Posted inInterview

Advanced Easy Listening

Christof Dienz is a composer, zither player, and bassoonist, born in Innsbruck in 1968. This year he was joint artistic director—along with composer Clara Iannotta—of the Klangspuren (“Sound Traces”) festival in Austria. Based in the small Tyrolean town of Schwaz in the Austrian Alps, Klangspuren features 18 concerts given over 18 days in venues around […]

Posted inBreaking

Unveiling

On September 13, a 22-year-old Iranian-Kurdish woman named Mahsa Amini was detained by the Islamic Republic of Iran’s “morality police” in Tehran. Three days later, she died in police custody. Protests erupted around the country, and while their causes are manifold, they have been led by women and take as their primary target what Iranian […]

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A Glutton for Sound

As a Southcentral Alaskan kid in the early ’90s, I was unaware of the composer patiently crafting his strict and sensuous body of work 600 miles to the north, close to the Arctic Circle. In 2013, after living, studying and composing for a decade on the Eastern Seaboard, I co-founded a new music project in […]

Posted inPlaylist

An Autumn Equinox Playlist

I’m not here to shit all over Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” but I do believe that the Venn Diagram between people who consider the composer’s “Autumn” to be the epitome of fall-inspired classical music and people whose image of autumn stops at Pumpkin Spice Lattes and rewatches of “Hocus Pocus” is a circle. On the eve […]

Posted inInterview

The Beautiful Moment

Wadada Leo Smith plays the trumpet with a brilliant, forceful sound and has been a major creative figure in jazz for over 50 years. This century, his importance and prominence as a composer have grown. His beautiful and moving large-scale piece, “Ten Freedom Summers,” made him a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Music in […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

The Best is Noise

Raven Chacon, percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani, and bassist Carlos Santistevan: “Inhale/Exhale” (Other Minds) Gidon Kremer, Kremerata Baltica: “ppp” (SKANI) In an ongoing effort to spend as little time as possible with my own thoughts, I often have something on: A new album, a podcast, an audiobook, the same recording of “Chess” that I’ve been playing into […]

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Targeted Melodies

In “What Grieves Frenzy Drown’d,” an album released on SCRIPTS Records in April by 27-year-old New York-based guitarist Alec Goldfarb, melodies rise out of coarse microtonal string textures like strange objects—both ancient and modern, water-smooth rocks and plastic detritus—found on a rough-hewn beach. Occasionally these melodies sound familiar, influenced by Goldfarb’s immersion in Indian classical […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Under the Influence

Colin Jacobsen, Eric Jacobsen, Karen Ouzounian, The Knights: “The Kreutzer Project” (Avie) Vladimir Jurowski, Bayerisches Staatsorchester: “Beethoven: Symphony No. 2, Brett Dean: ‘Testament’” (BSO Recordings) Let’s talk about Beethoven’s second violin concerto. By which I mean his “Kreutzer” Sonata.  Of course, the “Kreutzer” Sonata isn’t a concerto in the strictest sense of the word. But […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Amateur Hour

Lisa Moore: “Frederic Rzewski: No Place to Go but Around” (Cantaloupe) The Crossing, Donald Nally: “Born” (Navona Records) Anthony Cheung: “All Roads” (New Focus Recordings) When did “amateur” become an aspersion? The late 1780s, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. But the etymology of the word is written across its forehead: Its roots are in […]