Arts

Arts and culture

Dan Libman has accomplished what most writers dream of. He won the Pushcart Prize for fiction, he's been published in the Paris Review, and lives with a wife -- Molly McNett -- who shares his passion for writing. We'll meet her later in our Summer Book Series.

The Philadelphia Orchestra has just wrapped up a 10-day visit to China, its seventh trip to the country over the past four decades.

But this trip was different.

The orchestra is preparing to come out of bankruptcy, and this tour was about its survival. It hopes to balance its books by building new audiences and new revenues in the world's second-largest economy.

Masses Of Sound Surge After Centuries

Jun 6, 2012

Celebrating wild and wonderful early music is the mission of Britain's excellent I Fagiolini, led by Robert Hollingworth. Last year's world premiere recording of Alessandro Striggio's enormous 40-part Mass, paired with another larger-than-life piece, Thomas Tallis' 40-part Spem in Alium, became something of a sleeper hit, scoring surprisingly big sales and winning a Gramophone Award.

There are stories both famous and infamous of children pushed into performing careers by their parents (Britney Spears, Michael Jackson, Judy Garland ... the list goes on and on). But Vanessa Perez has become a fine young pianist despite her mother's best efforts to keep her away from the performing arts.

Noah Stewart: From 'Opera Boy' To Singer

Jun 3, 2012

When tenor Noah Stewart was growing up in Harlem, N.Y., his friends called him "opera boy." They were onto something.

Earlier this year, he became the first black singer to hit No. 1 on the classical music charts in the U.K.

But Stewart's musical tastes aren't confined to Puccini, Bizet and Strauss, and his new, self-titled album gives him a chance to put his mark on everything from American spirituals to Top 40 hits.

Stewart says he doesn't mind being called an opera singer, but that he would rather just be called a singer.

What would it be like if you were 10 years old and composed a piece of music that was played by the New York Philharmonic? For a few New York City school kids, including one fifth-grader, it's a dream come true, thanks to the orchestra's Very Young Composers program.

Composer Jon Deak, who played bass with the New York Philharmonic for more than 40 years, says the idea for Very Young Composers came when he and conductor Marin Alsop visited an elementary school in Brooklyn several years ago.

Rock Icon Todd Rundgren joins 2012 All Starr Band

Jun 1, 2012

This summer rock icon Todd Rundgren will be joining The Beatles Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band.  It has been 13 years since Rundgren’s last stint as guitarist of the ever-changing line up of the All Starrs. 

  • Today, a Turkish court approved the indictment of pianist and composer Fazil Say for inciting hatred and public enmity and insulting "religious values" in a series of Twitter posts. One of his lawyers says that he has also received death threats. The trial has been scheduled for October 18.

Jean-Yves Thibaudet On Song Travels

Jun 1, 2012

French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet is one of the leading performers on today's classical-music scene. He has more than 40 albums to his credit, including interpretations of the classical repertoire, as well as music by George Gershwin, Duke Ellington and Bill Evans.

Music Depreciation 101

Jun 1, 2012

Got an idea for a classical cartoon, or a reaction to this one? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Pablo Helguera is a New York-based artist working with sculpture, drawing, photography and performance. You can see more of his work at Artworld Salon and on his own site.

Robert Kopp wants you to know something:  Jesus loves you, and he would've ridden a motorcycle back in the day.  The Rev. Dr. Kopp's new book, I Just Wanna Ride (FTW), describes how the biker lifestyle leads to a more authentic faith.  It's the first installment of WNIJ's Summer Book Series.

WNIJ

Charlotte’s Web for the Performing Arts is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Over the decades, the Web has presented literally hundreds of artists. And despite always working on a shoestring budget, it has consistently won renown for both the quality and variety of its concerts. It's also survived economic woes that have felled many an arts organization.  Lani Richardson is executive director of the Web.

German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, who died earlier this month at age 86, was a paragon of excellence for generations of singers and fans. After his passing, we called American baritone Thomas Hampson for his memories of Fischer-Dieskau, whom he has called "a Singer for the ages, an Artist for eternity."

