Monday, June 30, 2008

Studies In Behavioral Microeconomics And Energy Usage: In Which Pan Cogito Learns That There Is Indeed A Free Lunch, If Not Free Travel Or Clean Air

June 30, 2008

Dear Pan Cogito,

I would like to invite you to a Conference on European Foreign Policy that will take place in Rome, Italy, from July 7 to July 10. The conference is organized by the University of Rome Tor Vergata, in collaboration with the Centre for American Studies in Rome and the Brookings Institution, and it is co-financed by the European Commission.

In order to draw a comprehensive picture of EU foreign policy, the conference will address both "horizontal" and "vertical" issues. Vertical analyses will explore geographic regions and include the study of relations with the European Neighborhood [you mean the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Turkey, and Belarus?], the United States, Latin America, the Mediterranean Area, the Middle East, Africa, and the Far East; horizontal analyses will explore themes that are relevant to the external dimension of the EU.

The conference is free and open to the public, but requires prior registration. Please note that we are unable to provide any logistical or financial support for travel and lodging, though lunch will be provided at the conference. For the detailed program and for the registration form please see

With my best regards,

Pan Bindi

The statue of Minerva in la Sapienza University, Rome, Present-day European Union.

Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons. With thanks.

As Leonard Slatkin Farewell To The National Symphony Ends, Kazakhstan's "Starry Decade Of Astana" Festival Begins With Popstar Whitney Houston

... "The week-long “Starry Decade of Astana” festivities started this weekend and will culminate on Mr Nazarbayev’s 68th birthday on Sunday. Dmitri Medvedev, Russia’s president, is attending to celebrate central Asia’s equivalent of Dubai or Brasilia.

Outside the Akorda, Mr Nazarbayev’s blue-domed palace, a stage is going up for US popstar Whitney Houston to sing to the crowds.

Much of Astana’s architecture is futuristic and extravagant, a product of the bountiful oil wealth flowing into Kazakhstan, once one of the poorest Soviet republics, which is emerging as a global energy power. Two buildings were commissioned from Norman Foster, the British architect: the Pyramid of Peace and Khan’s Pavilion, based on the hanging gardens of Babylon." ...

Isabel Gorst "Credit woes mar Astana’s capital idea" Financial Times June 29, 2008


Well, credit woes aside, conceptual and patriotic woes appear to be threatening Placido Domingo's recently renamed Washington NATIONAL Opera, in the Nation's Capital; as well as Sharon Percy Rockefeller's new Classical WETA-FM, so-called public radio, also in the Nation's Capital.

It was the best of times, and also the worst of times ... Astana, Kazakhstan follows in the footsteps of Brasilia, Canberra, Washington, D.C., and Saint Petersburg.

All roads leading from Siberia to Central Asia, from China to Europe are said to meet in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Due to Stalinist forced collectivization in the 1930s, hunger is said to have caused the death of 1.5 million Kazakhs, which would represent more than 40 percent of the then population of the nation.

Photo credits: Wikipedia Commons. With thanks. Astana Stadium (c) Tabanlioglu Architects via World Architecture News. With thanks.

Friday, June 27, 2008

At Noon Friday, Fifteen Tickets Remain To National Symphony Orchestra Celebration Of Shostakovich, Aaron Copland And American Classical Music Culture

Extra! Extra! National Symphony Orchestra musicians celebrate Aaron Copland and American Classical Music, while Sharon Percy Rockefeller's Classical WETA-FM, in the Nation's Capital, celebrates Frederick the Great of Prussia and Exclusively European Classical Music!


Today, the National Symphony Orchestra -- by lowering remaining ticket prices to $20 -- virtually assured itself a second sold-out classical concert in a row for its 2400+ seat Concert Hall. (See yesterday's post.)

Just after noon on Friday, the complete orchestra level and box and first tiers were completely sold-out, and only about 15 tickets remained for seats in the Second Tier Center (at $45 each without the quasi-secret code, in yesterday's post; and $20 with the quasi-secret code in yesterday's post).


At the same time that the National Symphony Orchestra and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts are trying to affirm America's classical musical culture, Sharon Percy Rockefeller's Classical WETA-FM, in the Nation's Capital, continues to try to repress the development of American classical musical culture.

