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The melody from the hymn Dies Irae breaks the creamy quiet of a restaurant in upmarket Taipei, and the patrons raise their eyes from their waffles and cake and Vienna coffee. The disrupter of the mid-Thursday morning hush is Chung Yiu-kwong, Taiwan’s most noted classical composer, giving an enthusiastic rendition of the Day of Judgement’s […]

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A Brexit Day Playlist

Andrew Manze, Music Director, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover Ralph Vaughan Williams – Symphony No. 5; Ralph Vaughan Williams (Conductor), London Philharmonic Orchestra A pacifist and humanist, Vaughan Williams completed his Fifth Symphony during the darkest days of the World War II. It was premiered in London in 1943 and is an unambiguous expression of hope and […]

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A #HearAllComposers Playlist

On March 21, musicians and music lovers who desired more diverse orchestral programming took to Twitter with the hashtag #HearAllComposers, to encourage symphony orchestras to program music by non-male and non-white composers. The hashtag came largely from the efforts of Emma O’Halloran, Annika Socolofsky, Amanda Feery, and Finola Merivale, all young composers frustrated with the […]

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Moderate Anarchy

The Belgian baroque violinist, violoncello da spalla player, and conductor Sigiswald Kuijken was born in 1944 near Brussels. His way of playing early music makes the continuing modern-style performances of many works seem, at least to my ears, completely irrelevant.When I reached out to Kuijken to ask if he’d like to be interviewed, he wrote […]

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An Arthur Kampela Playlist

At this year’s MaerzMusik festival in Berlin, Arthur Kampela will present his research on Walter Smetak, an obscure Brazilian composer and inventor of instruments. Smetak is one artist featured in this playlist of radical, searching music by Kampela, himself a Brazilian composer and guitarist currently living in New York. These are intense sounds—our recommendation is […]

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March Bagatelles

What classical music gets up to on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. By VAN Team · Date 03/09/2016 Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional Costa Rica This campaign is supposed to get us in the mood for Summer Fun, but doesn’t it kind of look like everybody in these pictures is on the verge of drowning? Karajan I On […]

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Can New Music Be Sexy?

Musicians and Listeners Respond By · Title Image Bill Vriesema (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) · Date 03/02/2016 I wrote this from a multidisciplinary arts residency, which I have the good fortune to be attending. There are nine composers here hailing from different parts of the world, which means I’ve gotten to witness firsthand the process people […]

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February 2016 Bagatelles

What classical music gets up to on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. By VAN Team · Date 02/16/2016 Classical Music Sucks Is it just us, or is classical music humor getting funnier and a little darker? Here, the meme page Classical Music Sucks adapts the Breitbart reader archetype to the anti-Helmut Lachenmann set. Rolando Villazón “Mr […]

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April 2017 Bagatelles

What classical music gets up to on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Date 04/26/2017 Poor and/or unaesthetic art music memes for placeholder teens As we’ve mentioned before, classical music internet humor is undergoing a bit of a renaissance, and Poor and/or unaesthetic art music memes for placeholder teens is one of the newer and funnier entries. […]

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The Best of the Bagatelles

What classical music has been up to in 2016 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Date 12/22/2016 Classical music social media gave us many funny, cringeworthy, or just plain strange gifts over the course of 2016. Here, we’ve collected some of our favorite Bagatelles of the year from our monthly series. Enjoy, and remember: if you […]