Sofia's St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, one of the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals in the world.

Sofia's St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, one of the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals in the world.

Milky water of the Blue Lagoon

Milky water of the Blue Lagoon

Fountains at Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg.

Fountains at Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg.

Band practice.

Band practice.


Lohengrin and the feminine redemption

Video of a classic performance and scene gets to the core of Wagner's philosophy of art

The time has come to baptize this little playlist. We’ve worked around the Germanic pantheon of composers with Beethoven, Mahler, and Bruckner but it’s time to bring the lumber and add Wagner. This scene, Lohengrin’s ...

Juan Vargas, international hipster

Thanks to repeated free trips to Germany

Congressman Juan Vargas and his staff are getting ever more familiar with Germany, thanks to repeated free trips there provided by the German Marshall Fund of the United States and Robert Bosch Stiftung, two big ...

Hidden Lisbon

Fado music, saudade and more in Portugal's slow-to-reveal capital.

The slightly dirty tile sidewalks welcomed us as we left our hostel to begin our first day in Lisbon. The magic in this city was palpable from the get-go. As we followed the trail of ...

The Umbrage Files: "Diva" edition

Every now and then you've got to take umbrage with something

I haven’t taken umbrage with anything in a while. What good is a column without some umbrage? Today’s umbrage is brought to you by the term diva. Nowadays, we have three-year-olds wearing "diva in training" ...

Gergiev and Vienna do Scheherezade in Salzburg

The curated video playlist's third entry highlights a great conductor and a classic story

It’s time for another video installment. This is video number three. Since Beethoven’s Fifth is the starting point for the playlist, how do a Russian composer and a Russian conductor fit in? Via the orchestra, ...

"For a remember of Sarajevo"

Bosnia's formerly war-torn capital is an Eastern Europe gem.

It was 38 degrees Celsius (100F) when we arrived in Sarajevo. The soaring minarets that mark the Islamic world were ubiquitous. It also happened to be a national religious holiday in Bosnia – Ramadan Bajram ...

Music video number ein

Beethoven's Fifth is the start of a curated approach to classical music videos on the internet

This is the first of a series of curated YouTube videos. As videos are featured they will be added to a playlist here. The first piece to be featured is Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. Don’t ...

Zen Buddhism on the conductor's platform

Sergiu Celibidache conducted according to the principle of ichigo ichie

Alexander Scriabin was the composer who wanted to compose us all into nirvana. Sergiu Celibidache was the conductor who wanted to conduct us into enlightenment. Celibidache brought Zen Buddhism to the conductor’s podium along with ...

Take up the cause of Schmidt

Austria's local hero Franz Schmidt get a rare performance at this year's Proms

The BBC Proms is taking up the cause of Franz Schmidt in a concert on September 10 at London’s Royal Albert Hall. A performance of Schmidt’s Symphony No. 2 will be given by the Vienna ...

Wave of the baton creates political intrigue

Daniel Barenboim's global approach has displeased major powers

Politics in classical music is not new. Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Shostakovich, and countless other composers were politically active and, at times, censored. Almost every mid-20th-century conductor, singer, and instrumental soloist was politicized by World War ...

Who says you can't do Paris in two days?

Tips on covering the Paris essentials, plus a couple less-touristed options.

Arriving in Paris without your luggage might seem like a huge damper for the start of a mini–Euro trip. But with the sights and sounds of the City of Lights, all thoughts of my lost ...

Lost to history but preserved in legend

Beethoven's Coriolan is the esoteric pick of the week

Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture is not an esoteric piece of music. The overture is quite popular, in and of itself. The overture is not a freestanding piece, though. It was written as incidental music for a ...

Art meets nature in the Canaries

Lanzarote offers an off-beat artsy vibe, stunning beaches and volcanic wonders.

The island of Lanzarote, part of Spain’s Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa, is for many budget tourists synonymous with cookie-cutter resort towns and all-inclusive holiday packages. The truth is that the island’s ...

Elegant and unimportant

Faure's Pavane not that revolutionary

Let’s get a little crazy and combine a summer piece of music with the esoteric pick of the week. The power of this concept is overwhelming me. It’s the perfect summer storm. Faure composed his ...

Absorbed in history-rich Berlin

The city's chock-full of culture, monuments and off-the-beaten-path finds.

Berlin was always on our list of places to go someday, but the timing just never seemed right for one reason or another. As it turned out, May 2015 was the 70th anniversary of the ...

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