Arts and culture

John Lennon "Walrus" eyeglass frames are for sale on the Web; Strawberry Fields has become a Tic Tac flavor. The Smart Beatle has been entombed by pop culture and rampant capitalism. There's nothing more to be written about him. It's all been said — but no one said it to Kevin Barry, author of the fab-tastic Beatlebone, a fictional biography that manages to be strange, hilarious and insightful all at once.

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When it comes to writing, David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks, likes a challenge. Maybe that's why, in 2014, he began sharing his newest novel in a series of tweets.

The American writer Edgar Allan Poe might have invented detective fiction, but it's been a long time since the United States has had a monopoly on the genre. In the past few decades, Americans have fallen in love with mystery writers from as far away as Iceland and Japan.

When the opera Appomattox premiered in 2007, it put on stage a piece of history that was more than 140 years old.

But creators Philip Glass and Christopher Hampton recently decided the story wasn't over.

When the Washington National Opera wanted to stage the opera, Glass said it needed a rewrite — to reflect what's happened in the U.S. since the premiere.

"In the last seven or eight years there have been profound and really horrific changes in the way this country understands itself," Glass says.

All composers have obsessions. For John Adams, a composer who decidedly broke with the past, that obsession is Beethoven, as heard in the new album Absolute Jest.

Salisbury University's Cultural Calendar week of Nov. 16th, 2015

The Brazilians call it saudade. It's an elusive, almost intoxicating mix of emotions suffused with longing, loss and memory, best evoked in music. Perhaps Ukrainians have their own word for it. But if not, it can surely be heard in Valentin Silvestrov's Nostalghia, a solo piano work from 2001 that may just leave you a little lightheaded and yearning for something inexplicable.

Salisbury University's Cultural Calendar week of Nov. 9th, 2015

You don't often hear "football" and "bel canto" in the same sentence. How about the same opera?

Outer space is silent, and that may be one reason why a lot of movies about space have iconic scores — in addition to helping advance the the plot, the music in films like Star Wars and 2001: A Space Odyssey must fill a literal void.

Jeffrey Curnow has a serious funny bone. In his cartoons, he pokes fun at symphony orchestras, conductors and musicians from his perch as the associate principal trumpeter of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Salisbury University's Cultural Calendar week of Nov. 2nd, 2015

Andris Nelsons, the Latvian conductor now in his second season as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, has a taste for Russian music.

Salisbury University's Cultural Calendar week of Oct. 26th, 2015

Salisbury University's Cultural Calendar week of Oct. 19th, 2015

Tigran Hamasyan won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition in 2006, but the music that resonates even deeper for him is centuries removed — and a sound world away — from jazz.

It was 30 years ago today that a single American hostage was killed by terrorists during the hijacking of a cruise ship by pro-Palestinian terrorists in the Mediterranean Sea. Leon Klinghoffer's death was the inspiration for a controversial opera, The Death of Klinghoffer, composed by John Adams, with a libretto by Alice Goodman and directed by Peter Sellars.

A Body, Transformed

Oct 6, 2015

The musician and multimedia artist Laurie Anderson has long made America one of her great themes; her panoptic, early '80s magnum opus was titled United States, and her work has shown enduring fascination, and disquiet, with the way our national culture conducts itself. But Habeas Corpus, a multimedia work and concert presented at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City Friday, Oct. 2 through Sunday, Oct. 4, was remarkable even by her own standards.

Stephen Sondheim is widely viewed as the greatest living composer in American musical theater. "Send in the Clowns," from the show A Little Night Music, may be his most famous work — and yet you might not recognize the song as reimagined for solo piano by Ethan Iverson of the band The Bad Plus.

The New York Philharmonic At Carnegie Hall

Oct 1, 2015

A world premiere by Magnus Lindberg and a time-honored concerto played by Evgeny Kissin bring history and celebration to Carnegie's season-opening concert.

It's difficult enough to start an orchestra, but Zuhal Sultan founded the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq (NYOI) as a teenager in the middle of a war. She brought together 40 young musicians from different Iraqi cities and sectarian backgrounds in an effort to unify a divided nation. Now, six years later, the Euphrates Institute has named her Visionary of the Year.

Salisbury University's Cultural Calendar week of Oct. 5th, 2015

Welcome to the first day of fall — at least for us in the Northern Hemisphere. There's a noticeable chill in the air, the leaves are starting to shift color and perhaps you find yourself turning a little more inward in your mood and your musical tastes.

Composers and songwriters have plenty to say about the changing seasons. To mark the Autumnal Equinox, try this fall music quiz stocked with songs of wistful introspection. Score high and revel in autumn's golden glow. Score low and feel the sadness of earlier and earlier sunsets.

Salisbury University's Cultural Calendar week of Sept.28st, 2015