Posted inInterview

The Bernstein Effect

On an unusually sunny February afternoon, I met Craig Urquhart in his apartment at Berlin’s Nollendorfplatz, the beating heart of the city’s gay life. (Christopher Isherwood once rented a place here.) “I’m going to be very bad and have a gin,” Urquhart said, but then realized he didn’t have any ice. Urquhart was a longtime […]

Posted inInterview

A Long Way

The harpsichordist and ensemble leader William Christie could quite easily be mistaken for a patrician, 1960s-era CIA operative out of Norman Mailer’s novel Harlot’s Ghost. Yesterday morning, he was wearing a fitted black suit, blue shirt, beige pocket square, and polka dot socks, and spoke in aristocratic American English that clearly recalled his days studying […]

Posted inInterview

Something Organic

I interviewed the pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet by phone one recent evening, while he was in Paris. We made small talk, discussing a Caribbean vacation he took where he had to have a piano flown in to practice on. Then we moved on to the recording of complete works, movie music, and being a gay classical […]

Posted inOpinion

Breaking Binaries

Classical music has a gender problem. The numbers are consistent and dismal: as various orchestras have announced their 2017–18 seasons, numerous outlets have tallied how many male and female composers are represented, and so far none seem to be doing better than the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where male composers still take up 88 percent of […]

Posted inEssay

Honey in the Throat

“Life here is a John Cage score, dissonance made eloquent.” Bill Hayes, Insomniac City “This text is a mosaic of remarks,” begins the Florent Ghys composition “An Open Cage.” When I first hear it, I mistake John Cage’s voice for essayist David Rakoff’s. They share a raspy, disaffected tone, a soft sibilance that exudes ironic […]

Posted inInterview

Queer As In Fuck Yeah

“I’m always drawn to defend anything that people shit on aesthetically.” It’s hard to sum up an artist’s work in a single sentence, but for Alex Temple, that’s not a bad place to start. She has a particular interest in “reclaiming socially disapproved-of (‘cheesy’) sounds,” often taking and warping them into something more than a […]

Posted inHistory

Drama Queens and Fever Dreams

By the time we get to Munich, the cold sopping spring has turned to a sultry summer—in like a lion, out like a lamb shank, meat falling right off the bone. Sunbathers in the Englischer Garten lie sanguine and naked in the grass. But instead of joining them in Edenic glory, my boyfriend Nick and […]

Posted inHistory

Siegfried Idyll

Some babies are put in swaddling clothes. Others are born into families where expectations are so great that they begin to resemble similarly physical restrains. Siegfried Wagner, the only son of Richard, was born in 1869. Richard wrote the “Siegfried-Idyll” to mark the occasion, a work with and flashes of mesmerizing genius. As the male […]

Posted inPlaylist

A Barrie Kosky Playlist

Often, music from childhood and youth doesn’t merely bring back memories of those times: it evokes real, physical sensations like adrenaline, sweat, and heartbreak. For this playlist, Barrie Kosky, the Artistic Director of the Komische Oper Berlin, mined his experiences as a gay kid growing up in Australia and the influence of his grandmother. His […]