Arts

Controversy has seemed to follow pianist Ivo Pogorelich at every move, even from the beginning. In 1980, when the 22-year-old whiz kid from Yugoslavia failed to reach the final round of the International Chopin Competition, the revered pianist Martha Argerich, who declared him a "genius," stormed off the jury in protest. Naturally, the dustup helped launch his career. With a brooding pout, movie star looks and a high-powered record deal, Pogorelich was an instant celebrity.

All Eyes On DeKalb Corn Fest

Aug 20, 2019

The city of DeKalb is using the coming festivities to enhance the ways residents interact with the town.  Their method: googly eyes.  They’ll appear everywhere, including trees and on the sides of buildings.

Jeanine Holcomb works for the Egyptian Theatre as a marketing and public outreach specialist. She also coordinates with the DeKalb Citizens Community Enhancement Commission.  She says more than 150 pairs of the googly eyes will be placed across DeKalb. 

“We want the streets to come alive with these googly eyes," Holcomb said. 

Sessions from Studio A - Public Disco Porch

Aug 9, 2019
WNIJ

Join us for the music of Public Disco Porch on this week's Sessions from Studio A.

Public Disco Porch peforming "777" in WNIJ's Studio A.

State Of The Artist: Here, Go Make Some Stuff

Aug 9, 2019
Connie Kuntz

Every morning at Art Camp, the bell rings at 10:30 and nearly 30 kids from Rockford and Peoria gather in a circle and "sing hello." That means every child is musically greeted by their name so they know they are welcomed, recognized, and loved. After the song, the campers break off into groups organized by age. They learn different disciplines of art including dance, drama, visual arts, gardening and cooking.  This is Ann Rundall's Art Camp. 

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

DeKalb’s Municipal Band will not be traveling abroad next summer to celebrate the anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France, due to financial constraints. 

They originally had been selected to be the only band from Illinois to perform in D-Day celebrations.

Conductor Kirk Lundbeck says the DeKalb Municipal Band was not able to raise the needed funds. But he says there still may be other performance opportunities to come for the band, which could include playing in Washington, D.C., Mount Rushmore or Pearl Harbor in 2019.

The Maud Powell Society

Peru, Illinois, celebrates one of its most famous natives by putting on the annual Maud Powell Arts Celebration. The pioneering violinist was born 150 years ago today.

Powell was revered as the best female violinist in the world during her lifetime and one of the first American violin masters.

“She stands as a model for women performers and composers,” said Brian Hart, a Northern Illinois University music history professor. “I know that Rachel Barton Pine, the Chicago violinist, has spoken of her as a very inspirational figure.”

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

Band students from DeKalb High School will make their way to the Emerald Isle Sunday. That’s because they will be one of several bands marching in the Dublin, Ireland Saint Patrick’s Day parade next week.

DeKalb High School band students began their rehearsal outside. It was about 35 degrees, and they marched several times around the perimeter of the high school.

City of Rockford / rockfordil.gov

There are big plans for an important part of Rockford’s downtown. Thursday night, the public gathered at Memorial Hall to hear about the future of Davis Park.

Guy Stephens / WNIJ

The DeKalb Festival Chorus launches its 44th season this weekend with an all American program.   The choir is about music – and community.

This is the 44th year for the chorus, but Paul Marchese’s first as its leader.  A native of Sycamore, Marchese returned to the area several years ago after graduate school and settled in DeKalb.  He’s directed several church choirs and teaches in the Chicago suburbs.  But he was really interested in the DeKalb Festival Chorus, and what it represented.

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.

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.

This month, WNIJ will feature four books that belong on your shelf or e-reader. Three of them are by Illinois authors. One was written by an Iowa resident who used to work for Northern Public Radio.

The Winter Book Series will air Mondays in December during Morning Edition, and appear in our Book Series archive.

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.

Flickr user Celeste Lindell / "Art supplies" (CC BY 2.0)

Teachers and administrators are working on new guidelines for art education in Illinois. Some schools have no art programs, while others have limited time to teach it.

New federal standards were released last year, though they came with no mandate. The State Board of Education has been organizing meetings for teachers to make the guidelines fit for them.

Jonathan VanderBrug is with Arts Alliance Illinois, an advocacy group that is also helping plan meetings. He says the process is meant to show schools why education in the arts is important.

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

Guy Stephens / WNIJ

The Kishwaukee Valley Art League presents the 44th Annual Northern Illinois Art Show June 6 and 7 in Sycamore.  WNIJ’s Guy Stephens spoke with the president of the League recently.  Larry Bond began by explaining why the art show was created.

Larry Bond: “The main reason was, to have an opportunity for local artists to exhibit in the community, for people to see their work, and the monies generated from this particular art show help us fund our projects throughout the year."

Guy Stephens / WNIJ

The Kishwaukee Valley Art League presents the 44th Annual Northern Illinois Art Show June 6 and 7 in Sycamore.  WNIJ’s Guy Stephens spoke with the president of the League recently.  Larry Bond began by explaining why the art show was created.

Larry Bond: “The main reason was, to have an opportunity for local artists to exhibit in the community, for people to see their work, and the monies generated from this particular art show help us fund our projects throughout the year."

Artigras Parade Kicks Off Arts Celebration

May 4, 2015
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Mix the visual and performing arts with a gorgeous spring afternoon outdoors. Add a lot of color and an evening of music and you've got Artigras.

The art-themed parade is a first for Northern Illinois University and DeKalb. It started in downtown DeKalb Saturday afternoon and made its way to NIU's art building. Post-parade music included concerts by the NIU Steel Band, the university's ukulele ensemble, and the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra.                                             

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The time has finally come. After years of fund-raising, months of tests, and waiting for recent state approval, an effort has begun to restore the  statue almost universally known as "Black Hawk." Lorado Taft created it 103 years ago on a bluff overlooking the Rock River near Oregon, Ill. Taft called it "The Eternal Indian."

Kimya Dawson is considered an indie-rock icon by many. She has won acclaim for her work as half of the duo The Moldy Peaches, as well as for her solo work, which was featured on the soundtrack for the 2007 movie Juno. Since becoming a mother five years ago, Dawson has released albums for children and adults. Her new album, Thunder Thighs, features material intended for both audiences.

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