Posted inHistory

Pieces of History

In 2011, the Stradivarius violin known as the “Lady Blunt” sold for $15.9 million—four times the amount for any previous Stradivarius. The hefty price tag for these instruments is commensurate with their reputation. The Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti, who plays the 1717 “Gariel” Strad, has spoken of its “addictive quality,” while Anne-Sophie Mutter, who plays […]

Posted inInterview

Snow and Granite

As part of the preparations for this year’s St. Magnus International Festival, I interviewed the Scottish-born pianist Steven Osborne. His connection to the place is deep: he loves its “few trees” and “barrenness,” he told me. Recently, we met up in his Edinburgh home to discuss performance anxiety, his own unlovely piano, and the struggle […]

Posted inReport

In Ink

On November 29th, the auction house Sotheby’s will be offering the complete manuscript of Gustav Mahler’s Second Symphony (the “Resurrection”) at auction from their London saleroom. Sotheby’s predict it will sell in excess of £3.5 million, the highest ever estimation for a musical manuscript offered at auction. Late in August, I met Simon Maguire, Sotheby’s […]

Posted inReview


On a sunny if slightly windy evening this July, a group of young instrumentalists came together in southeast London for a performance of Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony. The concert took place in an unexpected setting: a disused multi-story car park. Since 2011, the Multi-Story Orchestra have been faithful to their name, taking up residence at a […]

Posted inOpinion

Redundant Space

On June 19, I saw the English National Opera’s production of “Tristan und Isolde.” Besides the cast, the house advertised its collaboration with the British-Indian artist Anish Kappoor, who doubled as the production’s set designer. Employing a famous artist as a set designer is an appealing double whammy for opera houses, promising both creative constructions […]

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