Posted inEssay

Border Lament

For a second or two it could be a playground: Tiny voices cry. Then they keep crying, panting for air from the crying, their voices wavering from the exhaustion from the crying and the panting. “I don’t want them to stop my father,” a child says. “I don’t want them to deport him.” The response […]

Posted inReport

Death and the Theater

On the evening of November 21, 2015, a scrum of protesters blocked the glass doors of the Teatr Polski in Wrocław, Poland. They were members of the Catholic organization Krucjata Różańcowa za Ojczyznę (Society of the Rosary) and far-right groups such as the All Polish Youth and the National Resurrection of Poland. Piotr Rybak, a […]

Posted inInterview

Silent Valley

Last month, the librettist and Anglican priest Alice Goodman told the New York Times of her text to the opera “The Death of Klinghoffer,” “Anything I might say about the controversy”—she was accused of anti-Semitism in her depictions of Jewish characters—“would pour gasoline on the embers.” She went on, “I doubt I’ll ever write anything […]

Posted inReview


Heinz Holliger sits on the edge of his seat, moving his hands knowingly to the atonal wanderings of Frédérique Cambreling’s harp. His face cycles between anticipation, excitement, and a little thrilled relief. Holliger is watching the world premiere of the full version of his Partita No. 2 for Harp, which is stretching both the limits […]

Posted inEssay

A Cold War

When he was 16, Wolf Biermann emigrated from his hometown of Hamburg to the German Democratic Republic. The year was 1952 and the young man, whose father was a staunch Communist and killed in Auschwitz, was welcomed in the East. Less than 25 years later, Biermann, now a rock star—his apartment, dubbed “the waiting room […]

Posted inPlaylist

A French Election Playlist

The tension among French people in Berlin on May 7, when the final runoff between Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron took place, was palpable. Musicians in particular were worried: Would visas and work permits soon be real bureaucratic problems they had to deal with? We asked artists to tell us what music they were […]

Posted inReport

Too Little, Too Late

On May 3, 2017, a young violist named Armando Cañizales Carrillo was killed in Caracas during clashes between demonstrators and the Bolivarian National Guard. The following day, the Venezuelan conductor and director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel, published a statement on Facebook calling for President Nicolás Maduro and the national government “to rectify […]

Posted inPlaylist

A Brexit Day Playlist

Andrew Manze, Music Director, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover Ralph Vaughan Williams – Symphony No. 5; Ralph Vaughan Williams (Conductor), London Philharmonic Orchestra A pacifist and humanist, Vaughan Williams completed his Fifth Symphony during the darkest days of the World War II. It was premiered in London in 1943 and is an unambiguous expression of hope and […]

Posted inProfile

Exile Aria

“Whenever a country is in turmoil, inevitably, people try to find groups to blame for the problems at hand,” conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya began her explanation of why she left her native Russia 22 years ago. “I remember as a small child going to my chorus rehearsals, and every week as I went passing through the […]

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 […]

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