Forgotten origins of Iraqi music celebrated in award-winning doco

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It’s hard to say what’s most remarkable about an Australian film winning best documentary at the 2015 Baghdad Film Festival. The Age – Michael Dwyer, Music writer Yes, the revelations in Melbourne filmmaker Marsha Emerman’s On the Banks of the Tigris are profound – for Iraqis at home and in diaspora, for the Jewish songwriters it reinstates in the nation’s cultural history, and for an anxious world looking always for signs of unity and reconciliation. But from this distance, the casual ... Read More »

ANU School of Music exodus continues amid plans to change degree offerings

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A staff exodus continues at the beleaguered Australian National University School of Music as management is now considering a raft of changes to its Bachelor of Music degree “in response to concerns from staff and students”. The Canberra Times – Emma Macdonald, Senior reporter for The Canberra Times. Another six academic and administrative staff have left or signalled their intention to leave the school after a year of industrial turmoil and the unexpected August departure of Head of School Professor Peter Tregear – who ... Read More »

Melbourne’s ‘secret’ symphony supports Royal Children’s Hospital Gatehouse project

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The Melbourne Sinfonia’s musical director Joannes Roose says the group has been “one of the best secrets in town” for 25 years. The Sydney Morning Herald – Michael Dwyer, Music writer The voluntary symphony was established in 1990 to support the music therapy division of the Royal Children’s Hospital. Since last year, proceeds from its four annual concerts have gone to the new hospital’s Gatehouse project, which provides services to families dealing with sexual abuse. The “self-regulating” orchestra “might be the only one ... Read More »

The Cultural Boycott of Israel Isn’t Solidarity, It’s Condescension


Whose side am I on? That’s the question I find myself asking after reading the statement drawn up by Artists for Palestine, and signed by over 700 British artists and self-styled “cultural workers,” announcing their cultural boycott of Israel last week (see Jeremy Deller, Ed Atkins, and Hundreds of UK Artists Support Cultural Boycott of Israel). Declaring their solidarity with the Palestinian cause, artists including musicians Brian Eno and Roger Waters, writers China Miéville and Hari Kunzru, pledged to refuse ... Read More »

Greek singer Demis Roussos dead at 68

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GREEK singer Demis Roussos, whose often high-pitched pop serenades won him household recognition in the 1970s and 1980s across Europe and beyond and who sold more than 60 million records, has died in Athens at the age of 68, a hospital confirmed. Herald Sun AP NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA NETWORK The hospital said the singer died following a lengthy hospitalisation, but did not give an exact cause of death. For many an iconic presence with a colourful dress sense — Roussos ... Read More »

Xylouris White: Greek musical royalty meets Aussie rock drummer leaving fans of both elated

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Reviewer rating: Rating: 3.5out of 5stars Sydney Festival: Xylouris White The Aurora, January 15 ★★★★ The Sydney Morning Herald – John Shand If you closed your eyes when the sound reared up like a massive wave you’d swear it was an orchestra, or at least a band. In fact it was just two men playing acoustic instruments. But then George Xylouris (Cretan lute) is a member of the royalty of Greek traditional music, and Jim White (of the Dirty Three) is ... Read More »

As Berlin marks fall of wall, Gorbachev warns of new cold war

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev walks across Pariser Platz near the Brandenburg Gate on the e

Ex-Soviet leader backs Putin over Ukraine as Germany celebrates the 25th anniversary of a seminal moment in European history ‘It’s hard to remember how scary it was’ … extraordinary memories of the Berlin Wall As Berliners watch 8,000 balloons being released into the night sky this evening, old divisions between east and west will symbolically vanish into thin air with them. Yet the runup to the festivities has already served up plenty of reminders that, 25 years after the fall ... Read More »

Concert review: Two sides of Paul Dean feature in Flinders Quartet’s last tour of the year

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Two sides of Paul Dean — as composer and performer — were on show when he was a guest of the reconfigured Melbourne-based Flinders Quartet at the Opera House’s Utzon Room. Dean comes from a musical family whose Brisbane home was always filled with string quartets practising with his brother Brett, one of our top composers and a former violist with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. So composing a quartet for the Flinders, though daunting, seemed a natural choice for him. ... Read More »

