“When classical music is your field, the term ‘genius’ carries another layer of historical baggage. All of us who have dedicated our lives to an art form we see as a vital and fundamental expression of the human soul struggle against the forbidding images of the people who came before us. In classical music, those people were often tortured white men, largely misunderstood and unrecognized until their deaths. This is a mausoleum approach to music that promotes an involuntary social turn toward the reactionary.” Opera director and MacArthur Fellow Yuval Sharon critiques the idea of genius. This article is featured in the LARB Quarterly Journal: No.18 Genius Issue. Sign up for membership to the print and higher level and we'll mail you a copy.
“There has never been an Eastern Europe without Islam. Eastern Europe owes its existence to the intermingling of languages, of cultures, and, perhaps above all, of faiths. It is the meeting place of the Catholic West and the Orthodox East, of Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jewry, of militant Islam and crusading Christianity, of Byzantine mystics and Sufi saints.” Jacob Mikanowski traces the silver thread of Islam in the tapestry of Eastern European culture.
“At the corner of 8th and Market in San Francisco, by a shuttered subway escalator outside a Burger King, an unusual soundtrack plays. A beige speaker, mounted atop a tall window, blasts Baroque harpsichord at deafening volumes. The music never stops.” Theodore Gioia takes aim at the weaponization of classical music.
On BLARB, Sarah Blackwood asks, “Is Motherhood a Genre?”