Author Archive | Kevin

A Spotify Statistic Today

Nan_Schwartz_RecordSo it turns out that my record of the orchestral music of Nan Schwartz (see image) has had over 507,000 plays in just over three-and-a-half months since the record was released on the Divine Art Records label in March this year.

Who knew?

Well besides the 507,000 very kind folk who’ve discovered this American composer’s consumate and extraordinary music (courtesy of an initial promotion by Naxos  on their Spotify Playlist – thank you guys!) it seems that the ‘established’ classical music press haven’t quite caught up.

It’s an interesting statistic when you compare Nan’s numbers to some of the apparently better recognised names (current artists, composers and conductors) flaunted by the major record labels and their Spotify statistics over the same period!

Ah, well, all in good time I imagine.

Kevin

Conducting Studies as Research?

William_Christie_ConductorI was recently at a conducting conference in Oxford, UK, designed by academics for academics.  It was, for the most part, uninteresting, populated by college and conservatory conductors (both instrumental and choral educators) – some whom I must say – have a very peculiar idea as to what constitutes conducting as a communicative musical artform.

There was one session, however, in which the very wonderful conductor, William (Bill) Christie, was interviewed about his career and work in historically informed productions and research into Baroque French Opera.  This session alone was worth the price of admission, so I was glad that I went to the conference in the final wash-up.

But the conference, as it went on, made me give thought to the very vast differences there are between conductors who work as conductors in the professional music industry (arcane as it is) and others who spend inordinate amounts of time and energy undertaking “research” into what is referred to as, ‘Conducting Studies’. Continue Reading →

The Orchestral Music of Nan Schwartz

Well, it is almost upon us!  After two years – almost to the day – three continents for recording sessions and the contribution of some of the best musicians on the planet, the Nan Schwartz album will hit the streets on March 9 (UK) and March 16 (USA) through Divine Art Records.

It’s often difficult to remain entirely detached from creative work in which you have been directly involved.  That said, this is a record of contemporary new classical music unlike anything I have heard (and I have heard almost everything) in the last 20 years.  The reason is that the music is so utterly brilliant and captivating, it seems literally impossible to contemplate why these pieces by America’s greatest living woman composer have gone unrecorded!

I have thought about this a lot over recent months watching the exciting and seemingly inexorable movement around the world to finally give women the recognition they deserve in the Entertainment and Arts worlds. What it has highlighted to me is how artists of extraordinary abilities can be so easily subsumed by an industry that only seeks out the ‘latest’ and ‘most hip’ trends (I’m sure those words are probably out-of-date) failing to ever look more closely for, and at the work from, Artists whose calibre of work outstrips the ‘latest’ and ‘most hip’ by eons.

The classical music industry is notoriously indolent in not seeking out new work that will have broad appeal to audiences trying to “get into” classical music and who wish to go further than the same, rather tired, playlists so often foist upon unsuspecting audiences by broadcasters.  I hope, in some small way, this might change with this record for there is is so much wonderful new classical music being written all around the world that most people never get to hear.

Finally, a word of encouragement to the numerous orchestras around the world looking for programming ideas – LISTEN TO THIS RECORD!

If you’d like to read more and listen to some excerpts from this marvellous new recording, please click here.

Take care,

Kevin

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