Yale Opens Online Course in Music and Social Action

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The Yale School of Music is pleased to announce the launch of its first massive open online course (MOOC), “Music and Social Action.” Taught by MacArthur Fellow Sebastian Ruth, the course asks vital questions about musicians’ responses to the condition of the world.

Sebastian Ruth is the founder and artistic director of Community MusicWorks, a nationally-recognized organization that connects professional musicians with urban youth and families in Providence, Rhode Island. It has been hailed as a “revolutionary organization” by the New Yorker and in 2010 received the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, conferred by First Lady Michelle Obama.

Ruth has received a “genius” grant from the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship for “creating rewarding musical experiences for often-forgotten populations and forging a new, multifaceted role beyond the concert hall for the twenty-first-century musician.” Community MusicWorks was the inspiration for New Haven’s own Music Haven, which provides free instruments, lessons, classes, and ensemble and leadership development opportunities to young people (ages 6–18) from low-income New Haven neighborhoods.

Sebastian Ruth’s free online course offers students around the world an opportunity to learn from this leading educator and thinker. The multimedia course includes not only thoughtfully crafted lectures and engaging assignments but also historical photos and audio clips.

The course asks vital questions such as: Do musicians have an obligation and an opportunity to serve the needs of the world with their musicianship? Are we looking at a dying art form or a moment of re-invigoration? The course itself, as well as the impact of organizations such as Community MusicWorks and Music Haven, argues the case for re-invigoration.

 

 

The next session opens March 21.  Register here: Coursera

 

Leap Year Day in Music History

Leap-Year-2016

 

 

 

. 1792 ~ Gioachino Rossini, Italian composer
Read quotes by and about Rossini
More information about Rossini

. 1898 ~ Wladimir Rudolfovich Vogel, Russian-born Swiss composer

. 1904 ~ Jimmy Dorsey, American clarinetist, bandleader and saxophonist

. 1916 ~ Dinah (Frances Rose) Shore, Emmy Award-winning singer and entertainer

. 1932 ~ Bing Crosby and the Mills Brothers teamed up to record Shine for Brunswick Records.

. 1936 ~ Fanny Brice brought her little girl character “Baby Snooks” to radio on “The Ziegfeld Follies of the Air” on CBS Radio. Miss Brice presented the character and later sang My Man on the program. She was 44 at the time, and was known as America’s “Funny Girl” long before Barbra Streisand brought her even greater fame and notoriety nearly 30 years later.

. 1964 ~ The United States was in the grip of Beatlemania! I Want to Hold Your Hand, by the lads from Liverpool, was in its 5th week at #1 on the pop charts. It stayed there until March 21, when it was replaced by She Loves You, which was replaced byCan’t Buy Me Love, which was finally replaced by Hello Dolly, by Louis Armstrong, on May 9, 1964. 14 straight weeks of #1 music by The Beatles!

Exercises: Scales and Arpeggios

scales

PDF Article on Scales and Arpeggios

In music, a scale is any set of musical notes ordered by fundamental frequency or pitch.

An arpeggio (it. /arˈpeddʒo/) is a musical technique where notes in a chord are played or sung in sequence, one after the other, rather than being played together like a chord. This word comes from the Italian word “arpeggiare”, which means “to play on a harp”. An alternative translation of this term is “broken chord”.

Make any scale or chord here

 

February 28 ~ Today in Music History

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. 1876 ~ John Alden Carpenter, American composer

. 1882 ~ Geraldine Farrar, American soprano

. 1890 ~ Vasalav Nijinsky, Ballet dancer

. 1903 ~ Vincente Minnelli (Lester Anthony Minnelli), Director, Judy Garland’s husband and Liza Minnelli’s father

. 1915 ~ Lee Castle (Castaldo), Trumpet, bandleader, led Jimmy Dorsey’s band during time of smash hit, So Rare

. 1926 ~ Seymour Shifrin, American composer

. 1930 ~ Ted Lewis and his orchestra recorded On the Sunny Side of the Street for Columbia Records on this day. Mr. Lewis was heard as the featured vocalist as well, on the tune that has been recorded hundreds of times and is an American music standard.

