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Classical Notes

Classical Notes: April 17, 2007 Archive

No joke: violist to lobby Congress

Posted at 10:05 AM on April 17, 2007 by Don Lee

The American Symphony Orchestra League is excited to report that a musician will champion the orchestra cause before Congress this week. In what the League describes as "a rare on-the-record opportunity," Karen Bea of the Phoenix Symphony will testify Thursday before the House Interior Appropriations subcommittee in support of NEA funding. She's both a violist and a trustee of the orchestra (not to mention a triathlete).

How much money is at stake? Well, in the most recent funding rounds, the League says the NEA last month gave 11 American orchestras grants of $10,000 each for outreach to "underserved populations." In December the endowment handed out $1,430,000 to 53 orchestras (an average of just under $27,000 each) in support of programming.

Pay to Play

Posted at 6:16 PM on April 17, 2007 by Alison Young

I know the Joshua Bell busking in the DC Metro story has been told and re-told to death. But, for me, it brought to mind how the other half lives. Last month, I attended a New York debut recital given by a friend and former flute student. She was the winner of a competition called Artists International that sponsored her Weill Hall recital at Carnegie. (Yes, she got to Carnegie by practicing!)

These days, if you're a Joshua Bell, your every move gets media coverage, but for my friend - a pedigreed, hard-working musician without a big name - the chance that one of the local papers would cover her recital were next to nil. So she took advantage of a service that has filled the void. New York Concert Review, Inc, which claims to recognize her and most young professional musicians' predicament, are there to help – for a price.

A basic review starts at $400 with additional cost should you want to add a photo. Seeing this as her only opportunity to get "written up," my friend splurged and essentially hired one of their staff - writers purported to have credits with The New York Times, Hi-Fidelity and Gramophone - to review her concert.

She got her review.

With her name misspelled.

Welcome to (the rest of) the world of professional musicians!