Posted inInterview

The Beautiful Moment

Wadada Leo Smith plays the trumpet with a brilliant, forceful sound and has been a major creative figure in jazz for over 50 years. This century, his importance and prominence as a composer have grown. His beautiful and moving large-scale piece, “Ten Freedom Summers,” made him a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Music in […]

Posted inInterview

Reserve and Release

Jeremy Denk may not have as high a profile as other classical pianists, but he has a deep range of accomplishments both inside and outside of music. Last year, Nonesuch released his latest recording: Mozart Piano Concertos with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (he plays No. 20 and 25, and the Rondo in A minor, […]

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 […]

Posted inReport

Electronic Intimacy

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 J.S. Bach: “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” for piano solo; the Concerto for Violin and Oboe in C minor, BWV 1060; […]

Posted inInterview

Make Up The Notes

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 are several more, some ready to travel, some available to play—seven in all, including a […]

Posted inOpinion

Complete Illusion

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 receipts, the number of people cycling through the theater that day, the number of theaters showing that same movie across the globe? […]

Posted inEssay

Imaginary Places

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 and space. Sound simply unfolds; the abstract structures it defines are not fleeting musical forms, but entire […]

Posted inInterview

Soul Connection

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 in his office on a December morning shortly after a rehearsal, clad […]

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