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In Three Dimensions

An Interview with Jean-Guihen Queyras By · Translated from the German by · Photography © Anne van Aerschot · Date 12/21/2017 Some art works live off the music of Bach like parasites. They sample him, stage him, ritualize him, dance to him—and often end up sucking the original work dry of its life blood. These […]

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Climbing Mountains

Unsuk Chin’s new work “Chorós Chordón” will be premiered by the Berlin Philharmonic under Simon Rattle tomorrow, November 3. In advance of the concert, we spoke with her about Ligeti’s tough side, the Korean new music scene, and glamor in classical music. VAN: How do you deal with loneliness, self-doubt, and frustration in your work? […]

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Ideal Expressions

I met Jakub Hrůša on a warm April weekend in Bamberg, Germany. In the fall of 2016, he was named the fifth music director of the Bamberger Symphoniker, an orchestra deeply rooted in the Czech tradition. For this interview, I asked him to select some of his favorite pieces from that tradition, and then discussed […]

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The Magnet

Translation and Additional Reporting Jeffrey Arlo Brown· Photography Alisa Calipso One January morning in 2013, an orchestra was recording at 2:30 a.m. They had been working at Petropavlovskaya ulitsa 25A, the P. I. Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre in Perm, Russia, since midnight. The piece was “Per pietà, ben mi, perdona,” Fiordiligi’s aria with horn […]

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Deutsche Mega-phon

Photography © NILS DITTBRENNER There aren’t many brands like Ferrari or Lamborghini in classical music. For a long time, Deutsche Grammophon was one of the only ones. It was obvious why: the label stood for tradition, good taste, objects of value, cutting edge technology. When you bought something from Deutsche Grammophon, you knew you were […]

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Other Languages

Sometime in the 1780s, a low-ranked soldier of the Portuguese crown in Brazil named Joaquim José da Silva Xavier began a gradual process of political awakening. Later known as Tiradentes (“tooth-puller”), a derogatory term that referred to his past as an amateur dentist, he organized a group of citizens in a rebellion called the Inconfidência […]

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Oud of Damascus

In February of 2011, 15 children were arrested in Darʿā, Syria. They were accused of painting slogans criticizing the regime on the school walls: “Down with the President” and “Your turn, Doctor,” an allusion to Bashar al-Assad’s degree in opthalmology. The children were beaten up and tortured in prison. In response, a protest against police […]

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The Middle of the Highway

An Interview with Vilde Frang By · Photography © MARCO BORGGREVE / WARNER CLASSICS · Date 12/22/2016 On a recent Wednesday, I met the Norwegian violinist Vilde Frang in a café in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood: an area popular with classical musicians for its chic, international atmosphere. She had to cancel our previous appointment, writing […]

Posted inOpinion

The Prodigy Complex

A journalist, Janet Malcolm once wrote, preys “on people’s vanity, ignorance, or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse.” Great profiles always seem to contain an element of backstabbing. That’s why it’s wrong to write one of a child. When journalists betray their subjects, they are at least adults; they don’t need to […]

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Established Meaning

For some interviews, you exchange what feels like dozens of emails with publicists. You’re asked what you want to ask. When I wrote to Reinhard Goebel to see if he wanted to speak to me, he wrote, “You won’t be needing to suggest topics for us to discuss. I can talk about a lot of […]