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Deep Listen: Kaija Saariaho

Listening to “La Passion de Simone” By · Title Image Simone Weil (Wikipedia/Public Domain) · Date 3/1/2018 Confession: As a music lover, one of my least favorite things to do is actually go to a live performance. Not because of the performance itself, but for the hell-is-other-people experience of being in an audience and the […]

Posted inEssay

Before Leaving this Place

Title Image Pavel Vaan & Leonid Semenyuk When Gounod brought his “Faust” to London five years after its world premiere in 1859, there was one devil lurking in the details: venerated baritone Charles Santley was singing Valentin—the soldier brother of Marguerite who is killed by his sister’s lover (and the work’s title character)—but despite his […]

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A Cold War

When he was 16, Wolf Biermann emigrated from his hometown of Hamburg to the German Democratic Republic. The year was 1952 and the young man, whose father was a staunch Communist and killed in Auschwitz, was welcomed in the East. Less than 25 years later, Biermann, now a rock star—his apartment, dubbed “the waiting room […]

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My Father, The Flying Dutchman

On Suicide in Opera By · Title Image Courtesy of Olivia Giovetti · Date 06/29/2017 Time is often the unspoken main character in opera. The drama of “Don Giovanni” stems from the plot unfolding in just one day. Orpheus’s tragic downfall is being unable to avoid gazing at Eurydice until they’ve left the underworld. And […]

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Music for a New World

On Streaming and Piracy By · Illustrations Stallio (CC) · Date 03/03/2016 Technology is changing the recorded music business, as it is changing all businesses. 10 years ago, music piracy was seen as the great threat to the future of music. It’s since been largely replaced by music streaming—in the minds of many musicians, not […]

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An Introduction to Andrew Trovato By · Photography Courtesy of Andrew Trovato · Date 03/03/2016 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 […]

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Singing By Radar

An Interview with Thomas Hampson By · Cover-Photography © Matthias Creutziger · Date 03/03/2016 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 […]

Posted inPlaylist

A JACK Quartet Playlist

Categories of Music and Darkness Photography Caroline Savage · Date 03/03/2016 This playlist, by JACK Quartet cellist Kevin McFarland, emphasizes darkness—a fitting counterpoint to the group’s recent and upcoming concerts (on March 4 at San Francisco Performances) of Georg Friedrich Haas’ String Quartet No. 3, “In iij Noct.” Here is McFarland’s introduction to the compilation. […]

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Performer on Trial

An Audition Diary By · Cover-Photography NYPL (Public Domain) · Date 03/03/2016 We are prepared for this day. We are equipped with all the most modern camping accessories from a store in Denver. We are in shape from aerobic exercise, at least four times a week for several weeks. We are at the edge of […]

Posted inInterview

Among Strangers

An Interview with Morgan Neville By · Photography © Silk Road Project · Date 02/18/2016 “The talk about music being a universal language is a used and abused cliché,” says Kinan Azmeh, the Syrian clarinetist featured in Morgan Neville’s film “The Music of Strangers.” While there are some basic building blocks of music, its sounds, […]