Posted inReport

The Maestro’s ATM

On April 12, the website of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny released an investigation into the hidden international wealth of conductor and Putin confidant Valery Gergiev. The report is the latest in a series authored by Navalny’s team which, as the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project notes, do not constitute neutral journalism—a video […]

Posted inReport

Fooling Mother Nature

It’s at around the 15-minute mark that I’m pretty sure I’ve pissed off Renée Fleming. Speaking with America’s most famous living soprano just before last October’s release of her latest recording, “Voice of Nature: The Anthropocene,” I’ve gone into our conversation anxious to discuss one of the album’s central themes: the climate crisis.  Programming for […]

Posted inReport

“I Can’t Wait to Play Again”

The Youth Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine (YsOU) was founded in 2016 with support from German musical institutions and under the artistic direction of the conductor Oksana Lyniv. The orchestra is open to musicians ages 12 to 22, and is free for participants. The ensemble has toured in Germany, Austria, Croatia, and other countries, and planned […]

Posted inReport

Russian Voices

Throughout a 22-year reign as president, Vladimir Putin has paired military aggression and human rights violations with a culture of fear and silence. Mass protests against his leadership have been violently quashed. Public figures who openly oppose his leadership have faced dire consequences. When Putin made a public address shortly before 6am local time on […]

Posted inReport

The Pitch of Living

“I’ve been interested in the 432 Hz conspiracy theories for a while,” began an email from my editor at VAN. “Would you like to spend some time using the 432 Player, a website that adjusts all your music to 432 Hz?” I consider myself a very online person, and yet, through a mixture of willful […]

Posted inReport

For Better, For Worse

At the beginning of Ingmar Bergman’s “Scenes from a Marriage,” we meet Marianne and Johan, a couple being interviewed for a magazine story about successful relationships. In the next scene, Marianne asks Johan, “Do you believe two people can spend a lifetime together?” “It’s a ridiculous convention passed down from God knows where,” he answers.“A […]

Posted inReport

Wieck Spot

For all her infamous name recognition, performances of Clara Wieck Schumann’s works are still puzzlingly rare. For decades I never questioned this; I bought the industry-wide indoctrination of “low quality.” But when I began to objectively look and listen, I realized Wieck’s compositions were filled with innovative tonal relationships, thematically unified structures, advanced motivic developments, […]

Posted inReport

“The Perfect Voice in the Wrong Body”

“A chubby bundle of puppy fat.” “Unsightly and unattractive.” “Repulsive figure.” These comments count as professional feedback in the world of opera. At first glance, they may appear to be isolated cases; only seldom does body shaming make headlines in the opera industry. The most prominent exception was the “little black dress” which did not […]

Posted inReport

Formed Under Pressure

In classical music, racism toward musicians of Asian heritage is as casual as it is pervasive. When I was in my first year of conservatory, at the Royal Academy of Music in London, a Korean composition student was late to a single lesson; the professor proceeded to do a disgustingly caricatured impression of his accent. […]