In the song Wamp Wamp (What It Do), American rapper Malice refers to a Jew who is a "tightwad". Malice, with his brother Pusha T, comprises the acclaimed hip-hop duo The Clipse. Since they specialise in overblown stories of crime escapades, the "tightwad" line is fairly tame in comparison to much of their other material, but it still stands out as a stark example of casual antisemitism.
Pinchas Zukerman is running late. So when he picks up the phone at his offices in Ottawa, Canada, where he has been music director and principal conductor of the National Arts Centre Orchestra since 1998, he is saving time by simultaneously eating a "Shabbat pie" and talking to me, both without apparent difficulty.
In Jack Liebeck's living room, two violin cases lie on the floor, stacks of classical CDs line the shelves and the score of Mendelssohn's violin concerto rests on the coffee table. It is not hard to guess what he does for a living.
One hallmark of the truly great violinists is a sound on the instrument that can be recognised at once as uniquely theirs. Vadim Gluzman has just such a tone, and not just because he plays the Stradivarius that once belonged to Leopold Auer, teacher of the legendary Jascha Heifetz. There is an all-out passion to Gluzman's playing, a gorgeousness that leaves you wanting more of it, fast.
A thriving contemporary music scene where performers play to enthusiastic young audiences? It seems unattainable. But not for the Meitar Chamber Ensemble. This award-winning young Israeli group, founded by pianist Amit Dolberg, consists of nine players who share a passion for contemporary music. They have been working together for seven years, yet their average age is still under 30.
It is 7am in Texas and Emanuel (Manny) Ax is off to the airport. Just hours earlier he gave an all-Schubert piano recital and he probably needed more sleep afterwards than he got; but he insists that he is happy to talk.
Maroon 5's poppy brand of funk, or perhaps funky brand of pop, has served them well. The American band - who sound like a tougher, rockier Jamiroquai, or a less heavy Red Hot Chili Peppers - have sold 15 million albums in under 10 years, and topped singles charts all over the world.
But they undoubtedly would never have become so successful without Adam Levine, their charismatic frontman with the soulful vocals, whose photogenic looks have seen him linked with numerous A-list beauties, including Jessica Simpson and Natalie Portman.