Posted inReport

Tainted History

In the spring of 2001, Suzanne Farrin auditioned for the Juilliard School’s prestigious composition program. The night after her audition, she says that Christopher Rouse, a faculty member at the time, tried to kiss her. “I sort of twirled out of his arms and ran away,” Farrin said.  Farrin wanted to join Rouse’s doctoral studio […]

Posted inReview

Solving the “Turandot” Riddle

For nearly a century, conductors, directors and composers have been trying to finalize and fulfill the promise of “Turandot,” Puccini’s ultimate, unfinished opera. A who’s-who of 20th-century artists have tried and mostly failed. Until this past Friday night, December 2, in Amsterdam. At Dutch National Opera, director Barrie Kosky premiered a new production which makes […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Winter Journeys

In the third episode of “Dekalog,” Krzysztof Kieślowski’s ten-part series of interconnected short films (each based on one of the Ten Commandments), cab driver Janusz’s Christmas Eve is interrupted by Ewa, his former extramarital lover. Janusz abandons his family dinner to assist Ewa with what he believes is tracking down her missing husband. What Ewa […]

Posted inInterview

Transience

The composer Rebecca Saunders was not where I imagined her to be. Plans for a meeting in person were moved online, owing to her retreat to the countryside to complete a deadline. So it was a surprise when Saunders appeared, not in some remote rural studio, but in her Berlin flat. “I think a lot […]

Posted inInterview

The Threshold of Time

In the big pond full of big fish that is the New York contemporary classical music scene, the Argento New Music Project, led by composer and conductor Michel Galante, is an unusual and irreplaceable specimen. As artistic director of the ensemble, Galante combines two qualities that rarely go together: An ear for logical and creative […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Leagues of Nations

Among the cameos in Singing Like Germans: Black Musicians in the Land of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, Kira Thurman’s jam-packed history of Black performers in German-speaking Europe, is Claudio Brindis de Salas Garrido. Thurman describes the virtuoso violinist as “a mirror reflecting German conversations about Black masculine musicality in the Kaiserreich,” or the German Empire. […]

Posted inBreaking

Requiem for a Tweet

Twitter was never a very musical social medium. Unlike YouTube, you couldn’t listen to ten hours of “Für Elise” on repeat; unlike TikTok, teenagers didn’t go viral for singing sea shanties. You can’t really share your own music like on SoundCloud or Bandcamp, and probably no one will care about your rare vinyl of Gérard […]

Posted inEssay

Resonant Messages

I have been playing the piano since the age of three, but for most of my time at the instrument I was oblivious to the long history of African-descended classical musicians. Today, as a music historian and performer, I am drawn to narratives from and around the African continent and diaspora: to make sense of […]

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