. 1939 ~ Tommy Tune, Tony Award-winning dancer, actor, director of musical theater

. 1942 ~ Brian Jones (Lewis Hopkin-Jones), Singer, rhythm guitar with The Rolling Stones

. 1948 ~ Bernadette Peters, Singer and actress

. 1959 ~ Cash Box magazine, a trade publication for the music/radio industry, began using a red ‘bullet’ on its record charts to indicate those records that have the strongest upward movement each week. The phrase, “Number one with a bullet” designates those hits that have reached the pinnacle of statistical chartdom. To be so means to be at the top of the list and still climbing higher.

. 1966 ~ The famous Cavern Club in Liverpool, England closed because of financial difficulties. During its peak of success, the club was best known as the home of The Beatles.

. 1968 ~ Frankie Lymon passed away.  He was an American rock and roll/rhythm and blues singer and songwriter.

. 1984 ~ It was Michael Jackson Night at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. He set a record for most wins by taking home eight of the gramophone statuette honors. He broke the previous record of six awards set by Roger Miller in

. 1965. The reason: the biggest selling album of all time, Thriller, which sold more than 35-million copies around the world soon after its release in 1983.

. 1993 ~ Ruby Keeler passed away.  She was a Canadian-born American actress, dancer and singer most famous for her on-screen coupling with Dick Powell in a string of successful early musicals at Warner Brothers, particularly 42nd Street.

Van Cliburn, American classical pianist

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Van Cliburn was just a pianist much the way Neil Armstrong was merely an astronaut. Simply put, the tall Texan’s musical talent and successes were out of this world.

Cliburn, who died Wednesday February 27, 2013 at age 78 at his Fort Worth home due to complications from bone cancer, was 23 when he strode into Moscow for the inaugural International Tchaikovsky Competition, created to showcase Soviet cultural superiority.

Playing with unerring precision and sublime emotion, he took the top prize and was given a ticker-tape parade in Manhattan, the first and last time a pianist won such an honor.

“Imagine galvanizing the attention of the entire world in the pre-Internet, pre-global TV year of 1958,” says Howard Reich, who got to know the Texas-based pianist while researching his 1993 biography, Van Cliburn. “As a Texan, he was so emblematic of the United States. But the Russians fell in love with his romanticism.”

In many ways, however, that seminal performance both made his name and sealed his fate.

The pieces that won him the competition — Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 — sold countless records (his Tchaikovsky No. 1 was the first classical record to sell more than a million copies) and became required concert staples.

“Playing on that treadmill for the next 20 years led him to burn out, and by 1978 he looked terrible and bowed out of public life,” says Reich. “He was a gentle soul, and that harsh public spotlight had a negative effect on him.”

It would be nine years before Cliburn performed again, at the White House for Ronald Reagan and Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev. Although he made occasional appearances in the following decades, he spent most of his time overseeing his foundation and a quadrennial competition that bears his name.

“I can’t think of anyone who has done more to help promote the instrument and young performers than Van,” says Cliburn’s friend Yoheved Kaplinsky, chairman of the piano department at New York’s Juilliard School of Music, which Cliburn attended. “He was an icon in Fort Worth, and a person of great humility.”

Born Harvey Lavan Cliburn Jr. in Shreveport, La., Cliburn started piano lessons at age 3 and immediately showed prowess under the watchful eye of his mother, who had trained on the instrument under a teacher who had studied with Franz Liszt.

After moving to Texas, Cliburn played with Houston’s symphony at age 12, and at 17 entered Juilliard. At 20, he performed with the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall, setting the stage for his triumphant coup in Russia.

No one can imagine a ticker-tape parade for a pianist in this era, but in Cliburn’s heyday he was as much an inevitable cultural icon as he was a reluctant political figure. In the late ’50s, the Cold War was raging, the Beatles were still practicing and classical music still held sway.

But what truly made Cliburn unique was the humble ease with which he went about seducing the alleged enemy.

“Van marched in full of the musical values of the Old World, full of tremendous sincerity and with a remarkable ability to connect with audiences,” says Kaplinsky. “He may have transcended the boundaries of the art world and breached into the political world, but foremost Van was a consummate artist.”

That artistry is on display in various YouTube clips of Cliburn reprising his competition-winning form in Moscow in 1962. The pianist’s eyes are often closed as massive hands fly across the length of the keyboard. Utterly lost in the music, Cliburn seems almost oblivious to his audience.

