Arts

Arts and culture

The irony couldn't have been more vivid when Maria Callas sang the words "The dead don't rise again from the grave," from Verdi's opera Macbeth, on stage Friday night at the Moss Arts Center in Blacksburg, Va.

Sessions from Studio A - Emily Hurd

Nov 1, 2018
Spencer Tritt / WNIJ

Emily Hurd performs "Brush Fire" in WNIJ's Studio A.

Emily Hurd performs "Daytime Fireflies" in WNIJ's Studio A.

Thank you for voting! This competition is now closed. Stay tuned for our Top Ten artists announcement and for the winner's interview on NPR's All Things Considered.


Slingshot, VuHaus public radio stations and NPR Music's emerging artist series, spotlighted 40 artists over the course of the past 10 months. Now it's time for you to tell us your favorite.

Since the late 1960s, NPR's Ned Wharton's brother Geoffry Wharton has worked as a professional violinist in Europe. Wharton often played jazzy pieces by a rather obscure composer named Audrey Call as encores. Maybe to Europeans it was the exotic sound of jazz being played at classical concerts that won their hearts, but Call's "Witch of Harlem" became a hit within Wharton's performances.

Sessions from Studio A - Mackenzie O'Brien

Oct 25, 2018
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Mackenzie O'Brien performs "Live by the Sun" at the Prairie Street Brewing Company in Rockford.

Mackenzie O'Brien performs "High Class, Low Rent" at the Prairie Street Brewing Company in Rockford.

Updated Nov. 1 at 9:34 a.m. ET

For the second time in just over two months, renowned opera singer David Daniels has been accused of sexually assaulting a young singer.

Andrew Lipian, a former student of Daniels at the University of Michigan (UM), has filed a civil suit against both Daniels and the school over a March 2017 incident in which he alleges he was drugged and assaulted by Daniels.

The Cleveland Orchestra announced on Wednesday that it has fired two of its prominent musicians on the basis of sexual misconduct: concertmaster William Preucil and principal trombonist Massimo La Rosa.

WNIJ

Rockford artist and owner of The Underground Art Gallery, Roni Golan stopped by the studio today. He spent the morning creating a custom piece, inspired by public radio. And, here's the best news...he's allowing us to offer this amazing painting to one lucky WNIJ listener.

If you missed the excitement of the live painting this morning, check out the highlights below: 

Sessions from Studio A - The Sanctified Grumblers

Oct 18, 2018
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

The Sanctified Grumblers perform "Nancy Jane" Dockside Live at the Prairie Street Brewing Co. in Rockford.

The Sanctified Grumblers perform "Mama's Little Sonny Boy" Dockside Live at the Prairie Street Brewing Co. in Rockford.

Vijay Gupta's life work has been to make music accessible to all.

That passion caught the attention of others and earlier this month the Los Angeles Philharmonic violinist was awarded a 2018 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship — also known as the genius grant.

Sessions from Studio A - Kraig Kenning

Oct 11, 2018
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Kraig Kenning performs "Left Chicago" Dockside Live at the Prairie St. Brewing Co.

Kraig Kenning performs "Left Chicago" Dockside Live at the Prairie St. Brewing Co.

Until recently, most classical music videos have been humdrum affairs. Musicians, in concert attire, earnestly produce their notes with eyes closed and heads tilted in a beatific expression, somewhere between a migraine and an attempt to channel Bach from the heavens.

Two additional women, violinists Emilia Mettenbrink and Raffaela Kalmar, have made allegations of sexual misconduct against violinist William Preucil, the concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra and a now-former instructor at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM). Their accusations were printed in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Sunday.

Like every other opera fanatic, I was saddened Saturday to learn of the death of Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballé. She is among the last of a breed of old school divas and will be remembered, above all, for the breathtaking beauty of her sound.

Three years after his death, my father, virtuoso violinist Roman Totenberg, made headlines all over the world when his beloved Stradivarius violin, stolen 35 years earlier, was recovered by the FBI. The story struck the hearts of so many, I think, because in such turbulent times, it was rare good, even joyful, news. And the mystery of where it had been, was finally solved.

