With all this talk about diminishing classical music coverage in traditional media outlets, I think it is appropriate to mention that new forums of discourse seem to be popping up all the time…
For example, there is an excellent blog that gives you some first hand insight into being an orchestral musician. Michael Hovnanian’s CSO Bass Blog offers a refreshing, and unedited, look into the inner workings of a Big 5 orchestra (in case you haven’t guessed, Michael is a bass player in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra).
If you’re just stopping by for the first time, I highly recommend you start off with either of these two posts: Hangover or Showdown at the CSOK corral (although I thought the title Showdown at the IMOK YOUREOK Corral would have been funnier).
Next is a new column by a professional violinist who starts off by presenting a proposal designed to build interest and community pride in orchestras. She points out that throughout the time when they first pick an instrument up until they win a professional job musicians are inundated with competition. She goes on to suggest that orchestras could benefit by capitalizing on this learned culture through organizing competitions designed to raise the general level of understanding among listeners about orchestral music.
Personally, I think it is a novel idea and the author does a good job at addressing some of the initial, and unavoidable, questions which come to mind when thinking about orchestra competitions. However, in the spirit of transparency I have to mention that this commentator is my wife and she’s taking over my monthly column, Neo Classical, at The Partial Observer (at the same time, I feel that I should point out that I am not, nor have I ever been, married to Michael Hovnanian). You can read her initial foray, entitled How Competition Could Revive Classical Music, here.