Those not fortunate to attend last night's, or tonight's, sold-out National Symphony Orchestra concerts celebrating Shostakovich and Copland, could tune in to so-called public radio, in the Nation's Capital, for the following exclusively non-American classical programming:

Sharon Percy Rockefeller's Concept of Responsible Public Classical Broadcasting in the Nation's Capital for Thursday evening, June 27, 2008:

8:01pm: Festive Overture in D Major, Op. 4
Bedrich Smetana
Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra
Theodore Kuchar (conductor)
Brilliant Classics 93634

8:12pm: Piano Quintet "The Trout"
Franz Schubert
Nash Ensemble
MCA 25867

9:01pm: Flute Sonata G Minor (BWV 1020)
Johann Sebastian Bach
Irena Grafenauer (flute)
Maria Graf (harp)
David Geringas (cello)
Philips 422.061

9:15pm: Violin Sonata #9 "Kreutzer"
Ludwig van Beethoven
Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin)
Lambert Orkis (piano)
DG 457.619

10:01pm: Concerto, RV 441
Antonio Vivaldi
Camerata Cologne
D. Harmonia Mundi 77016

10:14pm: Symphony #2
Sergei Rachmaninoff
Russian National Orchestra
Mikhail Pletnev (conductor)
DG 439.888


Sharon Percy Rockefeller's Concept of Responsible Public Classical Broadcasting in the Nation's Capital for Friday evening, June 28, 2008:

8:01pm: Concerto, RV 498
Antonio Vivaldi
Martin Gatt (bassoon)
Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Sir Neville Marriner (conductor)
Decca 0006627

8:15pm: Symphony #7
Ludwig van Beethoven
North German Radio Symphony Orchestr
Gunter Wand (conductor)
EMI 49622

9:01pm: Concerto Grosso, Op. 6 #1
George Frideric Handel
Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Iona Brown (conductor)
Philips 410.048

9:15pm: Impromptu G-flat Major (Op. 51)
Franz Schubert
Wilhelm Kempff (piano)
DG 0007434

9:22pm: Symphony #1
Johannes Brahms
Cleveland Orchestra
George Szell (conductor)
CBS 37775

10:01pm: Symphony G Major
Frederick the Great of Prussia
CPE Bach Chamber Orchestra
Hartmut Haenchen (conductor)
Capriccio 10.064

10:14pm: Divertimento, K. 334
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Philips 411.102


Final Score on Sharon Percy Rockefeller -- and her limousine liberal Friends of Classical WETA-FM, in the Nation's Capital:

Frederick the Great of Prussia, European Classical Music, and the Russian National Orchestra: 1

Aaron Copland, American Classical Music, and the National Symphony Orchestra (of Washington, D.C.): 0

Oakland Oaks' manager Casey Stengel rides in the victory parade in celebration of the Oaks 1948 Pacific Coast League Championship. October, 1948. Photographer: Tommy McDonough.

A long way from home, Pfc. Clairborne L. Shaw of Oakland at Chu Lai, Vietnam, June 4, 1966. Oakland Tribune Collection, Gift of ANG Newspapers.

Photo credits: (c) Copyright controlled via the Oakland Museum of California, The Oakland Tribune Collection. With thanks.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

National Symphony Orchestra Programs Beethoven, Shostakovich, And Copland Symphony #3; Lowers Prices Of All Seats To $20; And Sells Out Concert Hall

Extra! Extra! National Symphony Orchestra Programs Beethoven, Shostakovich, And Copland Symphony #3; Lowers Prices Of All Remaining [50%?] Seats To $20; And Sells Out The Kennedy Center Concert Hall To Tonight's Concert!

NSO Will Attempt To Repeat Sell-Out Tomorrow Night at 8 PM!
(The quasi-secret code to the $20 seats is 31192).

Washington area musicologist Richard Freed's expert program notes are available here:

BEETHOVEN - Leonore Overture No. 3, Op. 72a

SHOSTAKOVICH - Cello Concerto No. 2, Op. 126

COPLAND - Symphony No. 3

Thursday 'AfterWords' with Leonard Slatkin and guest cello soloist Sol Gabetta.

Sol Gabetta and Aaron Copland. Musical Unity Summit in the Nation's Capital?

Photo credits: (c) Borletti Buitoni Trust. 2008. All rights reserved (Gabetta); and (c) The Yale University School of Music. With thanks.


The National Symphony Orchestra had originally announced this program to include Ms Gabetta performing the Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations for Cello and Orchestra.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sharon Percy Rockefeller's Classical WETA-FM Bends To The Times; Will Devote Two Extra Hours To American Classical Music During Summer 2008

"You put your camera around your neck along with putting on your shoes, and there it is, an appendage of the body that shares your life with you. The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera."

