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Friction

Recognition is a basic neural pleasure. The first five notes of “Parsifal” are thrilling if we expect the sixth, an agonized A-flat. Something similar is at work with names like Bejun Mehta, Ken-David Masur, Kristjan Järvi, Michael Barenboim. On albums and concert posters, the names sound like transcendent concerts. They radiate prestige, competence, familiarity, proximity […]

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Sophie’s Choice

On May 14, I sat in on an hour’s worth of auditions for the early rounds of the 2019 Neue Stimmen (New Voices) opera competition. Visibly nervous singers entered a cavernous rehearsal space, weary pianist in tow. Some 70 feet away, the jury sat at a table barely visible beneath laptops, water bottles, papers, and […]

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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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Look To The Future

In 2005, Simon Rattle went on a tour of East Asia with the Berlin Philharmonic and predicted that the future of classical music was in China. It remained unclear exactly what kind of future he had in mind. Was he most impressed by the huge market for CDs and merchandise, an unprecedented number of potential […]

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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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Cheap Luxury

There are some events that are embarrassing to be seen at; then there are others where you are embarrassed for the other people who show up. Events such as “BraVo,” the awards ceremony for international pop music and classical art, which took place for the first time in early March in Moscow, and whose name […]

Posted inOpinion

The Maestro Will See You Now

“The situation is rather complicated because Maestro himself is not yet in Wrocław…” read the email. The wheels had just come off an interview we’d already spent 10 Polskibus hours (equivalent to around 100 earth-hours) traveling to. “Maestro,” first name Krzysztof, last name Penderecki, written as if there was and could only ever be one. […]

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Flying Blind

Musicians who feel that their instruments have been mishandled by airlines like to unleash avalanches of outrage on social media, followed by petitions and calls for boycotts. British Airways recently tested tempers when gate agents refused to take three of the Kronos Quartet’s instruments on board. The quartet responded with a pledge to boycott the […]

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