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Composites

Saturday night in one of Europe’s big cities, and concertgoers pour out of underground stations and cabs, tickets and programs in hand, dressed to the nines—a star-spangled cavalcade of cultural exchange and high-brow entertainment. Some will trace what they hear with prepared anticipation, some might not know what will be played at all, but all […]

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Fertile Ground

The grass is always greener on the other side of the Atlantic. Throughout my time in the world of contemporary classical music, this is a message I have heard over and over and over again. Governments in Europe fund their artists much more generously. European audiences are much more invested in their artistic cultures, and […]

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Ritual Time

When people bring up the rituals of the classical concert hall, it usually isn’t to celebrate them. Countless blog posts, newspaper columns, and tweets have criticized the unspoken formalized rules of such performances—especially rules about when it is appropriate to clap—for being barriers to new listeners not already steeped in the culture. Whatever the merit […]

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Alchemy

The audience had to creep carefully around the performance space, as a constellation of strings were stretched at hip-height from one wall to another. Ellen Fullman had spent the day here, setting up her traveling installation, the Long String Instrument; she had stretched dozens of stainless steel and phosphor bronze strings across the room in […]

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Anonymous Man

A New Choral Work by Michael Gordon By · Title Image Michael Gordon on Desbrosses Street, 1981 · Date 06/15/2017 Shortly after 10 a.m. on the morning of Monday April 24, 1865, a ferry set out across the Hudson River from a landing in Jersey City. Bedecked with symbols of patriotism and mourning, it held […]

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The Magnet

Translation and Additional Reporting Jeffrey Arlo Brown· Photography Alisa Calipso One January morning in 2013, an orchestra was recording at 2:30 a.m. They had been working at Petropavlovskaya ulitsa 25A, the P. I. Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre in Perm, Russia, since midnight. The piece was “Per pietà, ben mi, perdona,” Fiordiligi’s aria with horn […]

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Internal States

The bar exuded a greenish, fluorescent light. Joshua Fineberg stood outside smoking a cigarette. Recently, two people had told me that Fineberg, one of the most important living Spectralist composers alongside Tristan Murail, and a tenured professor at Boston University, had moved to Berlin and begun frequenting the city’s famous clubs. They suggested to me […]

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Sails

A Profile of Michael Maierhof By · Title Image SCREENSHOT TAKEN FROM Michael Maierhof: EXIT F – Nadar Ensemble (documentary and concert) · Date 04/06/2017 In Mexico City, 7-Eleven carries bottled water in the shape of a dumbbell. One day on vacation, I bought one, drank the contents, took a picture, and sent it to […]

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Matchups

A Profile of Chung Yiu-kwong By · Date 03/30/2017 The melody from the hymn Dies Irae breaks the creamy quiet of a restaurant in upmarket Taipei, and the patrons raise their eyes from their waffles and cake and Vienna coffee. The disrupter of the mid-Thursday morning hush is Chung Yiu-kwong, Taiwan’s most noted classical composer, […]

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Exile Aria

On the Refugee Orchestra Project By · Title Image © Scott Bump · Date 02/02/2016 “Whenever a country is in turmoil, inevitably, people try to find groups to blame for the problems at hand,” conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya began her explanation of why she left her native Russia 22 years ago. “I remember as a small […]