Here’s your holiday TV binge, classical music fans: today, Amazon released the full first season of Mozart in the Jungle, their new original series based on the controversial 2005 memoir of oboist Blair Tindall.
The series stars Lola Kirke as a character based on Tindall: a talented young musician who lands a spot in a major orchestra in the midst of a leadership transition from a revered veteran conductor (Malcolm McDowell) to a hot young firebrand (Gael Garcia Bernal). A pilot episode was successful enough that Amazon commissioned an entire first season, which is now available for Amazon Prime members to watch online. (The pilot is still free to all.)
The new season will surely reignite debates over just how veridical the show’s picture of the classical music world is. Tindall portrayed the world of high-powered classical musicians in the 80s and 90s as being rife with sex, drugs, and back-stabbing; all of the above make appearances in the series, which is set in present-day New York City. Pianist Andrew Staupe, writing for Classical MPR, called the show entertaining but “laughably absurd”; some readers responded that Staupe just wasn’t going to the right parties.