- Dorothea Lange


On Wednesday, July 2, 2008, at 9 PM, Sharon Percy Rockefeller's Classical WETA-FM, in the Nation's Capital, will broadcast the following National Symphony Orchestra performances of American classical music, taped during 2004 and 2005:

Paul Creston’s Frontiers

George Gershwin’s Concerto for F for Piano and Orchestra, featuring pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet

Alan Hovhaness’s Symphony No. 2, Mysterious Mountain

Samuel Barber’s Concerto for Cello & Orchestra, Op. 22, featuring cellist Lynn Harrell

Leonard Bernstein’s
Symphony No. 1, Jeremiah, featuring soloist Mary Phillips

and a brief encore, Fin, composed by Leonard Slatkin and commissioned through a grant from the John and June Hechinger Commissioning Fund for New Orchestral Works.

This exceptionally rare evening will probably bring the total amount of time devoted by public radio, in the Nation's Capital, to American classical music during the Summer of 2008 close to three hours.

Field Laborers, Coachella Valley, California, 1935
"We are on relief. We are getting $14 and $15 a week
now because we have a very good President."

Dorothea Lange
Dorothea Lange Photography Archive
Oakland Museum of California
Gift of Paul S. Taylor.

Photo credit: (c) Copyright controlled Estate of Dorothea Lange. All rights reserved. Via Dorothea Lange Photography Archive of the Oakland Museum of California.


"The insightful and compassionate photographs of Dorothea Lange (1895 - 1965) have exerted a profound influence on the development of modern documentary photography. Lange's concern for people, her appreciation of the ordinary, and the striking empathy she showed for her subjects make her unique among photographers of her day.

The Art Department of the Oakland Museum of California holds the largest and most comprehensive collection of the work of Dorothea Lange, representing every facet of a long and varied career."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

'Qu'ils Mangent De La Brioche' (Let Them Eat Cake): 87 Per Cent Of Germans And 78 Per Cent Of American Now Think Income/Wealth Inequality Is Too Great

"Public opinion across Europe, Asia, and the US is strikingly consistent in considering that the gap between rich and poor is too wide and that the wealthy should pay more taxes.

Income inequality has emerged as a highly contentious political issue in many countries as the latest wave of globalisation has created a “superclass” of rich people.

A United National Development Programme report in 2005 estimated that the world’s richest 50 people were earning more than the 416 million poorest.

According to the latest FT/Harris poll, strong majorities in five European countries – ranging from 76 per cent in Spain to 87 per cent in Germany – consider that income inequality is too great.

But 78 per cent of respondents in the US, traditionally seen as more tolerant of income inequality, also think the gap is too wide." ...

John Thornhill "Poll shows wide dislike of wealth gap" Financial Times May 18, 2008

Header picture: Ma Thidar Hlaing smiles as she holds baby Thet Su Wai Hninn, born one week after Cyclone Nargis devastated the Ayeyarwady delta in Myanmar, Southeast Asia. Thet Su Wai Hninn was born at the Zay Yar Boan Myint Monastery in Bogale, Myanmar. (UNDP photo, June 20, 2008)


"Gourmet restaurants, world-class nightclubs, favorable tax breaks--not to mention proximity to the world's financial centers. These are some of the attributes that make a city particularly attractive to billionaires and cause many of them to cluster in the same urban communities. It's no wonder, then, that one in three billionaires call one of 10 cosmopolitan cities home.

Despite all the squabbling between New York and London for bragging rights, neither is actually home to the largest number of billionaires. That honor belongs to Moscow. [Istanbul, Turkey, Future European Union, is number 4.]

The Russian capital is home to 74 billionaires, with an average net worth of $5.9 billion. That's quite a jump from just five billionaire residents in 2002....

What makes Moscow so popular with Russia's wealthiest? Says billionaire oilman Viktor Vekselberg, "The standard of living in Moscow is on par with all of the world capitals." And it's less expensive. A ticket to Russia's famed Bolshoi Theater--where the likes of Mikhail Baryshnikov has danced--will only set you back $50. And top-notch kindergartens run by the government are free.

Moscow knocked off perennial No. 1 city New York, who is close behind with 71 billionaires and an average net worth of $3.3 billion. It is the first time since 2001, when we started closely tracking the city data, that New York hasn't been at the top. More than half of these New Yorkers make their money in finance and investments." ...

Chaniga Vorasarun "The World's Richest People: Cities Of The Billionaires" Forbes April 30, 2008

[Click on map for enlargement.]

Map credit: © 2002-2008 WGBH. All Rights Reserved. With thanks.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Redefining Wealth: Introducing The Almaty Conservatory, Conductor Jan Moritz Onken, Cellist Daniyar Kadralinov & Future Composer Tolegan Iklasov

... "Still, the road to New York is strewn with obstacles, not least the cost of the trip, which could exceed $600,000. Kazakh officials have said they will help, but they have been vague about how much.

