2 Cellos Make Big Splash on Fox’s Glee

Whatever your opinion of “crossover” music, the lines between musical styles continue to blur.  Not too many years ago, cellist Zuill Bailey took his cello to prison in the HBO series Oz.  Recently, the producers of the Fox series Glee decided if one cello was good, 2Cellos would be even better.

2Cellos is a Croatian duo…Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser.

Sulic studied at London’s Royal Academy of Music and has given concerts at Wigmore Hall; Hauser was the last student of Rostropovich and counts two performances for Prince Charles among his career highlights.

Their mission, according to Hauser, is to bring their instrument to a wider audience.  I think they have succeeded.

Read more here Cello Duo Pulls on Elton’s Heartstrings

Watch 2Cellos talk about touring with Elton John

Watch Zuill Bailey in a segment from Oz

In Today’s World, Branding is Everything, Especially for Musicians

In today’s world, how the public perceives a product dictates success or failure.  Take the recent flap about a beef-based food additive that may be added to ground beef and beef-based processed meats as an inexpensive filler.  Officially, it is known as lean finely textured beef (LFTB), or boneless lean beef trimmings (BLBT).  Once media outlets began reporting on “pink slime,” usage plummeted.  Even if it eventually is proved to cure cancer and the common cold, perception has forever been changed.

According to music critic and composer Greg Sandow, musicians today must brand themselves in such a way as to be noticed in a world where the next musical sensation is uploading their performance to YouTube even as I type.

The issue is so important that Sandow has taught this at both Eastman and Juilliard (see class schedule and assignments here), which gives you an idea of how seriously everyone is taking the subject.

Read Being Creative, Learning to Brand (Arts Journal)

Contemporary Music…Some Like it Not

In my classical radio career, I have heard a lot of music written by living composers.  (I know, all of them were alive when they wrote it).  Some I have liked, some I have loved, some I have been ambivalent about, some has, on occasion, been unbearable.

John Zech, who works at Minnesota Public Radio and produces a daily vignette he calls Composers Datebook (heard on Classical 101 weekday mornings at 5:59am), puts it very well in his program.  He says, “This is John Zech, reminding you that ALL music was once new.”

He is absolutely correct.  However, there is a reason you don’t hear some of it any more.  Chloe Veltman, 2011-2012 Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University, is a regular contributor to The NY Times, LA Times, BBC Classical Music Magazine, and many other publications.  Here is her take on the subject.

Read Why Contemporary Music Is Like My Hairdryer (Arts Journal)