At the Salzburg Festival this summer, Herbert Blomstedt was a big hit. He was a big hit onstage with the Vienna Philharmonic, and, an hour afterward, a big hit on a smaller stage with Jay. Blomstedt quoted Picasso: “It took me many years to become youthful.” And he described music as a “search for truth.” An inspiring – and fun – conversation (complete with plenty of singing).

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Javier Camarena is one of the leading tenors in the world. He is a guest at the Salzburg Festival, and participated in a series of conversations hosted by the Salzburg Festival Society. The moderator of this series is Jay. This episode of “Q&A” gives you excerpts of the conversation with Camarena. Jay actually had an encounter with this tenor in an opera house years ago – a story that Jay tells toward the end of the episode. It could be that Javier Camarena, in addition to being a bel canto idol, is the politest man in the arts.

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The Ravinia Festival is the famous music festival outside Chicago. Its longtime president and CEO is Welz Kauffman – who talks with Jay about his life and work. Kauffman has been in the business since the ’80s, encountering the great and the good (and the bad). He has seen changes in American culture, for better or worse. He has his eye on the scene and his finger on the pulse.

A bonus fact: He matriculated with Barack Obama (then known as “Barry”) at Occidental College. And was present for what was probably the future president’s first public speech of any significance.

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Kyle Parker is on Putin’s “wanted” list – one of the people Putin wants handed over to the FSB, for questioning. Parker is the chief of staff at the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and a father of the Magnitsky Act, a law that gives Putin a stomach ache. With Jay, Parker talks about life on the list and much more. An interesting and invaluable guy, Kyle Parker.

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Bill Browder is the financier whose lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, was tortured to death by Russian authorities. Since that time, Browder has worked for justice, spearheading “Magnitsky acts,” which are laws that place sanctions on Russian human-rights abusers.

Browder is high on Putin’s enemies list. Indeed, he is high on Putin’s literal list: the list of people whom Putin wants handed over to the FSB – formerly the KGB – in a deal with President Trump. Putin singled out Browder at the recent Trump-Putin press conference.

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Thea Musgrave is a Scottish-American composer and a delight. This year, she and the music world have marked her 90th birthday. Jay sat down with her in her home in New York to talk things over. They talk about her life and her music – and other people’s music. Her husband, the conductor Peter Mark, chimes in with an excellent cameo.

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They called Barry Goldwater “Mr. Conservative.” In a scholarly sense, George H. Nash merits that designation, too: He is one of the world’s leading authorities on conservatism, and on American conservatism in particular. He wrote a landmark book on the subject. He is also the outstanding biographer of Herbert Hoover. Jay talks with Mr. Nash about his background: an upbringing in Massachusetts; attendance at Amherst and Harvard. Then the discussion turns to conservatism: What is it and what isn’t it? Later, Jay asks what he calls an “Oprah-esque” question about Hoover: What is most misunderstood about him? The conversation ends with reflections on what makes an historical mind. George H. Nash has an impressive one.

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Omar Mohammed is an Iraqi historian and “citizen journalist.” Jay says he is one of the most extraordinary people you will ever meet. At tremendous risk to himself, he chronicled the Islamic State’s occupation of Mosul. What he saw might destroy the average person. But he has pressed on, simply because he wants the world to know, in the hope that people will defend themselves better against the Islamic States of the future.

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David Luhnow is the Latin America editor for the Wall Street Journal. An American, he grew up in Mexico City. His brother Jeff is the general manager of the Houston Astros. (Have they done anything lately?) With Jay, David Luhnow talks about various matters Mexican: crime, economy, culture, politics, and more. The next president is expected to be AMLO – Andrés Manuel López Obrador. He is a left-wing populist and “old-fashioned Mexican nationalist,” as Luhnow says. Things could get interesting in a hurry.

Luhnow is a remarkably well-informed, remarkably balanced, and remarkably clear explainer. At the end of this episode, Jay says he wishes there were a David Luhnow for every region of the world.

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Mu Sochua was born in 1954. She left Cambodia when she was 18, three years before the Khmer Rouge came to power. Most of her family was wiped out. She returned and took up a political career. She served in the government but later turned to the opposition. She is now in exile. Monovithya Kem is the daughter of the opposition leader, Kem Sokha – who is now in prison. Like Mu Sochua, the leader’s daughter is now in exile. Jay Nordlinger talked with them both at the Oslo Freedom Forum. Of great interest.

