Arts

Tiny Desk Concerts
2:32 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Simone Dinnerstein: Tiny Desk Concert

Simone Dinnerstein performs a Tiny Desk Concert in April 2014.
Jim Tuttle NPR

Almost any pianist, from a budding beginner to a pro like Simone Dinnerstein, will tell you that one of the basic techniques of keyboard playing is also the toughest to master: making your hands to do separate things simultaneously.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:31 am
Mon June 2, 2014

The Silence And Awe Of Arvo Pärt

Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, creator of contemplative music, photographed in 1990 by influential patron Betty Freeman.
Betty Freeman ECM Records

Originally published on Tue June 3, 2014 12:54 pm

Arvo Pärt is one of the few living composers to find popularity beyond the borders of classical music. R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe and Bjork are big fans.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:02 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Post-Apocalyptic Picnics And Hollywood Steakhouses In Gabriel Kahane's LA

Gabriel Kahane is the rare musician who travels easily between classical, musical theater and pop. His new album is The Ambassador.
Josh Goleman Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat May 31, 2014 6:35 pm

Though New York City-based Gabriel Kahane wasn't raised there, The Ambassador feels like a musical tour of Los Angeles. The album makes 10 stops in the city where the composer and singer-songwriter was born and only came to appreciate later in life, each with a specific address used as the song title.

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Music
4:21 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

State Of The Art: New York Philharmonic's Biennial

Music collective Bang on a Can All-Stars is one of the musical partners sharing a bill with the New York Philharmonic during the Biennial.
Konstantin Sergeyev Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 8:22 pm

Alan Gilbert, music director of the New York Philharmonic, isn't scared of new music — and he doesn't think audiences should be, either.

"Frankly, the reason I do new music is I like a lot of it," Gilbert says.

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Classics in Concert
4:10 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Music By Arvo Pärt, From The Met Museum's Temple Of Dendur

Estonian composer Arvo Pärt's music is celebrated at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a performance of his choral work Kanon Pokajanen at the Temple of Dendur.
Kristian Juul Pedersen AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 3:11 pm

Arvo Pärt's devout, contemplative, seemingly timeless music speaks to modern listeners as almost no other composer's does. It has the purity and gravity of monastic chant, the clarity of minimalism and a profound spirituality. These qualities have helped it find a broad audience outside the confines of classical music.

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Deceptive Cadence
12:04 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Read Joyce DiDonato's Inspiring Juilliard Commencement Speech

Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato.
Simon Pauly Courtesy of the artist

Star mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato gave the 2014 commencement address at Juilliard Friday — and it's a memorable one, both for her words and by DiDonato's own example as someone whose own career began under low heat.

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Deceptive Cadence
5:35 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

How Do You Get Latino Kids Into Classical Music? Bring The Parents

The 85 musicians in the Santa Cecilia Orchestra are paid professionals who play with other symphonies and in Hollywood studios.
Courtesy of the Santa Cecilia Orchestra

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 8:37 pm

Outside the concert hall at Occidental College, in Los Angeles' Eagle Rock neighborhood, children are invited to test out the instruments the Santa Cecilia Orchestra will play later. Alexa Media Rodriguez, 8, says she and her family have never before been to an orchestra concert. She heard about the orchestra when some of the musicians visited her school.

"I brought my dad, my stepmom," she says, "my sister, my brother and my sister's cousin ..."

That's the thing about this orchestra, says conductor Sonia Marie De Leon De Vega: The children are bringing the parents.

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Music Videos
12:52 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Mark Stewart On Q2 Music's 'Spaces'

Q2 Music

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 11:06 am

In his own words, Mark Stewart makes a living playing a little bit of popular music, quite a bit of semi-popular music and an enormous amount of unpopular music — the last being all the music you probably haven't heard.

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First Listen
11:03 pm
Sun May 25, 2014

First Listen: Gabriel Kahane, 'The Ambassador'

Gabriel Kahane's new album, The Ambassador, comes out June 3.
Josh Goleman Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 11:59 am

Composer and singer-songwriter Gabriel Kahane says that the inspiration for his new album, The Ambassador, is 10 buildings in Los Angeles — appropriate, given what a gifted musical architect he is.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:58 pm
Sat May 24, 2014

A Few Words With Ennio Morricone

Ennio Morricone became a fixture of global culture with his film music — but as a young composer, he was a radical.
Courtesy of Armonia AC

Originally published on Sun May 25, 2014 2:10 pm

Today at the Cannes Film Festival, attendees marked the 50th anniversary of the spaghetti western at a special screening of A Fistful of Dollars, the Sergio Leone classic that kick-started the genre. Leone's vision of the American West remains singular — and it's impossible to imagine without the iconic music of Ennio Morricone.

