A poet is born, and it’s a bit T-Painful

April 26, 2012
Before you read this article, be forewarned: prior to my admission to Yale, the only concerts I regularly attended occurred not in stadiums, but in opera houses and symphony halls. You might call mine a different (read: bizarre) childhood. Nonetheless, I have managed to enjoy myself thoroughly in the sweaty throngs of the last three »

The Clown Prince of Denmark

April 13, 2012
I have always found professional classical musicians an intriguing breed. Quite unlike pop stars and media icons, such musicians usually provide us rather narrow means to understand them. Let me be more clear: while even I know that things ended poorly between Rihanna and Chris Brown two years ago, I can’t tell you the first »

Ravel: The greatest Swiss watchmaker

February 24, 2012
In my freshman year of high school, my piano teacher, an ebullient, shrewd Japanese woman, plopped down a thick manuscript on the desk before me. “This,” she said, with a devilish glint in her eye, “will be our next project.” Let me preface this anecdote with a confession: I am not, nor have I ever »
Carmen at the Merola Opera Program, 1997.

“Carmen:” the saddest story ever told

February 10, 2012
If you grew up in the ’90s, you’ve probably seen at least a few installments of “Hey Arnold!”, one of Nickelodeon’s many animated series. Like any other 9-year-old, I was a serious cartoon enthusiast, and this show ranked among my top three. One episode in particular still rattles around in my memory, recently rehashed by »
Western Art Music

Back to the Classics

January 27, 2012
The performance of Western art music is a supremely curious thing. It is, by its very nature, at once a traditional pursuit and a perpetual reinvention. Before I come dangerously close to opening a can of worms, let me clarify: in any given year, hundreds (if not thousands) of orchestras and performance groups around the »

Chopin Channels Hendrix

January 13, 2012
If you talk often to people enthusiastic about classical music, you’re bound to run into those who will tell you that the Romantic period was rubbish — you should only listen to Bach, Handel and Mozart! Frankly, they’re dead wrong. Yes, I love me some “Don Giovanni,” but the Romantic period is where things really »

Back to the Classics: Rediscovering Nancy Wilson

November 4, 2011
When people ask me why I like classical music, I tell them that I like it because it moves me. Let me clarify, however, that European music of the 19th century is hardly the only genre I enjoy. Far from it; everything from Led Zeppelin to Count Basie suits my tastes. I suppose, then, I’d »

Mussorgsky on my mind

October 21, 2011
I owe a word of thanks to Nina Wexelblatt — after reading her piece “Fever dreams of indie pop” in the Oct. 7 issue of WEEKEND, I came round to the sobering reality that I, too, owe a public apology. While her obsession with indie pop is a modern one, mine is far more ancient. »