Posted inInterview

“It’s Only Music, After All”

My first proper encounter with Philip Thomas’s playing came through his box set of Morton Feldman’s piano music, released on the label Another Timbre in 2019. The performances are intimate to the point of sensuality, every gesture like a phantom hand hovering above the tiny hairs on your arm, in that fragile space between presence […]

Posted inEssay

A Chained Man’s Bruise

“You get this idea of someone knowing that something is not right,” experimental vocalist Elaine Mitchener says of Peter Maxwell Davies’s “Eight Songs for a Mad King.” “It’s askew. You know the headache you have when you have a migraine—you can’t actually see something in front of the eye? That’s how I feel with this: […]

Posted inInterview

“Stop Touring, Take Mushrooms”

Pekka Kuusisto and I have turned up to the interview looking vaguely similar. Two pairs of glasses, lots of short, dark-blond hair, and two not dissimilar jumpers meet on the screen: mine, a sludge-green skiing fleece borrowed from my dad; his, a bottle-green Icelandic-knit sweater made by his mother-in-law during lockdown. Kuusisto is an intense […]

Posted inInterview

Pain and Transfiguration

Often the most interesting nuggets of interviews arrive when questioning dissolves into chatting. “Sorry, that previous answer was a bit wishy-washy,” Robin Ticciati says on reflection: Following the tenor David Butt Philip’s recent Times of London interview, where he advised young UK singers to head abroad for the betterment of their careers post-Brexit, I’d asked […]

Posted inInterview

A Point in the Soul

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Brian Greis, a retired obstetrician-gynecologist who lives with his husband in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, attended some 200 classical concerts a year and spent up to eight out of 12 months on the road traveling to attend performances. Greis never harbored serious ambitions of being a classical musician, but since his childhood […]

Posted inEssay

Living in the Elsewhere

Some years ago, I found myself stranded in a guesthouse in the Scottish Highlands after an unexpected storm put an end to my hiking plans. As I buttoned up my coat by the door, the lady who ran the establishment asked me where I was headed. I’d intended to find a fireside drink to salvage […]

Posted inReport

The Pitch of Living

“I’ve been interested in the 432 Hz conspiracy theories for a while,” began an email from my editor at VAN. “Would you like to spend some time using the 432 Player, a website that adjusts all your music to 432 Hz?” I consider myself a very online person, and yet, through a mixture of willful […]

Posted inInterview

The Time Remaining

On March 25, pianist Lars Vogt wrote on Twitter: “Today: fight against cancer, round 2 (chemo). Keep your fingers crossed for me…” A month and a half later, he’s made it to the cusp of round five. “Another six months like this, until October, 12 rounds in total, as long as my body holds up. […]

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