Arts

Arts and culture

People ask why I thrive on classical music, and I tell them it's all about discovery. The possibilities for finding incredible music, both old and new, are endless as the oceans.

Music For The Bisontennial

Sep 6, 2013

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The vocal quartet New York Polyphony delights in surprises — whether it's a matter of singing some rather raunchy Italian madrigals or making a video to introduce their album Times Go By Turns (released on BIS Aug. 27).

Why Aren't Composers Writing More Symphonies Today?

Sep 4, 2013

At 8 years old, I scrawled my first and last Symphonies — nos. 1, 2, and 3 — on ruled notebook paper. They were short duets for clarinet and trumpet for myself and my brother to play. Why did I call them symphonies? I can't remember, but I suspect that it was a desire to tie these efforts — and me, by extension — to a grand and venerable tradition.

The Academy Of St. Martin In The Red

Aug 30, 2013

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When Symphony Boards Get Desperate

Aug 30, 2013

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Pablo Helguera is a New York-based artist working with sculpture, drawing, photography and performance. His new book is Helguera's Artunes. You can see more of his work at Artworld Salon and on his own site.

The symphony after World War II appeared to be headed for extinction as composers took divergent paths to experiment with musical language and forms. But the evidence of recent decades shows that the genre was never really on the verge of disappearing.

The British classical magazine Gramophone announced today the latest round of winners of its annual awards, now in their 90th year. With an expansive roll call of noteworthy albums ranging from early music to opera, the Gramophone Award honorees represent a tantalizing range of musical achievement — but it's a smaller array than in years past.

On a recent Sunday afternoon, 15 members of the Renaissance Street Singers gathered under a bridge in New York's Central Park. With little fanfare, they launched into a free, two-hour concert of music by Palestrina, des Prez and other composers who lived more than 500 years ago.

His Voice? Muzak To Her Ears

Aug 23, 2013

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Pablo Helguera is a New York-based artist working with sculpture, drawing, photography and performance. His new book is Helguera's Artunes. You can see more of his work at Artworld Salon and on his own site.

In Minneapolis right now, even small matters have the potential to escalate — fast. Take the latest flashpoint in the Minnesota Orchestra's ongoing tribulations, which in about 24 hours has flared up a lot of ire in the classical community.

About a week ago, a semi-professional musician, blogger and longtime fan of the Minnesota Orchestra named Emily Hogstad was talking with some fellow Minnesota fans about the possibility of organizing a dedicated group of music lovers who want to see an end to the longstanding labor disputes at the Minneapolis-based ensemble.

When Daniel Hope was a boy, the only thing he loved as much as his violin was his telescope. Gazing into the night sky, he pondered the vastness of space. Now a grown man, Hope still has a penchant for wonder and discovery — especially when it comes to music.

Over the course of the 20th century, the symphony as a genre — originally an inheritance from Europe — increasingly became a transnational tradition, flowing across the Atlantic and back again.

Get High In Aspen

Aug 16, 2013

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Pablo Helguera is a New York-based artist working with sculpture, drawing, photography and performance. His new book is Helguera's Artunes. You can see more of his work at Artworld Salon and on his own site.

A movie last year called A Late Quartet told the traumatic story of what happens when a famous string quartet has to change personnel. But, in fact, most string quartets — like symphony orchestras, only more conspicuously — continually change players, because players retire, or die, or get more lucrative offers.

Steinway & Sons, the 160-year-old musical instrument maker, is set to change hands.

Last month, a private equity firm emerged as the company's likely buyer. But a mystery bidder — rumored to be hedge fund manager John Paulson — has swooped in at the last minute, and now looks likely to take control of one of the oldest manufacturers in the United States. Paulson made billions betting against the housing market at a time when many thought housing prices could only go up. His reported offer for the company is $458 million.

In the cloistered world of classical music recordings, there is great interest in choral music by Catholic nuns these days. In the past year, two separate albums by a group of monastic nuns shot to the top of the classical charts.

Chris Thile Looks Back To Bach

Aug 11, 2013

This summer, NPR Classical has been looking for the great American symphony — or at least some idea of what it might sound like.

Throwing A Fit In F-Sharp

Aug 9, 2013

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Pablo Helguera is a New York-based artist working with sculpture, drawing, photography and performance. His new book is Helguera's Artunes. You can see more of his work at Artworld Salon and on his own site.

With an interview show named HARDtalk I suppose the host might be expected to come out swinging. And recently the BBC's Sarah Montague did not disappoint.

In 2007, I was interviewed by a journalist over lunch a day before the premiere of my Violin Concerto. One of his first questions was, "So why do you write in these old forms, the symphony, the concerto ... ?" I told him that these were simply titles which imply nothing about the form, which was another thing entirely. But it led me to ask myself: What is a symphony these days? If it no longer comprises a four-movement structure with an energetic first movement, a slow movement, a scherzo, and some kind of quick rondo, then what exactly characterizes it?

For the next year, NPR will take a musical journey across America, which is one of the most religiously diverse countries on earth. We want to discover and celebrate the many ways in which people make spiritual music — individually and collectively, inside and outside houses of worship.

The founder of the choral group Sounds of Africa is Fred Onovwerosuoke. He was born in Ghana and brought up in Nigeria, and his choir in the heart of the U.S. — St. Louis, Mo., to be exact — has recorded his arrangements of African sacred music by a composer named Ikoli Harcourt Whyte.

Heifetz Up With Piatigorsky On Third

Aug 2, 2013

Got an idea for a classical cartoon or a reaction to this one? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Pablo Helguera is a New York-based artist working with sculpture, drawing, photography and performance. His new book is Helguera's Artunes. You can see more of his work at Artworld Salon and on his own site.

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