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Jessica Balik

Jessica Balik is a flutist and has a PhD in historical musicology from Stanford University.

Articles by this Author

Archive Review
February 26, 2008

Perhaps it's just me, but I possess a stereotypical image of a brass quintet. It is an image of gray-haired men who chiefly play Renaissance and Baroque music, with the occasional Christmas album thrown into the mix to shake things up a bit.

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Feature Article
February 12, 2008

What would happen if you took the “postmodern” project to its logical conclusion and eradicated the theoretical, conceptual, and practical boundaries between large genres of music like, say, classical, jazz, popular, sound experiments, and electronic composition? That’s a major proposition that drives the leading edge, or bleeding edge (to use a technology term) of contemporary music.

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Archive Review
January 22, 2008

Is it possible to move in two directions simultaneously? Generally, you move either forward or backward. Moving in both directions at the same time seems appreciably trickier, and maybe even impossible outside the realm of quantum physics.

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Archive Review
December 11, 2007

Strangely enough, listening to achingly poignant music can be pleasantly addictive at times. Rather than making you disheartened, sometimes such music seems to uplift. Pieces with wide emotional contrasts can heighten the boost, as moments of blitheness offer easy respite from the solemnity. Heavy contrasts, though, require musicians who can move from lugubrious to lighthearted without missing a beat.

Anne-Marie McDermott and Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg

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Archive Review
December 4, 2007

Concerts full of 20th-century music are not always appealing to audiences. And when concerts are unappealing, they risk being unappreciated, if not avoided. Similarly, if recital spaces as modest as local churches seem unappealing to world-class performers, then such performers might shun performing in them. Such recoiling is dangerous. It can threaten the very existence of concerts.

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Archive Review
November 20, 2007

Nineteenth-century composers were not generous contributors to the flute’s solo repertory. Granted, many French composers wrote morceaux de concours, or contest pieces to be performed by students during competitive examinations at the Paris Conservatory. Aside from those, though, there are surprisingly few Romantic solo pieces for flute. German composers were particularly stingy. Schubert wrote only one big work, a theme and variations for flute and piano. Beethoven did not write even one. Neither did Schumann, Brahms, Mendelssohn, or Richard Strauss.

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