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Luxurious Boredom

When countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo was 11 years old, he performed in a Broadway production of “The Sound of Music” alongside capital-P Personality Marie Osmond. Out of the goodness of her heart, Osmond offered the boy a deep discount on her range of dolls, a line she developed with the television shopping channel QVC. Costanzo […]

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The Fault in our Chords

Born in 1985, the Swedish composer Lisa Streich writes music of engrossing timbral and dramaturgical subtlety, often using traditional instruments prepared or modified by small, homemade, motorized devices. Listening to her pieces, I sometimes feel like I’ve been shrunk down to molecular size and placed inside a music box where noisy mechanics blend with pitched […]

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After the Silence

The 29-year-old German oboist Juri Vallentin constructed his Berlin Prize for Young Artists program around a climactic scene from Patrick Süskind’s novel Perfume, adding theatrical elements taken from our common experience of loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program, titled “Inner Voices,” made Vallentin one of two winners of the competition, alongside cellist Valerie Fritz.  […]

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Infinite Crescendo

I met Viennese pianist Rudolf Buchbinder one recent evening in his dressing room at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt, where he was performing his “Diabelli Project” program: variations on the short and somewhat banal waltz by contemporary composers (Jörg Widmann, Lera Auerbach, Max Richter, Toshio Hosokawa) and historical musicians (Liszt, Czerny, Schubert) in the first […]

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Form and Function

With a rough scratch, the young cellist Valerie Fritz drenches the hair of her bow in sticky rosin. The vibrations of this ritualistic rubbing motion are amplified for the listener via contact microphones. So begins Fritz’s own work, “Additional Value” for cello bows and electronics.   Three weeks ago, the 24-year-old Fritz won the Berlin Prize […]

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Open the Closed Bubble

Launched at Glasgow’s Glad Cafe in the weeks just before the first lockdown back in March 2020, Over/At has grown to become more than just a concert series. It’s now more like a “trans music-making world,” to quote the project website, encompassing record releases, published sheet music, and new commissions. Supported by the Sound and […]

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Elements of Recurrence

For decades, writer Edmund White has been a definitive voice in gay literature, especially in the United States. He’s written over 30 books, mostly on themes of same-sex desire; they are also are riddled with references to his own passions for art and music. Of particular interest are the frank discussions about psycho-sexual tensions with […]

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Sacred Time

If you’re going to the Metropolitan Opera, Wayne Koestenbaum, author of the iconic exploration of opera queendom, The Queen’s Throat, is the best guide one could hope for. After dinner at Rosa Mexicano across from Lincoln Center, we sauntered across Columbus Avenue to a performance of Mussorgsky’s “Boris Godunov.” For both of us, it was […]

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The Dreams of Others

When you mention alto Dina König in front of her former colleagues, they insist on her musical excellence. That’s because, in September 2020, König gave up her burgeoning career as a singer of early music. Instead, she decided to become a tram driver with the local public transportation system in Basel, Switzerland.  Musicians often view […]

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