Thursday, March 31, 2011

SC Phil brings its own front and center

From local TV station WACH, here is a nice little piece on this Saturday's South Carolina Philharmonic concert, which features concertmaster Mary Lee Taylor Kinosian and principal oboist Rebecca Nagel in the Bach Double Concerto for violin and oboe. For as much pleasure as Midlands music audiences get from visiting guest artists passing through town to perform on our various concert series, it's always worth reminding ourselves (especially in the current economic/political climate) that this area is home base for a significant number of high-level musicians. So bravo to the SC Phil for programming this...they're keeping this idea alive next season as well, I see...with solo turns scheduled for principal clarinetist Doug Graham and principal trombone Brad Edwards.

Bach wrote this concerto in 1729 for the renowned Collegium Musicum series in Leipzig, which he had taken over from Telemann some time before. It's a good month for Bach in Columbia: on Palm Sunday, April 17, at 4 PM the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral Choir will join forces with the SC Philharmonic for a performance of the St. John Passion. This is not one of the free concerts at the cathedral, tickets are indeed required for this: all information including a link to a ticket order form can be found on their website.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Art vs. missiles: by the numbers

Sometimes you just have to put these things in perspective by looking at the numbers.

National Endowment for the Arts budget for FY2011 as proposed by President Obama: $161.3 million. This figure was cut to $124 million by the House, led by Republicans supposedly in the name of fiscal prudence. The Senate has rejected these cuts.

Cost of Tomahawk missiles fired by the U.S. in basically one day as military action against Libya commences: $66 million. This is calculated using an extremely conservative estimate of each Tomahawk's cost at $600,000; it is said about 110 such missiles were fired in this assault.

[Update March 23: this ABC News report cites a study that indicates that the total cost of putting in place and enforcing the no-fly zone in Libya could cost between $30 million and $100 million per week. I offer this information not to take a pro-or-anti-intervention stance as regards this action; but I think when citizens debate whether our supposed current fiscal crisis warrants drastic cuts to NPR or the NEA or their outright elimination, I think they are entitled to be given some facts that put these dollar amounts in a real perspective and context.]