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

LA Phil 2013-14: By the Numbers

Much has already been written about the LA Phil's new 2013-14 season, just announced yesterday at Walt Disney Concert Hall. (In my estimation, the most insightful summations come from Mr. CK Dexter Haven at All is Yar and Timothy Mangan at Classical Life.) As orchestras around the country hemorrhage audiences, money, and relevance, a few--like … Continue reading LA Phil 2013-14: By the Numbers

Happy 100th, Witold Lutosławski!

"Composers are messengers from an ideal world." -Witold Lutosławski 2013 is a big anniversary year for classical music. It's the bicentennials of Richard Wagner (May 22, 1813) and Giuseppe Verdi (October 10, 1813); the centennial of Benjamin Britten (November 22, 1913); and the 100th anniversary of the premiere of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring (May … Continue reading Happy 100th, Witold Lutosławski!

A Gospel of Social Justice: The Premiere of John Adams’ “The Other Mary”

If it walks like a Passion and talks like a Passion, chances are it's a Passion. But composer John Adams chose not call his most recent work, The Gospel According to the Other Mary, a Passion. "I just avoided using the word 'Passion,'" Adams told me earlier this week in a conversation backstage at Walt … Continue reading A Gospel of Social Justice: The Premiere of John Adams’ “The Other Mary”