Arts

Arts and culture

James Levine, the famed conductor who was fired earlier this week by New York's Metropolitan Opera following its internal investigation into allegations of sexually abusive conduct towards young artists, has responded by suing the Met and its General Manager Peter Gelb.

Abbie Reese

Rockford is home to a community of nuns known as the Corpus Christi Monastery of the Poor Clares. The occupants lead a secluded life of prayer, but a new film explores what goes on behind the monastery walls.

Abbie Reese, a northwest Illinois filmmaker and author, was interested in the lives of religious cloisters. She found a monastery in Rockford and met with the nuns to discuss a project.

“I approached them in 2005 and said I was interested in making photos and left them with that. Three years later, they came back and invited me into the enclosure,” she said.

Sessions from Studio A - Trinadora Rocks

Mar 15, 2018
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Trinadora Rocks performs in WNIJ's Studio A

Find Trinadora online at Trinadora.com.

Here's a musical riddle that has kept people guessing for over a century.

English composer Edward Elgar's Variations on an Original Theme, ('Enigma') op. 36 is one of England's most beloved musical works. It's commonly known as the Enigma Variations.

Guy Stephens / WNIJ NEWS

“Man in a Tree” -- the current show at the Rockford University Art Gallery -- is a survey of works by printmaker David Driesbach, looking at selected works over the former Northern Illinois University art teacher’s nearly 70-year career.

The title of the exhibit refers to a sepia print that looks like a line drawing of – you guessed it – a man in a tree: Driesbach himself. There also are a banjo, a light bulb and other oddments, along with a Driesbach signature -- a top hat. 

File this one under: "when genre walls collapse, the fusions are wonderful." Among the sidenotes to dance-music archivists' interest in the minimalist sounds of New York's 1970s and '80s downtown cult figures such as Arthur Russell and Julius Eastman, is how it's brought the work of their colleagues, contemporaries and collaborators to light.

Sessions from Studio A - Seasonal Men's Wear

Mar 8, 2018
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Seasonal Men’s Wear made a trip to WNIJ’s Studio A to give an original, rock performance. Throughout the last 12 years the band has rotated through many different band members and genres such as acoustic power violence. Before making any changes, Jake wanted to start a band intended to be "goofy". The band consisted of three guitars, an acoustic guitar, pots and pans and any other furniture they could find around the house. From then on, Jake was determined to find the right band. Throughout the years this set of musicians seems to be the best and longest fit for Seasonal Men’s Wear.

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.

Composers have often turned to folk music when they need a strong melody or just a shot of inspiration. The sounds of traditional Persian music — something rarely heard in a Western classical setting — help make "In Memory of a Lost Beloved" feel fresh and evocative. It's from a suite of Persian-inspired pieces by composer Reza Vali on Home, the debut album from 25-year-old cellist Kian Soltani.

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.

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.

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.

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