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Fleeting Visions

Classical music has a problem with embodiment. Whether it’s sexist critics focusing more on a female artist’s outfit than her technique or scolds who expect an audience to sit in stillness and silence until after the final note has sounded, many people seem to view actual human bodies as an obstacle to the deepest experience […]

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The Fault in our Chords

Born in 1985, the Swedish composer Lisa Streich writes music of engrossing timbral and dramaturgical subtlety, often using traditional instruments prepared or modified by small, homemade, motorized devices. Listening to her pieces, I sometimes feel like I’ve been shrunk down to molecular size and placed inside a music box where noisy mechanics blend with pitched […]

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Gated Debussy

The Paris Métro’s Line One to Étoile is pretty crowded this afternoon. There are slightly fewer smartphones than there were a couple of years ago; a few passengers are even reading books. Line Two is next, almost empty, and just two stops to Porte Dauphine, where the train disappears into the tunnel as I emerge […]

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After the Silence

The 29-year-old German oboist Juri Vallentin constructed his Berlin Prize for Young Artists program around a climactic scene from Patrick Süskind’s novel Perfume, adding theatrical elements taken from our common experience of loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program, titled “Inner Voices,” made Vallentin one of two winners of the competition, alongside cellist Valerie Fritz.  […]

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Emotional Anatomies

In his forthcoming book, The Impossible Art, composer Matthew Aucoin likens his early immersion in opera not to the pageantry of going to a live performance, but rather to the solitude of reading a book. “Operas, like the young-adult fiction I was reading at the time, felt to me like interior adventures rather than extravagant […]

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The Intelligence of Bodies

When VAN asked me to do a review of an artificial-intelligence-created realization of Beethoven’s Tenth Symphony called “Beethoven X: The AI Project,” which is based on the skimpy sketches he left when he died, I more or less groaned in my reply. “Not for me,” I said. “I know pretty much what I’ll think about […]

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Endorphin Rush

Looking back at Tamara Stefanovich’s September schedule, you see a multifaceted artist at work: She played Stravinsky twice with an all-star lineup at Musikfest Berlin, gave a duo recital with Pierre-Laurent Aimard in Amsterdam, and a solo recital in Regensburg, Germany, with a program of seldom-heard works by Scriabin, Roslavets, and Szymanowski. She also played […]