Alex Ross on gay progress and “How to be Gay”

Alex Ross on gay progress and “How to be Gay”
Honestly, I just re-subscribed to The New Yorker a couple of weeks ago after being away from it for a few years.  Just didn’t have the time to keep up, such long articles and all.  But if I’d not already done so, coming upon Alex Ross’ “Love on the March” from the November 12 issue would probably have been enough to get me back as a subscriber.  There may be no music journalism better than...
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“All The Way Through Evening,” a new documentary about composers and AIDS

“All The Way Through Evening,” a new documentary about composers and AIDS
Spong and Stern-Wolfe In the new documentary “All The Way Through Evening,” filmmaker Rohan Spong gives a thoughtful depiction of an important group of New York composers who died of AIDS and one woman’s efforts to keep their music alive.  It’s been 20 years now since the era when Kevin Oldham, Chris DeBlasio, Robert Savage and others died, but Mimi Stern-Wolfe continues to produce concerts of their...
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Fred Hersch, more than dreaming

Fred Hersch, more than dreaming
Fred Hersch isn’t a meditation guru. He’s a composer and jazz pianist.  But he does know something about that elusive goal of living in the moment. “If you think too far ahead you drop the ball. This is why tennis and jazz are very similar,” he says, in the documentary “The Lives of Fred Hersch.”  He continues, “you have to play what is in front of you and what appears, and react to it.” On Friday night he’ll...
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Tony Kushner’s first opera explores Eugene O’Neill, “the father of us all”

Tony Kushner’s first opera explores Eugene O’Neill, “the father of us all”
Playwright Tony Kushner is immersed in a dizzying amount of work, including crafting a new screenplay about Lincoln that’s still unfinished but is slated to begin filming in the fall with director Steven Speilberg. He’s also contributing new material to the season-long retrospective of his work at New York’s Signature Theatre. Kushner has a penchant for taking on big projects and important themes, starting...
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Another MUSIC QUIZ for another World AIDS Day

Another MUSIC QUIZ for another World AIDS Day
To my surprise and pleasure, last year’s Music Quiz for World AIDS Day is one of the most visited posts on this site.  So here’s another round. Match the artist on the left with his (or her!) album/song/ensemble/venue on the right.  Answers follow.
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“Homophony” A festival of GLTB musicians on WNYC

“Homophony” A festival of GLTB musicians on WNYC
In late June 2009, during the week of the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, WNYC radio celebrated the legacy of gay and lesbian composers in classical and popular music with four evenings of programming.   The broadcasts were thoughtful and wide ranging: • Nico Muhly and host Nadi Sirota play and discuss music of John Corigliano, Benjamin Britten and Lou Harrison • Alex Ross (The New Yorker) and Ann Powers (Los...
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Ohlsson and Chopin, together for life

Ohlsson and Chopin, together for life
“We’re a strange pair,” says pianist Garrick Ohlsson of his long association with Frederic Chopin.  “He was rather short, some what frail and very elegant.  I’m not a fashion plate and weigh 260 pounds and have enjoyed good health my whole life.” Music would seem to unite Ohlsson and Chopin across the centuries. But even there, Ohlsson points out a contrast: “I love playing concerts. He hated playing concerts.” Ohlsson...
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Opera review: Before Night Falls, Fort Worth Opera

Opera review: Before Night Falls, Fort Worth Opera
Within moments after the curtain rises on Jorge Martin’s “Before Night Falls,” the hero collapses into his deathbed.  It’s an obvious allusion to all those consumptive operatic heroines of the romantic era and reinforces why the memoir of Cuban writer Renaldo Arenas was such a good choice for a staged adaptation. The Fort Worth Opera premiered the work in two performances at Bass Hall, as part of an early summer...
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Queer Opera in Cowtown

Queer Opera in Cowtown
Fort Worth Texas might be the most conservative area of the country after Orange County California. Last June one of its few gay bars, the Rainbow Lounge, was raided by members of the Fort Worth Police Department and Texas Alcoholic Beverages Commission. Seven people were arrested for drunkenness, though numerous reports say that the individuals were pulled from the crowd randomly and violently.  A 26-year old man was hospitalized...
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CD review: Mikhashoff’s Elemental Fragments

CD review: Mikhashoff’s Elemental Fragments
Music of the late Yvar Mikhashoff is being remembered. Fitfully and occasionally. But those who knew Yvar are surely grateful. And based on the stunning performance by Winston Choi in this new CD on Albany Records there are also new generations finding beauty and power in the music. Let me admit that I enjoyed the notes by Nils Vigeland, Yvar’s former student, a pianist and a director of the Mikahshoff Trust, as much...
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