Posted inReview

Smeared in Gold

In his program interview with theater writer A.J. Goldmann, Barrie Kosky described his new production of the Royal Opera House “Ring” cycle as “stripping opera back to the quintessential human condition,” taking inspiration from the distilled purity of Greek dramas over the expanse of Norse and Germanic myths. This spare, brutal, yet lubricious production sets […]

Posted inPages Turned


“It’s a bit of a shame that there is no confrontation anymore,” Nuria Schoenberg Nono reflected in an interview with Wolfgang Schaufler, a publisher at Vienna’s Universal Edition. “Everything is in order today; [audiences] only have ­enthusiasm for the great interpreters, and that is right—but the music itself often has little or nothing to do […]

Posted inReport

Clouds, Unmoving

Though the worst of the downpours have retreated for now, the sky is hardly Stanford blue for classical musicians in the UK. Recently, there has been retaliation to the difficulties imposed by the toxic cocktail of inflation, Brexit, COVID aftershocks and funding cuts to institutions: yesterday, the Royal Opera House orchestra voted overwhelmingly in favor […]

Posted inRankings & Roundups

Rising to a Crescendo

When news broke of Martin Amis’s death in May, I ordered a copy of his essay collection The War Against Cliché, and set about learning how to write. As it turned out, some of the Amisian impulse to strike cliché from the page was already there. For the past few years, I have compiled my […]

Posted inPages Turned

Background History

The first thing that stands out in Philip Ewell’s On Music Theory And Making Music More Welcoming For Everyone is how specific the music theory world is. His thesis concerns structural issues as he experiences them: the pursuit of tenure, the peer-review process for the Society of Music Theory, critiques of foreign-language requirements for graduate […]

Posted inInterview

“It’s Only Music, After All”

My first proper encounter with Philip Thomas’s playing came through his box set of Morton Feldman’s piano music, released on the label Another Timbre in 2019. The performances are intimate to the point of sensuality, every gesture like a phantom hand hovering above the tiny hairs on your arm, in that fragile space between presence […]

Posted inInterview

Breaking Points

Cassandra Miller is all process. It’s not the same word that Steve Reich thought a gradual, directional inch through time, but something more all-encompassing, that goes far beyond any finished product. In the past few years, process and its verb-y associates–transcribing, improvising, collaborating, balancing, musicking–have become the primary concerns in Miller’s creative life.  Though this […]

Posted inInterview

Sketching Lyricism

Anna Thorvaldsdottir sits on a stool with wheels but no back. The hum of electric garden equipment underscores our conversation in her composing studio, and it’s funny to think that the heavyweight harmonic frameworks of one of today’s most sought-after composers might be influenced, on a subconscious level, by the drones of suburban lawnmowers. “I […]

Posted inReview

Scouse Glyndebourne

It’s hard to approach events like “ENO does Eurovision” without a bit of skepticism, but I realize I might be going about things too cynically as I arrive in Liverpool in my Tár-inspired spring transition look: black trousers, black trench coat, black baseball cap, black sneakers, and a thick black jumper. I feel like a […]

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