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A Women Film Composers Playlist

“If I may be so honored,” said Frances McDormand in her acceptance speech for Best Actress at last Sunday’s Oscars ceremony, “to have all the female nominees in every category stand with me tonight,” and they did—actors, directors, writers. But how many standing were composers? Although there were three women nominated for the original song […]

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A Mike Svoboda Playlist

Brass in Bach and Boulez Title Image © JENS KLETT · Date 1/25/2018 I listen to a lot of music, but mostly live—either while playing myself, coaching chamber music, or in my head while composing. Putting together this playlist was a chance to remember some musical moments of my youth, the “formative years,” that left […]

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A One-Hit Wonder Playlist

There’s something tragic about the one-hit wonder. Take Vanilla Ice: despite the ubiquity of his 1990 hit song “Ice, Ice Baby,” he had to start hosting a reality home improvement TV show called “The Vanilla Ice Project” on the DIY network in 2010, and his Wikipedia biography refers to him as a “handyman” first and […]

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A Francisco Guerrero Marín Playlist

The Spanish composer Francisco Guerrero Marín had a rare talent: he was a master of beginnings. More often than not, his pieces start with textures of blinding, gripping intensity. From there, they explore musical landscapes similar to those of Giacinto Scelsi at his most rugged and alpine. One Spanish critic described Guerrero Marín’s music as […]

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A Gérard Grisey Playlist

On August 16, the Salzburg Festival ended its focus on the French composer Gérard Grisey with a complete performance of his cycle “Les espaces acoustiques” by the Austrian ORF Symphony Orchestra and Maxime Pascal conducting. It was an hour and a half during which the music’s timbral and structural richness occupied the brain’s entire perceptive […]

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A Giacinto Scelsi Playlist

The only proper word for the music of the self-taught Italian composer Giacinto Scelsi is “sublime.” Not in the common sense of the word, which comes to something like “very good”—but in the sense that Moses Mendelssohn understood it, that is, something that is frightening and overwhelming and pleasing and painful and immense and transcendent […]

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Ideal Expressions

I met Jakub Hrůša on a warm April weekend in Bamberg, Germany. In the fall of 2016, he was named the fifth music director of the Bamberger Symphoniker, an orchestra deeply rooted in the Czech tradition. For this interview, I asked him to select some of his favorite pieces from that tradition, and then discussed […]

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A Daniel Grossmann Klezmer Playlist

Discovering a Genre’s Roots Title Image WIKIPEDIA (PUBLIC DOMAIN) · Date 05/18/2017 Daniel Grossmann is the conductor and music director of the Jakobsplatz Orchestra in Munich, which focuses on Jewish music. In this playlist, he tells us the brief story of his relationship with the frequently underestimated—particularly in his home country—genre of klezmer. I hate […]

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A French Election Playlist

Music of Confidence, Satire, and Universality Title Image Mortimer62 (CC BY-SA 2.0) · Date 05/11/2017 The tension among French people in Berlin on May 7, when the final runoff between Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron took place, was palpable. Musicians in particular were worried: Would visas and work permits soon be real bureaucratic problems […]

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Know The Land

Sung Jin Hong is the artistic director and conductor of the New York ensemble One World Symphony. In this playlist, he explores identity and idealism in music. Here is his introduction to the selection.   “What is it about Mignon that has captivated composers for over two centuries? More than 70 different composers have given voice […]