tue 03/10/2023

Features & Interviews

First Person: Director Sir David Pountney on creating a new 'Masque of Might' from the music of Purcell

Sir David Pountney

Purcell came very early to me. When I was a chorister at St. John’s Cambridge “Jehova quam multi sunt” was a perennial favourite and we were thrilled by the evenings when George Guest brought in some string players to accompany Purcell’s verse anthems. These were special occasions. Then, since no management had the wit to invite me to direct Purcell, I finally engaged myself to direct The Fairy Queen at ENO.

First Person: conductor Edward Gardner on some of his questions and obsessions about Mahler's 'Resurrection' Symphony

Edward Gardner

“If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music.”“What is best in music is not to be found in the notes.”

First Person: 'America's sweetheart...

Carol Williams

I have always had a fascination with concert programmes. I did my Doctorate thesis on this subject. I remember vividly as a youngster attending many...

Side By Side Ukrainian Film Festival, Curzon Soho...

Hugh Barnes

François Truffaut said that there is no such thing as an anti-war film because cinema inevitably glorifies the horror of conflict. The premise was...

First Person: the Bayerisches Staatsorchester...

Guido Gärtner

Nine cities in seven countries; all in all, eleven concerts, on top of that, an appearance at home in Munich. Celebrating its 500th anniversary, the...

First Person: mezzo Stephanie Wake-Edwards on open dialogue and shared goals in the new show 'FEAST'

Stephanie Wake-Edwards

On class, identity and the joy of true collaboration

theartsdesk at the Pärnu Music Festival 2023 - small seaside town, biggest roster of top players

David Nice

Every musician's a star in Paavo Järvi's superband Estonian Festival Orchestra

theartsdesk at the Voces8 Summer School - musical oasis offers opportunities for all

Bernard Hughes

Welcoming environment aids celebration of vocal music in all its forms

'The music business was created for people like me who are not criminal enough to go to jail, and not mad enough to go to the nuthouse'. Sinéad O'Connor, 1966-2023

Peter Culshaw

An interview with the great singer in 2013 in which she discusses her new album, God, pharmacology and Bob Dylan

Appraising Billie Holiday's 'Fine and Mellow' - anatomy of a jazz masterpiece

Tony Staveacre

The making of a thrilling document about jazz

First Person: tenor Elgan Llŷr Thomas on recording a queer-themed album

Elgan Llŷr Thomas

Collaborating with Iain Burnside on Britten, Tippett, Gipps, Browne - and the author

First Person: composer Lukas Ligeti on how his father György inspired a new approach

Lukas Ligeti

As the Aldeburgh Festival celebrates Ligeti Senior's 100th anniversary, his son reflects

First Person: playwright Tom Fowler on allowing room for 'Hope'

Tom Fowler

The Royal Court playwright discusses the influences on his newly acclaimed play

First Person: pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason on how childhood informs her latest recording

Isata Kanneh-Mason

Once-popular Dohnányi masterpiece gets a new lease of life in a personal selection

theartsdesk in Denmark - celebrating Nielsen in high style

David Nice

'Nielsen, Nielsen, Nielsen!' presents the greatest of symphonists in the round

First Person: composer Kate Whitley on a new work for the Borletti-Buitoni Trust’s 20th anniversary

Kate Whitley

True collaboration about social media with the Multi-Story Orchestra at its core

'Right now, we're in chaos': pianist and Leeds Lieder director Joseph Middleton on catastrophic cuts to arts funding

Joseph Middleton

A superb organisation is commended, then gets its grant axed for missing 'data collection'

First Person: composer Russell Hepplewhite on setting John Burningham's 'Borka' to music

Russell Hepplewhite

The goose with no feathers embarks on an operatic tour

First Person: violinist and animateur Bjarte Eike on filming the celebrated Alehouse Sessions

Bjarte Eike

Barokksolistene's mover and shaker on the thinking behind his group's 'old pop music'

First Person: young composer Chris Brooke on his fanfare for the Coronation Bandstand Project

Chris Brooke

Music for Youth's big venture celebrated by one of its musicians

A different angle on the Anne Frank story in 'A Small Light'

Adam Sweeting

Bel Powley, Liev Schreiber and Joe Cole star in Disney's new eight-part drama

First Person: Sophie Haydock on going beyond the grave

Sophie Haydock

Sophie Haydock traces the ups and downs of securing a memorial for Adele Harms, subject of her debut novel, 'The Flames'

Hunting legendary treasure with ballet's Indiana Jones - Pierre Lacotte 1932-2023

Ismene Brown

The prolific recreator of early ballets has died, leaving a lively argument

First Person: Donatella Flick on why the conducting competition in her name is needed more than ever

Donatella Flick

The 17th Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition reaches its final tonight

First Person: Anna Clyne on composing collaborations, not battles, in her latest concertos

Anna Clyne

UK premiere of 'Weathered' for clarinettist Martin Fröst is among a series of new works

Axing the BBC Singers: four associated musicians on why it's so wrong


Dame Sarah Connolly leads musical voices on the latest cultural vandalism

'You want to cry from loving to do it so much' - Lynn Seymour 1939-2023

Ismene Brown

Remembering the unique ballerina who injected me with her poison

First Person: conductor Harry Bicket on filming the complete Handel for The English Concert's big new project

Harry Bicket

On creating 'Handel for All', a free online resource featuring top performances

Extract: The Northern Silence - Journeys in Nordic Music and Culture by Andrew Mellor

Andrew Mellor

The pandemic’s failure to silence Denmark and the power of communal sound


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters

latest in today

Hewitt, Basel Chamber Orchestra, Bard, Bridgewater Hall, Man...

The Basel Chamber Orchestra’s 21 string players on tour are an extraordinary set of musicians. Not only did they begin their programme in...

'The people behind the postcards': an interview wi...

Priya Hein’s debut novel, Riambel, is an excoriating examination of Mauritius’ socio-political structures and the colonial past from...

Blu-ray: Targets

Targets (1968), Peter Bogdanovich’s first feature is generally regarded as a great film. And yet, it came out of a mixture of...

Faust, Irish National Opera review - world-class singing tur...

Is Gounod’s Faust really a “complex and multi-layered work”, as director Jack Furness claims? Goethe’s original and Berlioz’s ...

Sarah Lucas: Happy Gas, Tate Britain review - overcrowding m...

I think of Sarah Lucas as the bad girl of British art, the one who uses her wicked sense of humour to point to rampant misogyny and call out the...

Connolly, BBC Philharmonic, Storgårds, Bridgewater Hall, Man...

The opening concert of a new season often tends to be a statement of intent, and this was John Storgårds’ opener of the first full season since he...

Album: Sufjan Stevens - Javelin

Sufjan Stevens, so we’ve heard, has just been struck down with a rare and immobilising disease – the Guillain-Barré syndrome. With characteristic...

I Fagiolini, Hollingworth, Kings Place review - magnificent...

It was great to see Kings Place full on Saturday night for I Fagiolini’s take on the Monteverdi Vespers, added, rock’n’roll style, as an...

PJ Harvey, Roundhouse, London review - incandescent perfecti...

London’s Roundhouse is a very special venue. For decades the circular shed, with its elegant ironwork supporting structures has hosted a wonderful...