Arts Education Transforms Societies

Vans Women's Collection Ambassador Cocktail

Do you enjoy the sleek look of your new iPhone? You can thank Steve Jobs for taking a calligraphy class at Reed College. Have you or your kids scribbled on a pair of Vans sneakers? Vans’ President Kevin Bailey credits the brand’s creativity with the arts education many of his employees have taken. At her promotion and swearing-in ceremony a few weeks ago, Capt. Moira McGuire, assistant chief of Integrated Health and Wellness at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, ... Read More »

Greece honours Maria Callas with arts academy in former Athens home

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American-born soprano’s links to Greece celebrated as fans try to reclaim ‘La Divina’ as a national icon 37 years after her death Jump to comments Her devotees may be legion but in Greece, the country she identified with most, Maria Callas never quite got the recognition she deserved. Now, 37 years after her death, that wrong may finally be righted. Last month, the Greek national opera raised €10,000 (£7,900) by staging a concert at the foot of the Acropolis in ... Read More »

Chinese President Xi Jinping warns against ‘immoral’ art


Chinese President Xi Jinping has told artists, authors and actors that their work should present socialist values and not carry the “stench of money”. Mr Xi delivered a speech to some of China’s leading creative figures, according to state news agency Xinhua. He told them not to pursue commercial gain at the expense of artistic and moral value, Xinhua said. Artists should not be “slaves” to the market or “lose themselves in the tide of market economy”, Mr Xi told ... Read More »

Pope Francis allows Sistine Chapel to be rented out for private corporate event


Pope Francis has for the first time allowed the Sistine Chapel to be rented out for a private corporate event, with the proceeds to go to charities working with the poor and homeless. The concert, to be performed amid the splendour of Michelangelo’s frescoes on Saturday, will be attended by a select group of about 40 high-paying tourists who have signed up to an exclusive tour of Italy organised by Porsche. But as the unprecedented deal was announced, the Vatican ... Read More »

Moulin Rouge still alive and kicking after 125 years; Sold out nearly every night


PARIS (AFP).- As quintessentially Parisian as the Eiffel Tower or the Sacre Coeur, the Moulin Rouge cabaret on Monday celebrates its 125th anniversary and it’s in very good shape considering its age. Immortalised by the painter Toulouse-Lautrec and more recently by Nicole Kidman in Baz Luhrmann’s eponymous film, the iconic red neon windmill in the heart of Paris’s Pigalle red-light district is still pulling in the punters. Shrugging off the economic crisis, the Moulin Rouge is sold out nearly every ... Read More »

Key of Sea

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The Wheeler Centre, 6:15PM – 7:15PM, Wednesday 01 October 2014 Join us for an emotional night of storytelling and song. The Key of Sea produces creative projects – albums and journals – that celebrate Australia’s cultural diversity. The albums pair established artists with musicians escaping war, hardship or persecution. In this intimate evening, we’ll hear from Danny Katz, Oslo Davis, Alice Pung, Zakia Baig, Awaz and Murtaza, as they share their work. All proceeds of album and journal sales on ... Read More »

Russian Church Leader Deems Contemporary Art “Filth and Stupidity”


The leader of Russia’s Orthodox church, Patriarch Kirill I, has some rather, uh, unorthodox views about the state of contemporary art. As reported by the Moscow Times (via RIA Novosti), Kirill’s remarks at an Orthodox festival on Wednesday included a scathing critique of the contemporary arts, which he believes “show some horrors, some nonsense, idiocy.” Kirill apparently doesn’t want to be challenged by culture, and only acknowledges artistic merits in relationship to beauty, dismissing less aesthetically pleasing works as “filth and stupidity under the guise of art.” ... Read More »

With so much “stuff” out there in the world, can we still tell what is art and what isn’t?


From U2’s forcedly ubiquitous new album to “rediscovered” paintings from centuries ago, we are surrounded by things that lose and gain artistic status according to their context. It must have seemed like a great idea at the time – Apple and U2 deciding to team up and give every iPhone and iPad user a free copy of the band’s new album Songs of Innocence along with their update of the operating system. The response from users was not so gracious though, with ... Read More »