Here's something new from the Pittsburgh Symphony: a group blog, along the lines of The Huffington Post, where musicians, staffers, composers (Jennifer Higdon), long-time patrons, students, and teachers look at the institution from all sides. A lot of this material may be of interest mainly to those who attend the concerts in question, but I've found it fascinating to browse around. Some of the commentary is frank, not just press-release stuff. Here's horn-player Bob Lauver on conductor Vladimir Jurowski: "Wouldn't surprise me to see him be at the top of the conductor world some day. It makes me nervous initially to see such a young person in front of us on a subscription concert. The orchestra has great expectations at all times from our leadership, and it can be a struggle to pull off a great performance with an inexperienced conductor. This guy had the goods, no doubt about it. I'm eager to see him again with more big repertoire. That being said, I'm sure that there are completely different views of the guy, his rehearsal technique was very pedantic. That runs the risk of turning people off, but in his case the performances kept a continuity to them. Some conductors that stop and go over stuff as much as Jurowski did end up with a performance that feels sight-read, like it's the first time through the piece as a whole (which it is, actually). Jurowski's confidence was solidifying, and he got good results, I think."