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.


Archaeologists find mosque from when Islam arrived in holy land

Updated 18 July 2019
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Archaeologists find mosque from when Islam arrived in holy land

  • Authorities estimate the mosquer dates back to the 7th to 8th centuries
  • Rare to find house of prayer so ancient whose congregation is likely to have been local farmers

RAHAT, Israel: Archaeologists in Israel have discovered the remains of one of the world’s oldest rural mosques, built around the time Islam arrived in the holy land, they said on Thursday.
The Israel Antiquities Authority estimates that the mosque, uncovered ahead of new construction in the Bedouin town of Rahat in the Negev desert, dates back to the 7th to 8th centuries.
There are large mosques known to be from that period in Jerusalem and in Makkah but it is rare to find a house of prayer so ancient whose congregation is likely to have been local farmers, the antiquities authority said.
Excavated at the site were the remains of an open-air mosque — a rectangular building, about the size of a single-car garage, with a prayer niche facing south toward Makkah.
“This is one of the earliest mosques known from the beginning of the arrival of Islam in Israel, after the Arab conquest of 636 C.E.,” said Gideon Avni of the antiquities authority.
“The discovery of the village and the mosque in its vicinity are a significant contribution to the study of the history of the country during this turbulent period.”