Posted inReport

Relaxing in the Pressure Cooker

On YouTube, there’s a video of a 1973 concert with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Bernard Haitink performing Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto with soloist Artur Rubinstein. It’s an extraordinary concert to hear, between the young Haitink, the 86-year-old Rubinstein, and the orchestra’s signature sound (consistently described as “homogeneous and transparent at the same time”). The […]

Posted inPages Turned

Background History

The first thing that stands out in Philip Ewell’s On Music Theory And Making Music More Welcoming For Everyone is how specific the music theory world is. His thesis concerns structural issues as he experiences them: the pursuit of tenure, the peer-review process for the Society of Music Theory, critiques of foreign-language requirements for graduate […]

Posted inProfile

“What Do You Do with It When You Go Home?”

It’s hard to look at Joyce DiDonato as she sits on the stage of Athens’s Megaron Concert Hall, surrounded by 77 children, and not think of Maria von Trapp. “We’ll sit like this, because I want to sing something just for you,” she says during a rehearsal for that evening’s concert, speaking to the children […]

Posted inEssay

A Private Place of Joy

I love that moment when the lights in the concert hall dim. The audience fades away, and all I see is the Steinway in front of me. Above the keys, in the black glow of the fallboard, I see the reflection of my fingers, poised for the dance. Everything is white and black, symmetrical and […]

Posted inOpinion

Insulting and Destructive

Last Saturday, Marco Goecke, the ballet director at the Hannover opera, smeared dogshit in dance critic Wiebke Hüster’s face. A violent incident like this—a highly celebrated choreographer attacking a critic—is unprecedented in dance history. But as shocking as the attack itself is, the reaction to it has been equally dumbfounding.  On Sunday, the Staatsoper Hannover […]

Posted inEssay

Retrospection for a Ragtime King

Joplin’s was a curious story. His compositions became more and more intricate, until they were almost jazz Bach.— Music publisher Edward B. Marks, 1934 In 1991, when I was eight years old, I found a simplified version of Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer” and relished playing it for most of the year that I was in […]

Posted inInterview

God Sing Through Me

For a long time, the world of opera was blindingly white—until soprano Camilla Williams became the first Black singer to perform on a major American opera stage. In 1946, she made her debut at the New York City Opera as Madame Butterfly, opening a door that had been closed to people of color up until […]

Posted inInterview

A Climate of Fusion

Aeham Ahmad, known as the Pianist of Yarmouk, gives concerts throughout Germany and the world and has published a book about his life, also titled The Pianist of Yarmouk. He grew up as a Palestinian refugee in Syria, before fleeing the war there, and came to Germany in 2015.  His concert format often includes passages […]

Posted inBreaking

Music in the Background

Classical music-theory academia is a small field with limited professional opportunities, to say the least. So it might seem surprising that the Journal of Schenkerian Studies, an annual music theory journal dedicated to the work of Austrian-Jewish musicologist Heinrich Schenker based at the University of North Texas, has been searching for a new editor (or […]

Posted inInterview

Closing the Timeline

In 2020, British mathematician Sir Roger Penrose was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his theory that black holes are “inevitable and perfect,” as cosmologist and author Janna Levin summarized his work: “A black hole is like a fundamental particle in its flawlessness. The event horizon hiding any individuality, they become indistinguishable.”  One year […]

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