“He had more of everything,” says Reich. “More height, more smiles, more sweep on the piano.”

In his later years, Cliburn collected the usual array of awards accorded cultural heroes. A Kennedy Center Honors tribute in 2001, a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2003, and in 2004 Russia’s equivalent, the Russian Order of Friendship. In 2004, there was a predictable Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 1994 a less-expected guest appearance as himself in the TV cartoon Iron Man.

On the personal front, Cliburn was a devout Baptist but also quietly gay; in the late ’90s, his longtime partner, Thomas Zaremba, unsuccessfully sued the pianist over compensation claims.

Ultimately, Cliburn will be remembered not just as a performer of startling skill, but also as a global cultural sensation in the age of shortwave radio.

“He did something that no one could have ever imagined back then,” says Reich. “He was ubiquitous.”

Adapted from USA Today

February 27 ~ Today in Music History

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. 1848 ~ Hubert Parry, English composer, teacher and historian of music.

. 1873 ~ Enrico Caruso, Italian tenor, sang nearly 70 roles; appeared in nearly every country of Europe and North and South America
Read quotes by and about Caruso
More information about Caruso

. 1883 ~ Oscar Hammerstein of New York City patented the first practical cigar- rolling machine. If Oscar’s name sounds familiar, it should. Hammerstein’s grandson later made his mark by writing some of the best- known music in the world, teaming up frequently with Richard Rodgers.

. 1887 ~ Lotte Lehman, Singer

. 1897 ~ Marian Anderson, Opera diva

. 1923 ~ Dexter Gordon, American jazz tenor saxophonist

. 1927 ~ Guy Mitchell (Al Cernick), Singer, actor

. 1935 ~ Mirella Freni, Italian soprano

. 1936 ~ Chuck Glaser, Singer with Glaser Brothers

. 1948 ~ Eddie Gray, Guitarist with Tommy James & The Shondells

. 1951 ~ Steve Harley (Nice), Singer with Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel

. 1954 ~ Neal Schon, Guitarist with Santana; Journey

. 1955 ~ Garry Christian, Singer with The Christians

. 1970 ~ Simon and Garfunkel received a gold record for the single, Bridge Over Troubled Water.

. 2003 ~ Tom Glazer, 88, the balladeer, guitarist and songwriter who, along with Burl Ives, Josh White, Pete Seeger and others, helped spark national interest in folk music in the 1940s, died. Mr. Glazer wrote songs for children, including a hit 1963 parody, On Top of Spaghetti, that won him National Critics’ and Parent Magazine awards. He also acted, sang and wrote for movies and TV. He was singer-narrator for the film, Sweet Land of Liberty, and composed the score for the Andy Griffith film A Face in the Crowd. Mr. Glazer was a native of Philadelphia who attended the City College of New York. As a young man, he played tuba and bass in military and jazz bands and worked at the Library of Congress. He began singing with a group while living in Washington, and was invited by Eleanor Roosevelt to perform at the White House. Mr. Glazer became a full-time musician in 1943 and, over the years, hosted three radio series. He also wrote books about music, including a number of songbooks. His song Because All Men Are Brothers, based on the Passion Chorale by J. S. Bach, was recorded by the Weavers and Peter, Paul and Mary. Other hits included, Old Soldiers Never Die for Vaughn Monroe, More for Perry Como, Til We Two Are Onefor Georgie Shaw, and A Worried Man, recorded by the Kingston Trio. His song, The Musicians was used on the “Barney” television show for children; Bob Dylan recorded his Talking Inflation Blues.

. 2003 ~ Fred Rogers, who gently invited millions of children to be his neighbor as host of the public television show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood for more than 30 years, died. He was 74. From 1968 to 2000, Rogers, an ordained Presbyterian minister, produced the show at Pittsburgh public television station WQED. The final new episode, which was taped in December 2000, aired in August 2001, though PBS affiliates continued to air back episodes. Rogers composed his own songs for the show and began each episode in a set made to look like a comfortable living room, singing “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…”, as he donned sneakers and a zip-up cardigan. His message remained simple: telling his viewers to love themselves and others. On each show, he would take his audience on a magical trolley ride into the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, where his puppet creations would interact with each other and adults. Rogers did much of the puppet work and voices himself. He also studied early childhood development at the University of Pittsburgh and consulted with an expert there over the years. Rogers’ show won four Emmy Awards, plus one for lifetime achievement. He was given a George Foster Peabody Award in 1993, “in recognition of 25 years of beautiful days in the neighborhood.” One of Rogers’ red sweaters hangs in the Smithsonian Institution.

