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Russian Voices

Throughout a 22-year reign as president, Vladimir Putin has paired military aggression and human rights violations with a culture of fear and silence. Mass protests against his leadership have been violently quashed. Public figures who openly oppose his leadership have faced dire consequences. When Putin made a public address shortly before 6am local time on […]

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Collection: Engaging with Beethoven

The International Telekom Beethoven Competition offers a platform and the best possible support to talented young pianists. Applications for this year’s prize in December 2021 are open until May 14. Another goal of the competition is to encourage musicians and audiences to engage intensively with the work of the composer. VAN has some places to […]

Posted inRankings & Roundups

Sonic Distancing

In the last 10 years or so, countless theories have surfaced to describe what ails classical music’s concert halls. Is it the stuffy architecture; the ban on beverages; the hushers and passive-aggressive insiders; or the (crumbling) bans on social media use that turn off many potential visitors, especially those who are young and non-white? The […]

Posted inInterview

Listening Blind

Whatever your image of the standard background and biography for a world class concert pianist, Paul Lewis ain’t it. Born in Liverpool, the son of a dock worker and a local council employee, there were no other musicians in his family. Lewis’s childhood memories of the music played in the house revolved around records by […]

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Brian Ferneyhough at 75

Date 12/6/2018 To celebrate the 75th birthday of Coventry-born composer Brian Ferneyhough, the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group has invited the pioneering Arditti Quartet to perform his music in the heart of the Midlands. Also featuring Oliver Janes on clarinet and the conductor Emilio Pomarico, a concert on Sunday, December 9 at 4 p.m. will present […]

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Collection: Marx at 200

Date 8/30/2018 200 years since his birth, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and Karl Marx Exhibitions Organisation present a series of concerts, soundart installations and events commemorating the life and work of Karl Marx in Trier in Germany and Birmingham and London in the UK. Sergej Newski, a featured composer on the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group’s […]

Posted inPlaylist

A Trans Composers Playlist

Trans people are used to seeing ourselves refracted through the eyes of cis artists. Sometimes it’s done very well; more often it’s not. But what happens when we’re the ones making the art? Much has been written about video games, novels, and rock and pop music by trans artists, but our presence in the contemporary […]

Posted inRankings & Roundups


If a musician studies a score and doesn’t post about it on social media, does it still count? No point in risking it, which is why the VAN social media channels see a steady flow of visually pleasing, life-envy-inducing photographs of scores being studied. From carefully-placed pencils, symmetry or graceful asymmetry, to flat whites, whiskey, […]

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Tonefoil Hat

I’m a musician and I have bad ears. In my ear training course in college, my teacher would play intervals on the piano. Going in a circle, he would point at the students and ask us to identify them. Some days, I got every single interval wrong. I’d confuse a minor sixth with a major […]

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