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Ambient Indifference

I live in London, but generally, I try to avoid using the tube, favoring buses, cycling, or walking where possible. In comparison to the subterranean transport systems of continental Europe, I find it expensive, loud, and surprisingly inefficient. This is perhaps the fault of its age, for London’s underground system is the oldest in the […]

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White Noise

Title Image Arnold Chao (CC BY-NC 2.0) Nobody should have to write again that classical music has a race problem. We find ourselves here time and again, overseers of an all-too slow change, making the repeated case for equality. But my recent discovery of white-supremacist and neo-Nazi forum Stormfront’s penchant for classical music got me […]

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Critic Bashing

Defending the Music Media By · Date 11/02/2017 It’s a peculiar and alienating feeling to sit among a crowd of people and feel as defensive as the others feel delighted, as unmoved as they feel enthusiastic. That’s what happened to me on October 22, when Vladimir Jurowski, the conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and […]

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Rage and Cringe

On Against Modern Opera Productions By · Title Image © Salzburger Festspiele / Monika Rittershaus · Date 08/10/2017 In our time, a unique jargon has developed for talking about internet memes. This jargon correlates with certain pop cultural tendencies; it expresses emotions people have felt before, but have never been able to convey as concisely […]

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Global Scales

The Environmental Cost of Touring By and · Images New York Public Library / Public Domain · Date 08/10/2017 Say a full-sized, London-based symphony orchestra wants to play a concert in Berlin. It needs more or less an entire airplane, an Airbus A320 or a Boeing B737, to do so. “Curbing emissions from aviation is […]

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A Black Hole

On Love and Ambition at Conservatory By · Title Image Kit Ng (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) · Date 07/20/2017 One evening quite some time ago, in a cramped computer lab, it struck me that maybe my professor had fallen in love with my classmate. Nick Martin was finishing the parts for a piece of his—a nagging […]

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Deutsche Mega-phon

Photography © NILS DITTBRENNER There aren’t many brands like Ferrari or Lamborghini in classical music. For a long time, Deutsche Grammophon was one of the only ones. It was obvious why: the label stood for tradition, good taste, objects of value, cutting edge technology. When you bought something from Deutsche Grammophon, you knew you were […]

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Too Little, Too Late

On May 3, 2017, a young violist named Armando Cañizales Carrillo was killed in Caracas during clashes between demonstrators and the Bolivarian National Guard. The following day, the Venezuelan conductor and director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel, published a statement on Facebook calling for President Nicolás Maduro and the national government “to rectify […]

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The Age-Old Problem of Aging

Physicality and The Soloist’s Career By · TITLE IMAGE Jeremy Brooks (CC BY-NC 2.0) · Date 02/16/2016 There’s a strange clip after a beautiful performance in “I Am The Violin,” the 2004 documentary about violin virtuoso Ida Haendel. On a simple string crossing in the first movement of the Brahms Concerto, Haendel’s bow bounces uncontrollably. […]

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Temperature and Energy

The Future of the Archivio Luigi Nono Text and Photography · Date 12/8/2016 The Fondamenta Sant’Eufemia, on the Venetian island of Giudecca, is a street that parallels the water. Its presence, rising out of the waves, feels almost arbitrary. Between storefronts numbered 610A and a chipping 655 is a lane where houses in red and […]