Posted inInterview

Upsetting Simplicity

In April, tenor Ian Bostridge released his latest book, a brief meditation on the intricacies of vocal interpretation in music by Monteverdi, Ravel, and Britten titled Song and Self: A Singer’s Reflections on on Music and Performance. In May, he gave a recital at the Boulez Saal in Berlin, with pianist Julius Drake, of works […]

Posted inOpinion

Exotic Educational Experiences

In October 2020, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) acquired the management company Opus 3 Artists. In May 2022, the conservatory bought the boutique Dutch record label Pentatone. And in December 2022, SFCM added the prestigious London agency Askonas Holt to its portfolio, consolidating Opus 3 under Askonas chief executive Donagh Collins.  These acquisitions […]

Posted inPlaylist

A “Dichterliebe” All-Stars Playlist

It’s almost the “wondrous month” of May, and while Berlin has clearly decided that the 2023 vibe is icy weather and police brutality, not birds and blossoms, it’s never too late manifest the tardy appearance of spring. In that spirit, here is a playlist that, taken together, forms an “ultimate” version of Robert Schumann’s “Dichterliebe,” […]

Posted inInterview

The Process of Enrichment

On April 22, Kent Nagano will bring his Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra to Carnegie Hall for a performance of Beethoven, Brahms, and a new work by composer Sean Shepherd, “On a Clear Day” (featuring cellist Jan Vogler and an international youth choir and set to poetry by writer Ulla Hahn). I spoke with Nagano recently […]

Posted inInterview

Beauty in the Limits

Violinist Adam Woodward was one of two winners of the March 2023 edition of the Berlin Prize for Young Artists. His program, meticulously curated and performed with palpable intensity, included music by Liza Lim, John Cage, and Bahar Royaee, and summoned the austere, indifferent beauty of landscapes and stars. Woodward, who is the youngest of […]

Posted inInterview

The Head Dishwasher

Eamonn Quinn, the self-described “oddball” who founded the Louth Contemporary Music Society in the northeast of Ireland in 2006, is neither a composer nor a performer. It shows in the best way. Quinn, who works in education, was introduced to new music through his wife Gemma while studying at Queen’s University in Belfast, beginning with […]

Posted inBreaking

In Safe Hands

It’s still early in February, but classical music has already seen two major conducting appointments this month. On February 1, Israeli conductor Lahav Shani signed a contract to become the new music director of the Munich Philharmonic from the 2026-27 season, replacing Putin cheerleader Valery Gergiev. On Tuesday, the New York Philharmonic announced that Gustavo […]

Posted inInterview

A Point in the Soul

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Brian Greis, a retired obstetrician-gynecologist who lives with his husband in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, attended some 200 classical concerts a year and spent up to eight out of 12 months on the road traveling to attend performances. Greis never harbored serious ambitions of being a classical musician, but since his childhood […]

Posted inReview

Too Big To Fail

Can a piece of music be too big to fail? The latest work by Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Finnish composer and conductor who is currently music director of the San Francisco Symphony, has a startling number of what politicians like to call “stakeholders”: The Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice (which gave the premiere on […]