For now, despite the oil wealth streaming into Kazakhstan, money remains scarce. The musicians must buy most of their instruments themselves or rely on ones supplied by the [Kazakh National] Conservatory that are of very poor quality.

Perhaps conductor Jan Moritz Onken's greatest challenge is convincing others here that classical music should matter at all. Communism bequeathed the country a state-funded system of schools and concert halls, and classical music flourished as a showcase for the system's achievements. Today, however, this system is breaking down.

As the country becomes increasingly saturated with the trappings of globalization and petro-wealth, symphony orchestras and those who support them seem increasingly marginal. In Almaty, especially among the musicians' peers, the primary goal often seems to be to spend as much time as possible in bars and clubs flaunting their wealth.

Tolegen Iklasov and Daniyar Kadralinov, sipping cappuccinos and watching the Hummers and Porsche SUVs speed by, say that they can hope to earn a maximum of $300 a month as musicians. Many of their classmates plan to give up music entirely to find a position in a bank or the financial sector. Yet they both intend to make classical music their life's work; Iklasov wants to become a composer.

Onken says he understands his students' feelings - that they may feel ridiculous compared with the newly rich Kazakhs or with friends who are pursuing more lucrative career paths.

"They want to be cool like Mafiosi," he said.

But he suggested an alternative. "They have to play Mozart like a Mafioso - they want to feel that what they do is important," he said. "'The Rite of Spring' gave them this momentum. You have these monster sounds, like the world is breaking apart. Even the Mafiosi have fear." ...

David L. Stern "Almaty Journal: Creating A Melody From Fear Of Failure" New York Times June 4, 2008

[Click on image for enlargement.]

Norman Foster + Partners. Khan Shatyry Entertainment Centre, Astana, Kazakhstan
Astana, Kazakhstan, 2006-2008

'The Khan Shatyry Entertainment Centre in Astana will become a dramatic civic focal point for the capital of Kazakhstan. The soaring structure, at the northern end of the new city axis, rises from a 200m elliptical base to form the highest peak on the skyline of Astana.'

Co-architects: Linea Tusavul Architecture, Gultekin Architecture

Photo credit: (c) Norman Foster + Partners. Copyright controlled. All rights reserved. 2007.


See why the head of UNDP, the OECD’s Secretary General and the Chief Economist of the World Bank are among those who think the time has come to get serious about Measuring the Progress of Societies.


Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative


Climatically Astana, Kazakhstan is the second coldest capital in the world (behind Ulaanbataar, Mongolia).

Anniversary Greeting to Maestro James Levine!!

Yesterday afternoon, while watching the delayed (cubist) MET Opera broadcast (on functioning public television WETA, if generally dyfunctional public radio WETA-FM in the Nation's Capital) from last March of Richard Wagner's 'Tristan und Isolde', I realized that by far the largest share of my live and broadcast MET Opera memories, since a very cold and windy late December 1976 when I moved to New York City, have been under the careful and musically loving baton of James Levine. [After watching the Wagner, I provided my own encore by dusting off my 1989 self-recorded cassette of Maestro Levine leading Samuel Ramey and Jessye Norman in Bela Bartok's 'Bluebeard's Castle' (unfortunately in English) and Arnold Schoenberg's 'Erwartung' (in German).]

Happy Anniversary to James Levine on your 65th birthday, and with deep appreciation for your role in providing an invisible national classical Music Conservatory!


Does anyone have any thoughts on the MET's 'Cubist' 'Tristan und Isolde' broadcast? I found it an exciting experiment. [If I were younger, I might compare the non-Cubist and Cubist video broadcasts of this fascinating -- generally successful -- MET opera production.]

Jessye Norman sings Franz Schubert's 'Winterreise' (as staged by Robert Wilson in Paris almost a generation ago); as does bass-baritone and German Classical Music Conservatory Professor Thomas Quasthoff earlier this year in Boston, accompanied by Maestro James Levine.

Can you believe that Washington, D.C. -- one of the self-proclaimed richest cities in the world -- still does not have a classical music and arts Conservatory?

Photo credits: (c) and (c) Michael J. Lutch and 2008. All rights reserved. With thanks.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Renaissance Research "Conservatory Project" Assignment On Contemporary Opera Composition: In The Footsteps Of 'Pacific Visions' And 'Animating Opera'

Renaissance Research "Conservatory Project" Assignment On Contemporary Opera Composition: In The Footsteps Of 'Pacific Visions' And 'Animating Opera'

Below are two excerpts from the History of the San Francisco Opera page of the San Francisco Opera web-site:

Pacific Visions

"In November of 1992, then General Director Lotfi Mansouri introduced Pacific Visions, an ambitious program designed to maintain the vitality of the opera repertoire through new commissions and the presentation of unusual repertoire. It was launched with the commissioning of the following operas:

The Dangerous Liaisons, composed by Conrad Susa to a libretto by Philip Littell. The work had its premiere during the 1994 Fall Season and was the subject of a nationwide TV broadcast.

