Recently by Joseph Horowitz
It's again my good fortune to be Artistic Director of the National Endowment for the Arts' Classical Music Critics Institute, which -- as was recently announced -- will take place Oct. 9 to 19, hosted by Columbia University. I mention this partly in the hope that some readers of this blog may be interested in applying. We accept 25 applicants from all over the US. Some call themselves critics, some are bloggers, many do other things as well. Evenings are spent attending concerts. During the day, there are workshops, lectures, and visits of various kinds.
As ever, the institute is scheduled to coincide with the fall's most auspicious New York classical music events. In seasons past we have gorged on Valery Gergiev's Prokofiev, Bernard Haitink's Mahler, and Jeremy Denk's Ives. We've met with Gergiev and Denk, we've watched Gianandrea Noseda rehearse the New York Philharmonic. Our meetings with Peter Gelb, at the Met, and George Steel, at the City Opera, are a study in contrasts. Alex Ross and Justin Davidson are regularly at hand in some capacity.
This year, our October dates key on the Met's new Boris Godunov, conducted by Gergiev, with René Pape in the title role and Peter Stein -- a great name in German theater -- directing. High expectations are in order -- and high curiosity. Pape sings words as meaningfully -- as tangibly, a gift given to few (Hans Hotter leaps to mind) -- as any operatic artist alive; but can he do it in Russian? We'll also hear Gergiev conduct Mahler's Sixth with his Mariinsky Orchestra -- a singularly dark-toned instrument that defies the sameness of increasingly interchangeable world-class orchestras.