Keeping Music on Internet Radio

On March 2, 2007, the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) released a decision that dramatically increases royalty payments owed to rights holders for streaming sound recordings of music over the Internet. The new royalty rates announced by the CRB are retroactive to January 2006, and they are so high that they threaten to shut down many, some fear most, webcasters. They go into effect May 15, 2007. (Update: The CRB has changed the deadline to July 15, 2007.)
The CRB’s decision also eliminates the distinction between noncommercial and commercial media, and it requires complicated record-keeping that places a huge burden on stations, most of whom (including WDAV) do not have the necessary information to keep such records. If allowed to stand, the CRB decision seems certain to drastically curtail the diversity of music programming now found on the Web, and it will have a negative impact on public radio’s ability to bring new and culturally enriching programming to the American public via the Internet. It also sets a chilling precedent for future rights discussions, negotiations and litigation that may undermine non-commercial public service programming.
But the last chapter in this story hasn’t been written, and there is a way you can make a difference.


The Maestro and the Cabbie, a Remembrance of Rostropovich

by Kim Hodgson, WDAV General Manager
When we lived in Washington, DC, Judy and I attended Luther Place Memorial Church in the heart of downtown. We had a marvelously diverse congregation, from high government officials to some of the homeless women who spent their nights in the church’s shelter.
One of the members of our congregation was a man named Don. He was a large, shaggy man with unkempt hair and a big fuzzy beard. He wore flannel shirts and baggy pants held up with suspenders. He drove a cab for a living.
I didn’t know Don especially well. From outward appearances, one might almost have mistaken him for one of the homeless men who also frequented the neighborhood. But whatever else he may have been, he was a passionate lover of classical music. When the National Symphony Orchestra performed at the Kennedy Center, Don was almost always there with his mother, a little wisp of a lady who was as careful with her appearance as Don was careless with his. Somehow they had obtained season tickets front row center, right behind the podium. It was always a little jarring to see this incongruous pair making their way to their seats.


Remembering Rostropovich

Rostropovich at White House

It came as somewhat of a shock to hear of the death of the great cellist Mstislav Rostropovich.
Just a little over a month ago the classical music world honored him on his 80th birthday. On WDAV the observances included a week-long retrospective on Performance Today, heard weeknights at 7.
He had been sick for a while, but unless you were following his life and career closely, you wouldn’t necessarily have known that. And Rostropovich’s persona was always larger than life and seemed invincible.
Rostropovich’s musical significance is indisputable. He’s arguably the greatest cellist of the last 100 years, which effectively means of all time. Even Yo-Yo Ma wouldn’t contest that. And he was almost equally distinguished as a skillful and charismatic conductor.


Paavo Järvi takes “Rock Me Amadeus” to Heart

Paavo Jarvi

For more than 50 years now, rock music in its various forms has held sway as the music of the masses. Not surprisingly, there’s now a generation of classical musicians raised on rock ‘n’ roll who find their classical work influenced by it. Think of violinist Rachel Barton Pine’s passion for heavy metal and pianist Christopher O’Riley’s transcriptions of songs by alternative rock band Radiohead. Paavo Järvi, the 42-year-old conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony, grew up playing classical music and rock ‘n’ roll, and now his orchestra is performing a work by Erkki-Sven Tuur, a composer who also has a background in rock. You can read more about how Järvi is creating adventurous programs and embracing new works, even those that reference rock, in WDAV’s Classical News section.


Gustavo Dudamel to Lead the L.A. Philharmonic


One of the most exciting and promising announcements in classical music recently is the appointment of young Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel as the new Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic
The excitement is due to the unprecedented international acclaim Dudamel has gotten as a conductor, in spite of being only 26 years old. The promise comes from his inspiring personal story.


The Inestimable Importance of Teachers

The recent death of a revered North Carolina musical figure reminds us of the significance of teachers in our lives.
Of course, Dr. Lara Hoggard was a multi-faceted choral conductor and arranger who did more than teach. From humble beginnings learning Beethoven’s piano Minuet in G by ear, he went on to replace the legendary Robert Shaw as associate conductor of Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians, and to serve as music director for an NBC radio program, the Ford Sunday Evening Hour.