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Turning Over

Like elevators, page turners are only remarkable when things go awry. And go awry they do. Pianist Charles Owen recalled a 1998 recital in Scotland. The page turner, “a little old lady,” had forgotten her reading glasses. She exhorted Owen to “do a very big nod” to signal the turn backwards for the repeat of […]

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Music’s Perpetually Open Secret

By · Title Image Larry D. Moore (CC BY-SA 4.0) Brandon Scott Rumsey was accepted into the prestigious Masters’ program in composition at the University of Texas at Austin Butler School of Music in 2012. For a first-generation college student who took his first music courses at community college, it was a thrill. “It felt […]

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Conductivity

Around 11:20 on the morning of Saturday March 17, 2018, Laura Eisen, the orchestral manager of the Staatskapelle Berlin, visited Daniel Barenboim in his dressing room, which looks out onto the imposing Bebelplatz. She planned to discuss a personnel change, in the flutes, for an upcoming rehearsal of Verdi’s opera “Falstaff.” According to a statement […]

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Electric Guerillas

The Loss and Rediscovery of Croatian Electroacoustic Music By · Title Image vxla (CC BY 2.0) · Date 6/18/2019 The history of Croatian electroacoustic music dates back to the middle of the 1950s. Almost like a foreshadowing of its future struggles, the first Croatian electroacoustic piece, Ivo Malec’s “Mavena” (1956-57), was actually created at the […]

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Sunken Costs

In 2015, the Italian pianist Marco Sanna and his duo partner saw on Facebook that an artist management company called Xenia Evangelista Communications was signing new performers. They sent the company an application, including a cover letter and a CD, in the mail. Soon after, Evangelista, who is based in Munich, emailed the duo expressing […]

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The Elephant In The Opera

On Monday, the Staatsoper Berlin announced its 2019-20 program. Aside from a few potential highlights—René Jacobs leading Scarlatti and a new ballet by Georg Friedrich Haas—the programming reads like a parody of a conservative orchestra season, featuring yet another Beethoven cycle, Brahms cycle, and “Ring.” The soloists are of high quality, but belong firmly to […]

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The Titan’s Shadow

Title Image (EDITED: 8.2.19, 15:15 H) UN GENEVA / UN PHOTO / JEAN-MARC FERRÉ (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) This time Daniel Barenboim was furious because a musician tried to give him flowers. It was July 2018, after a guest performance with his orchestra, the Staatskapelle Berlin, in Buenos Aires. Traditionally, a member of the orchestra presents […]

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Sonic Eviction

Protesting the Weaponization of Atonal Music By · Title Image LIENHARD SCHULZ (CC BY-SA 3.0) · Date 8/30/2018 On August 17, Germany’s state-owned railway company Deutsche Bahn announced the launch of a new initiative that aimed to sonically evict “homeless people and drug users” at its Hermannstraße station, a story that caught the attention of […]

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Rules of Engagement

In Wieland Hoban’s composition “Hora’ot Pticha Be’esh (Rules of Engagement I),” from 2013-14, we hear distorted microtones, low glissandi, plucking, instrumental squealing. This music accompanies testimony by a Sergeant First Class in the Armored Corps of the Israeli Defense Forces during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, in the winter of 2008-9. The soldier speaks in […]