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Baby Work

An Interview with Yu Long By · Title Image © Shanghai Symphony Orchestra · Date 12/20/2018 In November, I traveled to Shenzhen, China for a conference on the future of Chinese classical music. Sponsored by Volkswagen China’s cultural initiative—which, full disclosure, paid for my flights—the conference gathered orchestral conductors, managers and administrators to the top […]

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Look To The Future

An Interview with Jiatong Wu By Hartmut Welscher · Title Image VERA & JEAN-CHRISTOPHE (CC BY-SA 2.0) · Date 12/20/2018 In 2005, Simon Rattle went on a tour of East Asia with the Berlin Philharmonic and predicted that the future of classical music was in China. It remained unclear exactly what kind of future he […]

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Central Nodes

An Interview with all that dust By · Photography © Dimitri Djuric · Date 8/9/2018 The word immersive is over-used. But listening to new recordings of Milton Babbitt’s “Philomel” is a disorientating, vertiginous experience. The listener finds themselves plunged, instantly, into an all-encompassing sound world in which bloops and gurgles of electronic sound appear to […]

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The Riddle of Silence

An Interview with Michael Pisaro By · Title Image Michael Pisaro working on his “Hearing Metal 3” · Date 8/2/2018 Michael Pisaro is an American composer, guitarist, and early member of the Wandelweiser Group. He teaches music composition at CalArts, where he is the founder and director of the Experimental Music Workshop. His 75-minute immersive […]

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A Conception of Time

An Interview with Frank Denyer By · Photography © Suhail Merchant · Date 7/26/2018 Frank Denyer’s works draw from many sources. In the 1970s, he did ethnomusicological fieldwork with the Pokot tribe in Kenya. Studying at Wesleyan, he encountered musical giants Morton Feldman and John Cage, with Harry Partch providing undoubted additional influence. Hand-made instruments […]

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Faked Silence

An Interview with Salvatore Sciarrino By · Title Image Eugen Bracht “The Shore of Oblivion” (Public Domain), via Wikimedia Commons · Date 7/5/2018 Listening to Salvatore Sciarrino’s “Sei Capricci” for solo violin might best be compared to spending 20 minutes in a butterfly garden. The music rustles, flickers, alights for the briefest moment somewhere, and […]

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Process of Emancipation

An Interview with Alina Rotaru By · Photography © Leif Marcus · Date 7/5/2018 Talking to harpsichordists regularly, it’s easy to get the impression that issues of historical performance, musical philosophy, and even fashion weigh heavily on their minds. But how much do they really think about these big ideas while practicing and performing? I […]

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The Human Comedy

An Interview with Norman Lebrecht By · Title Image © Istvan Bielik · Date 6/28/2018 “The dirty world printed in the newspapers is our own,” wrote Thomas Bernhard in his final novel, Extinction. The same might be said of Norman Lebrecht’s blog Slipped Disc, perhaps the only publication to write about classical music the same […]

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Uncanny Songs

An Interview with Na’ama Zisser By · Title Image © Mariana Kazarnovsky · Date 6/14/2018 Before she moved to London as a third year undergraduate student—less than a decade ago—Na’ama Zisser had never even been to the opera. This week sees the production of her very own, “Mamzer Bastard,” by London’s Royal Opera House at […]

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An Element of Faith

An Interview with Pierre Hantaï By · Title Image Screenshot from a video of Pierre Hantaï performing Scarlatti on a Bizzi harpsichord · Date 6/14/2018 The harpsichord is inextricably tied to the eccentricity and experimentation of the historical performance movement. Any hot new recording of baroque repertoire would be incomplete without a first-rate instrument. But […]