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Composer Mason Bates talks Mass Transmission

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The San Francisco Symphony, with Michael Tilson Thomas its music director, has been celebrating its centennial throughout the 2011-12 season in a special, generous, and, for music-lovers, innovative fashion: first, it invited six of the leading U.S. orchestras to perform before San Francisco audiences, and, now this week (March 27-30) in New York's Carnegie Hall, the SFS brings a festival entitled American Mavericks, which features the music of pioneers of the ever evolving American sound from the 20th and young 21st century: Charles Ives to Meredith Monk, Aaron Copland to Steve Reich, Aaron Copland to John Adams.  Among four premieres is Mass Transmission by 35-year-old composer Mason Bates. T+L talks with Bates about the score, which features electronics, the sonic possibilities of which he has become expert, both as a composer and as DJ Masonic, his alter-ego. See the interview after the jump.

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Trend Alert: Spain's "Walking Gallery"

Spain's Walking Gallery: grandma

It’s an idyllic summer day along the Mediterranean Sea. You’ve nestled in your slice of earthly heaven, a small, sunny patch of sand, when a giant portrait of a cranky-looking grandma rises from the water and lurches toward you.

Is this a flash mob? An international episode of the U.S. hidden camera series: What Would You Do? What in the hell is going on?

It’s Spain’s Walking Gallery, where artists march around a city for several hours with their creations strapped to their bodies or hanging from handlebars.

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On Our Radar: Savannah Music Festival

Savannah music Savannah is one of those mysterious places that I imagined coming to life in the dusty pages of antiquarian books. Other than what I saw in Clint Eastwood’s colorful depiction of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and some Civil War trivia, I didn’t know much about it. So when the opportunity arose to check out a new music festival, Savannah Stopover, I jumped at the chance to experience the Southern legend firsthand.

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Brits Abuzz Over British Airways Pop-Up

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It’s pop-up galore these days, but this one caught our eye: From Apr. 4–17, British Airways will host FlightBA2012 in Shoreditch. The event is a culmination of last year’s airline-sponsored search to find three “Great Britons,” rising stars from different creative fields. Their mentors? Celeb chef Heston Blumenthal, YBA Tracey Emin, and actor/writer/director Richard E. Grant.

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Doha's MIA Park is New Cultural Hub

MIA Park

The 68-acre MIA Park (Corniche; 974/4422-4444) adjoins the I. M. Pei–designed Museum of Islamic Art. Set on the city’s seaside promenade, the sculpture plaza will host film screenings and art workshops, but its true claim to fame? Richard Serra’s first Middle East commission—his tallest piece to date.

Photo courtesy Qatar Museums Authority

Art Hits the Streets of Sao Paolo's <em>Favelas</em>

street art

In January, Boa Mistura, a hyperactive cooperative of Spanish artists that call themselves “graffiti rockers,” completed an eye-popping public art project in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Working with residents of Vila Brasilândia, one of the city's favelas, the artists transformed the walls, stairs, and pathways of the slum’s meandering alleys with vivid paint and positive words that appear to float, suspended above the ground like massive, pleasant thought-bubbles.

Slideshow: Best Cities for Street Art

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Trip Planner: Cultural Savings in Europe

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Save a few euros on some of Europe’s best cultural offerings.

Berlin: The city (pictured above) celebrates its 775th anniversary this year with many free events: a history-themed festival transforms the Nikolai area into a medieval quarter; an open-air exhibition highlights the diversity of Berlin’s residents, past and present.

Vienna: Queue up at the Imperial Palace’s Hofburg Chapel Sunday mornings to hear the Vienna Boys’ Choir (standing room free). And in April, May, June, and September, the Vienna State Opera screens live performances on a giant LED screen in the opera house square.

Portugal: On the agenda for Guimarães, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of this year’s European Capitals of Culture: performances from avant-garde theater troupe La Fura dels Baus, free to the public.

Photo by Lyndsey Matthews

Boston's Gardner Museum Unveils Renzo Piano Addition

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has just unveiled its Renzo Piano–designed, copper-clad wing, which includes a jewel-box music hall and galleries dedicated to works by artists in residence. A glass-enclosed walkway leads to the original building.

Photo by Nic Lehoux / Courtesy of Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

"Cosmic Opera" Opens in New York

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As a Kabuki-dressed opera singer was convoyed atop a platform through the crowd wailing in an ear-piercing pitch, a packed Hammerstein Ballroom wrestled in anticipation. The mezzo-soprano’s Italian lyrics serenaded the audience over an original Stephan Moore composition before slipping into a familiar tune.

In my mind, in my head, this is where we all came from
The dreams we had, the love we shared, this is what we’re waiting for

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Lei it On Me: World’s Largest Flower Show Opens in Philly

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If you live outside the Sun Belt, chances are you’re ready for spring—for warmth, more daylight, and let’s face it, a little color thank you.  If you live in the Northeast, there’s a fix on the horizon: The Philadelphia International Flower Show, which opens at the city’s convention center this Sunday, March 4, and runs through March 11, 2012. And this year’s theme—Hawaii: Islands of Aloha—is a sure tonic for the winter-weary craving a dose of the tropics.

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