Arts

Arts and culture

On Friday, the Boston Symphony Orchestra announced that an independent investigation into a sexual assault claim made against conductor Charles Dutoit by one of its former interns has found the woman's claim credible.

The accusation that triggered the BSO investigation came from a woman named Fiona Allan, who at the time of the alleged assault in 1997 was working as an intern at the orchestra's summer home at Tanglewood in Lenox, Mass., when Dutoit was appearing with the symphony as a guest conductor.

On Friday morning the Boston Globe published details of allegations of sexual abuse by 74-year-old conductor and pianist James Levine, as well as chronicling "cult-like" behavior that the leading musician allegedly cultivated amongst his devotees while he was teaching at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) in Ohio between 1965 and 1972.

Sessions from Studio A - Old Town Tribune

Mar 1, 2018

Old Town Tribune stopped by WNIJ's Studio A to perform original, traditional bluegrass. The band includes Wes Carr on mandolin, guitar and vocals, Charlie Ford on bass, Zac Economou playing the guitar and adding backup vocals, and Brad Utterback playing the banjo.

Hometown: Los Angeles, California

Genre: Rock

Why We're Excited: Sego's "Whatever Forever" unpacks the inner monologue of a frenetic and frustrated mind: Bored and anxious, singer Spencer Petersen rambles and seethes over a throbbing bassline until it's time for a soaring chorus that feels both chaotic and cathartic.

BIFF

Many people know the Beloit International Film Festival as an event that brings films from around the world to the City of Beloit. The festival, often referred to by its acronym “BIFF,” began its ten-day run Thursday. But BIFF connects with the community in other ways, too.   

 

Sessions from Studio A - The Antitones

Feb 22, 2018
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

The Antitones perform "The Panther's Hunt" in WNIJ's Studio A.

Find The Antitones on Facebook.

George Li is a young pianist on the rise. At age 10, he gave his first public concert and at 15, he won a silver medal at the revered Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Li recently released his debut album on a major label and has been fielding offers, performing with some of the world's great orchestras.

John Corigliano is one of America's most acclaimed composers. He's won a Pulitzer, an Oscar and five Grammys, and he's still hard at work, having turned 80 on Feb. 16.

Sessions from Studio A - The Vince Chiarelli Band

Feb 15, 2018
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

WNIJ’s Sessions from Studio A recently asked The Vince Chiarelli Band to stop by and give us a taste of some traditional Italian-American styled music. This Rockford-based group is connected through their Sicilian ancestry and influences, while also finding themselves exploring and incorporating increasing amounts of Latin elements. The band includes Vince Chiarelli's vocal and guitar stylings, Frank Calvagna filling out melodies on lead guitar, Tony Chiarelli playing bass guitar and occasionally Tim Austin on the drums.

WNIU Plays Songs From The Heart

Feb 12, 2018

If music be the food of love, play on . . . .

Make Valentine’s Day special by dedicating that perfect song from the heart. This February 14th, WNIU will play classical requests and short messages from listeners. Schedule a special moment to pair with that bouquet for the kitchen table and box of chocolates. Choose your favorite bit of Brahms or Beethoven, Schubert or Schumann, and dedicate it to the one you love.

Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, one of the avant-garde's most beloved film scorers, died Friday in Berlin, Germany. His death was confirmed by his manager, Tim Husom, but according to an official statement, the cause is unknown at this time. He was 48 years old.

By her own admission, composer Florence Price had two strikes against her.

"To begin with I have two handicaps – those of sex and race. I am a woman; and I have some Negro blood in my veins," is how she began a 1943 letter to Serge Koussevitzky, the revered conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She added later, "I would like to be judged on merit alone."

Iranian-Canadian-American composer Kamyar Mohajer says he draws on his multicultural background for inspiration. An example of that blend of traditions will be premiered at this weekend's concert by the Rockford Symphony Orchestra. But even as he balances those influences, he also has to balance composing with a career in Silicon Valley.

Mohajer was born in Iran in 1976. He says that’s where his interest in music began.

Sessions from Studio A - Funktional Family

Feb 8, 2018
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

WNIJ's Sessions from Studio A has a growing reputation as a showcase for energetic performances, and Funktional Family brought their A game. This band features members of Backwoods Bunny Fight, another band we featured.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

Pendiente Trio Performs In Studio A

Feb 2, 2018
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

A group of current and former Northern Illinois University students recently made a visit to WNIJ's Studio A for a performance. Pendiente Trio is comprised of Andrea Salcedo on guitar, and Aaron Marsala and Brandon Bott on percussion. The trio performed four songs on their visit:

  • "Rompeserones"
  • "Amanecer"
  • "Buleriano"
  • "Al Likindoy"

At first, there's just a drip: a gentle pulse from a marimba. Then a bewitching melody played on a set of tuned cowbells enters and the music comes into focus. The four musicians in the Chicago-based Third Coast Percussion let the piece unfold deliberately. They play as if they're a single, eight-armed organism.

Sessions from Studio A - The Bare Hambones

Feb 1, 2018
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

The Bare Hambones stopped by WNIJ’s Studio A to give an energetic hoedown of a performance! This Chicago-area band mixes the sounds of bluegrass, folk, rockabilly, and outlaw-country with the texture of piano and mandolin -- the main instruments. The band includes Tim Larsen on piano and lead vocals, Michael Brown on acoustic guitar, Brad Riverdahl on drums, Tony Kubicek playing bass and Mike Marshall on mandolin. Since their performance in Studio A, The Bare Hambones added a sixth member to the band named Jeff Cali, playing lead guitar.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

In these days of wireless earbuds, streams and podcasts, the notion of people gathering to hear a lone classical singer (with a pianist) perform densely structured art songs in a foreign tongue seems almost laughably quaint.

Sessions from Studio A - Go Go Torpedo

Jan 25, 2018
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Go Go Torpedo performs "Golden Death Sun" in WNIJ's Studio A.

Find Go Go Torpedo on the web at Facebook or gogotorpedo.com.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

Musician and composer Nils Frahm must feel like a chef who has finally assembled his dream kitchen. Frahm's new album, All Melody (due out Jan. 26), was crafted at Saal 3, a vintage studio space he was offered in an old East Berlin broadcast facility built in the 1950s.

In 1983, the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto tried a grand experiment. While the singers performed Elektra in German onstage, simultaneous translations in English were projected above the stage. These "supertitles," as they've come to be known, were quickly adopted at opera houses and are now an expected part of the opera-going experience.

Sessions from Studio A - Goose Doctor

Jan 18, 2018
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Goose Doctor performing "Pulsating Arteries" in WNIJ's Studio A.

Find Goose Doctor on Facebook.

To create her wide-ranging music, New York-based artist Lea Bertucci has used a wealth of instruments and compositional techniques. But her primary creative tool is the saxophone, and on her new album, Metal Aether, she delves into it perhaps further than she ever has.

When we invited Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov to play a Tiny Desk concert, we rolled out the big guns. In place of the trusty upright, we wedged a 7-foot grand piano behind Bob Boilen's desk in preparation for the artist who The Times of London called "without question the most astounding pianist of our age."

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