Harvey Milk, a new opera by composer Stewart Wallace and librettist Michael Korie. The work was performed in 1996 as a joint commission and co-production of the San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera and New York City Opera.

A Streetcar Named Desire, composed by André Previn to a libretto by Philip Littell, after the play by Tennessee Williams. The work had its premiere during the 1998-99 Fall Season, which was telecast and released on video.

Dead Man Walking, composed by Jake Heggie to a libretto by Terrence McNally, after the book by Sister Helen Prejean. The work had its premiere during the 2000-2001 Season and was recorded on CD."

Animating Opera

"In January of 2001, General Director Pamela Rosenberg announced her first artistic initiative for San Francisco Opera, Animating Opera, a multi-year plan of interwoven themes and series including: Seminal Works of Modern Times, The Faust Project, Composer Portrait: Janacek/Berlioz, Women Outside of Society: Laws Unto Themselves, Metamorphosis: From Fairy Tales to Nightmares, and Outsiders or Pioneers?: The Nature of the Human Condition. Incorporated within the production programming of Animating Opera was the American stage premiere of Messiaen’s St. François d’Assise, Thomson’s The Mother of Us All as well as the new work by John Adams and Peter Sellars, Doctor Atomic."


Assignment: Write as essay giving your thoughts about the American/Western Opera thematic programming developed by General Directors Lotfi Mansouri and Pamela Rosenberg for the renowned San Francisco Opera Company.

If you were an artistic advisor to the current San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley, how might you advise him and his team on developing a new thematic and commissioning program for the company?

Richard Diebenkorn
Untitled, 1951. Oil on canvas.
56 x 44 ¾ in. framed 57 x 46 1/8 inches.
Courtesy Greenberg Van Doren Gallery
via the Phillips Collection web-site.


Diebenkorn in New Mexico
June 21 – September 7, 2008

Richard Diebenkorn
Untitled, 1951. Oil on canvas.
56 x 44 ¾ in. framed 57 x 46 1/8 inches. Courtesy Greenberg Van Doren Gallery


Diebenkorn in New Mexico
June 21 – September 7, 2008
The Phillips Collection

"This exhibition will be the first to concentrate on the body of works created during Richard Diebenkorn’s formative and relatively little-known Albuquerque period of 1950-52, including paintings, works on paper and a rare sculpture made from welded scrap iron. As a student at the University of New Mexico, Diebenkorn developed a highly individual approach to his art, responding to the particular color and light of his surroundings and laying a foundation for all his future painting and drawing, whether representational or abstract. The exhibition will provide a context for the outstanding group of works by Diebenkorn that constitutes an essential unit of the Phillips’s permanent collection."


Brett Weston, Yucca and Brush, White Sands 1946. Silver gelatin print.
The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.
Gift of the Brett Weston Archive
from the Christian K. Keesee Collection, 2006

Brett Weston: Out of the Shadow
June 21 – September 7, 2008
The Phillips Collection

"This major retrospective exhibition will feature photographs taken by Brett Weston (1911–1993) from the 1920s through the 1980s. The son of famed photographer Edward Weston, Brett developed an understanding of form and composition at an early age. Throughout his career, Weston manipulated the technical qualities of the camera to frame objects close up and push subject matter toward abstraction. These experiments placed him at the forefront of non-objective fine-art photography. Brett Weston: Out of the Shadow will include landscape photographs of the West, views of New York City, and abstracted forms and textures from nature."


Photo credits: (c) Estates of Richard Diebenkorn and Brett Weston and The Phillips Collection. 2008. All rights reserved. Via the Phillips Collection Website. With thanks.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Renaissance Research "Conservatory Project" Pop Quiz On Western Opera, New Opera Composition, Composers, And Librettists

Renaissance Research "Conservatory Project" Pop Quiz On Western Opera

'A Scottish prince is betrayed by a deceitful duke in this compelling tale of passion, envy, greed, despair and ultimate triumph.'

Name the work and the composer. Do you agree or disagree with the American musicologist who calls this composer "the most successful new opera composer of the past couple of decades"?

