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Sudden Shattering

An Interview with Allan Clayton By · Title Image © Monika Ritterhaus · Date 6/7/2018 In May, a new staging of Handel’s “Semele” premiered at the Komische Oper in Berlin. Allan Clayton, in coattails, a three-piece suit, and pink socks, played a sprightly Jove, who has just fallen in love with a mortal woman. When […]

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A Memory of Violence

An Interview with Mark Barden By · Title Image Polka Dots by Yayoi Kusama (Public Domain, via Pixabay) · Date 5/31/2018 The Berlin-based, American composer Mark Barden writes music that is both technically refined and irresistibly gripping. He has an ear for rhythmic propulsion and microtonal chords that make sense and sound beautiful without falling […]

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A Knife to Reality

An Interview with Niels Rønsholdt By · Photography © Lars Svankjær · Date 5/17/2018 I was supposed to meet the Danish composer Niels Rønsholdt at the SPOR Festival in Aarhus. There, his recent music theater piece “Gaze for Gaze” received a new production, performed by Denmark’s SCENATET ensemble, with whom Rønsholdt has worked closely for […]

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The Calibrated Voice

An Interview with Matthias Goerne By · Title Image © Caroline de Bon · Date 5/10/2018 The voices of singers tend to call forth abstract, flowery adjectives. But when you hear the baritone Matthias Goerne, it’s easy to point out the specific moments that distinguish his art. As Wotan from Wagner’s “Ring,” he sings about […]

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In Fuzzy Color

An Interview with Jessica Cottis By · Title Image © Kaupo Kikkas · Date 5/10/2018 Jessica Cottis has always had a hypersensitivity to sound. As she walks into the cafe at the British Film Institute cinema to meet me, she is acutely aware of little noises—like the man at a table on the right tapping […]

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The Traveler

Alexei Lubimov is a normal man with fingers of gold. A strange combination, at first glance, but one that suits him. He walks on stage, slight of stature, a few thin hairs left, thick, round glasses—the kind of person you wouldn’t normally give a second glance. Then he starts to play and everything changes. I […]

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Degrees of Invention

An Interview with George Benjamin By · Title Image Eleanor of Toledo and her son Giovanni, Agnolo Bronzino (1545) · Date 5/3/2018 George Benjamin was once the boy wonder of British classical music. A composer at nine, he became star pupil to Olivier Messiaen in his teens, the youngest ever composer to see his music […]

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Expressive Spirals

An Interview with Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker By · Title Image © Jean-Luc Tanghe · Date 4/26/2018 Contemporary dance tends to see itself as independent from music. Yet Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker has achieved worldwide success with her concept of “harmonic polarity.” The Belgian choreographer, the European standard-bearer for minimal dance, bases her work on […]

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I Did That

An Interview with Ben Johnston By · Title Image Plainsound Music Edition (Creative Commons) · Date 4/19/2018 Recently elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters at the age of 92, Ben Johnston is taking some time to reflect on his life’s work. As a composer who radically pushed the expressive […]

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Wonderful Misfits

An Interview with Robin Ticciati By · Title Image © PETER ADAMIK · Date 4/12/2018 Robin Ticciati’s friendliness and openness seems indomitable, yet have none of the routine amicability that other frequently-interviewed musicians adopt. He develops his thoughts patiently while speaking and asks himself lots of questions, too. Bruckner’s relatively seldom played Sixth is part […]