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, […]

Posted inReview

Chorus and Orchestra of Generals

On North Korean Opera By · Date 02/18/2016 Kim Jong-il, the late Dear Leader of the People’s Republic of Korea, wrote six operas in two years. Not only that: according to one version of his official biography, they are all “better than any in the history of music.” Even accounting for the immodesty of dictators, […]

Posted inPlaylist

An Olga Neuwirth Playlist

Malaria! – “Geld/Money” In the 1980s, I was a punk living in the Austrian countryside, and I couldn’t wait to trade alpine meadows for a big, rough city. This all-girl band from Berlin made provocative, social-political, tough-as-nails songs; they inspired me to be loud, and ironic, and stir things up in my uptight environment.  Besides […]

Posted inInterview

Stay Worried

I first met Betsy Jolas, a distinguished composer with a nearly 70-year career, in 2005. I had received a scholarship to attend the Academie Villecroze in Provence, France, and performed a piece of hers there. The work was “Mon Ami,” for a pianist; it’s unique in that the pianist sings, her voice melding with the […]

Posted inReport


Inside an Organ Workshop By · Photography · Date 01/21/2016 There’s something about an annoying office job that makes you idealize working with your hands, even if you have—like me—no aptitude for it at all. Last winter, I applied for an apprenticeship at the organ builder Orgelbau Scheffler, in the tiny, former East German village […]

Posted inInterview


An Interview with Christian Tetzlaff By · Translated from the German by Photography Giorgia Bertazzi · Date 01/21/2016 VAN: Two weeks ago, I heard you play Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 2 at the Berlin Philharmonic with the Staatskapelle Berlin and David Afkham, substituting for Patricia Kopatchinskaja. At practically the same time, you were touring with […]

Posted inHistory

The Pianist’s Eye

Lilian Kallir’s Musical Alexia Author · Date 01/21/2016 The pianist Lilian Kallir was a formidable sight-reader who could easily play a Mozart Piano Concerto on the first reading, though she was mostly known for the instinctive musicality, tonal beauty, and precocious maturity of her playing. In 1991, presented with a last-minute change in a program, […]