Classical Beat: Beijing Opera, Sir Simon Rattle, Gerald Finzi ...

Classical music proves popular among adult listeners.

A recent survey has found that more than 13 percent of Americans identified classical music as their first choice of music. In June, the Zogby polling firm asked 1,202 adults in the United States to rate their favorite form of music. Classical music ranked third behind rock (20.7 percent) and country (21.6 percent). The survey also found listeners with certain astrological signs — like Gemini and Leo — ranked classical music higher than other genres. ...

The furor surrounding the construction of the new Beijing Opera House continues as two petitions against the project from 49 senior scientists and engineers and 106 leading architects have found their way into the hands of China's leadership. In April, a groundbreaking ceremony was scheduled, but it was canceled at the last moment. The building, situated near the Forbidden City, will contain a 2,500-seat opera hall, a concert hall with 2,000 seats, a theater with 1,200 seats and a smaller theater that will seat 520. Visitors will enter through a tunnel under the lake, which will be surrounded with grass and trees. It is expected to cost more than $500 million. French architect Paul Andreu continues to defend the project and, in an interview with The Washington Post, likened it to initial negative reviews of the Eiffel Tower when it was first constructed. ...

Squabbling between the Berlin government and the national German government may cause conductor-designate Sir Simon Rattle to back away from his appointment as music director of the Berlin Philharmonic. German Sen. Christoph Stölzl failed to grant the national German government financial control of the famed orchestra, currently under Berlin's local control. The players and Rattle had placed their hopes that a federally controlled orchestra would result in higher pay for all. Rattle's unsigned contract calls for him to take the podium in Berlin in 2002. ...

Monday's birthday (July 17): Gerald Finzi (1901–1956).

— sonicnet.com staff report