Archive for January, 2012

Supreme Court Upholds Right to Remove Works from Public Domain

by: Jake DeBacher

Over ten years ago, University of Denver professor Lawrence Golan filed a legal case to restore the public domain status of a number of works that were privatized in 1994 under an act of Congress. Now, after a decade of legal battles, the Supreme Court has ruled in Golan v. Holder to uphold the act which re-privatized works that had previously been public domain.

The result is that a number of previously free-to-perform pieces—including fairly standard repertoire by foreign composers like Stravinsky and Prokofiev—now must be paid for. This impedes the ability of ensembles on a tight budget, like Golan’s, to program contemporary works. View Full Article »

Curtain to Fall on Opera Boston

by: Jake DeBacher

About eight months ago, the Pulitzer Prize for music was awarded to Chinese-American Zhou Long for his opera Madame White Snake. Sadly, two weeks ago came the surprising announcement that the Opera Boston, the ensemble that premiered Long’s opera, would be shut down due to a budget deficit in the “tough economic climate.” The news was delivered without warning on December 24th, shocking Bostonians and opera fans throughout the world.

It seems, however, that the story is not quite over. The Boston Globe reported this week that the decision, through a vote on December 23rd, was made without the presence of over a third of the board’s seventeen members, some of whom had been optimistic about the company’s ability to overcome its $0.5 million deficit—a fifth of its annual operating budget. Those absent included the company’s general director, Lesley Koenig, who was in California when she received a phone call indicating that her position would be eliminated by 2012.
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