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Music + X: Politics

From the earliest symphonies to operas made in the past decade, politics has been present in classical music — not only as a subject of composer’s interest, but as a force that shapes the music deemed worthy. Today, we consider two works of music: one by a Russian composer under the microscope of the 1920s Soviet Union, the other by an American composer given considerably more leeway to comment on American international politics of the 1970s.

On Easy Street with the Hollywood Bowl production of ‘Annie’

Directed by Michael Arden, “Annie” at the Hollywood Bowl was an unforgettable experience from the moment it opened. With a three-day run that brought together actors, singers and multi-talented performances for a star-studded production, “Annie” was well worth the show. “Annie” was performed with a 19-piece orchestra directed by Todd Ellison — and the overture…

Stanford Flashmob Orchestra to spontaneously perform songs on campus

On a gray Friday evening, a t-shirt-wearing orchestra stormed White Plaza to perform a free, unticketed rendition of “Viva La Vida.”

They are the Stanford Flashmob Orchestra (SFmO), and they’re here to break the ice that comes with formal orchestras one musical saw at a time. Once a month, this group of mostly classically-trained musicians meets to improvise an arrangement for a popular song. The next day, they storm a public space on campus, fill it with a song or two, and disappear as quickly as they came.