Myung-Whun Chung, interview: when music is life or death

MWC 1a

Conductor Myung-Whun Chung doesn’t know if the North Korean musicians he worked with are alive or dead. He talks to Adam Sweeting. Should playing classical music be a matter of life and death? Horrifying reports last year claimed that North Korea’s unpredictable ruler Kim Jong-un had ordered the executions by machine-gun fire of a dozen North Korean musicians from the Unhasu ... Read More »

Explainer: classical music

Nicola Benedetti 1a LLLL

Classical music means more than one thing and explanation is in order. Sometimes I make the distinction between big “C” and little “c”, but even that doesn’t fully solve it. The starting point is this: the “Classical” period in music is generally described as encompassing the works of Haydn (1732-1809) through to Beethoven (1770–1827). Mozart (1756-1791) fits squarely in the middle. In my mind it conjures ... Read More »

Unseen Woodstock photographs displayed 45 years on


The Glastonbury festival is well under way with bands like Metallica and Kasabian among the thousands of artists who will be playing across the weekend. This year, Woodstock, one of the early music festivals which – along with the Monterey Pop festival – arguably laid the foundations for the modern-day music festival, celebrates its 45th anniversary. Over an August weekend ... Read More »

Bobby Womack dies at 70

Bobby Womack, who died on 27 June, performing at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam in July last year. Photograph: Greetsia Tent/WireImage

Soul great who worked with musicians from Sam Cooke to Damon Albarn has died after career spanning nearly six decades Bobby Womack, who has died aged 70, was one of the great soulsingers, who, in a professional career that lasted nearly six decades, worked closely with leading musicians ranging from Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett and Sly Stone to Damon ... Read More »

Afghan Idol escapes Taliban threats to find voice in Australia


Navid Forogh was Afghanistan’s answer to Guy Sebastian, but instead of earning him fame and fortune, Navid’s talent put his life in danger. Making music might seem like a harmless hobby, but for some refugees it’s been a punishable offence. The Voices Without Borders choir is made up of singers forced to flee their homeland. For many, music was their ... Read More »

Art Matters | The Second Life of Performance


Once left behind by the competitive market, live art is now everywhere — thanks in large part to its staunchest advocate, RoseLee Goldberg. I was standing in Marian Goodman Gallery’s booth at the Frieze Art Fair last year when a young girl in jeans and a T-shirt asked me whether I’d rather feel too busy or not busy enough. Nonplused, ... Read More »

The Afghan voice that won’t be silenced

Sayeed at Qargha lake on July 12, 2013. Credit: MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/Getty Images

STORY HIGHLIGHTS Popular Afghan singer Aryana Sayeed has received death threats for dressing liberally Sayeed says she’s targeted for advocating women’s rights A poll ranked Afghanistan as the most dangerous place in the world for women in 2011 In the 1950s to 1970s, however, Afghan women could walk the streets in skirts and heels (CNN) – Dressed modestly, with a red ... Read More »

American soprano Alissa Andraski lives in Ivanhoe East while doing The Opera Studio program, performing in Gertrude Opera’s The Consul at fortyfivedownstairs

Alissa Andraski 1a LLLL

AMERICAN soprano Alissa Andraski has travelled the world for her career for the past seven years. After classical voice training at the famed Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan in the US, Ms Andraski completed a vocal performance degree in Italy. She then moved to Germany to study voice and language, and performed there as well as in Austria, Switzerland and ... Read More »