Arts

Arts and culture

With the current school year wrapping up and our thoughts turning to how to make next year even better, we're teaming up with our friends at From the Top to create "The Young Person's Guide to Making Music." All this week, we're tackling topics for music-loving kids and their families, from how to choose the right instrument to vanquishing the audition monster, with lo

Whether it's learning saxophone in school band, taking Saturday piano lessons, or participating in a top-flight youth orchestra, there are tens of millions of kids in the United States learning to play instruments. Way back in 2003, Gallup pollsters figured that at least 84 million Americans play an instrument — and at least a third of those players were then between the ages of 5 and 17.

  • The Colorado Symphony Orchestra, under the new leadership of chief exec Gene Sobczak has pulled off "a kind of short-term miracle." Less than a year ago, the orchestra was "so toxic that 20 trustees made an angry and abrupt exit," and they've been looking for a new artistic director for about four years.

Wichita (Symphony) Lineman

Jun 15, 2012

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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.

Amy Newman has published more than 200 poems. She is also a Presidential Research Professor at Northern Illinois University. Her alter ego, "Amy Newman," is less successful but clings to the hope that an editor will publish her work.

Tracing The Trail Of Musical Fathers

Jun 15, 2012

With Father's Day coming up this weekend, Morning Edition music commentator Miles Hoffman has been thinking about a few musical dads and their children.

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(Classical Detours meanders through stylistic byways, exploring new recordings from the fringes of classical music.)

Dress shirts inspired by NASA technology, gourmet pepper mixes and ... a new recording and study guide for Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time? That's just a tiny sample of Kickstarter's current array of "creative projects" seeking funding. Forget writing endless grant applications and long dinners with angel investors, the thinking goes — just tap into your social networks to raise money instead.

Grand Detour celebrates history in cemetery

Jun 11, 2012
WNIJ

hGrand Detour, Illinois is located near the Rock River, northeast of Dixon. It is the site where John Deere invented the first successful steel plow. It was also home to Myron Strong, a direct descendent of Mayflower passenger Miles Standish.

For three of the past four years, the St. Peter's Church Preservation Committee of Grand Detour has sponsored a historical walk through the village's cemetery called "Tales from the Tombs."  The event features volunteers who portray the village's notable residents from the past.

This year, the walk was held Sunday June 10th.  

Car Talk / NPR

Fans of the popular NPR show “Car Talk” are burning up the social media-sphere today with the announcement by Tom and Ray Magliozzi that they are retiring this fall. But don't fret: they still have a place here on WNIJ, according to Program Director Bill Drake.

  • The London Symphony Orchestra, live at the Olympics opening ceremony? Yeah, not so much. The musicians will mime to a recording of themselves.

Introducing Siri Georg Solti

Jun 8, 2012

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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.

My two-week stay in Europe ended earlier this week with a stroke of luck: My German father-in-law gave me his beautiful old violin, the one he's played since he was 11. But getting it back safely to the U.S. was more of a problem than I imagined.

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

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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.

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