Arts

Arts and culture

State Of The Artist: A River Runs Through Her

2 hours ago
Constance Kuntz

Caitlyn Baylor is the newest executive director for Rockford Area Arts Council. She is also a dancer who specializes in site specific choreography with her identical twin sister, Meghan Baylor. Most hours of the week, the dancer is serving RAAC's mission which is, "Support, promote, and develop the arts for everyone in Winnebago, DeKalb, Boone, and Ogle counties." On a misty day in April, she took me to the places that inspired her creativity early on -- schools.

State Of The Artist: Dance To The Beep

Jun 25, 2019
Connie Kuntz

State Of The Artist features artists in the places that inspire them; the places that put them in a creative state of mind. For Jessica Miller Tomlinson, those places are actions. She preferred to interview when she was in transit because motion is the "place" that inspires her. So Jessica's interview is a reflection of her passion for working or getting to work, or finding ways to improve her work.  

Augustin Hadelich's latest album of violin concertos offers two unlikely bedfellows. The tuneful, romantic classic by Johannes Brahms bumps up against the modernist mayhem of György Ligeti. The album, titled simply Brahms, Ligeti: Violin Concertos, also proves to be a compelling introduction to one of today's best, but still undervalued, violinists.

Sarah Jesmer

 

 

Rockford is celebrating June as Pride Month for the first time ever this year. The city has held events all month like parties and art exhibitions, and more recently, a 'Drag Queen Story Hour' at the East Branch of the Rockford Public Library.

 

Saturday's event was attended by families and young kids while a crowd of protestors, supporters, and law enforcement gathered outside.

 

June 28 marks the 50th anniversary of an event that proved to be a catalyst for a simmering gay-rights movement. On that day in 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. Now a new opera, Stonewall, at the New York City Opera, dramatizes that historic moment.

NPR Classical

Jun 20, 2019

Need a deep discovery experience? Try 1000 years of music in this playlist from NPR Classical, which explores everything from new releases to old favorites, and classics from the dawn of the recording era. Our mantra: Bach, Beethoven, before and beyond.

ArtGarfunkel.com

Art Garfunkel comes to Rockford's Coronado Performing Arts Center Thursday night. 

Art Garfunkel is perhaps best known as one half of Simon and Garfunkel. He says his on-again, off-again association with Paul Simon actually started when they were kids.

He says he taught Simon how to sing, and sing harmoniously, at age 11. But this middle child of three boys in a middle-class Jewish family in Queens said he started much earlier than that, in the 1st grade.

Updated on Jun. 17 at 11:41 a.m.

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) musicians, carrying signs reading "Fair Play for World Class Musicians," have begun picketing in front of their artistic home, Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, as the orchestra's management has locked out its players.

Sessions from Studio A - Invisible Cartoons

Jun 13, 2019
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Invisible Cartoons performs "A Catastrophic Atmosphere" in WNIJ's Studio A.

Invisible Cartoons performs "Jackson Pollock" in WNIJ's Studio A.

Guy Stephens

Two arts organizations are using state grants to help extend their seasons – in different directions.

On a visit in early June, Timber Lake Playhouse Executive Director Dan Danielowski points to work being done on the lobby – really an open walkway outside its theater – by a team of electricians. The schedule is tight. But so far, so good.

In the opening scene of Pavarotti, the new documentary by director Ron Howard, the popular tenor travels deep into the Amazon jungle in search of an old opera house where the great Enrico Caruso may have once sung.

The building is shuttered, but because he's Luciano Pavarotti the door is unlocked for him to belt out a few honeyed notes from the stage. His fabulous voice soars into the vast emptiness of the auditorium.

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

In a surprising announcement Thursday, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra abruptly cancelled its summer 2019 lineup of concerts.

This month in Tulsa, Okla., opera singer Lucia Lucas made her U.S. debut. She also made history.

At the Tulsa Opera, Lucas sang the title role in Mozart's Don Giovanni. Mozart's character is a ruthless, macho womanizer. Lucas is a transgender woman with a rich baritone voice and is the first known trans woman to sing a principal role on an American opera stage. In a conversation with NPR's Ari Shapiro, Lucas said she doesn't want her performances to be entirely defined by this historical marker.

Sessions from Studio A - Peach

May 30, 2019
Spencer Tritt / WNIJ

Find the music of Peach at bandcamp.

Kishi Bashi's "Summer of '42" is a love song inspired by and set in one of the darker chapters of American history: the internment of Japanese-Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. "What are the things you wanted / The same as anyone," the songwriter and multi-instrumentalist sings. "Just a hand to hold a little / After all is said and done."