Todd Rundgren Metropole Facebook

The legendary rocker takes a step back from rock shows to perform with RSO June 1 and 2.

There are two war-related anniversaries this week that make today's album review all the more timely. Yesterday was Memorial Day here in the U.S.; tomorrow, May 30, marks 50 years since the world premiere of English composer Benjamin Britten's War Requiem at Coventry Cathedral. The War Requiem was commissioned for the cathedral's reconsecration after it had been destroyed by a Nazi bombing raid in 1940.

Robert Kopp wants you to know something:  Jesus loves you, and he would've ridden a motorcycle back in the day.  The Rev. Dr. Kopp's new book, I Just Wanna Ride (FTW), describes how the biker lifestyle leads to a more authentic faith.  It's the first installment of WNIJ's Summer Book Series.

Vanessa Perez: A Rising Star From Venezuela

May 27, 2012

Some of the best recent classical music stories have come from Venezuela, that country's youth orchestra program El Sistema and its most popular graduate, Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel.

When the Canadian Brass came to NPR for a Tiny Desk Concert, the group kicked off the show with a piece its members say has been central to its repertoire for more than 40 years. It's a transcription of an organ work, Johann Sebastian Bach's "Little" Fugue in G Minor.

If you drive about an hour and a half north of Santa Fe, N.M., into a place called the Chama Canyon, you might hear the clanging of church bells in the distance. The Monastery of Christ in the Desert was founded there in 1964 and is home to a community of Benedictine monks. They spend their days in prayer, work, meditation — and music.

PROGRAM:

  • BACH Partita No. 1 in B-flat Major, BWV 825

  • SCHUBERT Sonata in B-flat Major, D. 960

  • CHOPIN Twelve Etudes, Op. 25

  • LISZT Romance, S. 169

  • LiSZT Grande Etude de Paganini, S. 141 "La Campanella"

Around The Classical Internet: May 25, 2012

May 25, 2012

  • Hey, did you hear about what went down between the Metropolitan Opera and Opera News this week?

Yet More News From 'Opera News'

May 25, 2012

Got an idea for a classical cartoon, or a reaction to this one? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Pablo Helguera is a New York-based artist working with sculpture, drawing, photography and performance. You can see more of his work at Artworld Salon and on his own site.

Yesterday, the opera world was jolted by a rapid-fire sequence of stunning turns at the Metropolitan Opera — and not by divas onstage. In the morning, the New York Times carried a front-page story by Daniel J.

Literature is alive and vital in DeKalb and the Rockford area.  I learned this after interviewing five authors for WNIJ's Summer Book Series, which airs every Friday in June. 

This is the first such series by WNIJ News since I started hosting Morning Edition in 1997 and, to be honest, none of us knew anything about the authors who lived here.  The only thing we knew was this:  The books we wanted for this series should be the kind you'd want to read while on vacation.

Not many classical pianists maintain blogs where they ruminate on everything from eating a terrible bowl of meatballs while on tour with Joshua Bell to seeing Twilight: New Moon (twice) and hearing strains of a Schubert song.

Orphaned at age five from a musical family, French composer Félicien-César David had a religious upbringing, and would go to study at the Paris Conservatory in 1830. But he left after eighteen months, later making his way to Egypt, where music of the East would make a lasting impression on him.

David wrote a significant body of work, including a highly acclaimed and innovative symphonic ode Le Désert in 1844. It established him as the first French romantic orientalist and gained him a reputation throughout the continent.

Ever dream of participating in a world premiere of music by one of the world's most widely beloved and celebrated composers? Here's your big chance.

Around The Classical Internet: May 18, 2012

May 18, 2012

  • This week has ended on a very sad note with the passing of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, who died earlier today in Bavaria at age 86.

It's A Marvel-ous Wagner Production

May 18, 2012

Got an idea for a classical cartoon, or a reaction to this one? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Pablo Helguera is a New York-based artist working with sculpture, drawing, photography and performance. You can see more of his work at Artworld Salon and on his own site.

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