Over two decades ago in 1997, when violinist Hilary Hahn was 17, she made a celebrated recording debut, Hilary Hahn Plays Bach. That year, Hahn told NPR about her enthusiasm for Bach's music.

Sessions from Studio A - Zach Pietrini

Oct 4, 2018
Spencer Tritt / WNIJ

Zach Pietrini performs "I Don't Want to Leave" live on the docks at Prairie Street Brewing Co. in Rockford.

Zach Pietrini performs "Like the Pain" live on the docks at Prairie Street Brewing Co. in Rockford.

Composer Matthew Aucoin has earned one of the most prestigious awards in the arts and sciences. Wednesday he was announced as a 2018 MacArthur Fellow, a recipient of the so-called "genius grant" from the MacArthur Foundation, which includes a $625,000 no-strings-attached purse. Aucoin, the youngest winner this year, joins 24 other Fellows, whose work spreads wide across the arts, humanities and sciences.

Yo-Yo Ma is one of the greatest cellists of all time. His relationship with the music of Bach is widely known, but he paid tribute to another artist during his set: Pablo Casals. The Spanish cellist discovered the Bach suites in a music store in 1890 and brought them to modern attention.

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Although Johann Sebastian Bach was probably no tap-dancer, he did know something about dancing.

One hundred years ago, a symphonic blockbuster was born in London. The Planets, by Gustav Holst, premiered on this date in 1918.

Magos Herrera is a jazz singer from Mexico, but she has also sung pop songs with Brazilian beats and crooned Mexican classics with a touch of rock. Herrera takes another adventuresome step on her new album, Dreamers, where she partners with a classical string quartet for an album steeped in Latin American culture. The potent mix of themes and the sound of the string quartet, plus a little percussion, are compelling.

Spencer Tritt / WNIJ

Lina Tullgren performs "Home" in WNIJ's Studio A.

Lina Tullgren performs "Glove" in WNIJ's Studio A.

For National Literacy Month, WNIJ dug into the archives for one of our more popular "Read With Me" interviews. Today's feature originally aired Oct. 16, 2017.

An episode of the 1960s sitcom Bewitched perfectly describes the author-character relationship, according to Linda H. Heuring.

Two of the country's oldest and most venerated music institutions, the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera, are beginning their seasons with a change in artistic leadership. Both organizations are grappling with 21st century issues of bringing new audiences in and convincing them that centuries-old music forms are central to their lives today.

Despite being one of the first and oldest forms of popular music, opera sometimes struggles to connect with 21st century audiences. However, Anthony Roth Costanzo is breaking down the genre's stodgy stereotype and making opera more accessible — taking his distinctive sound to the masses, from a sixth-grade classroom in the Bronx to NPR's own Tiny Desk.

The New York Philharmonic announced Sunday that it has taken action against two prominent musicians over unspecified "misconduct": the orchestra's principal oboist, Liang Wang, and its associate principal trumpeter, Matthew Muckey.

The orchestra said the decision came after a five-month internal investigation, led by a former federal judge. Both musicians dispute the Philharmonic's findings, and while the musicians' union reviews the orchestra's decision, the two have been placed on unpaid leave.

Fall 2018 Listener Book Swap

Sep 14, 2018

September is National Literacy Month and we’re celebrating with a listener book swap September 17-28. Our doors will be open Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 4:30.

The idea is simple. Stop by our DeKalb studios with a book – or several - for the “swap table" and peruse favorite books from staff and fellow listeners while you're here. You’re free to go home with some fresh reads, or leave the treasures behind for stocking the WNIJ/WNIU Little Free Library.

Sessions from Studio A - Dina Bach

Sep 13, 2018
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Dina Bach performs "You and Me" in WNIJ's Studio A.

Dina Bach performs "Slow Dance" in WNIJ's Studio A.

Find the music of Dina Bach at dinabachmusic.com.

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