Posted inProfile

I’m Not Doing Anything

It wasn’t Helga Davis’ idea to have a podcast named after herself. Nor was ending up on the radio in the first place. At WQXR, the most listened-to classical station in the United States, Davis is among a cohort of contributors—including violist Nadia Sirota, composer Nico Muhly, and conductor Michael Tilson Thomas—who conjure art both […]

Posted inReview

The Erotic-Elegiac

On a early fall evening, a packed audience at the Kitchen theater in Chelsea’s art district sat quietly as the visual artist and gallerist Emily Sundblad took the stage. Dressed in a red and black Proenza Schouler gown with suggestive cutouts and a dramatic slit, her long strawberry-blond hair cascading over one shoulder, she looked […]

Posted inReview

They That Mourn

We took our shoes off in a foyer with wooden floors. In the center of the room was a communal jug of water, in which leaves were floating. Plain white paper lay nearby, so that we could fold it into cups and drink. I was at a performance of the “Human Requiem,” an immersive interpretation […]

Posted inReview


At 7 p.m. on Saturday, August 6, the line just outside the entrance of the Prospect Park Bandshell in Brooklyn, New York, was already sprawling around the block. It was the kind of large crowd that might be expected for, say, the U.S. folk-rock band The Lumineers, which had played a benefit concert at the […]

Posted inInterview

Singing By Radar

I met Thomas Hampson for an interview before the meeting of a Munich opera club, where he was scheduled to speak. He was only very slightly late, but the well-meaning members of the of the club seemed worried. “Thomas Hampson never shows up alone,” I was told. At one point in our conversation, a painting […]

Posted inInterview

What Isn’t Art

The morning after a concert—with the Freiburger Barockorchester, in Cologne—I meet the German baritone Christian Gerhaher for an interview in a hotel lobby. We keep talking in the car on the way to the airport, and then in the terminal. A concert in the evening means that no energy can be wasted during the day. […]

Posted inEssay

Strange Dissonance

Goethe’s “Erlkönig” is one of the most horrifying poems in all of world literature. At its center is an unspeakable tragedy, the death of a child. Also shocking is the language of the poem: it omits any description of the boy’s suffering. The very objectivity of Goethe’s language is chilling. In Schubert’s setting of “Erlkönig,” […]

Posted inPlaylist

A Barbara Hannigan Playlist

On February 4, 5, and 6, the soprano Barbara Hannigan will perform Hans Abrahamsen’s “let me tell you,” with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Andris Nelsons, conductor. Here is her introduction to this playlist, which she uses to inhabit her role of Shakespeare’s Ophelia. “For many of the major pieces I perform, I make a […]

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