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Sounds From Nowhere

On September 15, 2001, the flutist Klaus Holsten was in the German village of Klein Jasedow, a short drive from the coast of the Baltic Sea, when a truck accidentally unloaded the herbicide Brasan onto 5,000 lemon balm plants. The organic herbs were growing in a garden belonging to Holsten; his wife Beata Seemann, a […]

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The Rehearsing Musician

There is an army behind every production of, say, “La Traviata”: armorers and fight directors for the action; lighting technicians giving Violetta’s last breaths a ghostly frisson; wig-makers and costumiers who make the Paris demimonde glitter. An even less visible figure, whose contribution and responsibility is huge, though you will seldom see them at the […]

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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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Friction

Recognition is a basic neural pleasure. The first five notes of “Parsifal” are thrilling if we expect the sixth, an agonized A-flat. Something similar is at work with names like Bejun Mehta, Ken-David Masur, Kristjan Järvi, Michael Barenboim. On albums and concert posters, the names sound like transcendent concerts. They radiate prestige, competence, familiarity, proximity […]

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Electric Guerillas

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 Groupe de Recherche de Musique Concrète in Paris. The creative and social French soil was nurturing of experimental ideas, […]

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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 […]