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Sunken Costs

In 2015, the Italian pianist Marco Sanna and his duo partner saw on Facebook that an artist management company called Xenia Evangelista Communications was signing new performers. They sent the company an application, including a cover letter and a CD, in the mail. Soon after, Evangelista, who is based in Munich, emailed the duo expressing […]

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The Elephant In The Opera

On Monday, the Staatsoper Berlin announced its 2019-20 program. Aside from a few potential highlights—René Jacobs leading Scarlatti and a new ballet by Georg Friedrich Haas—the programming reads like a parody of a conservative orchestra season, featuring yet another Beethoven cycle, Brahms cycle, and “Ring.” The soloists are of high quality, but belong firmly to […]

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“Oh Yeah, He Does That”

As Laura* was beginning a career in artist management at a major London agency, she had to balance the new, 24-hour commitment with a personal issue: being stalked online by the friend of a friend. When she eventually went to the police, they told her to remove photos from social media and keep a “quiet” […]

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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 […]

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I’m Not Doing Anything

It wasn’t Helga Davis’ idea to have a podcast named after herself. Nor was ending up on the radio in the first place. At WQXR, the most listened-to classical station in the United States, Davis is among a cohort of contributors—including violist Nadia Sirota, composer Nico Muhly, and conductor Michael Tilson Thomas—who conjure art both […]

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A Perfect Surface

I hope I play the piece better than last time. Oh, there’s the music critic. His most recent review of me said I was overrated and oversold. Also, this is going to be on live radio. If I make a mistake, about 3 billion people will hear it. It wouldn’t be the first time. In […]

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Buried

From 1991 to 1994, Carlos Sandoval, a man with thick grey hair, brown eyes, and wide shoulders, was an assistant to the American-Mexican maverick composer Conlon Nancarrow. It was a defining, if chaotic, time for Sandoval. “[Nancarrow] was always drinking, composing, reading, just throwing away books, newspapers, scores, whatever,” he said. Nancarrow’s tendency to discard […]

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The Broken Musician

The Taboo of Injury and Disability in Music “It was impossible for me to tell people, ‘Speak louder, shout, because I am deaf.’  Oh, how could I possibly admit a weakness in the one sense which should be more perfect in me than in others.” Beethoven, Heiligenstadt Testament, 1802 Musicians expire. For some lucky members […]

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Coordinates of Value

As part of our partnership with ricordilab, we spoke with the composer Liza Lim about her duties with this competition and the benefits and limitations of composition competitions in general. VAN: Composers often complain that hyper-complex-looking scores have an advantage in competitions. How much does the way the score looks impact your decisions? Liza Lim: […]