Arts

Arts and culture

Sessions from Studio A - Althea Grace

Apr 19, 2018
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Althea Grace performs "Secrets" in WNIJ's Studio A.

Find Althea Grace on the web at altheagraceband.com.

Sessions from Studio A - Lever

Apr 12, 2018
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Lever performs "Ms. Lead" in WNIJ's Studio A.

Find Lever online at leverband.com.

RAAC

“As an artist, you don’t only create for yourself," according to Sharon Nesbit-Davis, Executive Director of the The Rockford Area Arts Council.

"You actually want to share it and let people see it," she said, "and there’s a special joy to that experience, as well.”

That experience is a primary purpose of the Council’s Spring ArtScene, which takes place Friday and Saturday, April 13 and 14.

Nesbit-Davis said the free event provides a great opportunity for the area’s many artists to show their work.

Stephanie Richards' trumpet sounds like deep space wrapped around your head, a flood in the endless void.

Cirque Du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil returns to Rockford this weekend with a show called "Corteo." We spoke with the artistic director about the story behind the show.

Like many of Cirque’s shows, “Corteo” features larger-than-life performances and a variety of acts. But artistic director Mark Schaub says they’re centered on the story of Mauro, a clown approaching the end of his life.

All Songs Considered's Robin Hilton chats with NPR Music's Lars Gotrich, Tom Huizenga, Marissa Lorusso, Sidney Madden and Ann Powers about some of the best new albums dropping on Apr. 6, from the scorching punk of Norway's Dark Times to the mesmerizing cello drones of Clarice Jensen, rap phenom Cardi B, dance pop singer Kylie Minogue's country turn and much more.

Featured Albums

  • Dark Times: Tell Me What I Need
  • Christina Vantzou: No. 4
  • Cardi B: Invasion of Privacy

Sessions from Studio A - The Threads

Apr 5, 2018
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

The Threads perform "I Got the Time" in WNIJ's Studio A.

Find The Threads online at thethreadsband.com.

As we sift through the thousands of video entries we got for this year's Tiny Desk contest, we've laughed, loved and made a lot of phenomenal discoveries along the way. On this edition of All Songs Considered we share one of the most powerful and deeply moving ones we've seen.

Vespers, the traditional late afternoon prayer service, gets an enigmatic twist in a new video by director James Darrah, premiered here, with music from Missy Mazzoli, performed by the spirited violinist Olivia De Prato. The track is from her new album, Streya.

The experiences of black men in America today are making their way onto the classical concert stage, thanks to internationally acclaimed tenor Lawrence Brownlee. Brownlee enlisted the help of two other prominent African-American artists, composer Tyshawn Sorey and poet Terrance Hayes.

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Davey Dynamite performs "Down & Up" in WNIJ's Studio A.

Sloth Hands performs "Cop Cars" in WNIJ's Studio A.

Find the music of Davey Dynamite at bandcamp.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.


Cellist Clarice Jensen says the music on her debut solo album solicits "meditation and disorientation" — two words that, while not mutually exclusive, seem to suggest both a remedy for, and the reality of, a complicated world.

RSYO

The Rockford Symphony Orchestra announced that the Rockford Symphony Youth Orchestra has been named “Youth Orchestra of the Year” for 2018 by the Illinois Council of Orchestras.

The judging was based on programming, community involvement/outreach, opportunities for youth, growth of audience, fiscal responsibility, and community support.

When Johann Sebastian Bach compiled the first book of the Well-Tempered Clavier in 1722, he wrote that the 24 preludes and fugues were "for the profit and use of musical youth desirous of learning, and especially for the pastime of those already skilled in this study."

Emily Reed/WNIJ

For the exhibit, Reclaimed Baggage, South Asian American women artists address displacement, identity and agency. According to organizers, despite overwhelming pressure on women to be the transmitters and upholders of culture, migration is an opportunity for reinventing one’s self as one navigates a new cultural landscape. Artists include:  Fariba Alam, Nandini Chirimar, Sabba S. Elahi, Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, Samanta Batra Mehta, Hiba Schahbaz, Pallavi Sharma. Curated by artist and independent curator Nirmal Raja.