For extra, extra credit name the librettist of the opera.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"84 Percent Say The Nation [And Its Culture] Is Now Seriously On The Wrong Track" ... Nation's Capital Continues To Lack Music Conservatory

N. and I enjoyed last night's National Symphony Orchestra performance, under Leonard Slatkin, of a concert version of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, a work based upon the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin (who shares with today's Barack Obama some African ancestry). The world premiere of the work took place in Moscow, Russia, in 1879; three years after the premiere, in 1876, of Edvard Grieg's musical treatment of Henrik Ibsen's similarly existential, though more expressionistic, Peer Gynt. [Musorgsky's Boris Godunov took place in Saint Petersburg, Russia, in early 1874.)

The NSO will soon be offering a concert performance of Leonard Bernstein's operetta Candide, based upon the magnum opus by Francois-Marie Arouet Voltaire, and Washington's fine Summer Opera Theater Company, based at Catholic University of America but now also staging productions at the new Sidney and Jane Harman Shakespeare, chamber opera, music, and dance hall at historic Gallery Place, is offering a staged production of Erich Wolfgang Korngold's The Dead City (Die tote Stadt), based upon the symbolist work of Georges Rodenbach. [Washington's Post-Classical Ensemble will also be offering two of its five highly interesting and unusual productions next season at the new downtown arts center.]

Here is the program for Leonard Slatkin's final concert as music director, June 26-28, 2008, with the National Symphony Orchestra (Washington, D.C.) and cello soloist Sol Gabetta:

BEETHOVEN - Leonore Overture No. 3, Op. 72a

SHOSTAKOVICH - Cello Concerto No. 2, Op. 126


COPLAND - Symphony No. 3

Washington, D.C.-area musicologist Richard Freed's expert program notes to the works are available here. The Shostakovich is a welcome substitute for the earlier announced Tchaikovsky Roccoco Variations (which I will believe that the beloved Mstislav Rostropovich led at one of his last performances as music director of the NSO).


In the absence of a Music Conservatory in the Nation's Capital, Professor J. Reilly Lewis will be leading his Washington Bach Consort in an interesting FREE program entitled "The Development of the Motet by J.S. Bach and Others" at the National Gallery of Art, on June 22, at 6:30 PM. [Program notes here.] It is part of the Washington Early Music Festival 2008: From Hildegard von Bingen to Bach. [Prior to Sharon Percy Rockefeller's Classical WETA-FM being taken over by WGMS, the now American classical music-less station used to program Western Classical music from King David and Hildegard von Bingen to Britten, Copland, Carter, Birtwistle, Penderecki, Part, Glass, Reich, Adams, Kellogg, Sofia Gubaidulina and Meredith Monk.]

Stephen DeStaebler "Two Women Walking", bronze, 75 1/2 x 31 1/2 x 31", 1992.

Photo credit: (c) Stephen DeStaebler and All rights reserved. With thanks.

[Leading American renaissance sculptor Stephen DeStaebler was an honors Religion major at Princeton University, having already extensively studied fine arts as a teenager. The Smithsonian American Art Museum, next to the new Harman Arts Center, owns his 'Seated Figure with Yellow Flame', while the National Gallery of Art, in Washington, D.C., unfortunately, does not yet own a DeStaebler bronze sculpture.]


*Dan Balz and Jon Cohen "Poll Finds Independent Voters Split Between McCain, Obama" Washington Post June 17, 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008

In The Heights Edition: "If I Were A Rich Man ..... Daidle Deedle Daidle, Daidle Daidle Deedle Daidle Dum ....."

Wein, Austria, Divided European Union/Divided Globe.

[Click on image for enlargement.]


... "In Krysztof Kieślowski's work, aspects of drab reality are made to operate as the "door of perception" — magical interfaces are opened between different realities, not through melodrama but through mundane detail such as a glimpsed reflection or the interior of a Polish post office." ...

Photo credit: (c) Herwig Prammer and the New York Times. 2008. All rights reserved.


"A Small Stone in a Big Mosaic:
Arnošt Lustig on why he is more than just a writer on the Holocaust" by Pavlina Kostková

In 2008, Lustig became the eighth recipient of the Franz Kafka Prize (City of Prague).


"Dr. Fariba Hachtroudi, Iranian author and journalist, will speak about Iranian civil society at La Maison Française, Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, June 18, 2008 at 7:30 p.m.

Living in France, Ms. Hachtroudi — a determined political and humanitarian advocate — returned to Iran to discover for herself the authentic story behind the political and religious contradictions widely echoed by observers, media, and writers.

Dr. Hachtroudi will share with the audience her observations, her hopes, and her fears for the future of Iran — a future with a global impact far beyond the Middle East region. Free, but reservations are required."