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It is NBA Finals time, so that means another episode with Jay’s gurus from the last NBA podcast: Vivek Dave, Theodore Kupfer, and David French. They talk Warriors vs. Cavs and more. Something has happened since the last podcast: David has declared, in an “historic” essay, as Jay says, LeBron James the GOAT — the Greatest of All Time. What does the panel think about that? And other major questions.

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Emmanuel Jal has had an extraordinary life – probably not one you would wish on anyone. He was born in Sudan, sometime in the early 1980s (he’s not sure when). As a child, he was forced to be a soldier. His mother was killed. So were many, many other members of his family. He spent several years – the heart of his childhood – in combat. Eventually, he was adopted by a British aid worker named Emma McCune. She took him to the safety of Nairobi, where she died in a road accident a few months later. Through trial and tribulation, Jal became an entrepreneur, a hip-hop artist, a clinician, and more. He has a great deal to share, a great deal to say. Listen to him talk to Jay. 

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Gianandrea Noseda is the music director of the National Symphony Orchestra. He is also one of the best interviewees in all of music (as Jay knows from experience). Noseda was in New York, to guest-conduct the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and Jay sat down with him — to talk about orchestras, Mozart, Mahler, YouTube, and more. At the end, Jay says, “Can you possibly put into words why you like music?” A conversation with Noseda is equal parts deep and fun.

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In 2000, when he was running for president, George W. Bush said he wanted to encourage “a culture of responsibility.” He wanted to be “the responsibility president.” Then came 9/11 and the thrust of his presidency changed. At any rate, Jay recalls Bush in this conversation with David L. Bahnsen, the author of “Crisis of Responsibility: Our Cultural Addiction to Blame and How You Can Cure It.” This has to do with money, drugs, immigration, and a lot more. Bahnsen is a foe of bogeymen and scapegoats. Jay says that Bahnsen’s words are music to his ears, and they may be to yours, too. In any case, Bahnsen is a man worth listening to, for he goes to the heart of America’s problems.

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At the Ricochet Podcast Summit, Jay’s guest was Nury A. Turkel, who had a grim and horrifying topic to discuss: a new gulag in China, which contains up to a million Uyghurs (a Turkic minority). Turkel himself is a Uyghur American. This issue is personal, national, and international, all three. Something to know about, in a world pregnant with horrors.

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Manfred Honeck is one of the leading conductors in the world. A member of a prominent Austrian musical family, he is the music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and this week he is guest-conducting the New York Philharmonic. Jay sits down with him for a wide-ranging discussion: about music and the musical life. An excellent opportunity to hear the thoughts of a true and deep musician. 

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This “Q&A” begins with Jeb Bush talking about his late mother, Barbara Bush. Also, what’s it like to be part of a family so well-known? Then he and Jay get down to public policy: guns, immigration, the opioid epidemic, education, entitlement reform, trade. They talk about populism and nationalism and politics at large. Jeb Bush is at his knowledgeable and wide-ranging best. 

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It is a wonderful time of the year, with the NBA playoffs underway. What makes the NBA great? This is one of the questions that Jay takes up with three friends who are eminently qualified to say: David French, Theodore Kupfer, and Vivek Dave. How does the college game differ from the pro game? Are “super-teams” a problem? What about “tanking”? Who are the best players? Is LeBron the GOAT (the Greatest of All Time)? And more. A delightful episode, with three experts and enthusiasts. It’s catchable, that enthusiasm. 

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Free of columny, as William Safire called it, Thomas Sowell is writing books — as he always has, to be sure. His latest is “Discrimination and Disparities.” It does what Sowell books, and columns, always do. It teaches you important things.

With Jay, Sowell talks about human diversity. He talks about equality of opportunity and equality of results. (Two very different things.) He talks about the manipulation of statistics, a sore point.

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On Saturday, the Final Four will be played. And on Monday, the championship game will be played. What are we talking about? College basketball, the NCAA Tournament, March Madness. Jay’s guest is his young National Review colleague Theodore Kupfer (“Teddy K.”), who is a philosophy grad, steeped in sports. Jay and Teddy talk about the current tournament and also about larger issues: How corrupt is college basketball? Should athletes be paid? Are announcers any good? Can something be done about the often-interminable last few minutes of a game?

Enjoy the analysis of a whiz kid, Theodore Kupfer. 

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