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Deceptive Cadence
5:33 am
Sat May 24, 2014

Marin Alsop's Guide To Mendelssohn's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'

Titania awakes clinging rapturously to Bottom, still wearing the donkey's head, in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Mendelssohn wrote music for a production of the play in 1843.
Henry Fuseli Getty Images

Originally published on Sat May 24, 2014 2:09 pm

Growing up as a violinist, Felix Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto ranked among my top 10 Holy Grail pieces. As I got older, I moved on to his Octet and Piano Trio in D minor, which became two of my favorite chamber works. There's almost nothing comparable to playing Mendelssohn's Octet with seven great string players. It's absolutely thrilling, energetic, virtuosic, youthful, fun and challenging. And to think that Mendelssohn wrote it when he was just 16.

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Deceptive Cadence
5:27 am
Sat May 24, 2014

Asleep In Dress Blues: Music For Memorial Day

A lone bugler plays "Taps" during a burial service at Arlington National Cemetery.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 26, 2014 8:52 am

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Deceptive Cadence
12:57 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

In 2014, The Classical World Still Can't Stop Fat-Shaming Women

How did the figure of Irish mezzo Tara Erraught prompt such a seething mass of contempt from a handful of London critics?
Courtesy of the artist

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Deceptive Cadence
1:23 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Does Accepting A Rose Mean Losing A Career?

The newest round of Bachelorette contestants include an aspiring popera dude.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 5:08 pm

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Tiny Desk Concerts
8:03 am
Sat May 17, 2014

Iestyn Davies: Tiny Desk Concert

Iestyn Davies performs a Tiny Desk Concert.
NPR

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 11:05 am

The Bee Gees did it. So do Smokey Robinson, Prince and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. They all sing in the high register usually associated with female singers.

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Deceptive Cadence
5:36 am
Sat May 17, 2014

'The Cunning Little Vixen' Pokes Her Head Into An Animated Forest

In a scene from the Cleveland Orchestra's The Cunning Little Vixen, two actors (Julie Boulianne as Dog and Martina Jankova as Vixen) appear from behind a computer-animated backdrop.
Roger Mastroianni Cleveland Orchestra

Originally published on Sat May 17, 2014 11:29 am

Long before summer blockbuster films dazzled us with CGI-enhanced superheroes and villains, audiences got their dose of spectacle at the local opera house, where lavishly costumed singers have walked through monumental sets for centuries.

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Planet Money
3:15 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Is A Stradivarius Just A Violin?

A Stradivarius violin at the restoration and research laboratory of the Musee de la Musique, Paris, in 2009.
Patrick Kovarik AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 8:00 pm

The Stradivarius violin gets its name from master craftsman Antonio Stradivari. When he died in 1737, his secrets died with him: No one has ever been able to duplicate the sound of the violins or violas he made.

His instruments have taken on a mythical quality. Today they fetch millions of dollars at auctions; Sotheby's will soon auction off a viola that it expects to sell for $45 million.

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Deceptive Cadence
11:00 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Anonymous 4: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do (But They're Doing It)

The vocal ensemble Anonymous 4 will disband after the 2015-16 concert season.
Dario Acosta

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 12:01 pm

In 1986, four women gathered in a casual setting to sing through a bit of medieval chant. Little did they know they were launching Anonymous 4, an a cappella ensemble that has spanned nearly 30 years, 20 albums, countless concerts and more than a millenium of music.

Today the group announced that the 2015-16 season will be its last together. But this isn't the first time Anonymous 4 has thought about calling it quits. The group bid a similar farewell in 2004.

