From the category archives:

Music miscellanea

The problem with synthesizers

February 23, 2009

Last week I got an email from a student conductor who is performing a piece by John Adams, needing a synthesizer, specifically a Kurzweil K2500 or 2600. I knew that Robert Winter had a K2500 in his studio, otherwise I had no idea what to recommend. I asked him to tell me what patches the […]


Good music at UCLA

February 13, 2009

Two nights ago, I had the privilege of hearing the “We’re not the UCLA Faculty String Quartet, String Quartet” perform with selected students at a private fundraiser for the new FRIENDS OF STRINGS at UCLA. Oh My God! They sounded amazing. What a joy to have such talent as colleagues and students. Their’s was the […]

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Yahara River Valley Boys

January 28, 2009

OMG! Greg Brown (the fiddle player in this photo) just sent me this picture. It is the Yahara River Valley Boys, a bluegrass group I played with from 1972-4 in Madison Wisconsin. The photo looks vaguely like the Flying Burrito Brothers. Are these wholesome lads or what? L-R: Roger Bourland, Ed Fyffe, Jamie Shelton, and […]


OakWebWorks Tickets published a Top Ten Classical Music Blogs list recently, with an interesting selection. Yours truly came in at number three. The company that made this list sells tickets to all kinds of events around the US. Here is the criteria, as listed in my notification email: How frequently the site is updated Features […]


I have just read (finally!) Lynne Truss’s terrific Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. This book is a must-read to anyone who wants to understand punctuation. In it, Ms Truss discusses an old punctuation source that tries to differentiate how commas, semicolons, colons and periods (full stops) are different. This particular […]

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One aspect that much of the old Christmas music has is good voice leading. In lay terms, this means if you have four people all singing together, each part flows smoothly and doesn’t jump all over the place. Most of the songs have four parts and are adeptly harmonized. It is exactly this kind of […]


Finding Leonard Posella

December 11, 2008

Every once in a while a magical correspondence happens. Sometime back, I posted a YouTube performance of Arnold Schoenberg conducting the first movement of his PIERROT LUNAIRE. The flutist on this recording was Leonard Posella. The other day I received this letter from his son, Nino, who gave me permission to reproduce his letter here. […]


Yay Levitin! and XM Radio

November 18, 2008

I just picked up Daniel Levitin’s new book “The World in Six Songs.” A thrilling read and is truly coloring the way I think of music nowadays. Quite refreshing. I had grown tired of listening to our local classical radio station playing Vivaldi and Telemann all the time, and news just makes me nervous these […]

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The record bombed

October 26, 2008

I read from time to time about a recording artist issuing a record that “bombed.” Even singles that get to number 45 in the top 100 chart can be seen as “bombing” but usually meaning that this single didn’t do as well as the artist’s previous “hits.” Classical composers should be so lucky to “bomb” […]


Music party

September 28, 2008

Today we’re hosting a party for faculty, staff and families from the departments of Music, Musicology and Ethnomusicology. We’re anticipating around 80 people. Not everyone can make it but those that will be here should have a good time. A warm day is in store and there is enough shade in our backyard to keep […]