Arts

Arts and culture

As a singer, arranger, composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist, it should come as no surprise that Jacob Collier comes from a profoundly musical family. His maternal grandparents were both professional violinists, his mother is an accomplished violinist and longtime instructor at the Royal Academy of Music in London and so, naturally, Collier taught himself to play every instrument he could find.

Sessions from Studio A - Blue Dream

Dec 7, 2018

Find Blue Dream online.

In a move that is astonishing much of the classical music world, the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) announced Wednesday that it has appointed Finnish composer and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen as its next music director, beginning in September 2020.

Guy Stephens

Editor's note: Many performances of Handel's most famous oratorio invite audience participation. These are called Sing-Along Messiahs, Scratch Messiahs, People's Messiahs, and Do-It-Yourself-Messiahs. For this article about performances in which unrehearsed attendees serve as the chorus, we'll refer to each of them as "Messiah."

George Frideric Handel's oratorio "Messiah" shows up in concerts regularly this time of year.  But some performances call for the audience to join in.

While conducting research deep in the archives at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum in Poland last summer, Patricia Hall, a music theory professor at the University of Michigan, discovered something unexpected. Professor Hall unearthed manuscripts of music arranged and performed by prisoners in the Nazi death camps. A buoyant foxtrot titled "The Most Beautiful Time Of Life" stood out to Hall, and has now been recorded by Michigan's Contemporary Directions Ensemble.

Sessions from Studio A - Olivia Dvorak

Nov 29, 2018
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Olivia Dvorak performs "Siren's Call" in WNIJ's Studio A.

Olivia Dvorak performs "Drown it all in Whiskey" in WNIJ's Studio A.

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Amid all the Internet is capable of — instant news updates, ranking everything from albums to

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.


Sometimes it takes an outsider to point out what's great about a culture. That's exactly what Czech composer Antonin Dvorak was when he came to the U.S. at the end of the 19th century, an immigrant thrown into a new world and new sounds.

Keeping with Morning Edition's longstanding Thanksgiving Day tradition, classical music commentator Miles Hoffman stops by to give listeners a sample of music that speak to the themes of the holiday. This year's music selection serves as a lesson on famous references to musical fowl throughout history.

Rockford Art Museum

When is a house not just a home? When it's the subject of an exhibition, called "Dwellings," at the Rockford Art Museum.   

 

It's not enough to make list after list. The Turning the Tables project seeks to suggest alternatives to the traditional popular music canon, and to do more than that, too: to stimulate conversation about how hierarchies emerge and endure. This year, Turning the Tables considers how women and non-binary artists are shaping music in our moment, from the pop mainstream to the sinecures of jazz and contemporary classical music. Our list of the 200 Greatest Songs By Women+ offers a soundtrack to a new century. This series of essays takes on another task.

Sessions from Studio A - Justin Gambino

Nov 15, 2018
Carl Nelson / WNIJ<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/hnu_Bi7xWUU" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Justin Gambino performs "Your Hands & Feet" in WNIJ's Studio A.

Justin Gambino performs "Silhouettes" in WNIJ's Studio A.

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.

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