Public Reception for Reclaimed Baggage

Guy Stephens/ WNIJ

The Rockford Symphony Orchestra will bring back some favorites and expand the number of its performances next year, including a new summer series. 

Rockford Symphony Orchestra Music Director Steven Larsen said there’s something for everyone on every concert of the 2018-2019 season.

Leonard Bernstein at 100

The Rockford arts community will celebrate musical icon Leonard Bernstein during the month of April.

The festival, "Leonard Bernstein at 100," is being led by the Rockford Symphony Orchestra. RSO Education and Community Engagement Director Margo Stedman said Bernstein’s many accomplishments as a composer, conductor and music educator are reason enough to celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth.

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911 was an industrial disaster that killed 146 garment workers in New York City. The fire became a touchstone for the labor movement of the 20th century. An opera inspired by the disaster tells the story from a different point of view and it's getting a special type of New York debut.

When it comes to heavyweight game-changers like Claude Debussy, super fans even celebrate death anniversaries. It was 100 years ago, March 25, 1918, that the visionary composer lost his battle with cancer and died in Paris at age 56.

To mark the occasion, Warner Classics has issued a handsome 33-CD box containing what the label says is "the most complete collection ever made" of Debussy's music.

Sessions from Studio A - Michael Charles

Mar 22, 2018
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Sessions from Studio A- Michael Charles

WNIJ’s Sessions for Studio A continues to be a hit for the bands to showcase their music. We were grateful to have Michael Charles in the studio, who gave such an energized performance. He has a blues voice rich with authenticity and is also famous with his exciting guitar solos. His band includes Michael Charles playing lead guitar and vocals, Dave playing the drums, and Dennis playing bass guitar.

AUDIO POSTCARD: Sycamore High School's Orchesis Show

Mar 22, 2018

Earlier this month, dozens of dancers took part in Sycamore High School’s annual Orchesis Dance Show. It’s a musical showcase for students by students. Alex Umekubo prepared this behind-the-scenes audio postcard as his peers prepared for the big show.

Alex is a recent graduate of WNIJ's Public Radio 101 program. Learn more about the program here.

Artur Schnabel, one of the game-changing pianists of the 20th century and one of the first piano stars of the phonograph, is being celebrated today by the Library of Congress. His recordings of Beethoven's Piano Sonatas, made between 1932-1935 and collected in The Complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas, have been entered into the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress as an "aural treasure worthy of preservation."

The National Library of Congress has shared its latest batch of musical inductees to the National Recording Registry. The 25 works — a mix of singles, field recordings, albums and soundtracks — represent myriad genres and time periods, and bring the Registry's overall catalog up to 500 entries.

Few people know Peter Pan like Andrea Jones. She loves the 1953 animated Disney classic, plus Mary Martin's and Sandy Duncan's portrayals of the flying forever-boy.

She's also deeply familiar with J.M. Barrie's original 1904 play, Peter and Wendy, and the 1911 novelization. So when Universal Pictures released a live-action film in 2003, Jones was skeptical.

"I said to myself, 'Why do we need another Peter Pan retelling'. But I went with my son, who was young at the time," she said.

Sing Sing Correctional Facility is not the sort of place you'd expect to find a flourishing music community, but a workshop run by Carnegie Hall offers inmates the ability to learn in harmony. Twice a month, artists from New York City travel to Sing Sing and spend a day giving 30 inmates enrolled in the Musical Connections program formal training.

One of the most horrible events of the Vietnam War took place 50 years ago this week.

This might very well be the ultimate lullaby. Right at the start of the 2018 SXSW Music Festival, Max Richter's eight-hour composition Sleep was performed overnight to an audience tucked into 150 beds. They — the audience, not the tireless group of musicians who performed the piece — slept, dreamed and sometimes snored through this trance-inducing experience.

Pages