Articles

Gerrit Dou: Astronomer by Candlelight (detail), c. 1665.

St. John's College

I hope that my study in contrast will lead us to a deeper understanding of music as it relates to the whole of all things, our human condition and our happiness. I also hope that it will show why music is the most comprehensive of the liberal arts, and why it is the case that to speak about music is to speak about everything.

Hieronymus Bosch: Garden of Earthly Delights.

Future Symphony Institute

I only wonder whether you might, from time to time, entertain the thought that one can be modern without being avant-garde, without lapsing into sound effects, and instead thinking in the old musical way, in terms of grammatical sequences that linger in the ears and the memory of the listeners, so that they sing it to themselves inwardly and find in it a personal meaning.

Aurelio de Figueiredo, Menina ao Piano, 1892

Baylor University

As Edward Shils observed, tradition is best understood not as the “dead hand of the past,” but as “the hand of the gardener, which nourishes and elicits tendencies of judgment which would otherwise not be strong enough to emerge on their own.”

The ruins of Saint-Etienne-le-Vieux in Caen, France.

The Catholic World Report

Not only is beautiful music being written again but, it turns out, beautiful music was written all along, throughout the 20th century. It simply went underground, but it is surfacing once again. And it is glorious. The tremendously good news is that we are living at the time of a major musical renaissance.

Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville

David M. Schwarz Architects

Designing with this particular attitude towards context does not mean we will arrive at one universally perfect solution every time. If we follow this formula, however, we are most likely to arrive at a building that will be relevant to, embraced and even loved by, the greatest number of people who will see it, visit it, or touch it on any given day.

Scene from Anthony Minghella's production of “Madame Butterfly,” which has become a Met favorite. Image credit: Metropolitan Opera.

Manhattan Institute

New York’s Metropolitan Opera has stood resolutely against Regietheater decadence. In fact, its greatest gift to the world at the present moment is to mount productions – whether sleekly abstract or richly realistic – that allow the beauty of some of the most powerful music ever written to shine forth. The question now is whether that musical gift will continue.

Children. Image credit: Alfred Eisenstaedt.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

When we throw together these shows on one rehearsal, with an undermanned orchestra augmented by freelancers who perhaps have never played together before, we are again denigrating the intelligence of our audience: “They won’t know the difference.” In my experience, this is profoundly wrongheaded.

Many are surprised by the beauty of New York City’s City Hall subway station, hidden underground.

Future Symphony Institute

Reading the gripping chapters of Robert R. Reilly’s book, with YouTube on the screen, was both an education in itself, and a source of shame to me, who have defended tonality all these years without realising that it is a live tradition, constantly renewing itself in defiance of an academic orthodoxy that denies its right to exist.

Opéra Bastille, Paris, designed by architect Carlos Ott.

University of Pennsylvania

The Opéra Bastille is obviously intended to be a modern rethinking of the traditional opera house, but in turning away from la grande cuisine bourgeoise of the Palais Garnier, Carlos Ott has eschewed nouvelle cuisine and instead has provided the Parisian public with the architectural equivalent of bread and water.

Lorenzo Lippi (1606-1665): Woman with a Mask, detail.

Cleveland Orchestra

Musicians can better their institutions and improve their situations by taking advantage of patrons’ natural desire to know their musicians better. The joy we bring through our music-making creates a bond between us and our audience.

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