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Alessandro Cassin

Alessandro Cassin is a freelance journalist and Director of Publishing for Centro Primo Levi Editions. His most recent book of interviews, Whispers: Ulay on Ulay (Valiz Foundation Amsterdam, 2014), won the AICA NL Award 2015.

In Conversation

CHARLOTTE DUMAS with Alessandro Cassin

For those who don’t know the work of Charlotte Dumas, a small sampling of her photos is on view in Dutch Seen, a group show of Dutch photographers currently at the Museum of the City of New York, curated by Kathy Ryan.

In Conversation

1984 2.0: Gary Shteyngart with Alessandro Cassin

Lenny Abramov and Eunice Park are the protagonists of the unlikely romance at the core of Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story. He, a schleppy 39-year-old Russian-American, and she, a beautiful 24-year-old Korean-American, meet in Rome before returning to New York.

Betting on the American Dream

According to the latest census, there are nearly 18 million Italian Americans, or roughly 6% of the U.S. population. Yet even in areas of large concentration of Italian Americans such as New York City, their experience is rarely written about.

In Conversation

ULAY with Alessandro Cassin

This past February, Ulay (Uwe Laysiepen) met with the Rail’s Alessandro Cassin in Amsterdam, to begin work on a book project. Here is a preview, which starts from his current interest: water.

Magnificent Obsession: Joann Gedney, The Early Paintings, 1948 – 1963

Magnificent Obsession: Joann Gedney, The Early Paintings, 1948 – 1963, curated by Gregory de la Haba at Rox Gallery, is an art historian’s dream come true: the discovery of a pristine body of work documenting the life and oeuvre of an unknown Abstract Expressionist. In addition to the paintings and drawings selected for the show, there are scores of others in the painter’s Village townhouse, as well as boxes of diaries, notes, and letters that complete a rich background and historical context.

In Conversation

Geography? It Doesn't Exist: Antonio Lobo Antunes with Alessandro Cassin

Antonio Lobo Antunes agreed to meet me in his hotel on Park Avenue South on a sunny afternoon. I was greeted by a youthful, balding, 66-year-old, with slate blue eyes the color of his denim shirt. The Portuguese writer was in New York for just a few days after a twenty year absence.

In Conversation

Kim Kashkashian with Alessandro Cassin

Kim Kashkashian has many voices. What makes this unique viola player stand out among contemporary musicians is her vocation as a substantial communicator.

Butch Morris with Alessandro Cassin

It’s going to be a long, hot summer for Lawrence “Butch” Morris, who over the next few months will be conducting an Italian symphony orchestra, a funk band, and the Chorus of Poets—all through repeated back-and-forth trips between Europe and New York, while also finishing a book about “conduction.”


Cyminology is an acoustic-jazz chamber ensemble whose first ECM recording, As Ney, has the hypnotic qualities of a dream. The disc takes us on a journey which has for its compass an ever-shifting definition of song.

In Conversation

SIMONE DINNERSTEIN with Alessandro Cassin

Pianist Simone Dinnerstein’s path to success reads like the proverbial fairy tale. In 2005, the Brooklyn native and resident, after years of playing in smaller concert venues, community centers, and a medium-security prison, raised $15,000 and self-produced a recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations.

More Songs About Love, Desire, and Restlessness PAOLO CONTE: PSICHE (ECM Records)

Like the best Barbera wine from his hometown of Asti, Paolo Conte’s musicianship improves over time. At 72 the gravelly voiced Italian singer-songwriter has mastered his craft to the point where the unexpected occurs routinely.


Martín’s production follows the arc of the book, covering Arenas’s life from childhood in Cuba to exile in New York City. As a youth, Arenas joined Castro’s rebels and soon moved from the provinces to Havana to pursue writing. But his writings and openly gay lifestyle soon got him into trouble with the Communist regime.

In Conversation

SALVATORE SCIARRINO with Alessandro Cassin

His compositions seem to emerge from below the auditory threshold to captivate with suggestions of lush sensuality. The Italian composer Salvatore Sciarrino, an aesthete born of a world of evanescent sounds, silences, and evocations, is one of the leaders of the European avant-garde.

At Le Poisson Rouge, Three Voices Become One

Walking down the stairs at Le Poisson Rouge on Sunday, November 15—a desolate fish tank hanging overhead—for the only New York appearance of Tre Voci, I can’t stifle my skepticism about the choice of venue. It is sadly paradoxical that a world-class chamber ensemble finds itself, in New York City, where chamber music has a huge following, performing in a basement club, with strobe lights flashing and food and drinks being consumed during the concert.

Rome to New York: Orpheus and Eurydice

Great expectations awaited the return of the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, not having performed in the US since 1969.

Turning Lead To Air: Music for Cello From Primo Levi

Can narrative prose occasion instrumental music? Though countless compositions have been based on literary texts, the process from words to music can be elusive. A case in point was the world premiere of Luciano Chessa’s Piombo (Italian for lead)—from Primo Levi’s story of the same title—for solo cello, performed by the exceptional Frances-Marie Uitti on January 21 at Magazzino Italian Art in Cold Spring, New York, and the following week, at the Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco.

Darker But Still Singing
Anna Gourari’s Canto Oscuro

ianist Anna Gourari belongs among the very best of a growing number of young classical musicians who view making records not as a display of technical and interpretative skill, but as a means of musical exploration. Her recordings are intimate offerings of haunting beauty.

In Conversation

DAVID GREILSAMMER with Alessandro Cassin

For the adventurous concertgoer, David Greilsammer’s recitals are treasured experiences not to be missed. On May 27, the Israeli-born pianist presented his third Sony release, Scarlatti: Cage: Sonatas, at a sold out evening at (Le) Poisson Rouge.

Contrapunctual Music for Spoken Words Only

It took 40 years for Robert Ashley’s The Trial of Anne Opie Wehrer and Unknown Accomplices for Crimes Against Humanity to receive a New York staging.​ The last of three Ashley operas performed at the 2014 Whitney Biennial, the Trial of Anne Opie Wehrer, written in 1968, marks a starting point in the composer’s nearly 50-year groundbreaking process of creating a truly American opera format for of 20th century. This performance established it as a seminal work in contemporary opera.

Exit the Maestro

On this cold, sunny, and sad late January morning, Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris stopped breathing, after months of struggle with lung cancer.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

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