See you there!
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Check back here in March for directions to to our new location!
Posted by Kim at 2:53 PM
Monday, February 08, 2010
In celebration of the announcement of WTOC’s 2010 season, I am doing guest posts and interviews in various locations across the blogosphere. Find out more about us that you ever wanted to know by clicking through!
Participating blogs are listed below - links will become active throughout the day on February 9.
Overview is at Technology in the Arts.
Where and How We Do What We Do
Focus on Repertoire
- Why Wolf Trap Needs Members at Katya’s Nonprofit Marketing Blog
- Zaide Production Choice Becomes Marketing Hook at Butts in the Seats
- The YAP View via Houston Grand Opera
- Overview of 2010 FYA Roster at Miss Music Nerd
- The Career Pyramid at The Omniscient Mussel
- Operagasm (Instant Opera, Artist Profiles, Audition Advice and More)
- The Mind of the Airstream Diva (Books, Music, Daily Life)
- Does The Fat Lady Still Sing? at The Next Hundred Pounds
Posted by Kim at 11:03 PM
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Thanks to our Best Opera Recording nomination for Volpone, we were in the slightly surreal and truly wonderful position of being able to attend last Sunday's GRAMMY festivities in LA, and I'd be remiss if I didn't file some sort of report. So...
Wolfie Goes to LA!
80% of Success...
Yes, the classical music industry is marginalized, along with over 90% of the rest of the GRAMMY categories. We joined our colleagues in jazz, R&B, country, world music and many other genres at the pre-telecast ceremony on Sunday afternoon. Some of the bigger pop music names who were prepping for the evening telecast were unavoidably absent in the afternoon, but some of them (Taylor Swift, most notably) managed to make an appearance.
And yes, it was Woody Allen who said that "80% of success is just showing up." In such a scenario, we probably would've taken home the statue, for almost none of the other classical music nominees were there. The winners sure weren't. It's no secret that our part of the industry has a complicated relationship with the GRAMMYs, though. We decided to attend because it really was an honor for us to be nominated, and we wanted to acknowledge that. (And we figured there was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience to be had in the process :)) But after seeing how alone we were, we figured that the whole thing should work on a "must-be-present-to-win" premise, kind of like a door prize. That way, if those folks from London and the Mariinsky and the Hague and the Netherlands couldn't show up, we'd get lucky!
And I Thought We Were a Niche Market...
It's amazing (even for someone like me who works for a presenting organization that covers many many genres) how many different kinds of music there are out there. Electronica, gospel, alternative, R&B, rap, country, new age, jazz, Latin, Americana, traditional folk, Hawaiian, Native American, children's music, reggae, zydeco and more. And the long tail is growing every day, even as the public face of the GRAMMYs (via the telecast) gets more and more mainstream.
Pink as Deus Ex Macchina
Speaking of the telecast, I thought that Pink's performance felt a lot like the early days of opera must have. The atmosphere at the Staples Center that night bore a lot of similarities to what we know of 18th-century opera. Lots of people socializing during the boring parts, only paying attention when the famous acts are on stage, watching highly sexualized performances by big name stars, some of which fly in from the sky and make the audience gasp. Sadly, the GRAMMY folks don't agree, because the two tips of the hat given to opera that night were in the form of a stereotype-reinforcing setup to the rap number and a weird presenting assignment to Placido.
Behind... er... Above the Scenes
In the Gallery with No Peanuts
Attending as representatives of the record label (Wolf Trap Recordings), we were lowest of the low on the totem pole. We sat in the nosebleed section of the arena, which had its pros and cons.
On the plus side, we had a bird's-eye view of scene shifts and changeovers (during the commercial breaks), and it was comforting in a Schadenfreude sort of way to see that the big boys screw things up occasionally, too.
On the other hand, if you have to sit for 7.5 hours of ceremonies with only one 30-minute break (1:00-4:15 and 4:45-8:30), someone should at least be going up and down the aisles with peanuts and hot dogs...
While It Was Snowing Back Home...
...we enjoyed the always-generous hospitality of friends in Malibu, with long walks on the beach in sunny 70-degree skies.
