Do music and sports mix?

Omaha’s only full-time classical music station has found a way to both balance their books and stay local and relevant: beginning in August, they’ll broadcast football, hockey and basketball games from the University of Nebraska.

Although the change in programming will provide students a way to catch live games outside the arenas as well as provide an influx of cash to the KVNO coffers, airing sports has unleashed a backlash from longtime listeners.

That may be because no one bothered to mention to listeners what was coming up next…

Mozart's Magic Bells

An Australian ensemble has “rediscovered” the sound of the bells that play a big part in Mozart’s “Magic Flute”–a sound which, it’s claimed, has been lost for generations.

How to be certain that this is the same sound that Mozart knew? …. Well, I suspect there’s a lot more scholarly research behind this than this article can go into. Meanwhile this instrument is fun to hear and to look at (check out the slide show and audio).

Remembering Michael Steinberg

As you probably know by now, Michael Steinberg died over the weekend. He had been a critic, an artistic advisor to orchestras and festivals, and above all, a writer whose books and program notes set the standard for knowledgeable, elegant writing on music. He was a revered figure (and these words somehow fail to do justice to that).

Here in Minnesota, where he made his home, he was more than that. For many, he was a personal friend. For many of us who didn’t know him personally, he was still a kind of personal presence: as a lecturer at Orchestra Hall, as a guest on MPR, or sometimes just a fellow audience member, since his attendance at musical events was indefatigable.

Online remembrances and obituaries have begun to appear, with more to follow: here’s just one, that blends the professional and personal nicely.

Do you have your own recollections of Michael Steinberg, or thoughts on the contribution he made? Share your memories below.

New Mozart!

A busy (and prolific) composer like Mozart was writing for the moment, not organizing his papers for posterity. So it’s not surprising that a few things got lost or forgotten along the way.

The International Mozarteum Foundation announced last week that two previously undiscovered piano pieces by Mozart had been found. They’re being closed-mouth about the details right now, but all will be revealed next week, when pianist Florian Birsak performs the pieces in Mozart’s hometown of Salzburg.

Thanks to webmaster Michael Wells for the tip.

First Night of the Proms

Last Friday, the BBC Proms got underway in London. We’re going to be bringing you lots of music from the Proms–in fact, today’s Performance Today will include some Elgar from that First Night of the Proms. (That’s not to be confused with Last Night of the Proms, which also includes Elgar, and which we’ll broadcast live.)

The Proms website is abundant and diverse, to say the least. Case in point: this page devoted to the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.

Classical Cronkite

Eleven years ago, I did a half-hour interview with Walter Cronkite. It is one of the highlights of my career.

Lost in all the talk this week of his epic work for CBS news is the fact that Cronkite was a big fan of the arts.

A private funeral service for the legendary CBS anchorman is scheduled for Thursday at St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York.

A memorial is to be held within the next month in Avery Fisher Hall at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, according to his longtime chief-of-staff Marlene Adler.

Oh, and by the way….Cronkite will still introduce “The CBS Evening News” after his death. That decision was made earlier this week.

Wagner Controversy at LA Opera

Opera companies must plot seasons out years in advance. So when Los Angeles Opera puts up its new production of Richard Wagner’s 4-part Ring cycle next spring, and the two-month long, region-wide cultural festival associated with it called Ring Festival L.A., you know the plans have been in the works for quite some time.

But some in LA want a change of plan. Last week, an LA county supervisor called for LA Opera to “delete the focus on Wagner and incorporate other composers.”

Read more about the controversy here.

Read a response from the music critic of the LA Times here.