Posted inInterview

Dresden Wall

The standard translation for the acronym of the anti-immigrant, Dresden-based protest group Pegida is Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West. But the movement’s German name uses the word Abendland—roughly, “Occident”—a term that comes closer to evoking its irrational, almost apocalyptic, clash-of-civilizations mentality. The cellist Jan Vogler grew up in East Berlin and lives […]

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Upside Down

In a February 2016 Guardian article, the violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja wrote of staid programming in classical music, “Wouldn’t some madness be preferable to this normality?” Her latest project, with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, is called “Bye Bye Beethoven.” This is not a coincidence. VAN: If you could, would you take a year or two off […]

Posted inEssay

Chalk Spaceships

1. After graduating from Juilliard in 1997, I moved to Berlin on a lark, escaping from the untenable pressure of finding work in a city that needed no more musicians. In 2001, two years into my studies with the great Boris Pergamenschikow, I found myself in my first orchestral job as principal cellist of the […]

Posted inPlaylist

A JACK Quartet Playlist

This playlist, by JACK Quartet cellist Kevin McFarland, emphasizes darkness—a fitting counterpoint to the group’s recent and upcoming concerts (on March 4 at San Francisco Performances) of Georg Friedrich Haas’ String Quartet No. 3, “In iij Noct.” Here is McFarland’s introduction to the compilation. “In putting together this playlist, I struggled with the seemingly infinite […]

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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Immersion

VAN: Two weeks ago, I heard you play Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 2 at the Berlin Philharmonic with the Staatskapelle Berlin and David Afkham, substituting for Patricia Kopatchinskaja. At practically the same time, you were touring with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Three days after the tour ended, you played Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in Frankfurt, then […]

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