Juliana Madrone

Musicologist | Professor | Cellist | Writer

The Ghostly Specter of Success

I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about the role of music and art in our lives. Faced with the constant capitalist push to buy and sell, make something and then make more, I too often find myself arguing for the worth of art in today’s society. This is not just a matter of […]

Hearing Ravel

In a rather desperate attempt to find some music to play with my violinist friend that is actually written for our instruments, rather than arranged, I happened upon the Ravel Sonata for Violin and Cello. The CD booklet for my recording calls the sonata “prickly,” and the piece is certainly a side of Ravel we […]

Beck’s Song Reader

Well, dear blog, it has been awhile. My only excuse is that it has been a year of transition. Nothing gives one perspective like transition, and while this has been true for me on a personal level, I think it also applies to our musical culture.  (Though when I write that, it occurs to me, […]

DNA and place

There is a complicated term often bandied about the wine world that I’m beginning to think may have an application in music as well: terroir. It’s complicated both because there is no exact translation for this French concept, and also because there are those who debate its relevance. It’s the overarching term for the influence […]

Get ’em while they’re young!

  People have been foretelling the death of classical music for decades now. Actually, this naysayer trend is more like several hundred years old, almost as old as the roots of what we consider classical music. But the only art that dies is the one that becomes divorced from creativity, from inspiration, from life. I […]

Tor Aulin, Emil Sjögren; what were you all just talking about?

I’m sitting here in a mundane little room surrounded by shelves and shelves of archival material. It’s strange to think that what looks like bland piles of paper are actually the remnants of someone’s assuredly colorful life. And these remnants are so small and unimportant looking… I am struck by the notion, as I peer […]

Topics for conversation…

Question: Why does no one converse about so-called classical music anymore? In Haydn’s day, even in Beethoven’s day, heck as recent as Stravinsky’s day, the audience for these great men passed judgment with the ease that one passes judgment on the likes of Lady Gaga today. There were of course, the “experts” then too, who […]


I’ve been thinking about spring a lot lately; it’s impossible not to really, when the tulips are bursting forth with such force and the birds outside my window so thoroughly drown out the usual morning stirrings. Even the apple blossoms are valiantly hanging on against the last violent breaths of winter. How incongruous these images […]

Musical Spaces

Anyone who plays an instrument usually appreciates its beauty as a physical object, but this amazing photo takes us inside the incredible craftsmanship of a string instrument – literally to the place where all the magic happens. I’ve been revisiting the Thomas Tallis Lamentations; something about this awkward place between the end of bleak winter and the […]

Spring Classical Music Preview (L.A. Times)

The Los Angeles Times does a great job with their Spring classical music preview: John Cage, John Adams anniversaries.  Really wish I was on the West Coast for the “Don Giovanni” with Frank Gehry designed sets.