Wednesday cup: Agnes de Mille, alt.classical programming, ecocities…

Agnes de Mille's "other way"

Mindy Aloff, the ex-Portland poet, critic and dance historian, has edited  down the extensive writing of choreographer Agnes de Mille (“Rodeo,” “Oklahoma!” and so much more) into one easily digestible volume,“Leaps in the Dark: Art and the World.” Boston Review writer Megan Pugh gives some context to de Mille’s achievements in a fine essay/review:

 And too much of what goes on in the world of concert dance today feels flat and out of touch, whether it’s candy-store classicism—all lifts and leaps when the music gets loudest—or pretentious techno-dystopia, with dancers moving like cyborgs against a score of static and blips. De Mille represents an alternate tradition, one that valued place, history, and human connection, and that managed to make ballet meaningful for large, popular audiences.

Greg Sandow extols the virtues of the Brooklyn Philharmonic’s new season programmed by new conductor Alan Pierson, which mixes Beethoven with Russian avant-garde music, Lena Horne and Mos Def.  The orchestra faces “interesting” problems and Sandow sees this reboot (the orchestra’s word) as a responsible effort to keep it in the conversation. Did we mention that he’s excited?

I’m delighted — amazed, thrilled, just over the moon — about next season’s programs at the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the first season under the orchestra’s new conductor, Alan Pierson. 

Talk about the future of classical music! Pierson, an indie classical musician known for conducting Alarm Will Sound, a pretty astounding new music ensemble, is shaping the orchestra’s season almost entirely around Brooklyn composers and Brooklyn communities…

In the International Ecocity Framework and Standards list of 15 characteristics of an “ecocity,” the arts get a nod at number 11, though I would argue that it belongs higher on the list, because many of the others aren’t possible without the cultural changes that the arts bring about. But still…

Healthy Culture: The city facilitates cultural activities that strengthen eco-literacy, patterns of human knowledge and creative expression, and develop symbolic thought and social learning.

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