ProMusica’s Marjorie Bagley uses technology for long-distance duet

For most of us, musicians are people whom we see on stage as they perform music.  What goes on behind the scenes most of us never see. In this case, however, I’m not speaking of the hours of practice and rehearsal, but of research and technology.

According to the website Internet2.edu, Internet 2 is “an advanced technology community, owned and led by the U.S. research and education community. Revolutionary-class network services. Advanced technologies that enable services and achievements beyond the scope of individual institutions.”  Don’t expect to be shopping Amazon.com on it anytime soon.  While the internet with which most of us are familiar was mostly academic before turning into what it now is, this one is a different animal.

It also enables Marjorie Bagley to perform a duet with another musician…one who is 850 miles away.

Bagley, assistant concert-master for ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, joined University of North Carolina-Greensboro in 2009 as an associate professor of violin.  She has taught at a number of well-respected schools of music, including Ohio University in Athens and the Manhattan School of Music Preparatory Program.

Is it practical technology?  It seems so.  Bagley is currently working to set up master classes for her students with musicians at other universities equipped with the technology.

Read Marjorie Bagley duets with musician far away, in display of innovative technology (UNCG Campus Weekly)

Ukeleles invade BBC Proms

Britain has a reputation for a stiff upper lip, but a recent Carnegie Hall concert went a long way toward dispelling any notion that Brits are a stuffy lot.

The lowly instrument has been the butt of many jokes, probably reaching it’s apex of disrespect during the 1970s, as Tiny Tim strummed his ukelele, brushed back his wavy hair, and performed Tiptoe Through the Tulips in his quavering falsetto.

How do you overcome that?

For one, you get a musician such as rocker Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam to to release a solo recording called Ukelele Songs.  Still not convinced?  How about a Carnegie Hall performance by the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain?  Many audience members showed up with their own instruments and strummed along to selections by J.S. Bach, Ennio Morricone, and more, covering a multitude of genres.

Read Another Kind of String Theory, Plinking Up Where Tiny Tim Left Off (NY Times)

Getting orchestras out of their monetary messes

It seems it’s almost a daily occurrence…another orchestra is having money problems, locking out musicians, or closing it’s doors.  What is the answer?

Eric Nilsson is an attorney who lives in St. Paul Minnesota.  Two members of his family are musicians in the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.  He recently wrote an article for Minnesota Public Radio in which he lays out what he believes to be the answer to orchestral turmoil and financial hardships.

What do you think is the answer?

Read All sides must accept the new reality (MPR)

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