The Next Track, Episode #187 – Live Performances during Covid-19, and After

John Wyver’s company Illuminations produces films of live performances: theater, dance, opera, and music. He joins us to discuss the future of live performances in what he calls The After, that period when Covid-19 is just a memory. Will live performances be able to start again even if there isn’t a vaccine? How can social distancing allow live performances to return?

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The Next Track, Episode #186 – Harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani

We meet harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani, who is showing how the harpsichord is no longer an instrument just for “old” music. His latest recording features contemporary music for harpsichord and electronics.

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The Next Track, Episode #185 – Use Plex to Manage Your Media Library

Plex is a great way to manage your media library. Doug and Kirk discuss how they use it. Note: we recorded this episode before the lockdown began, but held off publishing it because we had a number of interviews with musicians in lockdown.

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Apple Music and Metadata: No Humans Involved

Update: Apple has corrected this, with a separate artist page for this Genesis. However, the genre is now listed as Christian & Gospel, at least when I view the album on the web. It is still Hip-Hop/Rap in the Music app.

Genesis2

Looking at Apple Music For You this morning, I checked out the New Releases list. I was surprised to see that the latest release in my list was a new recording by Genesis, called No Grey Areas.

“Genesis has a new record,” I wondered? I thought I would have heard about that. I clicked on the album cover, and it said that it was in the Hip-Hop/Rap genre. So I clicked on Genesis to see if there was another artist named Genesis, you know, other than the Peter Gabriel / Phil Collins band, and here’s what I saw:

Genesis

Oh, so it is the same Genesis? I started playing it…

Nope, it’s a rapper with the same name, and no one at Apple Music could be bothered to make sure that it shows up correctly.

A Playlist of Music by Black Classical Composers

With the Blackout Tuesday action yesterday, the streaming music services were focusing on music by black artists. I was dismayed, however, when I went to Apple Music, and all they were doing was playing Beats 1 all day. When I turned it on a couple of time, it was just rap and hip-hop; people told me that, later, there were other black performers, such as those of soul and R&B from the 1970s.

I think Apple missed a chance to introduce people to black artists in other genres. Sure, we all know about the many black artists in jazz – Miles, Monk, and Mingus, for example – but there are also a number of black composers of classical music, and many black artists who perform classical music. Apple could have had different selections of music in different genres to highlight these composers and artist.

So here’s a basic playlist with some of the better-known names among black classical composers. Feel free to listen, and to add it to your Apple Music library. If anyone has any other suggestions, especially of contemporary composers, let me know and I’ll add them to the playlist. I didn’t intend this to be exhaustive, but just to show that there are some very good classical works by black composers.

Update: Here’s a list of some black composers and classical music organizations compiled by the Eureka Ensemble.

The Next Track, Episode #184 – TJ Connelly, Boston Sports DJ

TJ Connelly is a sports DJ: he provides “scores” for live sporting events, such as baseball, football, and hockey games. Since the lockdown, he’s been out of work, and he has been focusing his attention on Uncertain Times, a daily streaming radio show. We talk with him about what it means to score live sports, and how his streaming show is reconnecting him with real radio.

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The Next Track, Episode #183 – Composer and Pianist Timo Andres on Concertizing at Home

Timo Andres is a young composer and pianist, nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 2016. We discuss his music, and how he missed his first solo recital at Carnegie Hall du to the coronavirus lockdown, and decided to make home videos of all the works to present his program to the public. (Apologies for the audio; we made some mistakes when recording.)

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The Next Track, Episode #182 – Oliver Craske on His Biography of Ravi Shankar, Indian Sun

Oliver Craske has just published the first biography of the legendary Indian musician Ravi Shankar. Craske knew and worked with Shankar near the end of his life, and carried out extensive research to tell the tale of the man who brought Indian music to the west. (Apologies for the poor Skype audio quality.)

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The Next Track, Episode #181 – Classical Music Critic Anne Midgette

Anne Midgette resigned as classical music critic for the Washington Post a few months ago, but she is well placed to discuss the dangers facing live performances of classical music in The After. And she tells us about the historical novel she’s writing about the woman who built pianos for Beethoven.

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The Next Track, Episode #180 – Harpsichordist and Conductor Richard Egarr

We talk with harpsichordist, conductor, and “general music addict” Richard Egarr, about original performance practice in early music.

Help support The Next Track by making regular donations via Patreon. We’re ad-free and self-sustaining so your support is what keeps us going. Thanks!

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