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Outsourced Scores

The full score of Miroslav Snrka’s opera “South Pole,” which premiered this winter at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, is 1,000 pages long. Each of its two volumes weighs over eight pounds. The parts for 77 unique voices add up to close to 3,000 pages.    Every composer knows how frustrating and time-consuming the preparation […]

Posted inInterview

Continental Shift

Ilan Volkov’s Tectonics Festival, in Reykjavik on April 14-15 and in Glasgow on May 7-8, conjures images of dramatic, continental upheaval. But plate motion is an incredibly slow process—land masses move at rates measured in millimeters per year. Listening to the names of the many avant-garde composers mentioned by the Israeli conductor in our Skype […]

Posted inInterview

No Fixed Abode

In this issue’s Design Review, we looked at several classical album covers, some of which display famous performers prominently. Odradek Records, a label which opposes the “model centered on just a few big names,” however, chooses its performers anonymously, without considering fame, biography, or looks. We spoke with founder John Anderson about his “utopian” project. […]

Posted inEssay

A Blizzard

On a Friday afternoon in February, I got snowed out of a Boston Symphony Orchestra concert. There was a blizzard in the area and a tree fell on the train tracks, blocking the Green Line. The next day, I made it to the performance, of works by Shostakovich, Hans Abrahamsen (“let me tell you,” with […]

Posted inReview

Broken Heartbeat

George Benjamin’s opera “Written On Skin” telescopes back and forth through past and present. Based on a vida of the 12th century Catalan troubadour Guillaume de Cabestanh, it takes place in a medieval world where books are precious objects, but references air travel, pornography, and modern feminism. The work, which premiered three years ago, makes […]

Posted inInterview

Homecomings

For Intro, we speak with the musicians who don’t show up in press releases. We hope to portray a diversity of background and experience in classical music. This is the first interview in an ongoing series. Andrew Trovato is a pianist, composer, and childhood friend. In the course of two long Skype sessions—he was lying […]

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Singing By Radar

I met Thomas Hampson for an interview before the meeting of a Munich opera club, where he was scheduled to speak. He was only very slightly late, but the well-meaning members of the of the club seemed worried. “Thomas Hampson never shows up alone,” I was told. At one point in our conversation, a painting […]

Posted inHistory

Black Magic

On the evening of March 7, 1983, the French-Canadian composer Claude Vivier went for a drink at a bar in the Belleville neighborhood of Paris. He picked up a young man there and brought him back to his apartment for sex. The man then stabbed Vivier to death. If, before he fled, the killer had […]

Posted inInterview

Decades

I studied composition with Georg Friedrich Haas in Basel from 2011-2013, his last years there before his move to New York City, where he teaches at Columbia University. In my Master’s recital, a musician showed late and an instrument I built broke, and I had trouble facing the—very supportive—audience. He managed to make me do […]