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Established Meaning

For some interviews, you exchange what feels like dozens of emails with publicists. You’re asked what you want to ask. When I wrote to Reinhard Goebel to see if he wanted to speak to me, he wrote, “You won’t be needing to suggest topics for us to discuss. I can talk about a lot of […]

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The Elusive Middle

Nothing heightens feelings of powerlessness more than a political season. Over the past few months, we’ve seen parties fractured, pundits paralyzed, analytics rendered ineffectual. Fault lines shatter old allegiances, and formerly stable demographics appear to no longer apply. The democratic tradition itself feels newly imperiled; as the middle class dissolves, the world’s ultra-rich consolidate their […]

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Thousands of Changes

An Interview with Hartmut Haenchen By · Title Image Bayreuther Festspiele / Enrico Nawrath · Date 08/04/2016 In February, Andris Nelsons told VAN about conducting Wagner in Bayreuth: “You enjoy it masochistically.” On June 30, he asked to be released from his contract, with the festival citing “a differing approach in various matters.” The performance […]

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Some Rawness

An Interview with Lisa R. Coons Text and Title Image · Date 08/04/2016 Lisa Renèe Coons is a composer, sound artist, and professor at Western Michigan University. Through the course of several emails exchanged in the last few weeks, just after her return from a residency at the MacDowell Colony, we discussed the difficulty of […]

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Succession

An Interview with Tristan Murail By · Title Image By Marls9393 (CC) · Date 07/14/2016 I reached the French composer Tristan Murail on a Tuesday afternoon at his home in Provence. Since moving back to Europe from New York, where he taught at Columbia University for 13 years, Murail has built himself a kind of […]

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Paper Music

An Interview with Philip Miller By · Title Image Ellen Elmendorp · Date 07/07/2016 The South African composer Philip Miller isn’t in his room. I’m at the reception of Berlin’s Ellington Hotel, and I’m about to go home, but there he is, hurrying around the corner. There were some last minute technical problems in his […]

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Preservation

An Interview with Pierre-Laurent Aimard By · Title Image Matt Jolly · Date 07/07/2016 “Messiaen is not so present here, but he is very present in me.” On June 20, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, the pianist and first non-UK based artistic director of the Aldeburgh Festival, realized the composer’s “Catalogue d’oiseaux” indoors and outdoors in nature in […]

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Dissonant and Fabulous

From August 24 to 27, at the Mostly Mozart festival, the American choreographer Mark Morris will present a series of dances to music by the festival’s namesake; on September 8, he’ll show work set to Lou Harrison and Erik Satie at Texas State University. Speaking of Lou Harrison: call the Mark Morris Dance Center on […]

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Two Tracks

At the age of two and a half, somewhere in Calcutta, Samir Chatterjee approached a tabla. An observer noticed and told his parents to give him the opportunity to learn it. He found his first teacher at age 11; he was allowed to perform alone for the first time at 15. (There’s a story about […]

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Artifacts

An Interview with Jakob Ullmann By · Photography · Date 06/23/2016 I studied music theory with the composer and writer Jakob Ullmann in Basel, from 2011–2013. For this interview, we met him at his home in Naumburg, Germany, on a rainy Sunday. Books on new music lined the corridor; books on religion lined his study. […]