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Challenging Dispositions

A Profile of Patricia Alessandrini By · Title Image Via BabelSCORES · Date 6/28/2018 Almost directly beneath the composer Patricia Alessandrini’s feet, in a basement performance space, lurks a sheet of steel. We are sitting in the garden of a café next to Goldsmiths College, London, where she lectures in sonic arts, and after our […]

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Out of the Piano’s Shadow

An Interview with Keith and Robert Hill By · Photography Detail views of harpsichords by Keith Hill · Date 5/31/2018 “I like leather,” the famous harpsichordist Zuzana Růžičková once said. Amid the harpsichord’s renaissance in the 20th century, a debate arose as to the materials that should be used for the plucking mechanism (plectra): leather […]

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Studio Metaphors

A Profile of Morton Subotnick By · Title Image Morton Subotnick and Nyoman Wenton in rehearsal for the world premiere of “Intimate Immensity,” in 1996 · Date 5/24/2018 “I don’t even know what it means,” Morton Subotnick admitted, when I asked if his music could be called psychedelic. We were sitting in his hotel lobby […]

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Excavated Timbres

By the time he started pursuing a formal education in the avant-garde, John McCowen had already traversed to both ends of the spectrum of rock popularity. During the 2000s, he was singing and screaming in hardcore bands at house shows around his native Carbondale, Illinois. Then, in 2009, he was playing flute and sax in […]

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Incense

The Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, just a few days until New Year. A period of “Nutcrackers” and overpriced tickets, seeing and being seen. Of course, one can continue to be satisfied with this fossilized mainstream, but the Muscovites have long since developed a taste for new trends, especially when served to them in […]

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The Mischief I Made

On Helmut Lachenmann’s “Marche fatale” By · Collage Alex Ketzer · Date 1/18/2018 When a friend sent me a YouTube video of Helmut Lachenmann’s newest piece, “Marche fatale” for orchestra, I texted him back asking, “Holy shit, is this a joke?” The eminent German, who writes noisy works of intimidating craft and intelligence, who has […]

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Sensual Narratives

The music of Jay Schwartz is hedonistic. You listen to it, and when you’re finished you can’t wait to listen to it again. His SoundCloud page becomes an almost physical addiction. It envelopes you in shimmering glissandi of infinite complexity, teases you with the briefest glimpses of tonal intervals, and rewards you with the endorphin […]

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Windows

A Profile of Anner Bijlsma By · Translated from the German by · Title Image (Excerpt) PIANO PIANO! (CC BY 2.0)· Date 1/4/2018 It starts with the name. He gets irritated when you ask about it. Americans can’t pronounce the “ij” in “Bijlsma,” but the U.S. market is important, so marketing had the last word. […]

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Juste

An Interview with Jean Rondeau By · Photography © Katie Baillot · Date 11/30/2017 While this might not be the moment that all of us have been waiting for, it’s certainly titillating to catalogue another casualty report in the Harpsichord Wars. In March, Mahan Esfahani hurled a set of observations (some say accusations) against the […]

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Music Of An Earlier Time

Wait, is it the Monteverdi year? Help. I can’t get on social media without seeing Instagram theorbos, videos of madrigals by fellow early music noobs, or another of review of “Orfeo” pretending it’s a new work. In particular, Sir John Eliot Gardiner (known by some as Jiggy) has made a splash this year by taking […]