Music

Let’s start with the paradoxes. The latest film from Oscar- and Emmy-winning writer-director Aaron Sorkin boasts several. Its two protagonists don’t look all that much like the historical characters they portray (although Nicole Kidman with red hair comes pretty close). The female lead, a comedy legend, has very few funny lines in the story. And, although the movie has the Read More
The writer, director and graphic artist Mike Mills loves to explore family. His own family, to be precise. In Beginners (2010), for which the late Christopher Plummer won an Academy Award, Mills dramatizes his elderly father’s gay relationship with a much younger man. In 20th Century Women (2016), for which Mills himself earned an Oscar nomination for Original Screenplay, Read More
“The Irish are built to leave,” as one character ruefully observes in Sir Kenneth Branagh’s new film, his twenty-second behind the camera. Indeed, many have departed the home soil, but their abiding attachment to it has prompted a wealth of insight and inspiration. You can add Belfast to the mix. Read More
The risk of the project was destined to match the scale of journalist-turned-author Frank Herbert's Dune. Denis Villeneuve's conception has arrived in theatres (and HBO Max), and its sequel has already been greenlighted by Warner Bros. After two viewings, his intentions have become more clear and convincing. Read More
There’s a recipe for just this baroque-era staple included in The Little Bach Book by the Oregon-based tenor, Bach specialist and book designer David Gordon (Lucky Valley Press, 2017). Only 160 pages, including maps, glossary, timeline, recommendations for further reading and, yes, recipes, Gordon’s little book reveals the magnificent Johann Sebastian Bach as a man of his Read More
Adam Driver, left, and Matt Damon in Ridley Scott’s “The Last Duel.” (Patrick Redmond/20th Century Studios) “If we don’t trust each other, this earth might as well be hell.” The words of the Priest in Akira Kurosawa’s landmark of world cinema, Rashômon, still ring true today. His kaleidoscopic tale of a rape and murder in… Read More
You could say that the gifted actor-writer-director Justin Chon’s new film, Blue Bayou, began in Vancouver, Washington. Five years ago, Adam Crapser, a native of South Korea given up for adoption in the United States at the age of three, was deported to his country of birth, because none of his legal guardians had ever… Read More
What is it about some music that feels just right for these challenging times? In Victoria, BC, the theme of the 13th Annual Pacific Baroque Festival is “From the Ground, Up,” featuring just that kind of music: the kind that builds on repetition. Marc Destrubé, the internationally-acclaimed violinist and teacher, and the Pacific Baroque Festival’s Artistic Director, says Read More
“I promise you, children become what they are told they are.” The words of the first teacher to be awarded the National Medal of the Arts, Dorothy DeLay. Her violin students numbered in the hundreds, and they include some of music’s biggest names: Midori, Nigel Kennedy, Sarah Chang, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Anne Akiko Meyers, Gil Shaham and Itzhak Perlman. Read More
Classical music has historically been dominated by white voices. Black composers and musicians have been silenced and barred from musical careers, with a long history of not receiving proper credit for their contributions, and even so far as being kept from being audience members for much of music history. But the future of classical music is diverse and inclusive and Read More
Virginia Woolf was lounging in her pajamas in bed one morning when her doorbell rang. A visitor? That was the last thing she expected that day. But, expected or not, there came the sounds of footsteps: through the foyer, up the staircase and down the hall -- a moment later into her room, and into her life, burst the composer, writer and suffragette Ethel Smyth. Read More
The early 20th century presented a series of uphill battles for women in music. For woman of color, they scaled mountains to compose, play and share their voices. It was a series of old locked doors, blatant racism and intolerance. While many in the white, male-dominated  music community  turned backs, refusing to listen, or even attempted to stop them before they Read More
Was Johannes Brahms as sweet and comforting as the lullaby that bears his name? Actually, as conductor Manfred Honeck told the New York Times, “There was nothing cozy about Brahms.” He never had students in the formal sense. Brahms’s manner was described as “not encouraging,” when younger composers would beg for his attentions. But Antonin Dvorak didn’t have to beg. Read More
Many of us admire our musical idols from afar - maybe through keepsakes like concert ticket stubs, autographs or posters taped to our walls. Marin Alsop had two posters up in her New York City bedroom growing up - one of the Beatles and the other of the man who inspired her to become a conductor - Leonard Bernstein. Bernstein ended up becoming more than the man on her Read More
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