Virgil Thomson

Latest Articles


Message points

Instrumental music isn't very dependable at conveying specific non-musical subject matter.
Christian Scott's political science, Anita Coelho's connections
By JON GARELICK  |  March 12, 2010


Nobody likes labels — except maybe critics. And we all want to live by Duke Ellington's measure of quality: beyond category. Beyond names and borders, that is, in a post-racial society. And yet, the word "fusion" — at least in music — has a pejorative c
Natraj and friends expand their neighborhoods
By JON GARELICK  |  January 15, 2010

Review: Fig Trees

Here's a first: an AIDS documentary nested inside an opera that's obsessed with albino squirrels, figs, palindromes, and Pythagoras.
Strikes a delicate balance among solemnity, wry humor, and rage
By SHAULA CLARK  |  May 08, 2009


It would be fun to report that in the same weekend Bostonians got to hear two operas from two different centuries that take place on their home turf.
Boston Lyric Opera’s Un ballo in maschera ; Scott Wheeler’s The Construction of Boston
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  April 05, 2007

Sense in the sound

In Stephen Sondheim’s old formulation, opera is about music and musical theater is about words.
When it comes to singing (jazz and otherwise), it's about more than words
By JON GARELICK  |  September 20, 2006


James Bolle’s final concert of Monadnock Music’s summer season began with a work that had had its premiere in Keene, New Hampshire, 70 years and three days earlier.
American ballet music at Monadnock; a young Latin American conductor at Tanglewood
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  August 30, 2006


Carried away

I’ve heard a lot of music in the past couple of weeks — concerts by two major symphony orchestras, with two major young violinists, a hot new-music group, and two opera productions.
Frederic Rzewski, eighth blackbird, Yan Pascal Tortelier & the London Philharmonic, Emmanuel Krivine & the BSO, BLO’s La traviata, Teatro Lirico’s magical Flute
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  April 04, 2006

Don’t shoot the piano players

Twenty years ago, Fred Hersch was known as a talented young jazz pianist and teacher at New England Conservatory.
Fred Hersch, Ran Blake, and Charles Gayle take solos
By JON GARELICK  |  March 23, 2006

Making it new

The avant-garde ain’t what it used to be.
Ballet mécanique in Washington, the Callithumpians’ Xenakis, Mark Morris in New York and Boston, Yo-Yo Ma at the BSO, Harbison’s But Mary Stood
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  March 21, 2006

Ralph Hamilton

My lovable, impossible friend of more than 30 years, the artist Ralph Hamilton, died on February 19, of complications from diabetes. He was only 59. It’s a very sad loss. He was one of Boston’s most original and searching painters and had been doing some
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  March 09, 2006