And now that our 15 minutes of fame are over, we're back at our desks, getting ready to announce our summer season next week - see you then!
Posted by Kim at 2:28 PM
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
We have the great privilege of going to LA for the GRAMMYs this weekend! The Volpone recording nomination (one of 5 in the category of Best Opera Recording) meant that Wolf Trap, as the record label, was able to get a few tickets for the ceremonies. (GRAMMYs are for artists on the recording, and even though we commissioned and premiered this work, then produced and distributed it on our label, we're sort of just hangers-on:)) So we're going to go and celebrate. We're not particularly good at strutting our stuff (we tend to fly under the radar and plug along), but we shall try!
I've always thought that the words "It was just an honor to be nominated" were 1) a way of being gracious when you won or 2) an attempt at not feeling bad because you lost. But I am here before you now to witness that it is possible to say it and mean it.
I am proud to bursting of our little company and our maiden voyage in the recording world. And I think that it's amazing - almost inconceivable, actually - that we did it so well on a wing, a prayer, and very little money. But at the same time, I don't think there's even a remote chance that we will win. (In case you don't already know, I am the Queen of Low Expectations. It's a way of life and a title I bear proudly.)
Yes, we did good. But to believe that we bested the LSO, or Ian Bostridge & Nathan Gunn, or Valery Gergiev, or the Hague Philharmonic etc etc, well, that's more hubris than I can typically muster.
But see, the thing is that it really doesn't matter. The recognition that comes from this nomination will pay off in so many ways, and I intend to celebrate that. I want to go to LA and be so proud that someone somewhere thought we belonged with the big boys. I want to celebrate that we didn't give up on the idiotically rocky road to completion of this project. There shall be people-watching and beach-walking and general jubilation.
January is WTOC Alumni Month
Oh, and just in case you were wondering, 2 of the other 4 nominees in our category feature Wolf Trap alumni (Nathan Gunn, Billy Budd; Charles Workman, Marco Polo)!
Posted by Kim at 8:29 PM
Monday, January 25, 2010
Special (Merriam-Webster): distinguished by some unusual quality.
Life's a Pitch just finished a week hosting a virtual panel on when and how artists, managers, journalists, presenters and publicists single out musicians for being "special" in their promotion and career-building efforts. Amanda's summary of the posts by her 4 guest bloggers is here.
I hesitate to spend most of an entire blog post regurgitating other writers' material, but this is worth it. Great food for thought for musicians, presenters, and music lovers of all stripes. If you need more motivation to click through, some highlights:
Jonathan Biss (our Wolf Trap Debut Artist from 1997!) writes that "Traditionalism is big in classical music, of course, meaning that there's a lot of knee-jerk "this is the way to do it because this is the way it's always been done." ("It" could be any number of things - from questions of musical style, to programming, to concert attire, and on and on.) But recently I've heard a lot of the marketing-driven opposite, which seems equally knee-jerk to me: "this has never been done before, and therefore it is relevant and interesting.""
Michael Kondziolka at University Musical Society in Ann Arbor, Michigan says that "yes, hooks are fine and human interest angles (sometimes) riveting...but, never a substitute for convincing music making that reveals some truth or provocation embedded within, some kind of technical accomplishment, or, maybe, some hint at a shared humanity... Actually, the more I think about it, if one can be certain that the players will hit the accomplishment quotient, then human interest hooks are actually welcome in my book. And we shouldn't be afraid of them or feel that they somehow cheapen the artist's integrity. (Please.) Any information sharing or story telling that aids, abets, or heightens a sense of empathy between performer and listener - whether artistic, human, spiritual - has to be a good thing. Right? Live concert performances must, after all, traffic in empathy."
Matthew Guerrieri of Soho the Dog weighs in: "On the other hand, I personally find assertions of specialness within the concert presentation itself--spoken explanations, multimedia elements, &c.--to be often more annoying and distracting than anything. I've seen it done well, but only rarely; it's harder than it looks, and it takes just as much (if not more) preparation as the music. If there's absolute commitment on the part of the performer(s), if they really believe in whatever high concept they've come up with, I can happily go along for the ride, even if, in the end, I don't quite buy it."
Posted by Kim at 9:10 AM