Amnesty International


Friday, June 13, 2008

Renaissance Research "Conservatory Project" Assignment On Contemporary Music Theater: Nicholas Roerich, And The Russian Academy Of Theater Arts

Renaissance Research "Conservatory Project" Assignment On Contemporary Music Theater and the Arts and Humanities:

Read and think about Greta Berman's article "Painting in the Key of Color: The Art of Nicholas Roerich" in the Juilliard Journal Online, May 2008.

Prepare a short critique of the content of the Specialties and Specializations page on the Web-site of Moscow's РАТИ or Russian Academy of Theatre Arts.

Wassily Kandinsky, Composition VII, 1913. Oil on canvas, 200 x 300 cm. The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. Photo © The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2008.

Iraqi-British Architect Zaha Hadid's Dubai Opera House and Culture Center, Dubai, United Arab Emirites. (c) Zaha Hadid via New York Times.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

"It Should Be Especially Revealing And Stimulating To Confront This Work In The Context Of The Entire History Of Art": Philippe de Montebello, MET

A review of favorite press releases which have crossed Pan Cogito's toe over the past year ...

Damien Hirst's Shark on Display at New York's Metropolitan Museum for Three Years

(New York, October 16, 2007)-- "The best-known of contemporary British artist Damien Hirst's conceptual tank pieces, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living – which features a 13-foot tiger shark in a glass tank of formaldehyde – will go on view today in the Lila Acheson Wallace Wing for modern and contemporary art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The work is on a three-year loan from The Steven and Alexandra Cohen Collection.

"Damien Hirst's iconic shark will be an arresting sight in the Metropolitan's modern art galleries," stated Philippe de Montebello, Director of the Metropolitan Museum. "It should be especially revealing and stimulating to confront this work in the context of the entire history of art, an opportunity only this institution can provide."

Gary Tinterow, Curator in Charge of the Department of Nineteenth-Century, Modern, and Contemporary Art since 2004, commented: "For three years, we have endeavored to bring work by younger artists into the Museum, so we are thrilled to exhibit Hirst's Physical Impossibility, a work that epitomizes the art of our time. We are very grateful to the owners, Steven and Alexandra Cohen, for making this possible."

The seminal, 22-ton work – which was created in 1991 and was displayed as part of the collection of its previous owner, Charles Saatchi, in the 1997-2000 London/Berlin/New York exhibition Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection – has been recently refurbished by the artist, who replaced the original tiger shark with the current one, using a modified process of preservation. The new version of the work was exhibited for the first time earlier this year at the Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (February 18 through May 13).

The work is on display in the wing's second-floor Lila Acheson Wallace Gallery, which overlooks Central Park.

Damien Hirst (b. 1965), who has studios in London and Gloucestershire, is best known for the variety of materials with which he works. His Spot paintings, titled with references to pharmaceutical chemicals, are arrangements of colors on white ground, while his Spin paintings utilize centrifugal force to pour paint over canvas. The medicine cabinet pieces are arrangements of drugs, surgical tools, and medical supplies, while the tank pieces, containing dead animals preserved in formaldehyde, are sculptures encouraging confrontation with the mortality of all living things. Hirst won the Tate Gallery Turner Prize in 1995."

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October 16, 2007

John Singleton Copley, Watson and the Shark, 1778. National Gallery of Art, Ferdinand Lammot Belin Fund. 1963.6.1

Image credit: (c) National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved. With thanks.


Extra! Extra! Sharon Percy Rockefeller's public radio station Classical WETA-FM, in Nation's Capital, discovers a smallish work of American classical music -- but lets many really big ones get away!!

1:55pm: Madame Bovary: Waltz
Miklos Rozsa
Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
John Mauceri (conductor)
[Philips 438.685]


Henry Kimball Hadley: Symphony No. 4, The Ocean, and The Culprit Fay
Henry Hadley (Composer), John McLaughlin Williams (Conductor), National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine (Orchestra)
[Naxos American B00005K3PC]

Monday, June 09, 2008

'Brokeback Mountain' Joining 'The Bonesetter's Daughter' And 'An Inconvenient Truth' As America Takes Delayed Steps Toward National Operatic Culture

"Brokeback Mountain, the short story by Annie Proulx that spawned the 2005 movie, is to be adapted into an opera.

The New York City Opera announced Sunday it had commissioned Charles Wuorinen to compose a piece based on the 1997 story, which became the basis for the Ang Lee-directed film.

"Ever since encountering Annie Proulx's extraordinary story I have wanted to make an opera on it, and it gives me great joy that Gerard Mortier and New York City Opera have given me the opportunity to do so," Wuorinen said in a statement.