. 2003 ~ Jean Sullivan, a musician, dancer and actress who starred opposite Errol Flynn in the 1944 film “Uncertain Glory,” died of cardiac arrest. She was 79. Sullivan was the leading lady Marianne in “Uncertain Glory” and also has a starring role in the 1945 movie “Escape in the Desert.” The young actress also played the daughter of Rosalind Russell and Jack Carson in the motion picture comedy “Roughly Speaking.” Despite a budding acting career, Sullivan relocated to New York and began studying ballet and dancing professionally. While practicing flamenco steps during a Carnegie Hall rehearsal, Sullivan was discovered by choreographer Anthony Tudor and was a dancer with the American Ballet Theatre. She enhanced her flamenco by playing Spanish guitar and became a popular entertainer at Latin nightclubs throughout New York City. Sullivan also played cello and piano. Despite her career change, Sullivan performed flamenco on TV variety shows, including “The Steve Allen Show” and “The Jackie Gleason Show.” She also was a meteorologist on local New York television stations.

. 2013 ~ Van Cliburn died.  He was an American pianist who achieved worldwide recognition in 1958 at the age of 23, when he won the first quadrennial International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow at the height of the Cold War.

February 26 ~ Today in Music History

today

. 1770 ~ Anton Reicha, Czech-born, later naturalized French composer of music very much in the German style

. 1802 ~ Victor Hugo, author of Les Miserables and many other works

. 1879 ~ Frank Bridge, English composer, violist and conductor

. 1922 ~ Dancing to jazz music and tango bands was criticized in Paris. It seems that dancing was detracting the French from their postwar reconstruction, according to “La Revue Mondiale”.

. 1928 ~ “Fats” (Antoine) Domino, American rock-and-roll pianist and singer. His works include: Ain’t That a Shame, Goin’ Home, I’m in Love Again, Blue Monday, I’m Walkin’ and Blueberry Hill

. 1930 ~ Lazar Berman, Soviet pianist

. 1932 ~ Johnny Cash, American country-music singer guitarist and songwriter. He is married to June Carter. Some of his songs are: Folsom Prison Blues, I Walk the Line,Don’t Take Your Guns to Town, A Boy Named Sue and Ring of Fire. More information about Cash

. 1945 ~ Mitch Ryder (William Levise), Singer with Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels

. 1947 ~ Sandie Shaw (Goodrich), Singer

. 1950 ~ Jonathan Cain, Keyboard with Babys

. 1954 ~ Michael Bolton, Grammy Award-winning singer. Some of his songs are: When a Man Loves a Woman and How Am I Supposed to Live Without You

. 1961 ~ John-Jon (John Andrew Foster), Musician with Bronski Beat

. 1972 ~ Harry Nilsson started his second week at number one with that toe- tapping ditty, Without You. The whiny love song stayed at the top for a total of four weeks.

. 1977 ~ The Eagles’ New Kid in Town landed in the top spot on the pop music charts for one week beginning this day.

. 1981 ~ Howard Hanson died.  He was an American composer, conductor, educator, music theorist, and champion of American classical music.

. 1983 ~ Charley Pride’s Why Baby Why topped the country charts. The song was written by George Jones (who found national fame with his own version in 1955) and Darrell Edwards. Legend has it that inspiration for the song came when Edwards overheard a couple squabbling in their car in Orange, TX.

. 2003 ~ Otha Turner, 94, who created his own niche in blues music with an ethereal mix of early American colonial drums and West African flute, died in Como, Miss. His recording Everybody Hollerin’ Goat was rated among the Top 10 blues releases in 1997 by Rolling Stone magazine. Members of a Senegalese drum troupe performed with Mr. Turner on the album. Mr. Turner was presented with a National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Award, the Smithsonian Lifetime Achievement Award and the Charlie Patton Lifetime Achievement Award from the Mississippi Delta Blues and Heritage Festival.