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The Song Continues, in a New Key

Passing of a torch: The Marilyn Horne Foundation, which for 15 years has fostered the art of the art song around the country, most prominently in its annual festival at Carnegie Hall since 1997, is handing over the reins to Carnegie entirely. It was announced this morning that as of July 2010, the foundation’s activities will be under the control of Carnegie’s Weill Institute, with Horne as artistic advisor. It’s a logical step to ensure the continuation of the work done by the singer, now 75, who is in remission from pancreatic cancer; but it is the turning of a page, and emotions will run high at the Foundation’s final “independent” festival this coming January.

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In other news: The San Francisco Symphony has created its own on-line social network, called, imaginatively, “Social Network.” Post your photos! Post your videos! The site lists 147 members so far, including Yuja Wang, Donato Cabrera – who yesterday was announced as the orchestra’s new assistant conductor – and Michael Tilson Thomas’s partner, Joshua Robison. (MTT himself wasn’t up there yet when I looked this morning.)

But isn’t the point of an on-line social network that it puts you in touch with hundreds of like-minded people around the globe? Is the San Francisco Symphony really going to pull in the numbers to make a viable network, which involves people wanting to log on regularly to post, chat, check out other people’s profiles, and so on?
(continue reading after the jump)

The idea of a classical music network is not exactly new. In fact, several have sprung up, but none of them seems to be really flying yet. The Miro Quartet started Classical Lounge, which appears to have a few hundred members; Artist Nation, for performing artists, includes a lot of PR-type profiles; Dilettante Music got some press when it started a few months ago, but the largest group on its site so far has all of 15 members. Then there’s Classical Music Now (168 members) and Classical Connection (85 registered users). And I'm sure there are others I don't know about. Klassikalmusik.com, a similar site that started a year or two ago, appears to be defunct. Contrast this to other special-interest social networking sites: Ravelry, a site for knitters, is closing in on 350,000 members.

A lot of these initiatives from orchestras, opera houses, and other institutions are launched with a vague idea that having a social networking site (or a Facebook fan page, or a Twitter account) makes them cool and hip; but they don't really know what they want to do with it after it's there. It will be interesting to see what the SFS has in mind with this, and whether they can actually use it to create and sustain conversations among its members. At least the site starts out with a built-in user pool: the members of the orchestra.


By Anne Midgette  |  May 6, 2009; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  music on the Web , news  
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Comments

Hello Anne,

You forget about MyAuditions.com, which has the largest network of performing arts professionals totaling 16,200+ registered members. Over 200 symphony orchestras in the United States are among our corporate members posting their jobs on our service.

Posted by: MyAuditions | May 10, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

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