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Deceptive Cadence
10:17 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Watch Bang On A Can Occupy 'Arthur'

Two of the Bang on a Can All-Stars immortalized on the kids' cartoon Arthur.
Courtesy of 'Arthur'

Originally published on Fri May 9, 2014 5:56 pm

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Classical Sessions
8:43 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Conjuring An Opera With Ten Fingers

Pianist Louis Lortie makes Wagnerian opera come alive in NPR's Studio 1.
Denise DeBelius NPR

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 4:19 pm

It's always been a treat to sit down with pianist Louis Lortie. In part because of his sound at the piano — the brightness, purity and clarity of his playing. But all the better to have a conversation with him, too. He is a sober, serious thinker, with an incisive point of view on every piece of music he chooses.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:25 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Mothers Of Intervention: The Operatic Moms Puzzler

Madama Butterfly is one of many unhappy moms in opera.
Patrick Riviere Getty Images

It's not easy being a mom, but it's even tougher for mothers in opera. So often they're completely absent while fathers have leading roles in shows like Rigoletto, La traviata, The Flying Dutchman. When depicted at all, operatic moms are usually under supreme stress. They can be murderous, manipulative or simply mad. Only rarely are they the loving moms who brought us into the world. Here your job is to identify the operas and their mothers. Score high and brag to your own sweet (or stressed) mom. Score low and go to your room without supper.

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Deceptive Cadence
10:59 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Midspring Surprise: Lost Mendelssohn Song Found

An engraving of composer Felix Mendelssohn, c. 1840.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 9:04 pm

Twenty-nine gentle measures by Felix Mendelssohn are creating quite a stir — after being lost for more than a century.

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Arts
9:06 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Analog A go go announces 2014 lineup

2014 Analog a go go

The 2014 Analog A go-go festival , hosted by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, celebrates the people who still prefer to listen to  the long playing 33 and 1/3 vinyl record. This year's performers include Bob Mould,

formerly of Husker Du, and the "chamber folk" band, Mutual Benefit.

The festival begins June 13th. Tickets are on sale now.

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Classics in Concert
11:08 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Spring For Music: A Rare American Oratorio At Carnegie Hall

James Conion leads the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Chorus at Carnegie Hall in New York, NY on May 09, 2014.
Melanie Burford/Prime Melanie Burford/Prime for NPR

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 4:16 pm

When NPR Music and WQXR present the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and May Festival Chorus' performance of R. Nathaniel Dett's The Ordering of Moses at Carnegie Hall Friday, there will be one significant difference from its first airing: it should be free of interruptions.

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Author Interviews
5:05 am
Sun May 4, 2014

The 'Marvelous Living' Of Soprano Jessye Norman

Jessye Norman performs late on June 6, 2008 during the 14th Sacred World Music Festival.
Abdelhak Senna AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 1:32 pm

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Music News
5:04 am
Sun May 4, 2014

Hear Hans Zimmer's Bid For The Next Great Screen Composer

Hans Zimmer.
Zoe Zimmer Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun May 4, 2014 1:06 pm

Crimson Tide, The Lion King, Inception, Gladiator — that's just a handful of the many movies that feature award-winning scores by Hans Zimmer. Lately, Zimmer has lent his ear to soundtracks written by a new generation of aspiring film composers.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:43 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

10 Can't-Miss Classical Music Festivals

Some performances during the Bard Music Festival in the Hudson Valley take place at the Fisher Center, designed by Frank Gehry.
Peter Aaron/Esto

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 9:32 am

  • Stravinsky: Firebird - 'Infernal Dance' (from the 2013 Aspen Music Festival)

In much of the country it still feels like summer is a long way off, but it's not too early to plan on hitting the road and hearing great music. From bucolic college campuses in New England to musical rafting trips down the Colorado, these are 10 of the most intriguing classical festivals. And below them is a listing, by region, of many of the best fests. Been to one we missed? Pass along your own advice in the comments section or via Facebook or Twitter.

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Classics in Concert
10:55 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Seattle Symphony, New Pulitzer Winner At Carnegie Hall

Composer John Luther Adams accepts enthusiastic applause from the Carnegie Hall audience after the New York premiere of his 2014 Pulitzer Prize-winning piece, Become Ocean, performed by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.
Melanie Burford for NPR Music

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 4:19 pm

The great outdoors is a perennial theme in classical music, usually expressed through bucolic or picturesque works. But the Seattle Symphony knew that to appear on Spring for Music — an annual festival of adventurous programming by North American orchestras — it required a more unusual, daring take on this theme.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:22 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Coming Soon To Colorado: Wolfgang And Weed

The Colorado Symphony's Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre outside Denver last summer. If you squint, you can see a cloud of something that's probably not pot smoke.
Matt Korona Courtesy of the Colorado Symphony

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 3:34 pm

Colorado Symphony patrons — if they aren't already — are about to have the option of being Rocky Mountain high.

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Arts
8:34 am
Tue April 29, 2014

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