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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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Critic Bashing

It’s a peculiar and alienating feeling to sit among a crowd of people and feel as defensive as the others feel delighted, as unmoved as they feel enthusiastic. That’s what happened to me on October 22, when Vladimir Jurowski, the conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and new music director of the Berlin Radio Symphony […]

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File Number One

In 2006, a New England Conservatory student named Edward Guo founded the online portal IMSLP, or International Music Score Library, a kind of Wikipedia for musicians. Now the site contains some 350,000 scores and 40,000 recordings from 14,000 composers. The works of composers who have been dead for less than 70 years are not in […]

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Fertile Ground

The grass is always greener on the other side of the Atlantic. Throughout my time in the world of contemporary classical music, this is a message I have heard over and over and over again. Governments in Europe fund their artists much more generously. European audiences are much more invested in their artistic cultures, and […]

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Global Scales

Say a full-sized, London-based symphony orchestra wants to play a concert in Berlin. It needs more or less an entire airplane, an Airbus A320 or a Boeing B737, to do so. “Curbing emissions from aviation is a non-trivial piece of the puzzle in reducing the risks of climate change,” according to Yale Climate Connections, a […]

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Streaming is often regarded as the inevitable future of the music industry. Brian Brandt sees it differently. For the founder of the legendary New York-based label Mode Records, streaming solutions from Spotify and its competitors are the problem. Like many other independent label owners, he is against the insidious devaluation of recorded music, which has […]

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A Black Hole

One evening quite some time ago, in a cramped computer lab, it struck me that maybe my professor had fallen in love with my classmate. Nick Martin was finishing the parts for a piece of his—a nagging job—and the professor was helping him. Recently, I called Martin. “Do you remember [the professor] helping you with […]

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The Main Focus

The classical music educator Andrés Andrade has spent most of his 30-year teaching career thinking about the voices of teenagers. Originally from Tampa, Florida, Andrade currently operates a private voice studio in Manhattan. He has taught at the Queens College’s Aaron Copland School of Music, New York’s LaGuardia Arts High School (better known as the […]