When conductor Gustavo Dudamel mounted the podium in his debut with the New York Philharmonic in November, he was carrying something special. Moments before he went onstage for the first of four concerts, the orchestra's archivist went to his dressing room to lend him a baton used by Leonard Bernstein. "I could not speak," says Dudamel.
For the last decade, American museums have been on a building binge. The "Bilbao effect"—the urgent desire to replicate the success of Frank Gehry's 1997 Guggenheim Museum in Spain—sent museum bigwigs scurrying to erect daring designs bearing the stamp of a big-name architect.
A self-sustaining charity so simple it's brilliant.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is so iconic, you tend to forget the political tempest that surrounded it more than 25 years ago. After the design--by a then-unknown Yale undergrad named Maya Lin--beat out 1,420 contenders in a blind competition, big shots such as Ross Perot, as well as 27 Republican congressmen, tried to block the starkly elegant plan.
Luciano Pavarotti was one of the biggest opera stars of the last century, but he was much bigger than opera. A lyric tenor whose remarkable voice was so honeyed and brilliant that even non-opera lovers were readily moved by its beauty, he married his natural musicality with a blatant gift for showmanship.
Architects in China have rarely had to worry about a lack of work; a few years ago, according to a report by Rem Koolhaas and his students at Harvard, China already had "one tenth the number of architects as in the U.S. designing five times the volume of projects." But the work tends to be grim; most designers toil in government institutes, churning out blueprints for one soulless high-rise after another.
While the contemporary architects who draw the most attention these days tend to design extravagant, explosive, fluid forms—which are translated into real structures by employing computer technology—other architects have been focusing on the essential elements of modern architecture.
Vanessa Redgrave is standing in the damp chill of a New York City street smoking a cigarette. It's early January and she's just given a talk, with writer Joan Didion, about "The Year of Magical Thinking," the upcoming one-woman Broadway show that Didion adapted from her 2005 memoir of her husband's death.