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Indirect Nostalgia

Listening to classical music can occasionally give you the kind of blow on the head that the hero of Mark Twain’s novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court receives: all of a sudden you’re in a different time and place. Thanks to our very own HIPsters, it’s possible to hear music just—or almost—as it […]

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 “I’m Grateful to Destiny”

Violinist Gidon Kremer was unusually quick to develop an aesthetic of his own and has long been ahead of his time. This independence is most obvious in his love for contemporary music, which he developed as a conservatory student in Moscow and which brought him into contact with composers such as Pärt, Schnittke, Gubaidulina, and […]

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The Production of Light

At a time of justified anger at Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it is easy to forget that decency and courage can still be found in the country today. On February 23, 2022, pianist Polina Osetinskaya wrote on her Facebook profile, “Current mood: turn over in your pillow not to see this reality and cry over […]

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Unfurling the Image

Have you heard a concert, seen a play, or watched an opera, any time in the last 30 years? (Or read VAN?) If so, you’ve probably come across a photograph by Monika Rittershaus. She’s one of Europe’s best and most in-demand theater photographers, working with leading houses, conductors and directors. Rittershaus is the first choice—and […]

Posted inBreaking

After Barenboim

Every era has to end. Except, so it seemed, the Daniel Barenboim Era at the Berlin Staatsoper. His legacy for the musical life of Berlin is so monumental precisely because it extends far past the city’s musical life. Instead of merely administering his legacy, the Staatsoper needs a fresh start.  When Daniel Barenboim signed his […]

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Multiple Realities

In the first weeks of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Denys Karachevtsev recorded himself playing Bach’s Fifth Cello Suite in front of bombed-out buildings in Kharkiv. The videos went viral, becoming iconic documents of the beginning of the war. Karachevtsev, aged 30, is a cellist at the opera house in Kharkiv and teaches at the […]

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Holding the Center

In 2018, outgoing Berlin Philharmonic music director Simon Rattle told the orchestra’s in-house magazine, 128, “You probably need to be 90 to conduct this orchestra correctly.” Swedish conductor Herbert Blomstedt, age 95, proved the truth to this remark in a concert with the orchestra at the end of September. The Berlin Philharmonic is known for […]

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