The opera will open in spring 2013." ... "Brokeback Mountain to be adapted into an opera" June 8, 2008

Albert Bierstadt "San Francisco Bay" 1871-73. Smithsonian American Art Museum [not to be confused with the Washington NATIONAL Opera, which is now threatening to break its recent promise to Congress and the American people to produce one American opera each and every season.]

Image credit: (c) Smithsonian American Art Museum. Washington, D.C. With thanks.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Renaissance Research "Conservatory Project" Assignment On Contemporary Composition: Ibsen, Grieg, Sibelius, Thread Balls And Dry Leaves

Renaissance Research "Conservatory Project" Assignment On Contemporary Composition

Read Washington, D.C. musicologist Richard Freed's program note to this week's superb National Symphony Orchestra performance, under Vladimir Ashkenazy, of Edvard Grieg's complete incidental music, songs, and choruses to Henrik Ibsen's Peer Gynt. Read Peer Gynt, if you have not done so recently.

Image credits: (c); and Sermin Kardestuncer and P I E R O G I Gallery, Brooklyn, New York. All rights reserved. With thanks.

Rejecting 'Change We Can Believe In', International Energy Agency Calls For Construction Of 1,400 Nuclear Power Plants By 2050

"The world needs to invest $45 trillion in energy in coming decades, build some 1,400 nuclear power plants and vastly expand wind power in order to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, according to an energy study released Friday.

The report by the Paris-based International Energy Agency envisions a "energy revolution" that would greatly reduce the world's dependence on fossil fuels while maintaining steady economic growth." ...

Associated Press "Study Calls for ‘Energy Revolution’" New York Times June 6, 2008

"Greenpeace says new data suggests 270,000 additional cancers and 93,000 fatal cancer cases will be caused by Chornobyl. Other estimates say 200,000 people have already died in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. At least three million more have been sickened by the accident, a third of them children.

Above, Alec Zhloba, a five-year-old suffering from leukemia, [contemplates "change we can believe in"] in a children's cancer unit at a hospital in Gomel, Belarus, on March 19, 1996."

CBC News "The catastrophe of Chornobyl, Ukraine" April 26, 2006


June 5, 2008

First Ukrainian "chernobyl heart" kids surgery trip completed . . . 17 lives saved

Chernobyl Children's Project International


Photo credit: (c) Efrem Lukstaky/Associated Press. 2006. All rights reserved. With thanks.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

In Which Pan Cogito Offers A Prayer Of Thanksgiving After Yesterday's Huge Thunderstorm And Initial Deportation Hearing

Elaine Guregian "Orchestra salaries make top-10 lists in national survey; Cleveland conductor's $1.2 million is 7th highest; concertmaster, administrator also near top of charts" June 5, 2008


Pierre Boulez's Latest Interview -- and Musical Inspirations

Olivier Messiaen
Arnold Schoenberg
Alban Berg
Anton Webern
Arthur Honegger


In Depth [sic]:
BSO Performs World Premiere Orchestral Tribute to The Grateful Dead

"The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will celebrate Jerry Garcia's birthday in psychedelic style with the world premiere of Lee Johnson's Dead Symphony No. 6 on August 1 at the Meyerhoff. Taking more than ten years to complete, this orchestral tribute is the first of its kind and a not-to-be-missed performance."


Image credit: (c) Drew McManus and 2008. All rights reserved. With thanks.


And Looking Forward To The Next Decade's Principal Conductors:

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

"Listening To Our Ancestors": Final Seven Weeks Of Humane Shock And Awe In New York City

N. and I felt privileged to have viewed, yesterday in lower Manhattan, the Smithsonian Museum exhibition "Listening To Our Ancestors". It is on display in New York City for the next seven weeks (extended?).

The wonderful web-site to the exhibition is here; and an anthropological bibliography is here.

In later 2008, a core collection of objects will travel to the eleven native communities from which they originated: the Coast Salish, Makah, Nuu chah nulth, Kwakwaka'wakw, Heiltsuk, Nuxalk, Tsimshian, Nisga'a, Gitxsan, Haida, and Tlingit.

One exhibit centerpiece, a 19th century Kwakwaka'wakw welcome figure carved in red cedar, appears on the cover of the accompanying book. Kwakwaka'wakw Chief Robert Joseph is a curatorial advisor to the exhibition.

As N. commented, "these works are the highest Treasures".

Welcome sculpture and departure sculpture (grave stele).

Image credits: (c) Smithsonian Institution and Alaskan Digital Archives via The Cathedral Grove Web-site. With thanks.


[For fht and our families.]