Arts

Arts and culture

The Case Of The Stolen Stradivarius

Oct 12, 2014

Stradivarius violins are so important that they come with their own biographies. Several hundred of them survive today, and they're so prized, you can trace their lineages through the musicians who played them over the centuries.

The instruments have been valued at prices ranging from hundreds of thousands of dollars to several million. That kind of money attracts a lot of nonmusicians, like investors — and thieves.

For more than a century, the Royal Shakespeare Company in England has hired composers to write original music for its productions. That sheet music has sat in a vault for decades — until now.

The company has started releasing albums that combine music from its contemporary productions with much older works.

Bruce O'Neill, head of music for the Royal Shakespeare Company, describes the archive as "a bit like a bank vault."

At the St. Louis Symphony concert Saturday night, the intermission may have been the most memorable part of the performance. Demonstrators in the audience sang a "Requiem for Mike Brown," referencing the 18-year-old African-American shot to death by a Ferguson, Mo., police officer in August.

A film opened in the U.S. this weekend about the life of Simón Bolivar, the military leader who helped free much of Latin America from the Spanish Empire. Libertador, or The Liberator, tells that story with the help of rousing music by a first-time film-score composer: Gustavo Dudamel.

The Sept. 24 death of prominent conductor and musicologist Christopher Hogwood came just as the orchestra he founded in 1973, the Academy of Ancient Music, was set to take on some of his signature pieces: the Orchestral Suites Nos. 1-4 by J. S. Bach. Along with a new recording of the suites, the British ensemble is bringing them on the road.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra arrives at Carnegie Hall with a program that portrays choppy waters and changing tides, opening with Mendelssohn's Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage Overture followed by Debussy's La mer.

András Schiff can come across as one of classical piano's deepest-dyed traditionalists.

Hear a consummate master of early music, conductor and viola da gamba player Jordi Savall, lead his ensemble Le Concert des Nations in an exhilarating array of 17th- and 18th-century French compositions.

• Anonymous: Concert donné a Louis XIII en 1627 (selected by André Danican Philidor)
·· Les Ombres
·· Air pour les mesmes
·· Les Nimphes de la Grenouilliere
·· Les Bergers
·· Les Amériquains

• Lully: Suite from Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme

• Lully: "Marche pour la Cérémonie Turque"

Every opera lover knows that Thomas Hampson can find his way around the major repertoire, be it Verdi, Puccini, Mozart, Wagner or Berg.

SU Cultural Calendar Week of Oct. 6th

This past April, composer John Luther Adams became the most recent winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his piece Become Ocean — a work commissioned by the Seattle Symphony, the recording of which comes out this Tuesday.

Adams says that he got the call with the good news in the middle of a afternoon power nap, during an exhausting teaching residency at Michigan Tech University.

"I heard the word and asked the person on the other end, 'You know, could I call you back?' " Adams remembers. "Talk about your wake-up call."

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra was scheduled to open its 70th season this week, but musicians have been locked out of their workplace since September 7th, when their contract expired. The same thing happened just two years ago. Back then, negotiators reached a new agreement before opening night. This year, Atlanta classical music fans were not so lucky.

By now the Gustavo-Dudamel-as-wunderkind story is old news. Fans know he started playing violin at age 10, conducting at 12 and became music director of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra when he was just 18.

Yet Dudamel's stats can still be staggering. He told me recently he was 11 when he played his first Mahler symphony and 16 when he took the podium to conduct Mahler.

A few weeks ago, in an act of brazen thievery, your devoted NPR Classical hosts appropriated an idea from our colleague Bob Mondello, NPR's film critic. Each Friday he tweets movie suggestions for the weekend.

Finding the right mix of artistic heft and party-night pizzazz is a balancing act orchestras face when planning an opening night gala concert for Carnegie Hall.

It's become a trope that artists aren't interested in being limited by genre — at least the really fascinating ones, that is. One of the most enjoyable current examples of this reach beyond stylistic divides is Almanac, the newest project from the string quartet Brooklyn Rider.

When John Luther Adams' sweeping orchestral piece Become Ocean was performed at Carnegie Hall for the first time in May, it was also the first time the composer had attended a concert there.

Even if you're not a fan of classical music, you have heard of Frédéric Chopin: His music has appeared in countless movies, TV shows and commercials, even video games. But it's almost certain you haven't heard the Polish composer performed the way Chad Lawson plays him.

The votes are in. The people of Scotland have chosen to remain in the United Kingdom. To mark the historic occasion, a wee reminder of what the Scots have contributed to classical music is in order.

Flutist Yukie Ota spoke with NPR's Scott Simon about her encounter with a too-friendly insect this week; hear their conversation at the audio link and read on to learn more.

Today is Mexican Independence Day. On Sept. 16, 1810, the Grito de Dolores ("Cry of Dolores") was delivered in the town of Dolores near the city of Guanajuato, marking the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence that ended Spanish rule.

Coastal Concerts has been a long term supporter/underwriter of Delmarva Public Radio, and WSCL listeners know we have aired two  of their concerts from last season the past two Saturdays.   We are happy to share this news of MD state recognition of their work in the arts community, with special congratulations to  Denise Emery.

Shara Worden On Q2's 'Spaces'

Sep 16, 2014

My Brightest Diamond's endlessly busy and enigmatic singer, songwriter, composer and multi-instrumentalist is a dizzying blur of creativity. A one-time member of The Decemberists, Shara Worden has collaborated with David Lang, Sufjan Stevens, Matthew Barney, yMusic and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. She also recently completed You Us We All, a Baroque opera, and her new album as My Brightest Diamond, This Is My Hand, came out this week.

Alas, it is déjà vu all over again for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. At midnight Saturday, the ASO musicians and management failed to meet the deadline to agree on a new contract after eight months of negotiations. That means the players, while still employees of the orchestra, are effectively locked out of the Woodruff Arts Center (the orchestra's home) and will not receive paychecks until a new agreement can be ratified.

Pages