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Doctor Baton

In pop culture, there are usually two ways of looking at the conductor’s baton. One way is as the focal point of his or her authority and magic: as Bernstein said, the stick as a “an instrument of meaning in its tiniest moment.” The other way is as a symbol of the conductor’s pretension and […]

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Outsourced Scores

The full score of Miroslav Snrka’s opera “South Pole,” which premiered this winter at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, is 1,000 pages long. Each of its two volumes weighs over eight pounds. The parts for 77 unique voices add up to close to 3,000 pages.    Every composer knows how frustrating and time-consuming the preparation […]

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Design Review

The Classical, The Pop, The Amateurish By and · Date 03/31/2016 For our series Design Review, we ask design professionals from outside the classical music industry to look at the visual side of things and give us their honest opinions. These comments resulted from a conversation between Laura Knoops and Hélène Mailloux last week, who […]

Posted inInterview

No Fixed Abode

An Interview with John Anderson By · Photography Tommaso Tuzj · Date 03/31/2016 In this issue’s Design Review, we look at several classical album covers, some of which display famous performers prominently. Odradek Records, a label which opposes the “model centered on just a few big names,” however, chooses its performers anonymously, without considering fame, […]

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Finite Measures

In our last issue, VAN published Elena Cheah’s honest audition diary. The process is critical for professional musicians, but can also leave them discouraged about their career prospects or disconnected from their art form. For this follow-up article, we spoke with Dr. Joanne Loewy, director of the Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine at […]

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Music for a New World

On Streaming and Piracy By · Illustrations Stallio (CC) · Date 03/03/2016 Technology is changing the recorded music business, as it is changing all businesses. 10 years ago, music piracy was seen as the great threat to the future of music. It’s since been largely replaced by music streaming—in the minds of many musicians, not […]

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Performer on Trial

We are prepared for this day. We are equipped with all the most modern camping accessories from a store in Denver. We are in shape from aerobic exercise, at least four times a week for several weeks. We are at the edge of civilization, brought here by a friendly van driver along rain-gouged roads. My […]

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Authoritarian El Sistema

El Sistema, the Venezuelan youth orchestra program spearheaded by Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra, was created in 1975. It was the orchestra’s Proms debut in 2007, however, that cemented El Sistema’s place on the global stage, with Simon Rattle claiming that it was “the most important thing happening in music anywhere in […]