Category: Features

My grandmother, Malvina Charters, reciting Tubal Cain on her last outdoor outing.

Recitare 2015

Like most people, I have many memories of my grandparents reciting poetry they learned 80 or 90 years previously in grade school. Thanks to the horror of rote memorization sweeping through the elementary schools I attended in the 80s, I…

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Esa-Pekka Salonen Carries Olympic Torch

I arrived 45 minutes early and staked out my spot. The dome of St Paul’s and a lovely green tree would make the perfect backdrop for a photograph of Esa-Pekka as he ran by with the torch. What I didn’t…

InvisibleArt

Invisible Art

Nothing to see here…….OR IS THERE? (The less mysterious spambait-looking version is: the Hayward Gallery has an exhibition on now of invisible art. I went and I liked it very much. Read all about it, including some thoughts from gallery…

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The Queen: Art & Image

The National Portrait Gallery has an exhibition about the Queen. There are 60 paintings/images/holograms covering the 60 years of her reign. What does the exhibition tell us about art? Not too much. What does it tell us about the Queen?…

Universe of Sound

So. The Philharmonia Orchestra has this thing on at the Science Museum in London called Universe of Sound that uses HD video, a couple Microsoft Kinects and copies of orchestral parts to give people an idea of what it’s like…

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Chelsea Fringe

A few weeks ago I got to spend a couple days in the sunshine chatting to people about the various gardening projects that made up the inaugural the Chelsea Fringe. The garden-keen amongst you will no doubt be familiar with…

Foster the People

A couple of weeks ago, I sat down with Mark Foster from Foster the People for Time Out New York. At first listen, Torches is a collection of light indie pop with obligatory hand claps and the occasional laser beam…

Ballet Shoes

EN POINTE! from The Apiary on Vimeo. In the autumn, I had a chance to visit the workshop in East London where Freed make their ballet shoes. The tension between fashion and function, art and craft and high and lowbrow…

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Jackie Evancho

Last Sunday I had a piece in the Times about crossover soprano Jackie Evancho. She’s difficult to write about for several reasons, not the least of which being that she’s a child. On the other hand, her parents have decided…

Stephen Merchant

“One of my great frustrations on the tour in England was I was always imagining that there would be gorgeous groupies hanging around outside but most of my groupies are middle-aged guys who work in computing. I shall be intrigued…

Tori Amos: Night of Hunters

Tori Amos has a new record out on Deutsche Grammophon. Whether this is a good thing or the end of the world as we know it is up to you. From my chair, it’s one of the rare crossover projects…

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CBC Radio – from sea to sea to sea

A few weeks ago I had a piece in the LA Times talking about CBC Radio’s 75th anniversary, specifically how it serves as a uniting force in a country of geographical and cultural disparates. It’s 1928, and the Canadian government…

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Dispatch from the Marketing Department

This week, I had the chance to report on two new things from the world of classical music marketing. First, the Vancouver Opera collaborated with marketing agency Taxi to produce a series of adverts pitching opera as adventurous as gondola…

Elbow: Interview Extras

The Manchester band Elbow finished its North American tour last night in Los Angeles. I caught up with them in Toronto on Wednesday. I first heard of Elbow when they did a gig with the Hallé Orchestra as part of…

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Is music above politics? WikiLeaks says no.

The questions was sparked by the Proms protest incident a couple of weeks ago. The instant reaction from music lovers was that it was. Art should not be sullied by petty mortal squabbles etc. The contemporaneous release of unredacted WikiLeaks…

Procession

Sunday afternoon, Miss Mussel found herself wanding around Manchester’s city centre. The weather was glorious, the buskers were out and there were plenty of grass patches upon which Manchester fine citizens were acquiring their orange tinge in a more natural…

Beer, BBQ and Mahler

or what happens when orchestras walk the walk when it comes to appealing to young professionals. Miss Mussel has long admired (and used to participate in) the tsoundcheck program, so was quite delighted when a chance to write about it…

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Language Funtimes With T-Rex And Gendered Nouns

Where was T-Rex during French lessons? Grammar dino style is so much cooler than vocabulary lists and red squiggly lines. (to see the comic translated into French, German and Sanskrit, go here and scroll down. For Latin, go here and…

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Thoughts on the Youtube Symphony Orchestra

Miss Mussel has a piece on the Culture Monster blog about the grand finale concert, the gist of which is: Like the final showcase after a week of band camp, when all the parents come to collect their children, Sunday’s…

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Opera’s Favourite Love Songs

Last week Miss Mussel asked 8 singers from all sorts of different genres about their favourite love songs. The whole list, complete with videos, is on the LA Times Culture Monster Blog. Here’s what songs the opera singers chose: Thomas…