Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats."
Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, since 2007. All written content © 2014 by Paul Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link.

The Superconductor FAQ

Everything You've Always Wanted to Know about Superconductor
(but were afraid to ask.)
I've never led an orchestra (or worn a bow tie!) The body is Otto Klemperer's.
Original photo © Philharmonia Orchestra/EMI Classics. Photoshop by the author.
To start with, who are you?
My name is Paul J. Pelkonen and I am a professional freelance writer located in Brooklyn, NY. You can look at my resume here. 

What exactly is Superconductor?
Superconductor is an independent web publication ("blog") providing free, unbiased opinions about classical music and opera in New York City. My name is Paul Pelkonen, and I am based in Brooklyn, New York.


What's the name mean? Are you a ("super") conductor?
Actually, I've never conducted an orchestra. The name comes from a song by Rush, "Superconductor." I quote:
"Watch his every move...superconductor.
Orchestrate illusions. 
Watch his every move.
Pin the donkey on the tail, 
fantasy for sale, that's entertainment!"
Lyrics by Neil Peart © 1989 Anthem Entertainment.

Do you play an instrument?
My standard answer is..."15" MacBook Pro." I own a guitar, and a bass. Due to my writing schedule, I almost never have time to play, practice or dabble. I do enjoy singing, and do so, badly.

How did you start this blog?
Superconductor started in 2007. I had been writing regularly for the International Herald Tribune, (now New York Times Global) doing features for the "Ear for Opera" section of the IHT and the old IHT.Com site. I realized that although I had written a lot of articles, I missed writing "proper" criticism. The first review was a Boston Symphony Orchestra performance of Le Damnation de Faust at Carnegie Hall. I bought the tickets myself.

Do you have a music degree?
No. My degrees are in History (B.A., Fordham 1994) and Print Journalism (M.S., Boston University College of Communication, 1996). I got the print journalism degree just in time to start working on the Internet.

So how did you start out in the business?
After finishing graduate school I began working as an Associate Editor at Citysearch.com. I was there for five years and became a freelance writer, specializing in classical music and opera.

You're not a musician. What (the hell) do you know about music?
An awful lot. My background is in journalism, but I have had a passion for classical music and opera since childhood. I've been an opera-goer for 30 years, and have attended concerts regularly starting with the New York Philharmonic as a teenager and Boston Symphony Orchestra as a grad student. I also do my homework, and count books and the occasional non-promotional CD among the budget for the site.

What's your favorite concert hall?
No offense to my friends in New York, but Symphony Hall in Boston is pretty awesome. I also visited Severance Hall in Cleveland last year and enjoyed it very much. That said, Carnegie Hall is "home."

Do you just do reviews?
No. I started adding previews with the Metropolitan Opera Preview in 2009, now  a regular annual feature. I write previews (with recording recommendations) for every performance the Met does, and whatever else looks interesting on the schedule. I've also started offering previews of upcoming concerts and profiles on great conductors and recordings of the past. Recently, I've started posting interviews, and plan to expand into online radio and pod-casting.

How often do you post?
I try to average a post a day. That doesn't mean I don't write more than one in one day and stagger them--a blogger has to take a break once in a while!

How many performances do you see in a week?
A maximum of eight, if the New York Philharmonic is performing a matinee, I might "double up" and see two shows in one day. But that's exhausting. I usually see from four to six concerts or operas a week.

That gets expensive! How do you support this blog?
The blog makes some revenue from banner ads, tiles and skyscrapers, like any other Web publication. It is also possible to "sponsor" a feature or article. All advertising inquiries can be directed to Superconductor. I sell CDs and DVDs through my merchant account on Amazon.com. There is also a PayPal donation button on the front page of the site. Any contribution helps. 

I have a concert to promote. What's the best way to reach you?
I can be reached at ppelkonen@gmail.com

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.