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I don’t know what’s more unforgivable: that conductor and long-serving Bard president Leon Botstein accepted money from Jeffrey Epstein, or that he put me in the position of agreeing with American conservative outrage-monger Dinesh D’Souza. “He is ideologically unpredictable, even eccentric,” D’Souza was quoted as saying of Botstein in a 1992 New York Times profile […]

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An Imperfect Cassandra

For a while, it seemed like the lasting legacy of oboist and Mozart in the Jungle author Blair Tindall, whose April 12 death was confirmed late last week, would be that she had a short-lived, invalid marriage to Bill Nye that ended with the Science Guy taking out a restraining order against her.  According to […]

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1,000 Symphonies In Your Pocket

There’s faint live music as I walk into Battersea Power Station. Around the corner from Apple’s giant, glass-fronted reception area, a man is performing an extremely committed rendition of Modest Mussorgsky’s “The Great Gate of Kyiv” on a public piano to a crowd of exactly three people, in the middle of an enormous shopping center. […]

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Pay to Sing

“When I was at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, I was so startled that all the singers were running around and doing anything other than what I could see seems necessary,” Mark Sampson, a bass and the founder and artistic director of the Berlin Opera Academy (BOA), tells me. “And they were too […]

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Agility, Fragility

Much like Harrison Birtwistle, I feel like I’m always writing the same piece, albeit one that’s more wordy, more political, and much more depressing. Following the lead of Arts Council England, who made a mess of both the announcement and communication of their National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) funding reallocations in November, the BBC too garnished […]

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In Safe Hands

It’s still early in February, but classical music has already seen two major conducting appointments this month. On February 1, Israeli conductor Lahav Shani signed a contract to become the new music director of the Munich Philharmonic from the 2026-27 season, replacing Putin cheerleader Valery Gergiev. On Tuesday, the New York Philharmonic announced that Gustavo […]

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After Barenboim

Every era has to end. Except, so it seemed, the Daniel Barenboim Era at the Berlin Staatsoper. His legacy for the musical life of Berlin is so monumental precisely because it extends far past the city’s musical life. Instead of merely administering his legacy, the Staatsoper needs a fresh start.  When Daniel Barenboim signed his […]

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Requiem for a Tweet

Twitter was never a very musical social medium. Unlike YouTube, you couldn’t listen to ten hours of “Für Elise” on repeat; unlike TikTok, teenagers didn’t go viral for singing sea shanties. You can’t really share your own music like on SoundCloud or Bandcamp, and probably no one will care about your rare vinyl of Gérard […]