Posted inReport

For Better, For Worse

At the beginning of Ingmar Bergman’s “Scenes from a Marriage,” we meet Marianne and Johan, a couple being interviewed for a magazine story about successful relationships. In the next scene, Marianne asks Johan, “Do you believe two people can spend a lifetime together?” “It’s a ridiculous convention passed down from God knows where,” he answers.“A […]

Posted inStuff I’ve Been Hearing

Natural Instincts

Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Thomas Dausgaard: “Mendelssohn Symphonies 1 & 3” (BIS) The Philadelphia Orchestra, Yannick Nézet-Séguin: “Florence Price: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3” (Deutsche Grammophon) Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal, Yannick Nézet-Séguin: “Sibelius 3” (ATMA Classique) Yu Kosuge: “Four Elements: Water, Fire, Wind, and Earth” (Orchid Classics) Sarah Kirkland Snider, Gallicantus: “Mass for the Endangered” (New […]

Posted inInterview

Fighting Windmills

The doors of the Berlin Philharmonic closed to the public on March 11, 2020. They won’t open again this season, making the coronavirus closure the Berlin Philharmonic’s longest break in its 138-year history. Instead of the musicians, it’s the construction workers who now have the run of the house, with improvements taking place on the […]

Posted inReport

temporarily unavailable

Leigh Mesh is associate principal bass at the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. His wife Nancy Wu is associate concertmaster. They’ve been playing in the orchestra for a combined 58 years, and have both been making do without their regular incomes since March 31. On June 1, in the New York Times, the Met announced its earliest […]

Posted inEssay

A Blizzard

On a Friday afternoon in February, I got snowed out of a Boston Symphony Orchestra concert. There was a blizzard in the area and a tree fell on the train tracks, blocking the Green Line. The next day, I made it to the performance, of works by Shostakovich, Hans Abrahamsen (“let me tell you,” with […]

Posted inInterview

Faces of Change

Chineke! is Europe’s first black and minority ethnic orchestra. Founded by Chi-chi Nwanoku, its artistic director and the principal double bassist of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the ensemble is made up of independently active musicians who come together especially for projects. The name derives from a word in the southeastern Nigerian language […]

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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 […]