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Advanced Easy Listening

Christof Dienz is a composer, zither player, and bassoonist, born in Innsbruck in 1968. This year he was joint artistic director—along with composer Clara Iannotta—of the Klangspuren (“Sound Traces”) festival in Austria. Based in the small Tyrolean town of Schwaz in the Austrian Alps, Klangspuren features 18 concerts given over 18 days in venues around […]

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A Glutton for Sound

As a Southcentral Alaskan kid in the early ’90s, I was unaware of the composer patiently crafting his strict and sensuous body of work 600 miles to the north, close to the Arctic Circle. In 2013, after living, studying and composing for a decade on the Eastern Seaboard, I co-founded a new music project in […]

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The Beautiful Moment

Wadada Leo Smith plays the trumpet with a brilliant, forceful sound and has been a major creative figure in jazz for over 50 years. This century, his importance and prominence as a composer have grown. His beautiful and moving large-scale piece, “Ten Freedom Summers,” made him a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Music in […]

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A Climate of Fusion

Aeham Ahmad, known as the Pianist of Yarmouk, gives concerts throughout Germany and the world and has published a book about his life, also titled The Pianist of Yarmouk. He grew up as a Palestinian refugee in Syria, before fleeing the war there, and came to Germany in 2015.  His concert format often includes passages […]

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More Than a Symbol

Opera is often a long game. Voices take time to mature (which is why so many 40-something singers play teenage lovers). Singers also face pressure to commit to a career early on in order to get into the right schools and study with the right teachers. The economics of an opera house or major recording […]

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Targeted Melodies

In “What Grieves Frenzy Drown’d,” an album released on SCRIPTS Records in April by 27-year-old New York-based guitarist Alec Goldfarb, melodies rise out of coarse microtonal string textures like strange objects—both ancient and modern, water-smooth rocks and plastic detritus—found on a rough-hewn beach. Occasionally these melodies sound familiar, influenced by Goldfarb’s immersion in Indian classical […]

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Closing the Timeline

In 2020, British mathematician Sir Roger Penrose was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his theory that black holes are “inevitable and perfect,” as cosmologist and author Janna Levin summarized his work: “A black hole is like a fundamental particle in its flawlessness. The event horizon hiding any individuality, they become indistinguishable.”  One year […]

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Completed by Perception

When I was 13 or so, I raced through Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, finishing the final volume, The Amber Spyglass, on Christmas eve. I carried the complex melancholy of the ending around with me for weeks afterward in defiance of holiday cheer.  Recently, I realized that Pullman is also a classical music fan. […]

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Anti-Angelic Aesthetics

The harp world is small and isolated, often ignored by media outlets. But changes are afoot among those who play the instrument at the highest level. New repertoire and collaborations are on the rise, as are different ways of thinking about the harp’s past and why it’s an instrument overwhelmingly played by cisgendered women. (An […]