Posted inPlaylist

A Psappha Playlist

“Psappha is now closed.” On November 6, Psappha, a contemporary music ensemble based in Manchester, posted a short notice that signaled the end of over 30 years of commissioning, performing, and championing music from the 20th and 21st centuries. On the perennially shaky UK new music scene, organizations are routinely thinned, trimmed and pruned, but […]

Posted inProfile

A Lovers’ Discourse

Evan Johnson is a composer; he thinks about sound. But Evan Johnson is also the rare composer who thinks just as much about sight. It’s true that, to the ear, his music is often extremely affecting in its tightrope delicacy, but that aural richness is only a happy consequence of an opulent visual field: his […]

Posted inOpinion

Erotic Vocabularies

In his 1997 biography of Franz Schubert, late Austrian musicologist Ernst Hilmar points a microscope at the minutiae of the composer’s travels. If you have ever found yourself desperate to know the route Schubert took on his first journey from Vienna to visit a noble family in Želiezovce in the spring of 1818, Hilmar has […]

Posted inProfile

The Threshold of Change

Juliet Fraser is on sabbatical. “Actually,” she corrects me, “it’s a semi-sabbatical”—she’s still performing, but only sparingly. Mostly, she’s taking some long-overdue time to breathe, and to devote more attention to her other spinning plates. (She keeps several in the air, no matter the season.) When I call her early on a Friday morning, she […]

Posted inInterview

The Manifestation of Forces

I was captivated by Grawemeyer Award winner Lei Liang’s “A Thousand Mountains, A Million Streams” when Gil Rose of the Boston Modern Orchestra  Project performed it at Carnegie Hall. Again in Ojai, California, Lei Liang caught my attention with “Vis-a-Vis,” a lively dialogue between Wu Man on pipa and Steven Schick on a variety of […]

Posted inInterview

Spit On Me

Steven Takasugi’s Piano Concerto will be premiered by Roger Admiral, Ingo Metzmacher, and the SWR Symphonieorchester in collaboration with the SWR Experimentalstudio on October 22. It will be the final work of the 2023 Donaueschingen Music Days, a festival for contemporary music in southwestern Germany. The following texts were extracted from an interview held at […]

Posted inProfile

The Sound of the End of the World

The music of Laura Bowler tends to divide opinion. Go looking for reviews and you’ll find some arguing her work is vital, an urgent intervention into social issues that brings much-needed aesthetic experimentation to contemporary music. For others, her work is frustrating: all-too-angry, unenjoyable and ultimately off-putting. For me, her music is both moving and […]

Posted inEssay

The Wanderer’s Return

As night fell on September 2, 1978, Iannis Xenakis stood, walkie-talkie in hand, by his console on the back row of a temporary seating stand. As he looked across Mount Elias in the northeastern Peloponnese from his vantage point in the foothills, he could survey a peculiar kind of avant-garde circus with hundreds of performers, […]

error: This content is protected