In first, London Symphony ties up with California classical academy

Updated 12 April 2018
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In first, London Symphony ties up with California classical academy

LOS ANGELES: The Music Academy of the West, a leading classical school and festival set on the California coast, announced Thursday that it will offer a seasonal home for the London Symphony Orchestra.

In its first long-term educational partnership in the US, the premier British orchestra signed on to a four-year relationship with the academy which recently concluded a similar arrangement with the New York Philharmonic.

The full London Symphony Orchestra will take up residence in 2019 and 2021 at the Music Academy of the West, set on the Pacific in Santa Barbara in southern California wine country.

The school selects promising young adults each year to spend the summer studying music, with room, board and tuition provided.

As part of the partnership, 12 students will be chosen to train further each winter in London under the orchestra’s music director Simon Rattle, one of the world’s most prominent conductors.

“Nurturing the next generation of musicians is central to the LSO’s mission,” the orchestra’s managing director, Kathryn McDowell, said in a statement.

Michael Tilson Thomas, the music director of the San Francisco Symphony and former principal conductor in London, will spend each summer in Santa Barbara.

Announcing its season, the Music Academy of the West also said that Gustavo Dudamel, the star Venezuelan conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, will close the summer by leading Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, known as the Resurrection Symphony.

The outdoor August 11 performance, which will feature 4,000 tickets at just $10 and free admission for young people, is meant to pay tribute to Santa Barbara after a deadly mudslide and fires.


Film Review: Mowgli’s latest jungle run releases on Netflix

Updated 09 December 2018
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Film Review: Mowgli’s latest jungle run releases on Netflix

CHENNAI: Technology is not a bad thing, but when stretched to the extreme it can hamper films. “Mowgli: The Legend of the Jungle,” which was released on Netflix this week, seems to suffer on this precise point.

Directed by the Hollywood legend that is Andy Serkis, the film employs his trademark use of technology that records an actor’s performance in three dimensions then maps the digital character, in this case the animals of the jungle, over the top.

While he is famous for his performance-capture techniques, it can be distracting from the plot and a little bizarre to watch on screen as the all-star cast — Benedict Cumberbatch as Bengal tiger Shere Khan, Cate Blanchett as the snake Kaa and Christian Bale as the panther Bagheera — morph into animal form.

Disney’s 2016 computer animated remake of Rudyard Kipling’s work was a huge hit and Serkis’ effort pales in comparison, but the upside to this latest remake of Mowgli’s adventure is that it focuses on the boy-cub’s (played by Rohan Chand) interaction with other humans and does so delightfully.

According to an interview with The Associated Press, Serkis was deep into planning when Disney’s version was announced, and, although he knew the films would be quite different, there was still pressure to be first. Once that “went away” when Disney beat them to theaters, Serkis said, they decided to take the time they needed to refine the story and get the performances and the technology up to his standard.

The film follows Mowgli as he is captured by a hunter (played by Matthew Rhys) and taken to a neighboring village, where a kind woman (Frieda Pinto) nurses him and even sings him a lullaby. Ultimately, the plot boils down to a choice between two worlds — the jungle and the village — and the young boy must choose between the lesser of two evils.

Serkis’ work has an important message for audiences and shouts loud and clear about the dangers of expanding urban developments in countries like India. The forests are shrinking, says a character in the film, and perhaps this film will shed light on the need to save the wildlife therein.