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Virgil Thomson

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Top Virgil Thomson Articles see all

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  • The accordion holds a lofty place

    The accordion holds a lofty place
    MOST people think of the accordion, if they think of it at all, as a social instrument, wheezing out polkas and folk tunes. The sound of it brings to mind French cafes, Mexican plazas, German beer gardens, Argentine nightclubs. Nick Ariondo, perhaps the premier accordionist in Los Angeles, notes that the instrument's portability and its ability to play "everything: melody, chords and accompaniment" have made it popular all over the world.
  • A drama critic's turn to face the music

    A drama critic's turn to face the music
    Critics don't get much respect. (Pause here for raucous laughter.) If you doubt it, look up the word "critic" in any book of quotations and see what you find. H.L. Mencken's "New Dictionary of Quotations" is full of zinger after zinger, most of which...

    Pacific Symphony's American Composers Festival has scores to settle

    Pacific Symphony's American Composers Festival has scores to settle
    Carl St.Clair can clearly recall being in the third grade in his hometown of Yoakum, Texas, and being "marched down to the Grand Theater where we all got to see 'Ben-Hur.' I was totally captivated," he says. "The score was overwhelming to me." Fifty...

    Manifestly Maestro

    Manifestly Maestro
    Just two months ago, I wrote about how my obsession with Elizabeth Taylor colored my choices and changed my life. While that is certainly true, it was an “outside” manifestation, lighthearted and fun. Inside, though, at a much more profound place, it’s my...

    Critic's notebook: Revelatory Henry Cowell revival at Lincoln Center

     
    NEW YORK -- Henry Cowell, the all-American composer of the 20th century, did it all. “I want to live in the whole world of music,” he said. He was “the open sesame of new music in America,” John Cage said....