12 Pieces of Classical Christmas Music in Case You’re Sick of Mariah Carey

For what it's worth, I actually like that Mariah Carey Christmas song. I know I'll take some heat for that, but whatever, I don't really care. It's a well-crafted pop song (if that's possible), which doesn't sound dated (it's nearly 20 years old) like most pop music does after like two weeks. Side note: Mariah … Continue reading 12 Pieces of Classical Christmas Music in Case You’re Sick of Mariah Carey

Yo-Yo Ma: “Part of creativity is accepting all the things we don’t know, because that’s when you start to explore.”

The Urban Dictionary definition is as follows: goat rodeo (noun): 1. A chaotic situation, often one that involves several people, each with a different agenda/vision/perception of what's going on. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma’s definition is a little bit different: “If there were forks in the road and each time there was a fork, the right decision … Continue reading Yo-Yo Ma: “Part of creativity is accepting all the things we don’t know, because that’s when you start to explore.”

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

Peter Sellars on the Threat of Cultural Impositionalism

On the flight to London last week, Air New Zealand had loaded up a bunch of James Bond movies on the monitors in our seats. An appropriate gesture, I think, to get us in the mood for our final destination. Naturally, I got sucked in. I watched 007 besting bad guys all the way from … Continue reading Peter Sellars on the Threat of Cultural Impositionalism

Postcard from London: The Gospel Truth

Last year, at the world premiere of John Adams' passion-oratorio "The Gospel According to the Other Mary," I wrote an extensive review. At the time, I said I was "less interested" in seeing how Peter Sellars would stage the work in the future, than I was simply excited to hear the music again. Turns out, … Continue reading Postcard from London: The Gospel Truth

Postcard from London: Discover Dudamel

Yesterday was a moment several months in the making for the 10 traveling musicians from YOLA (Youth Orchestra LA). It's why they wrote two essays, gave an interview, and played an audition just for the opportunity to come on this trip to London. Yesterday was the rehearsal and performance of the Discover Dudamel orchestra at … Continue reading Postcard from London: Discover Dudamel

Postcard from London: A Candy Conclave

In addition to the music-making here in London, the LA Phil is hosting a symposium about music education. They've put together an orchestra comprised of students from all over Great Britain, plus ten members of the LA Phil’s own Youth Orchestra LA—or YOLA. It's called the Discover Dudamel Orchestra. Last night, the young musicians met … Continue reading Postcard from London: A Candy Conclave

Postcard from London: The Music of the Future

On KUSC today, you'll hear me mention an ensemble called Future Band. Future Band is a group of a couple dozen musicians, ages 8-14, from all over London. The ensemble has no set instrumentation, the members write their own music, and it is open to just about anyone. Future Band meets during school vacation periods … Continue reading Postcard from London: The Music of the Future

Arrival in London

Greetings from London! After a long, bumpy flight--complete with a two-hour line for a manual check-in with handwritten boarding passes (ask me about that later when I'm not grumpy)--I, along with 10 YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles) musicians, ages 14-16 arrived in London town this morning. We were immediately greeted by something quite familiar to … Continue reading Arrival in London

Remembering Van Cliburn: “The Texan Who Conquered Russia”

  "I do not have fingers. I have ten voices and they must all sing." Van Cliburn Against the backdrop of the Cold War and the Space Race, a lanky 23-year-old classical pianist burst onto the scene as an unlikely ambassador of cultural understanding. At the inaugural International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition, Van Cliburn won the … Continue reading Remembering Van Cliburn: “The Texan Who Conquered Russia”