Mason Bates, pt. 2

JD:  Your Steve Jobs opera, how have you worked with the production staff about these concepts? MB:  It has to start with the libretto and story.  One thing that Mark Hamill, the librettist, and I wanted to do is to have a non-linear, almost pixelated presentation of the life of Steve Jobs.  We didn’t want …

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Mason Bates, pt. 1

Mason Bates, Musical America’s 2018 Composer-of-the-Year, is a breath of fresh air in a room that is often accused of lacking ventilation! Mason is, at once, edgy yet traditional, intuitive and insightful, curious and experimental, and more willing to test the preconceived boundaries of the concert stage than possibly any composer before him. Small wonder …

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Charles Dutoit

Between the time I conducted this interview and it was written and published, Maestro Dutoit’s career has altered due to revelations from the #MeToo Movement. Many, if not all, of his North American engagements have been canceled. So, why, one might ask, would I post Dutoit’s interview under such circumstances? I do so, while not …

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Alice Parker

Alice Parker, the First Lady of American choral music, invited me to her farm-home in New England, on a crisp Autumn day, to spend time together in an interview. What follows is the beginning of her account of what makes music important in our lives. When I walked into her living room, scores were piled …

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Kurt Masur

Less than a year before he died, I flew into a New York blizzard for the express purpose of interviewing one of the great living musicians in his upstate home. Maestro Kurt Masur was in his upper 80s and suffering from Parkinson’s disease, but he was undaunted in his determination to share his story with …

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Beethoven at the Congress of Vienna, 1814

For seven months, beginning on November 1, 1814, the Congress of Vienna brought together heads of European states, with the objective of settling the many issues that arose after the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars, and the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire. The result was the redrawing of the continent’s political map, forming …

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The Christmas Truce of 1914

The now-famous Christmas truce of 1914 took place at Flanders field on Christmas Eve. British, German, and French troops were in their respective trenches when some German soldiers began to sing “Stille Nacht.” Before long, all the soldiers came out into no man’s land to sing carols together and even exchange souvenirs and chocolates. There …

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