Arts

Arts and culture

On her "Medicare Birthday," author Marnie O. Mamminga celebrated by swimming to an island in Big Spider Lake near Hayward, Wis.

No easy feat for a 65-year-old.

The lake, where Mamminga spent nearly all of her birthdays, is home to Wake Robin, a cabin her grandfather built in 1929. The vacation home, made of tamarack logs, is the setting of Mamminga's first book Return to Wake Robin: One Cabin in the Heyday of North Woods Resorts.

Sessions from Studio A - Helen Gillet

Aug 17, 2017
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Helen Gillet performs "Slow Drag Pavageau" in WNIJ's Studio A.

Helen Gillet performs "Kibi" in WNIJ's Studio A.
Find Helen Gillet at HelenGillet.com and Facebook.

Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau

Tuesday morning, a new calendar featuring watercolors of Rockford locations was unveiled.  The artist traveled from her home in France to attend the event that began 815 Day in Rockford. 

A crowd gathered on the terrace at the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau clapped, cheered and shot off confetti to mark the official release of the “Paint the Town” calendar.  

The Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra will have a guest conductor this week: Dennis Prager. He'll conduct Haydn's Symphony No. 51 at an orchestra fundraiser.

Sessions from Studio A - Milked

Aug 10, 2017
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Milked performs "Oscillate" in WNIJ's Studio A.

Milked performs "Cruithne" in WNIJ's Studio A.

Sessions from Studio A - LASKA

Aug 3, 2017
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

LASKA performs "Creatures" in WNIJ's Studio A.

LASKA performs "The Experiment" in WNIJ's Studio A.

LASKA performs "I Am Not Afraid Of The Sunrise Anymore" in WNIJ's Studio A.

Don't bother trying to pigeonhole the music of Aaron Martin and Dag Rosenqvist, who record under the name From the Mouth of the Sun. If their mission in this instrumental miniature is nothing more than beauty itself, they have succeeded on a disproportionate scale.

The music in "Light Blooms In Hollow Space" summons exactly what its title suggests. A simple, two-note piano figure ticks like a clock while wheezy organ chords slowly emerge and a sprinkle of ukuleles falls from above. The space may be hollow, but it's painted with impressionistic detail.

Mark Campbell is one of the most prolific and celebrated librettists in contemporary American opera. But, as he recently told an audience at the Guggenheim Museum, not everyone thought his latest project was a good idea.

So what do you do if you're a recently crowned head of state and you're already facing opposition — even from within your own family? One answer is optics. Make a big, public splash; throw a lavish party with A-list musical entertainment. That's just what happened in London — 300 years ago Monday.

Pick up The Marvelous Paracosm of Fitz Faraday and the Shapers of the Id, and you might guess it involves psychology with words like "paracosm" and "Id." But the phrase "Shapers of the Id" is a clue that we're about to enter the world of parapsychology -- specifically, shaping an Id with the aim of creating one's own paracosm.

Whistling in the Dark: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure

Jul 15, 2017
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Credits:

Whistling in the Dark, a Sherlock Holmes adventure

by Margaret Raether adapted from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Directed by Richard Raether

Cast:

John Adam Keating as Sherlock Holmes

David A. Gingerich as Dr. John Watson

Janelle Good as Helen and Jenkins

Erin Philpott as Julia, Mrs. Farintosh, Wiggins, Magda and Mrs. Finch

Dan Klarer as Mrs. Hudson, Simon, Sir Grimesby Roylott, Clayton and Mrs. Finch

To the uninitiated, it's the French horn — though that's a bit of a misnomer. To its players and students, it's simply a horn, an instrument that has featured in orchestras for centuries.

The horn's sound is easily recognizable thanks to the prominent role it's played in some of the most epic classical songs and movie themes. But it's still an uncommon instrument, and not the easiest one to build community around. To that end, dozens of horn players head into the woods in the White Mountains every summer to celebrate and learn more about their instrument.

Kantorei

Rockford’s renowned boys choir Kantorei is opening its program to girls for the first time in its 53-year history. The choir announced Thursday that, starting this fall, it will convert its preparatory level group for beginners to a mixed choir of boys and girls.  Unchanged voices will also be mixed in the next-level Lyric choir. As their voices mature, singers would eventually advance to separate men’s and women’s performing choirs.

Most people love to sing, but in Estonia, they take their singing very seriously. At the Estonian Song Festivals, for example, over 30 thousand singers routinely show up to form one gigantic chorus. Among the Baltic country's smaller, professional vocal ensembles, the Grammy-winning Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir is considered one of the world's best. When the group releases a new album, fans of choral music listen up.

Since its premiere in 1918, Gustav Holst's symphonic cycle The Planets has effectively defined the informal genre of "music about space." But more recently, four prominent artists from different musical realms collaborated on a cosmic exploration of their own. It culminated in Planetarium, which was released earlier this month.

What role does music play in our national dialogue about immigration? Six young musicians, rooted in six different countries, gathered at Ellis Island, and in Manhattan, to explore that question in a new composition inspired by Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land."

Stephen Pitkin / Rockford Art Museum

When the Rockford Art Museum decided to start “Art in Bloom” a couple of years ago, David Boccignone was excited by the opportunity to serve as its chair.  He sees the event as a way to make the community aware of the amazing artworks in the museum’s own collection by highlighting certain pieces from it by recreating them through floral designs.

It's now officially summer, which means it's time to kick back, pour out a glass of rosé and listen to the ever-timeless Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream, by composer Felix Mendelssohn. The German composer wrote the Overture (Op. 21) when he was only 17, but by then he was a seasoned composer with numerous operas and string symphonies under his belt.

Earlier this month, the New York Philharmonic's outgoing music director Alan Gilbert said goodbye to his orchestra in a series of concerts. Today, he is saying hello to a brand new job in Hamburg, Germany.

Mozart And 'The Peanut Vendor' In Havana

Jun 22, 2017

Last month, American pianist Simone Dinnerstein was in Cuba preparing for her current North American tour with an orchestra of young musicians from Havana. She fondly recalls one very hot rehearsal.

Now here's a creative way to promote your upcoming symphony season and up your brand: Strap your conductor in a motion capture suit, switch on a dozen high-tech cameras, and get an artist to translate the data into kaleidoscopic shapes and colors.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

Sales from one DeKalb writer’s recent work could benefit a local history museum.

Clint Cargile held a book signing and lecture at the DeKalb County Community Foundation in Sycamore for his book In Search of a Fair Wind. It’s about Georgia Townsend Yates, who was from Sycamore but traveled across the country and sailed to Japan with her husband in the early 1890s. 

"Every human being is an archeological site. What passes for roots is actually a matter of sediment, of accretion, of chance and juxtaposition."

This quotation from writer and critic Luc Sante is a subtle prompt for us to dig into our own past for clues about meaningful experiences.

For NIU Professor Joe Bonomo, that "archeological site" is littered with music.

How does a scientist become a principal timpanist at the Met?

Jason Haaheim gets that question all the time. The 38-year-old is a former nanotechnology researcher, with a master's degree in electrical engineering. But four years ago, he made a major life pivot: to play professionally with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

The music of Penguin Cafe is like no other. Its origins date back to the early '70s, within fever dreams Simon Jeffes had that were brought on by food poisoning. In those dreams he imagined a dispassionate world "where everyone lived in big concrete blocks and spent their lives looking into screens. In one room, there was a couple making love lovelessly. In another there was a musician sat at a vast array of equipment, but with headphones on, so there was no actual music in the room." Eerily accurate.

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