Posted inInterview

Make The Building Sing

On Tuesday, the French organist Olivier Latry played a program of organ music by Olivier Messiaen, Gerald Levinson, and Jean Louis Florentz at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. In a sense, he was a guest of Iveta Apkalna—the hall’s main organist and “artistic adviser” in matters related to the king of instruments. Before the performance, I […]

Posted inInterview

Emotional Weapon

Tonight, the Latvian soprano will debut in a Sofia Coppola production of “La Traviata” alongside Plácido Domingo and Arturo Chacón Cruz at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia, Spain. When I reached her last week via Skype for this interview, she was already there for rehearsals, and seemed lively and engaged. Would […]

Posted inInterview

A Kind Of Truth

In Jorge Luis Borges’s short story “The Aleph,” the narrator walks with a pompous poet down the Calle Bernardo de Irigoyen, in Buenos Aires. Later, he follows the man, whose wife he has fallen in love with, down to his basement, and experiences a single point in which all the mysteries of the “inconceivable universe” […]

Posted inHistory

Siegfried Idyll

Some babies are put in swaddling clothes. Others are born into families where expectations are so great that they begin to resemble similarly physical restrains. Siegfried Wagner, the only son of Richard, was born in 1869. Richard wrote the “Siegfried-Idyll” to mark the occasion, a work with and flashes of mesmerizing genius. As the male […]

Posted inReport

Temperature and Energy

The Fondamenta Sant’Eufemia, on the Venetian island of Giudecca, is a street that parallels the water. Its presence, rising out of the waves, feels almost arbitrary. Between storefronts numbered 610A and a chipping 655 is a lane where houses in red and gray give way to the same color scheme in smaller scales: the brick […]

Posted inInterview


Round-number anniversaries of composers’ births and deaths can often feel arbitrary, excuses to keep programming the same music. Not Monteverdi’s 450th birth year. His operas are universal, important reminders that us humans have always had the same struggles, that we’ve been here before: 450 is a number that puts things in perspective. The conductor John […]

Posted inReport

Drastic and Vivid

In 2014, the Colorado Symphony put on a concert series called “Classically Cannabis,” attracting media attention from around the world. On November 8, 2016, California, Nevada, and Massachusetts followed in the Rocky Mountain State’s footsteps by passing referenda legalizing recreational marijuana. As decriminalization spreads through the U.S. and perhaps to Europe, will we see more […]

Posted inInterview

What Is Indie Classical?

“During my dissertation research, I felt a certain mournful nostalgia for the world that I was investigating,” writes William Robin in “A Scene Without A Name: Indie Classical and American New Music in the 21st Century.” Reading it, I was surprised to find myself emotional at times too—a testament to Robin’s writing, which is precise […]

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