Free Favorites from the Archives: Part I

Title Image COLE PATRICK (CC) · Date 08/25/2016

As Labor Day weekend approaches, and with it the end of summer, it’s as good a time as any to catch up on some reading. Looking back at almost nine months since the launch of VAN Magazine, we’d like to share some of our favorite pieces in this issue. Enjoy these five articles on us, sans paywall, and look for five more next week.

I Am Singing About Myself

Alison Kinney responds to her own article in The Independent in this piece: a feature exploring the complicated history of the role of Otello, from Verdi’s opera, and the Black tenors who have made the role their own.

Upside Down

What would classical music be like if modern music was the norm in programming, and “canonical” works were rare? An interview with the violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja by Tobias Ruderer.

On Quitting

Why do people really stop playing music? Paul Adler investigates practical concerns and perfectionism among his friends and colleagues—and takes a stab at explaining how to keep going.


Music is a sensory experience that opens us up to memories. From a trip to the Ojai Festival, and a visit to Jordan Hall, Zoë Madonna wrote intimate dispatches of drones and nature, the sounds of Manhattan, illness and breath.

Patriarchal Structures

Has the situation of women composers in classical music improved as much as we would hope? Olga Neuwirth doesn’t think so. An honest conversation with Stefan Drees.