Music and Musicians in the News

New Obama administration regulations severely restricting the import of ivory take effect this month.  The goal is an honorable one: to protect the dwindling African Elephant population.  The past decade has seen a drastic rise in the slaughter of these animals to fuel the global ivory trade.  This has created complications for musicians traveling with instruments, however, as many string instruments were made with small pieces of ivory (generally seen at the very tip of the bow) when the practice was accepted and mainstream, making the possibility of seizure when crossing international borders a very real one.  Right now, exceptions can be made for instruments purchased before 1976.  However, many instruments, even if they were made centuries ago, were purchased more recently than 1976.  The American Federation of Musicians is working with the administration to find a solution to this problem, which affects touring musicians of all genres.  To read more, visit .


In March, the San Diego Opera shocked both its patrons and many of its employees by announcing that the 2013-2014 season would be its last.  About a month after a change in leadership which happened in April, that decision was reversed.  The company will re-open in January with three productions, as opposed to the usual four.  However, the recent turmoil has resulted in questions about the true financial condition of an organization which received grants from the cities of San Diego and Chula Vista, as well as San Diego county, for which they had to demonstrate the supposed stability of their financial state.  The San Diego Opera now faces an investigation by the California attorney general.  To read more about this, visit the LA Times.


The Colorado Symphony recently announced a controversial new series of concerts called “Classically Cannabis,” where concert-goers were encouraged to bring their own marijuana, recently legalized for recreational sale and use in the state of Colorado (although still currently illegal under federal law).  The event eventually became more of an invitation-only fundraiser, after the city of Denver warned that the concerts could still impede on the state’s still-intact law against public consumption.  While some believe that the symphony’s collaboration with the seemingly new and budding industry in Colorado attracts a new demographic and is a smart marketing move, others maintain that this is not the right way to build an audience.  To read more about the controversy, visit the Denver Post .  To read about the event itself, which happened at the end of May, click here.


-Alex Maritn