Dude Looks Like He Likes Pianists

For a violinist who wanted to be a trombone player, Gustavo Dudamel sure does love his superstar pianists. Awhile back, I crunched the numbers on the LA Philharmonic's 2013-14 season (in terms of musical eras represented). I didn't catch it at the time, but today while perusing the upcoming season once again, I kept running … Continue reading Dude Looks Like He Likes Pianists

7 Operas that Make the VMAs Seem Chaste

On Sunday evening, millions of Americans tuned in to the MTV Video Music Awards. They were treated to a show that included, among other things, Lady Gaga's butt and Miley Cyrus twerking on Beetlejuice. Freakout ensued. Then came this pseudo-defense of Miley. I was fortunate enough to miss the broadcast--I was at the Hollywood Bowl … Continue reading 7 Operas that Make the VMAs Seem Chaste

About the other night…

This is not a review of Gustavo Dudamel and LA Phil's performance of Verdi's Requiem at the Hollywood Bowl last Thursday night. Just a few thoughts about my experience: When the summer season was released, I was skeptical of hearing Verdi's Requiem at the Hollywood Bowl. When I arrived at the Bowl Thursday evening, I … Continue reading About the other night…

Remixing the Rite

It’s not every day that electronic music DJs dabble in the classical music realm…but often, when they do, the results are less than thrilling. Okay…Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross won an Oscar for that last one—a remix of In the Hall of the Mountain King, from Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt. "There's this increasing wave in … Continue reading Remixing the Rite

Arrested Development & Recapitulation

First of all, credit where credit is due: my puntastic colleague at KUSC, @JamiePaisley, created this, and many other, TV ad posters during our recent pledge drive. As a rabid fan of Arrested Development, this one was my favorite. And it got me thinking: what if the cast of AD were made up of classical … Continue reading Arrested Development & Recapitulation

Wagner, According to His Critics

"One can't judge Wagner's opera 'Lohengrin' after a first hearing, and I certainly don't intend hearing it a second time." -Gioacchino Rossini “Wagner’s music is better than it sounds.” -Edgar Wilson Nye, quoted in Mark Twain's autobiography "[The Prelude to Tristan und Isolde] reminds one of the old Italian painting of a martyr whose intestines … Continue reading Wagner, According to His Critics

Happy 200th, Richard Wagner

"I write music with an exclamation point!" -Richard Wagner There's no middle ground on Richard Wagner. You either love him or hate him. Correction: there is a kind of middle ground that most people, including me, dwell in. To oversimplify, it is this: love the art; hate the artist. Wagner was a despicable man. He … Continue reading Happy 200th, Richard Wagner

Pulitzer Partita

Yesterday, composer Caroline Shaw won the Pulitzer Prize for Music for her a cappella composition Partita for 8 Voices. At age 30, she is the youngest winner in the prize's history. The jury described Shaw's composition as "a highly polished and inventive a cappella work uniquely embracing speech, whispers, sighs, murmurs, wordless melodies and novel vocal … Continue reading Pulitzer Partita

Orchestra Musician: It’s Not a Cush Job

A couple of days ago, an article appeared in Bloomberg that was so misinformed, so short-sighted, so petty, so ignorant, and so utterly ridiculous that to let it go unchallenged would be irresponsible. The article came from Manuela Hoelterhoff, the Pulitzer Prize-winning executive editor for Bloomberg Muse and author of Cinderella & Company: Backstage at … Continue reading Orchestra Musician: It’s Not a Cush Job