The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Queer-friendly website tracks the cultural contributions of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people | August 9, 2011

By Jacob Stockinger

I recently came across a website or blog that I found particularly interesting and original.

It is called, humorously, “My Big Gay Ears.” But it is also a very appropriate title given how much of the content is devoted to music, though you will also find dance and other art forms treated.

It is written by critic and former record producer Joseph Dalton (below), and it features a look at queer culture from a perspective that is friendly, encouraging and admiring of  people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered.

Why that particular focus? you might ask.

He answers that question very well and insightfully here:

Dalton also hosts another, more traditional website that is as informative, if less entertaining or more conventional:

The city of Madison, Dane County and the University of Wisconsin have long been known as a tolerant refuge for LGBT people. So not surprisingly, you can find many Madison-related topics on the website. (The website’s search engine is very good, I have found. And there is a list of keywords to entries.)

For instance, down towards the bottom of the page you will reviews of recording. Two are currently featured. Both have ties to the University of Wisconsin School of music. One is a recording on composer and song master Lee Hoiby, who recently died. The other is a review of a work by Chester Biscardi (below), who is a UW graduate in English and Italian as well as music  and who teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.(Hear a Biscardi song at the bottom of this post.)

But you can also find interviews with some musicians who have played in Madison recently. They include pianists Jean-Yves Thibaudet (on playing the complete Ravel, who was a gay composer) and Jeremy Denk (below), with whom, I gave a panel discussion of blogging last winter.

You will also find stories relating to violinist Jennifer Koh, singer Deborah Voigt, conductor Marin Alsop and many, many others.

The offerings are varied and plentiful. You will find reviews and critiques; interviews; and general features.

Here is a link:

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did – and will continue to do.

Let me know what you think of it.

The Ear wants to hear.

Posted in Classical music


  1. I’d be cautious about what you said about Ravel, as his ambiguity, and lack of sexuality, really, in his life doesn’t exactly mean he was gay (there’s really no proof of that, however some have concluded that…)

    Comment by Kenneth Kusiak — August 9, 2011 @ 9:31 am

    • Hi Ken,
      Thanks for reading and replying with a note of caution.
      You’re right that there is no definitive behavioral proof of Ravel having been gay.
      But the best scholarship I’ve found concludes that he was.
      If someone can correct that, please do.

      Comment by welltemperedear — August 9, 2011 @ 10:09 am

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