Posted inReport

How to Eat

One chapter in Virgil Thomson’s 1939 book, The State of Music, is titled “How Composers Eat, or Who Does What to Whom and Who Gets Paid.” Thomson identified the subsequent means both clearly and derisively: “A surprisingly large number of composers are men of private fortune… the number of those who have married their money […]

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Live, From New York

As I write this the first weekend in May, the rate of new COVID-19 cases here in New York City, where some 20 percent of the population has caught the virus, has remained level for a week. Far from the recent peaks of infection and death, the numbers are nowhere near what’s needed to return […]

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Electronic Intimacy

The Surreal Experience of Playing in a Quarantined Hall By · Title Image Stephen Train (CC BY-NC 2.0) · Date 3/19/2020 On 8 p.m. Thursday, March 12, pianist Simone Dinnerstein and musicians—mezzo-soprano Kady Evanshyn, violinist Rebecca Fischer, oboist Alecia Lawyer, and the ensemble Baroklyn—were to take the stage at Miller Theatre and play music by […]

Posted inInterview

Make Up The Notes

An Interview with Gwendolyn Toth By · Title Image © KARSTEN MORAN · Date 2/27/2020 The first thing one sees in Gwendolyn Toth’s apartment on the west side of Manhattan, above Lincoln Center, is the keyboards: three of them wrapped up and standing on their ends inside the front door. In the living room, there […]

Posted inOpinion

Complete Illusion

How Opera Can Learn from the Movies By · Title Image New York Public Library Digital Collections (Public Domain) · Datum 11/21/2019 When opera house directors and administrators go to the movies, what do they think about (and if they don’t go to the movies, what are they thinking)? Do they consider the box office […]

Posted inEssay

Imaginary Places

The Ambient Influence on Contemporary Music By · Title Image chrstphre (CC BY 2.0) · Date 7/18/2019 If music is about sounds coordinated in time, moving from the present moment to the future until there is nothing left, then perhaps ambient music is the archetypal music. At stake are not notes or rhythms, but time […]

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Soul Connection

An Interview with Jaap van Zweden By · Illustrations · Date 1/17/2019 When Jaap van Zweden mounts the podium in front of the New York Philharmonic at David Geffen Hall, the orchestra’s new music director gives off a palpable, dynamic energy—he has a commanding presence that stands out among his peers. Sitting behind the desk […]

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Indigo Moods

Depression and the Act of Listening By · Photography NASA / Space Telescope Science Institute · Date 6/7/2018 All music is mood music. There is party music, from Parliament to “Eine kleine Nachtmusik,” there is music, like Air Cushion Finish and Mompou, to induce waking dreams and soothe the savage breast, and there is music, […]