Robert Paterson and David Cote: Can Opera Handle Sexbots and Swinger Parties?

Composer Robert Paterson and librettist David Cote’s Three Way is, generally speaking, about sex. Or, to be precise: sex with an android, power games between a dominatrix and her piggish client, and erotic confusion among four couples in masks and robes at a suburban swinger party. In advance of their BAM engagement, we invited Paterson and Cote to interview one another about how and why they wrote such a charming opera with such a naughty title.

#HearAllComposers: Straining Our Ears, Amplifying Our Voices

I’ve been writing music criticism since I graduated college in 2012, but about a year ago I made the decision only to review concerts with at least one woman (or trans or nonbinary) composer on the program. I was tired of attending concerts featuring exclusively the music of white men, and tired of frantically sifting through concert season announcements that came in the mail, only to find a single token white woman amidst a sea of white men. People around me were perplexed.

In Review: The New York Philharmonic Takes a (Wobbly) Step Forward

Music director Alan Gilbert offered a courageous and nonconformist program with the New York Philharmonic on May 19. Part of his final Farewell Concerts, the evening offered a majority contemporary repertoire, balanced with a safe classic.

Joan La Barbara: Finding the Right Words to Inspire Sound

Joan La Barbara will turn 70 years old in June, but shows no signs of slowing down. La Barbara will premiere her new song cycle, The Wanderlusting of Joseph C., at Roulette in Brooklyn on May 24. The song cycle breaks with La Barbara’s usual style of vocal abstractions and moves firmly into the realm of language.

Steven Schick: In Pursuit of an Externally Facing Artistic Practice

Making music today must be about nothing less than asserting moral force. It must be about how we — we who have so much and who live so fully — can act responsibly in a world where so many have so little. It must be about the voices too faint to hear.

What Controversial Changes at Harvard Mean for Music in the University

University curricular reform doesn’t typical ignite fiery internet controversy. But last month, when The Harvard Crimson reported on the adoption of a new undergraduate curriculum at Harvard, the classical music corner of the internet—composers, performers, theorists, musicologists – briefly erupted in intense discussion. As a musicologist and professor myself, I wanted to learn about the background behind these changes, what they mean for students, and the implications of the controversy for our field.

Du Yun: The Pulitzer Prize, MATA, and Fostering Diversity

Du Yun was chilling out in a Dubai bar after a long day of networking at Culture Summit 2017, when her phone suddenly went berserk. From one friend or colleague after another came the same message: The Chinese-born American composer had just been awarded the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Music for Angel’s Bone, her challenging, provocative, and stylistically groundbreaking opera. By phone from Shanghai, she spoke about the experience.

Zachary Woolfe: Curating Cultural Experiences in the Digital Domain

Zachary Woolfe started attracting attention immediately when he came to The New York Times as a freelance classical-music reviewer in 2010, having written stylishly and persuasively already for numerous publications and outlets in New York City and elsewhere. In March 2015 the Times named Woolfe its classical music editor, even as the paper was undergoing one of the most penetrating periods of self-evaluation in its history: the so-called 2020 Group, tasked with re-imagining the way this venerable institution envisioned and engaged its mission during a time of seismic change and financial straits throughout the entire media industry. In a recent interview at The New York Times offices, Woolfe addressed those changes, large and small, during an exceedingly generous and wide-ranging conversation.

Anne Midgette: Extending the Conversation on Social Media

One of the best known and most respected journalists and critics in the realm of classical music and opera, Anne Midgette has also been among the more tenacious advocates of changing with the times, embracing new media platforms, techniques, and modes of storytelling – including Facebook and Twitter.

Calling for a New Soft Diplomacy

The Wall Street Journal recently reported on a gala event held in New York, meant to raise funds to bring a Chinese panda to the city. Meanwhile, in The Guardian Vladimir Ashkenazy called upon British musicians to maintain artistic relationships with Europe, despite any potential barriers imposed by Brexit. Each case illustrates a different approach undertaken to dissolve borders. Both exemplify “soft power.”