The English Symphony Orchestra’s 21st C. Symphony Project: Nine symphonies, nine composers, one orchestra.

From the latest issue of Musical Opinion Magazine. My manifesto explaining the thinking behind the 21st C. Symphony Project. Subscribe to the magazine here.    On 28 February, 2017, the English Symphony Orchestra will premiere the Third Symphony by Philip Sawyers, the first work in a cycle of nine new symphonies to be commissioned by […]

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Why “A future for music?”

It seems to me that people have been debating whether or not music has a future for as long as there has been music, but in the last 15-25 years, that discussion has taken on a new urgency. Is there a classical music crisis? Are we marketing music wrong? Are we giving the wrong kinds […]

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Entertaining our children to death

It’s not often that something from the New York Times Op-ed pages gets you thinking about music for children, but a blog post by Paul Krugman this week reawakened a line of thought that had been simmering away in my subconscious since the premiere last week of the new orchestral version of my setting of […]

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Music seeks parallel lines

Imagine I suggest we go to the museum together to look at some art. What do you first imagine we’ll be looking at. If you’re like most people, you’ll first assume that we’re going to look at paintings. And maybe a few sculptures? Paintings have been very much on my mind of late. The ESO […]

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Thoughts on the Saint Louis Requiem Protest

Via the Saint Louis Dispatch “Michael Brown protesters interrupted the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s concert on Saturday night, causing a brief delay in the performance at Powell Symphony Hall. The orchestra and chorus were preparing to perform Johannes Brahms’ Requiem just after intermission when two audience members in the middle aisle on the main floor […]

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Facebook ate my blog

We’ve been hearing for a few years about the death of blogs. Certainly, blogs are not dead. When I started Vftp I could find no other active conductor blogs- none.  A number of wise heads warned me that conductors should keep quiet- the more you go on record with your beliefs, the more people will […]

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Bloch’s original language

This week, having Sibelius 2 and Schelomo on my desk at the same time has been a fascinating contrast. Although his music sounds like no one else’s, Sibelius’ technique is a logical outgrowth of the method of working with motivic cells perfected by Beethoven and Brahms. It takes to an extreme the ideal of everything […]

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