Posted inInterview

Objective and Inner Realities

Last August, conductor Vitali Alekseenok flew from his home in Germany (where he divides his time between Weimar and Munich) to his native Belarus. There, he took part in both the national elections and the subsequent protests against the government of Alexander G. Lukashenko.  Despite the brutal police violence he witnessed, Alekseenok wrote in an […]

Posted inOpinion

The Offensively Inoffensive

At a tandoori restaurant in Tel Aviv, an Israeli politician chastises a quixotic Norwegian diplomat: “When people talk to you, Terje, you should pay attention to what they actually say, and not just listen for what you want to hear.”  The scene is from “Oslo,” which began as a 2016 play and last weekend resurfaced […]

Posted inInterview

An Object Beyond Music

In 2020, composer Sara Glojnarić won Berlin’s “Neue Szenen” competition, awarded the prize by a jury chaired by Chaya Czernowin. In 2018, her work “#popfem,” which artfully dismantles anti-feminist and racist propaganda, received Darmstadt’s Kranichstein Music Prize. “I’d never thought that my identity as a queer woman could have such a strong influence on my work […]

Posted inEssay

A Demonstration of a Physical Fact

I. I am sitting in a room  As the tenor of the coronavirus became amplified in March of 2020, so too did the memes. In those early days of the first lockdown, there wasn’t much else to do besides spend time indoors, cycling through facts and farce with the attention span of a goldfish, and […]

Posted inInterview

The Time Remaining

On March 25, pianist Lars Vogt wrote on Twitter: “Today: fight against cancer, round 2 (chemo). Keep your fingers crossed for me…” A month and a half later, he’s made it to the cusp of round five. “Another six months like this, until October, 12 rounds in total, as long as my body holds up. […]

Posted inI Know But

I Know, But: “The Four Seasons”

Here’s a reason to hate “The Four Seasons”: I last heard “Spring”—unbidden—as I passed through east London’s Walthamstow Bus Station during a routine commute home. Realizing that piping classical music into its stations was a cost-effective means to deter young people from hanging around, Transport for London started playing Vivaldi, Mozart, and Beethoven in 2006. Since […]

Posted inInterview

Having a Miserable Time

In 2014, John Nolan, a graduate student in music composition at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, started a blog called Composers Doing Normal Shit. Still thriving in 2021, the site was one of the first to unite classical music with memeified internet humor. Now based primarily on Facebook and Twitter, CDNS is one of […]

Posted inEssay

Randomness with Direction

“Somehow, after all, as the universe ebbs towards its final equilibrium in the featureless heat bath of maximum entropy, it manages to create interesting structures,” wrote James Gleick in his popular exploration of chaos theory. Nature’s natural tendency is to form patterns. Conversely, the universe teems with randomness and dissipation. “But randomness with direction can […]

Posted inI Know But

I Know, But: “Boléro”

If you remember the 1980s, you remember Ravel’s “Boléro.” Although the work became a fixture on orchestral programs shortly after its premiere in 1928, the ’80s was arguably the decade of peak “Boléro” saturation, bookended by the soundtrack for the 1979 Dudley Moore comedy, “10,” and Frank Zappa’s 1991 album, “The Best Band You Never […]