Jeremy Dutcher came to the Tiny Desk with sparkling, purple streams of glitter draped around his shoulders. Then he set his iPad on our Yamaha upright piano, not to read his score as pianists do these days, but to play a centuries-old wax cylinder recording of a song sung in the incredibly rare language of Wolastoq. Jeremy Dutcher, along with cellist Blanche Israel and percussionist and electronics wizard Greg Harrison, wove that old recording into a remarkably passionate performance that was very 21st-century, with a deep nod to a century past.

Don't see the video above? Click here.

I've watched a lot of Tiny Desk concerts over the years. It's good to see musicians in the raw, away from stage lighting and backing tracks — as if they've just stopped by an office to play over a lunch break, with desk-bound employees watching on. The performances should expose flaws, but instead they tend to expose musicians being casually brilliant, like the members of Ensemble Signal, who certainly play these pieces beautifully.

Sessions from Studio A - Andrew Jacob Holm

May 16, 2019
WNIJ

We packed up our gear and hit the road this week to record a set from Andrew Jacob Holm, who grew up playing blues and country in the Rockford area. Andrew performed at Prairie Street Brewing Co. in Rockford to kick off their Dockside Live series. Catch live music on the dock all Spring and Summer long... you might see us there as well!

Guy Stephens

Beverly Garcia ushered me into her studio in Grand Detour. Lots of space – she converted it from a three car garage – but full with art everywhere: flowers, still life, portraits. Mostly oils. She used to do pastels but storage became an issue.

Garcia didn't start out wanting to be an artist. When she was 50, she wanted to learn how to decorate a cedar chest for a wedding present. As time when on, she got in deeper and deeper.

"And then I took, oh, a gazillion classes and workshops," she said. 

Don't see the video above? Click here.

When the intrepid string quartet known as Brooklyn Rider first visited the Tiny Desk nine years ago, no one knew what the musicians might play. They're as likely to trot out an Asian folk tune as they are a string quartet by Beethoven, or one of their own compositions.

Sessions from Studio A - Orlando Peña

May 9, 2019
WNIJ

Rochelle native Orlando Peña recently made the move up to Madison, Wis., and went from a solo act to performing with a full band, and he shows no signs of slowing down. Catch their performance in Studio A here!   

Orlando and his band performing "For Once" in WNIJ's Studio A. 

With a reverence for classics and an experimental spirit, Kelsey Lu is broadening the scope of how strings fit into contemporary pop. Lu's debut album, Blood, out now, is a mash-up of disco, R&B, pop and more that's rooted in her adoration of strings.

YouTube

Franz von Suppé was born on 200 years ago — April 18, 1819 — in what is now Croatia, but he went to Vienna a

Anime Fans Meet At 'Karoshi-Con'

Apr 26, 2019
Mia Pidlaoan

Last weekend, Northern Illinois University’s Anime Association hosted its annual Karoshi-Con. Karoshi-Con is a free, public anime convention. It is the only one of its kind in the DeKalb area.  Some of its features included a vendor hall, a traditional gaming room, a video game room, and various panels.

Randy Sager

During World War II, Jewish prisoners in the Nazi concentration camp at Terezin learned Giuseppe Verdi's Requiem and performed it 16 times. This weekend at Northern Illinois University, that story of affirmation and defiance toward their captors will be commemorated through Verdi's music, historic film footage, testimonials from camp survivors, and narration. The program, Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezin, will be led by its creator, conductor Murry Sidlin. He's conducted it close to fifty times around the world.

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the leading symphony orchestra in the Netherlands, and its former chief conductor, Daniele Gatti, have come to a mutual agreement over the conductor's dismissal last August.

Tuesday the orchestra issued a statement on its website, claiming that "matters between the two parties have been resolved following extensive discussions."

Don't see the video above? Click here.

If just one thing can be confirmed from these compelling Tiny Desk performances by the Calidore String Quartet, it should be that the centuries-old formula – two violins, a viola and a cello – is still very much alive and evolving. Indeed, an impromptu show of hands in the audience before the concert began revealed that almost everyone had seen a string quartet perform live.

Olivier Latry, one of the chief organists at Notre Dame Cathedral, was the last artist to record on the famous instrument before the catastrophic fire on April 15 that damaged the church and caused its spire to collapse. This pipe organ is the largest in France and dates back centuries. Though it was spared from the flames, it will still require extensive renovation.

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