A Federal Case for the Arts

Is the idea of government support for the arts un-American? On the contrary. It is as American as apple pie. In the early years of the republic, were our political leaders rubes when it came to music and other arts? Look again. Our iconic founding fathers Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and many of our subsequent presidents had signal public relationships to music and the arts.

Does a Composer’s Body Need to be Tuned?


Professional singers and dancers have always been trained to think of their bodies as delicate instruments that need constant maintenance, instrumentalists less so, but is it possible that we have not recognized heretofore that a composer’s body is itself an instrument, too?

Why Concert Halls and Live Performance Still Matter

Much has been written on the alleged obsoleteness of the concert
hall in the age of iPod, or its socio-political tendentiousness, or its
aesthetic this-or-that-ness, etc., etc. Nobody seems to have addressed
the elephant in the room: The concert hall is itself a fine musical
instrument-an instrument that is an indissoluble constituent of the
hearing experience

Elmer Gantry vs. An American Tragedy: Grass-Roots vs. Trickle-Down Opera

There are two perpendicular paths for new operas to get up and running today—the trickle-down path versus the grass-roots path: an opera either gets commissioned by a high-mainline institution and given the deluxe treatment in a relative jiffy; or it longanimously evolves from a private magnificent obsession, through a protracted gestation in the hinterlands, to an odds-defying coup with the media gatekeepers.

How Good Is Your Ear? (Part 2)

The stronger your ear, the more liberated your musical imagination. That’s how Beethoven could compose after deafness. His ear—outer, and then inner—was spectacular.

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