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Sunken Costs

In 2015, the Italian pianist Marco Sanna and his duo partner saw on Facebook that an artist management company called Xenia Evangelista Communications was signing new performers. They sent the company an application, including a cover letter and a CD, in the mail. Soon after, Evangelista, who is based in Munich, emailed the duo expressing […]

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The Elephant In The Opera

On Monday, the Staatsoper Berlin announced its 2019-20 program. Aside from a few potential highlights—René Jacobs leading Scarlatti and a new ballet by Georg Friedrich Haas—the programming reads like a parody of a conservative orchestra season, featuring yet another Beethoven cycle, Brahms cycle, and “Ring.” The soloists are of high quality, but belong firmly to […]

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The Titan’s Shadow

Title Image (EDITED: 8.2.19, 15:15 H) UN GENEVA / UN PHOTO / JEAN-MARC FERRÉ (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) This time Daniel Barenboim was furious because a musician tried to give him flowers. It was July 2018, after a guest performance with his orchestra, the Staatskapelle Berlin, in Buenos Aires. Traditionally, a member of the orchestra presents […]

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Look To The Future

An Interview with Jiatong Wu By Hartmut Welscher · Title Image VERA & JEAN-CHRISTOPHE (CC BY-SA 2.0) · Date 12/20/2018 In 2005, Simon Rattle went on a tour of East Asia with the Berlin Philharmonic and predicted that the future of classical music was in China. It remained unclear exactly what kind of future he […]

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Rules of Engagement

In Wieland Hoban’s composition “Hora’ot Pticha Be’esh (Rules of Engagement I),” from 2013-14, we hear distorted microtones, low glissandi, plucking, instrumental squealing. This music accompanies testimony by a Sergeant First Class in the Armored Corps of the Israeli Defense Forces during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, in the winter of 2008-9. The soldier speaks in […]

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Simon Said

Photography Jeffrey Arlo Brown Simon Rattle grits his teeth and flares his nostrils. He raises his silver eyebrows, opens his mouth in vowel shapes, closes his eyes again in an ecstatic expression, bounces his baton off the air. These are his ways of expressing how the music makes him feel. They are also the tics […]

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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

Listening with Jakub Hrůša By · Title Image František Richter (1827) · Date 06/08/2017 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 […]