Hoisting an eyebrow

From Jennifer Foster, at WDAV at Davidson College, in North Carolina: I was at a Sunday afternoon concert at a small Episcopal church in town. (A local baroque cellist has a treasure trove of early music friends from Berkeley who come to town to perform from time to time.) The concert opened with Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 5. The harpsichord player, a mischievous looking fellow named Henry Lebedinsky, was in the heat of playing the daylights out of his extensive solo. Rather than wallow in the kind of attention a well-heeled classical … [Read more...]

A man who loved music

I worked with Leighton Kerner for six years at the Village Voice in New York, back in the early ‘80s. And I want to add my voice to those who mourn his passing. As everyone so rightly said, he loved music—loved it with everything he had. He never seemed to get jaded, or overloaded. He was always out there, always going to performances, always excited. And his reviews showed his enthusiasm. I can’t remember him ever being harsh, even if he hadn’t liked something he heard. And when he liked it, he was generous and grateful. I remember one review … [Read more...]

Teens invade Philharmonic!

Not long ago I visited the New York Philharmonic’s archives. My main job was to research Stravinsky performances. Had Stravinsky’s neo-classic works ever been played during the 1920s, ’30s, and 40s when he himself wasn’t conducting? The answer, confirming my instinct, was that they hardly ever had been. But I was also interested in what the archives might show about the age of the audience in the past, and while there wasn’t much information, Barbara Haws, the Philharmonic’s fabulous archivist, did give me this. How times have changed! (And by … [Read more...]

The book continues

Episode six of my in-progress book about the future of classical music is now online. It completes the introduction to the book—or, as I've started to call it, the improvisation of the introduction to the book. In it, you'll find some pretty trenchant criticism of one last piece of classical music orthodoxy, along with—in a very different key—my own declaration of love for classical music. Plus more, including the dedication of the book. It's dedicated, in effect, to everybody reading this, to everyone who wants to see change in classical … [Read more...]