Posted inInterview

A Long Way

The harpsichordist and ensemble leader William Christie could quite easily be mistaken for a patrician, 1960s-era CIA operative out of Norman Mailer’s novel Harlot’s Ghost. Yesterday morning, he was wearing a fitted black suit, blue shirt, beige pocket square, and polka dot socks, and spoke in aristocratic American English that clearly recalled his days studying […]

Posted inInterview

Suspended States

In October, Erstwhile Records released a recording of the Swiss composer Jürg Frey’s six hour tape piece “l’àme est sans retenue I.” I took this opportunity to revisit and translate a conversation we had in August 2016 via Skype. VAN: Your piece “A Memory of Perfection,” for solo violin, takes its title from an interview […]

Posted inInterview

Malleable Structures

The composer and performer Tyshawn Sorey was in Berlin recently as the very first Artist in Residence at the Berlin Festival’s JazzFest. At a concert on November 2, he played an array of highly differentiated sounds, combining subtly with his trio colleagues Christopher Tordini and Cory Smythe. For large chunks of the work, Sorey’s face […]

Posted inReport

Critic Bashing

It’s a peculiar and alienating feeling to sit among a crowd of people and feel as defensive as the others feel delighted, as unmoved as they feel enthusiastic. That’s what happened to me on October 22, when Vladimir Jurowski, the conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and new music director of the Berlin Radio Symphony […]

Posted inReview

Two Sides of a Concert, Part I

Naively in retrospect, I came to the Deutsche Oper’s recent production of “Elektra” with an expectation that its reception would be mostly positive. The work is a staple of German opera, staged at a respected German opera house, seasonally appropriate with blood and gore in October, and featuring a world-renowned Wagnerian soprano, Catherine Foster, in […]

Posted inInterview

Good Giggles

The first time classical music humor on the internet was funny can be dated to approximately September 22, 2016, the launch of the page Classical Music Memes for Contemporary Teens. Once ruled by “Bach to the Future” and “You Can’t Handel It” type jokes, classical music humor now referenced Ferneyhough and conservatory anxiety and caused […]

Posted inInterview

Give Them A Vision

I studied with the violinist Roberto González-Monjas at the Mozarteum, in Salzburg, from 2009–2011. My age and once my neighbor in a dormitory, he is now principal concert master of the Swiss chamber orchestra Musikkollegium Winterthur and the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. Selfies of him with Yuja Wang appear from time […]

Posted inEssay

Sound in Flight

The Airbus A320 was quiet as it waited on the runway behind the other planes for takeoff. I put on a Guillaume de Machaut motet, “Tribulatio proxima est et non est qui adjuvet,” in my headphones. The pilot pushed the throttle forward and the plane picked up speed. A male voice joined the two female […]