Classical Music Trends to Watch in 2023
The year 2023 brings a Rachmaninoff anniversary, a changing of the string quartet guard, and, for better or worse, a return to more familiar programming.
Seven Times When The Encore Outshined the Concert
As concert life has gradually returned in this pandemic season, so too, have encores. In the April 2022 issue of BBC Music Magazine I look at the uneven history of this beloved and occasionally contentious practice, from moments when encores were banned to examples of supreme encore creativity. In researching the piece, I encountered a […]
2021 Year in Review: Classical Music’s Memorable Moments
The classical music world lurched back to life in 2021. And while at times bumpy and unpredictable, the year was hardly lacking in creative energy. Below are the top six stories.
Chicago Symphony Brass: A History – Part 3
Back in 1991, the Chicago Bulls had clinched their first of six NBA Championships, a Daley was returning to the mayor’s office, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was ushering in the Daniel Barenboim era. The successor to Sir Georg Solti arrived at an orchestra with the most celebrated brass section in the world, and one […]
Chicago Symphony Brass: A History – Part 2
Jay Friedman knew early on what kind of sound Georg Solti was after when the Hungarian maestro became the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s music director in the fall of 1969. “When he first came — and this is regarding the brass section — you couldn’t play loud enough for him,” the orchestra’s principal trombone recalls. “It […]
Chicago Symphony Brass: A History – Part I
Every devotee of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra brass section can point to a goosebump-worthy moment in a past performance or recording. Maybe it’s the ping of Principal Trumpet Adolph “Bud” Herseth’s solos in Richard Strauss’ Don Juan, recorded in 1954. Or the riotous blaze of horns that conclude Mahler’s Seventh Symphony, from 1971. Or the low brass delivering […]
When Your Recording Has An Unintended Noise
In the recording business they’re known as sonic artifacts. They’re the non-musical noises that periodically turn up on recordings – and sometimes add to their historical significance. In the May 2021 issue of BBC Music Magazine, I highlight 15 notable examples, from the sounds of war to subway rumbles to coughs, barking dogs, traffic noise, […]
Before Arena Rock, There was Lewisohn Stadium
Outdoor concerts are a perennial summer pastime for New York City residents, and perhaps none is more beloved than the New York Philharmonic’s traveling summer series to the parks throughout the boroughs. Before the series began in 1965 (and which for a time included visits to Long Island and elsewhere), the Philharmonic held a longstanding […]
The Crown, Season 4 Puts Opera in the Spotlight
When characters in “The Crown” attend the opera, one can usually expect some pointed commentary on the fictionalized British royal family. The genre serves a plot device twice during the fourth season of the Netflix series, as Prince Charles and Diana visit the Royal Opera House at various stages in their troubled relationship (I’ve previously […]
The Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Composer and Swordsman
As concert presenters overhaul their programming amidst the pandemic, several are taking up the works of Joseph Bologne, better known as the Chevalier de Saint-Georges. Bologne’s largely unsung chamber music, symphonic and even operatic repertoire is turning up in advance of a planned Hollywood biopic, and mirrors a larger racial reckoning across the United States.