Arts

Arts and culture

There has never been an American dynamo remotely like Leonard Bernstein. The composer, conductor, pianist, creator of musicals, educator, political maven and raconteur seemed to spin on his axis faster than any normal human being.

Sessions from Studio A - Renee Dion

Aug 23, 2018
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Renee Dion performs "99" at the House Cafe in DeKalb, August 16, 2018.

Renee Dion performs "Monday" at the House Cafe in DeKalb, August 16, 2018.

Updated at 7:15 p.m. ET

WNIJ is re-visting the "Read With Me" library for some summer reading. One novel about a coach for the Chicago Cubs, The Clubhouse Thief, seems ripe for a second look with the Cubs leading the National League Central Division. Here's an encore presentation of our interview with author James Janko.

Yo-Yo Ma opened his recent Tiny Desk concert with the gently rolling "Prelude" from J. S. Bach's Unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 1. It's music Ma has lived with nearly all of his life.

"Believe it or not, this was the very first piece of music I started on the cello when I was four years old," he told the crowd, tightly squeezed between the office furniture on NPR's fourth floor.

Sessions from Studio A - Zack Baumgartner

Aug 16, 2018
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Zack Baumgartner performs "Goodbye" in WNIJ's Studio A.

Zack Baumgartner performs "Blame It All On Me".

Find the music of Zack Baumgartner at ReverbNation.

The Minnesota Orchestra will play one of its most important gigs of the year this month — at the Regina Mundi Catholic Church in Soweto, South Africa. In doing so, it will become the first major U.S. orchestra to visit that city. The performance is part of a year of celebrations recognizing the centennial of Nelson Mandela's birth. It makes sense for the orchestra to play in the community central to the freedom struggle which brought down apartheid.

Faith Centers Embrace Yoga

Aug 14, 2018
Sarah Jesmer

As you walk into the lobby of DeKalb's First Congregational Church, the first thing you'll hear is faint music from the door leading into the chapel. You open the door gently and enter a blue carpeted room. A handful of women sit in a half-circle with their legs crossed and eyes closed on colorful yoga mats. In the middle is an older, bearded man wearing a blue shirt. He's sitting in front of a lit candle positioned on top of an overturned offering plate.

Sessions from Studio A - Cousin Dud

Aug 9, 2018
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Cousin Dud performs "Better Beaches" in WNIJ's Studio A.

Cousin Dud performs "Spent" in WNIJ's Studio A.

Slideshow: STEM Divas Camp Empowers Young Female Minds

Aug 6, 2018
Victoria Lunacek

Northern Illinois University held a series STEM Divas workshops this summer to empower young women through science, crafts and robotics. Participants had to program their robot to do a certain set of steps: Move backward, turn in a full circle, and change four colors. It's part of a series of Day Camps hosted by NIU.

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, considered one of the world's top orchestras, has fired its conductor, Daniele Gatti, after two women publicly accused him of sexual misconduct. A statement published Thursday on the orchestra's website notes that it has "terminated the cooperation with chief conductor Daniele Gatti with immediate effect."

In June, NPR reported the Philadelphia Orchestra's admission that it had not programmed a single piece of music composed by a woman for its upcoming 2018-19 season. Jeremy Rothman, the orchestra's vice president of artistic planning, said at the time the omission was "obviously a blind spot and an oversight."

Guy Stephens/ WNIJ

The Freeport Art Museum created an artist-in-residence position. So what does that mean, at least in Freeport?

In the city's downtown, a grassy vacant lot gets some attention. A group of young women, coached by several adults, spray-painted phrases like “good vibes only" and "women in power" on the exposed side wall of a building next door. 

Brian Nissen owns the building, where he and his wife run Abet Books & Games. He was happy to give permission for the mural.

Until last Thursday, violinist William Preucil was one of Cleveland's most lauded and visible music stars. For more than two decades, he has served as concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra, one of the top orchestras in the U.S., while teaching at the prestigious Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) conservatory, where he was a nationally known instructor. Prior to joining the Ohio symphony, Preucil was the first violinist in the Cleveland Quartet, which won a Grammy during his tenure.

On Friday, the Cleveland Orchestra suspended one of its star performers, violinist and concertmaster William Preucil, over allegations of sexual misconduct published Thursday by the Washington Post.

Fifty years ago, a group of six guys walked on a London stage to perform for the first time as The King's Singers. They were choral scholars and graduates from King's College, part of England's venerable Cambridge University.

Sessions from Studio A - Oblio & Arrow

Jul 19, 2018
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Matthew Kopecky of Oblio & Arrow performing "By Design" in WNIJ's Studio A.

Matthew Kopecky of Oblio & Arrow performing "Canteen" in WNIJ's Studio A.

It's as if the pianos were haunted. Somewhere about midway through this Tiny Desk, as Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds performed on his electronic keyboard, two upright pianos were playing lilting melodies behind him, absent any performer at the keys. And yet these "ghosts," along with Ólafur's band of strings and percussion, put together some of the most beautiful music I've heard at the Tiny Desk, made all the more mysterious through its presentation.

Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds was in a hotel lobby somewhere in Asia when he first saw a modern version of a player piano. This particular one was tapping out The Beatles' "Yesterday."

Guy Stephens/WNIJ

Putting up a mural is often a community event. The art can be a point of pride for residents. But what happens when the paint peels? One city is trying to figure that out.

Editor's note: Our original interview with Marnie Mamminga was published in June, 2013. The author returned to the WNIJ studios in July, 2018, to add the video excerpt below.

450 miles. That's the distance Marnie Mamminga's family traveled every summer from suburban Chicago to their cabin in northwest Wisconsin.

Mamminga recalls the cabin, and the long journey it took to get there, in her memoir Return to Wake Robin: One Cabin in the Heyday of Northwoods Resorts.

Composer and conductor Oliver Knussen, one of Britain's most influential contemporary classical figures, died Sunday, July 8, at the age of 66. His passing was announced by his publisher, Faber Music, but no cause of death was given.

Boston Symphony Orchestra principal flutist Elizabeth Rowe has filed a lawsuit against the orchestra, claiming that she is making substantially less each year than her closest peer — a man.

Sessions from Studio A - Purple Hell

Jun 29, 2018
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Purple Hell performs "Gold" in WNIJ's Studio A.

Find Purple Hell online at purplehell.bandcamp.com.

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