Four Female Conductors Take the Stage at the LA Phil

The LA Phil unveiled its 2017-18 season last week and among the many highlights is the fact that the orchestra has engaged four different women to conduct six different concerts. That may not seem like a lot over the course of an 8-month concert season, but it is considerably more than any other major orchestra in the … Continue reading Four Female Conductors Take the Stage at the LA Phil

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5 Classical Music Stories That Prove 2016 Wasn’t a Total Loss

  I read the news this year, oh boy... And so the Year of Death and Brexit and #MAGA comes to a merciful end. Yes, it was a horrific year for unity and truth and famous people staying alive. The awfulness extended to the classical music world as well. We said goodbye to far too many titans … Continue reading 5 Classical Music Stories That Prove 2016 Wasn’t a Total Loss

Conductors Conducting the Climax of Mahler 2

The Symphony No. 2 by Gustav Mahler is the biggest, most epic symphonic statement since Beethoven's 9th. It's subtitled "Resurrection," and the work climaxes with the words: O Pain, You piercer of all things, From you, I have been wrested! O Death, You conqueror of all things, Now, are you conquered! With wings which I … Continue reading Conductors Conducting the Climax of Mahler 2

LA Phil 2016-17: By the Numbers

I do this every year: leave the punditry to others and tally up the stats. Here's what 2016-17 looks like at the LA Phil. Unlike in years past, I have only included performances by the LA Phil--no visiting artists. 21 commissions, 14 world premieres, 5 U.S. premieres, and 5 West Coast premieres. This beats last … Continue reading LA Phil 2016-17: By the Numbers

How to Fix Classical Music

Money (1950). Lascivious musicians (1530). The gramophone (1930). Money (1969). Claude Debussy (1902). The violin (1740). Money (1683). YouTube (2013). Ludwig van Beethoven (1827). Money (1903). Popular music (1324). The compact disc (2009). Money (1987). Figured bass (1609). An aging audience (1960s-present). For centuries, classical music has been on the brink of death. Over the … Continue reading How to Fix Classical Music

A Classical Christmas

Let's face it, most Christmas music is lame. And it's that same lame Christmas music that gets blared over loudspeakers in shopping malls all across this great country of ours. Ask most people about classical Christmas music and they'll probably say something about that horrifying version of Pachelbel's Canon in D by an electronic group that … Continue reading A Classical Christmas

Kicking Brass: An Interview with the LA Phil’s Andrew Bain and Thomas Hooten

This week’s LA Philharmonic radio broadcast on Classical KUSC features two concerto performances by two LA Phil brass principals. Thomas Hooten, principal trumpet, will play Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto in E-flat. Andrew Bain, principal French horn, will play Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 4. Before the performance, which was recorded in February 2015, I sat down with … Continue reading Kicking Brass: An Interview with the LA Phil’s Andrew Bain and Thomas Hooten