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

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Learning to Hate: A Story Whose Relevance Reaches Beyond the West Side

At the climax of West Side Story, Maria brandishes the gun that killed her star-crossed lover, Tony, and declares that, "We all killed him," because of the unbroken cycle of violence and hate between the two rival gangs. "I can kill now," Maria screams, "Because I hate now too!" When they programmed a concert performance … Continue reading Learning to Hate: A Story Whose Relevance Reaches Beyond the West Side

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

Here’s the thing about Gustavo Dudamel…

I've never particularly cared for the third movement of Dvořák's New World Symphony. I mean, there's nothing wrong with it, but for me it has only ever been the thing that happens in between the serene beauty of the slow movement and the Jaws-like introduction to the finale. The third movement is fine. I've just never loved it. … Continue reading Here’s the thing about Gustavo Dudamel…

Familiar Digs; Family Forever

The LA Phil wrapped up its Asia tour with two concerts in Suntory Hall in Tokyo. The stunning hall is tucked away in a labyrinth of office buildings, hotels, and the U-S embassy in the Minato district of Tokyo. It was the first hall designed by Yasuhisa Toyota and it was this hall that sealed the … Continue reading Familiar Digs; Family Forever

LA Phil 2015-16: By the Numbers

The LA Phil has announced its 2015-16 season--Gustavo Dudamel's seventh as music director--and there is a lot to be excited about. As has become my custom, I leave most of the punditry to others (All is Yar and Classical Life are always good places to start). I always like to run the numbers on each … Continue reading LA Phil 2015-16: By the Numbers