The Genius Of Lorin Maazel

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“He had an incomparable stick technique (something he pooh-poohed as a technique). A brilliantly accomplished musician (he was a virtuoso violinist and a composer), he boasted what must have been a genius-level IQ. He appeared capable of playing four-dimensional mental chess while carrying on a dinner conversation with lesser mortal beings.”

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Did Slavoj Žižek Plagiarize A White Supremacist Magazine? (Sort Of)

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“[The] superstar Marxist philosopher … [has] been accused of the worst professorial misdeed of them all: plagiarism. And not just any plagiarism – plagiarism of a 1999 article in American Renaissance, a white supremacist magazine published by an organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated a ‘hate group’.”

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The Jazz Cemetery

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“We’ve only got a few left,” he comments, adding that a “high percentage” of those who have invested will have done purely because of the proximity to the trumpeter.

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Nobel Laureate Nadine Gordimer, 90

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“Regarded by many as South Africa’s leading writer, Gordimer was renowned as a rigid moralist whose novels and short stories reflected the drama of human life and emotion in a society warped by decades of white-minority rule.”

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Trying To Figure Out Why A Newly Famous Documentarian Took His Own Life

Malik Bendjelloul photographed in 2012

“Making feature documentaries is incredibly hard. You either have to have a massive trust fund or take this existential risk. You can’t have a family. You can’t have a mortgage. The idea that you could turn a 10-minute film on a Swedish arts programme into an Oscar-winning documentary, it’s either folly or extraordinary bravery.”

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Kurt Vonnegut Talks To The Dead

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“As part of WNYC’s 90th anniversary celebration, Marty Goldensohn, former WNYC news director, shares excerpts from the station’s 1998 series Reports on the Afterlife. It’s based on Vonnegut’s book God Bless You Dr. Kevorkian, a fictionalized account of interviews with recently deceased people.”

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Paul Horn, 84, A Founding Father Of New Age Music

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As the flutist/saxophonist once told an interviewer, “New Age music does something wonderful to the nervous system. It settles you down into a deep state of relaxation. When people want to ‘cool out,’ a [New Age] record will do it real quick. It’s meditative music.”

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Seymour Barab, 93, Cellist And Composer Of Whimsical Chamber Operas

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While he did write serious stage works based on Dostoevsky and de Maupassant, “he was still more widely known for lighter one-act works whose accessibility, tunefulness and economy of scale made them among the most frequently performed operas in the world … perennial favorites of college, semiprofessional and regional companies.”

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Should We Still Care About Wagner’s Anti-Semitism?

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“The recent Wagner anniversary has brought a predictable amount of equivocation and hand-wringing about the German master’s role in the history of hate. We know by now not to read history backward. A nineteenth-century composer who died in 1883 cannot logically be accused of personal complicity in a twentieth-century genocide. Yet that does not mean that the broader question of his responsibility for the spread of modern anti-Semitism can be simply ignored.”

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Taylor Swift Writes About The State Of The Music Business

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There are a few things I have witnessed becoming obsolete in the past few years, the first being autographs. I haven’t been asked for an autograph since the invention of the iPhone with a front-facing camera. The only memento “kids these days” want is a selfie. It’s part of the new currency, which seems to be “how many followers you have on Instagram.”

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It’s Not Easy To Be A Piano Teacher In Islamabad

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J. Jerome has to deal with a shortage of instruments, an even greater shortage of tuners (he’s the only one in town), a near-total lack of spare parts – and, as a member of Pakistan’s small Christian minority, the threat of extreme Islamist militants who disapprove of music in general and Western music in particular. Yet he struggles on. (includes audio)

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Author Walter Dean Myers, 76

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“He sold more than 15 million copies of his more than 100 books. He was a National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and a three-time finalist for the National Book Award (in the Young People’s Literature category). He won the Coretta Scott King Award six times and was a Newbery Honor recipient twice. His slim, tightly focused novels most often took on the full scope of difficult lives.”

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Filmmaker Paul Mazursky Dead At 84

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“A gentle satirist of contemporary society, Mazursky at his best” – in Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, Blume in Love, An Unmarried Woman and Down and Out in Beverly Hills – “chronicled the social trends of the late 1960s and ’70s, including the era’s touchy-feely self-improvement fads, drug experimentation and shifting rules for love and sex.”

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Meredith Monk On How Artists Create

Photo: Julieta Cervantes

“To make something, you have to be a deep-sea diver. You can have fear at the beginning, but then ultimately when curiosity takes over — at least this happens for me — then my fear goes away little by little because I get really interested in what I’ve discovered. We’re the R & D branch of the world, doing research and development all the time just to make an artwork. Making an artwork itself is a political statement in the world that we’re living in.”

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Allen Grossman, 82. ‘A Poet’s Poet And A Scholar’

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“His poems, brainy and lyrical and often written in a voice that might be described as conversationally academic, are replete with referents, redolent of intellectual yearning and proudly high-minded … and though his work was always serious and often self-consciously grand, he also mixed lofty rhetoric with antic humor or sly wit and wrote with personal detail about people he knew.”

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Garrison Keillor On The Difference Between Novels And Radio Shows (And The Future Of His)

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“A novel takes more than a week. … Novels tend to be too long, and they sink under their own weight – has anyone ever finished Moby-Dick? Anyone? They’re lying. A two-hour radio show is a hop, a skip, and a jump, with a bathroom break in the middle, and I am going to keep working on mine and maybe write one more Lake Wobegon novel, one with a dozen narrators.”

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Egypt’s Superstar Archaeologist Is Back

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Zahi Hawass, whose energy, media savvy and telegenic personality made him the modern face of Egyptian antiquities, had a difficult few years as Egypt’s political turmoil unfolded. But he’s at work once again, telling the world, “With all this, I have to tell you that Egypt is safe.”

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