide only a mere $200,000 per year.

The company’s history can show the events that caused its eventual collapse. As the Wall Street Journal notes, the blame for bad decisions made at various times can be placed at the feet of a number of people.


Wyoming Symphony Orchestra Makes the Grade

Wyoming, a state with no professional opera company, has a growing symphony orchestra audience in Casper. Wyoming Symphony Orchestra’s Conductor and Music Director Matthew Savery explains portions of pieces to the audience during the performances and chooses programs that include music that his audience is most likely to be familiar with.

A talented group of musicians, a supportive board, a loyal community, and the efforts of the music director are making the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra a most successful group. “An orchestra, to succeed, has to be something the community embraces,” Savery told the Billings Gazette. He maintains that it has to build audiences who maintain their loyalty to the ensemble and to classical music over a number of seasons. The Wyoming Symphony Orchestra is fast becoming that kind of organization.

Savery talks to the community’s service groups on a regular basis and invites families with children to the orchestra’s daytime dress rehearsals. Rehearsal tickets are cheaper and the atmosphere is less formal.


This Is Your Brain on Music

Newly published research shows that musicians who spend many hours in the practice room process information with unusual efficiency and do a superior job of righting occasional errors, according to Pacific Standard Magazine. Cognitive neuroscientist Ines Jentzsch of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland led a team which studied a group of 36 young adults. She divided her subjects into four groups: musicians who had accumulated at least 5,000 hours of practice; those who had clocked 2,000 to 5,000 hours; amateurs who had practiced for 200 to 2,000 hours; and nonmusicians.

Subjects’ brains were continuously monitored via electroencephalogram (EEG) while they performed tricky and confusing tasks. Results showed that people with more musical training responded faster and more accurately than those with little or no training. “This result suggests that higher levels of musical training may result in more efficient processing of information,” writes the research team.


Maria Nockin

Born in New York City to a British mother and a German father, Maria Nockin studied piano, violin, and voice. She worked at the Metropolitan Opera Guild while studying for her BM and MM degrees at Fordham University. She now lives in southern Arizona where she paints desert landscapes, translates from German for musical groups, and writes on classical singing for various publications.