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Titanic Composer Killed in Plane Crash

James Horner wrote scores for more than 100 films

(Newser) - Oscar-winning film score composer James Horner was killed when his small plane crashed in California yesterday, his assistant has confirmed. "We have lost an amazing person with a huge heart, and unbelievable talent," his assistant wrote on Facebook , per the New York Daily News . "He died doing... More »

Remembering Jazz Titan, Saturn 'Native' Sun Ra

Late artist's legacy lives on in his Arkestra

(Newser) - He was a jazz titan who achieved little mainstream success, a big band leader, a free spirit, a poet, the author of thousands of songs, and, as he sometimes claimed, a resident of the planet Saturn who dropped by our humble planet for a little musical interlude. NPR today takes... More »

Japan's 'Beethoven': I'm Still Kinda Deaf

Samuragochi says he'll never appear on TV again

(Newser) - Mamoru Samuragochi, the acclaimed deaf Japanese composer who was outed by his ghostwriter as neither deaf nor a composer , held a contrite press conference today that he promised would be his last. "I will speak the truth. I will make this my last appearance on TV," the 50-year-old... More »

'Japan's Beethoven' Accused of Faking Deafness, Too

Also, he can't even write scores, says ghostwriter Takashi Niigaki

(Newser) - For decades, Mamoru Samuragochi has been hailed as "Japan's Beethoven" because he was a deaf composer. Now, he appears to be neither. The man who actually wrote Samuragochi's music , Takashi Niigaki, held an hour-long press conference yesterday in which he revealed that Samuragochii a) "cannot even... More »

'Japan's Beethoven' Admits 18-Year Fraud

Mamoru Samuragochi lost hearing at age 35

(Newser) - The success of 50-year-old composer Mamoru Samuragochi, who is deaf, has prompted the nickname "Japan's Beethoven." Trouble is, it turns out he hasn't written his own music in decades. "I started hiring (a) person to compose music for me around 1996, when I was asked... More »

Composer Marvin Hamlisch Dead at 68

Broadway to dim lights for 'Chorus Line' maestro

(Newser) - Broadway will dim its lights tonight in memory of composer Marvin Hamlisch, who has died at the age of 68 after a short illness. Hamlisch, whose hits included "A Chorus Line" and "The Way We Were," worked in movies, theater, and TV in his long and prolific... More »

Epilepsy Likely Fueled Chopin's Visions

Composer saw creatures emerging from piano

(Newser) - The 19th-century composer Frédéric Chopin suffered frightening hallucinations, ranging from ghosts to creatures coming out of his piano. Now, researchers believe the visions may have been prompted by temporal lobe epilepsy, the Daily Telegraph reports. The disease can cause short, detailed hallucinations, and “could easily have been... More »

Outcry Kills Plans for Wagner, Israel Reconciliation

Composer's great-granddaughter calls off Israel trip

(Newser) - The great-granddaughter of Hitler's favorite composer has called off a visit to Israel amid a public outcry. Katharina Wagner had planned to announce that the Israel Chamber Orchestra would be invited to play at an annual festival in Germany celebrating Richard Wagner's music. Israeli orchestras have been boycotting the anti-Semitic... More »

Composers Seek Pay Tune-Up With Teamsters

Hollywood composers, lyricists form alliance with Local 399

(Newser) - A group of composers for movies and TV seeking a better deal now have the Teamsters in their corner. The musicians, who complain that their pay is shriveling as studios expect them to absorb more costs, were one of the few groups of Hollywood workers not covered by union contracts.... More »

Lloyd Webber Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer

Disease in early stage; expects to be back at work before end of year

(Newser) - British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, a spokeswoman said today in a statement that said "the condition is in its very early stages. Andrew is now undergoing treatment and expects to be fully back at work before the end of the year." More »

Beach Boy Wilson to Complete Gershwin Songs

Project a 'weird dream come true' for fans of 2 seminal American composers

(Newser) - Beach Boys songster Brian Wilson will put a gloss on unfinished tunes by revered Jazz Age composer George Gershwin. Gershwin’s estate tells the Los Angeles Times that dozens of fragments, from “a few bars to some almost finished songs and everything in between,” have been in limbo... More »

Hold Music Improves, But Slowly

(Newser) - We may have Erik Satie to blame for hold music—the composer “developed a very cynical attitude” toward a distracted listening public and decided modern music would be more like a chair than an intellectual pursuit—but the science behind it is state-of-the-art, Newsweek reports. Studies on the intrusion... More »

iTunes Offers Silent Freebie

First movement of John Cage's 4'33 becomes April Fool's giveaway

(Newser) - ITunes' April 1 giveaway is a landmark composition by avant-garde American composer John Cage, Gizmodo reports. The first movement of Cage's 4'33—an experimental piece consisting entirely of silence—has been made available for free download, although listeners who enjoy the first minute and 46 seconds of silence and want... More »

Doctor Zhivago Composer Dies

Maurice Jarre worked with Hollywood legends

(Newser) - Maurice Jarre, the composer who wrote the Oscar-winning scores of Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago and A Passage to India, has died of cancer at the age of 84. The Frenchman—who rose to fame after moving to Los Angeles in the '60s—worked with such film director legends as... More »

To Combat Digital Piracy, Try Stealing

Composer pitches real-world thievery to help raise awareness

(Newser) - A Hollywood composer wants you to stop illegally downloading music, and he's willing to put his freedom in jeopardy to make his point. Because the public doesn't seem to equate swapping digital files with stealing, Richard Gibbs is pushing for people to swipe other products in a nationwide "day... More »

Composers Score With Video-Game Gigs

Film-like scores have taken strides with technology—and pay as much as $2K/minute

(Newser) - The musical scores for video games have kept pace with the evolution of the games themselves, the Los Angeles Times reports, with composers bringing in as much as $2,000 per minute to create sweeping, film-like compositions. With sales projected to hit $50 billion this year, game developers can budget... More »

US Composer Says Feds Are After Him

John Adams claims agents have targeted him for his politics

(Newser) - One of the most famous composers in America insists that Homeland Security has targeted him for his liberal views, the Guardian reports. John Adams, who achieved fame with his Nixon in China opera 20 years ago, says airport immigration grills him whenever he comes home. "I'm perfectly aware that... More »

'Grateful' Symphony Debuts

Baltimore to unveil work based on various Dead classics

(Newser) - The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will debut this week an opera derived from the music of the Grateful Dead, on what would have been Jerry Garcia’s 66th birthday. Titled Dead Symphony No. 6, each movement goes truckin' on a different Dead song. The Grateful Dead is “long overdue to... More »

Video-Game Industry Scores Big-Name Composers

Established names drawn to new, lucrative branch of composition

(Newser) - Far from the shrill beeps of a decade ago, video-game music has come into its own with compositions approaching the maturity of film scores, BusinessWeek reports. A new wave of composers is putting time and effort into sophisticated soundtracks that mark the continuing expansion of video games as a form... More »

Global Warming, the Opera

La Scala plans operatic version of Al Gore's climate change documentary

(Newser) - It started out as a slide show, became an Oscar-winning documentary and best-selling book, and now Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth is about to become a full-length opera, reports the AP. Milan's La Scala opera house has commissioned Italian composer  Giorgio Battistelli to set Gore's stark warning on global warming... More »

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