Arts and culture

Paula Garrett

Paula Garrett has a history with Memphis and its music – which made her the natural choice to report on the inaugural MEMPHO Music Fest earlier this month.

The festival was the brainchild of another transplanted Memphian named Diego Winegardner, who has worked in finance in New York City for the past couple of decades.

On a visit to his hometown in 2017, he rediscovered a 4,500-acre urban park called Shelby Farms and decided that was the place to pay tribute to the city’s musical heritage.

Sessions from Studio A - Jake Mack

Oct 26, 2017
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Jake Mack performing "If You Wanted To" in WNIJ's Studio A.

You can find the music of Jake Mack at

Pianist Glenn Gould rocketed to fame in 1955 with his startling and original take on Bach's Goldberg Variations. Gould's fans were treated to a remake of Goldbergs in 1982, when he released a slower-paced rendition just before his untimely death. But it's that first, rapid fire 1955 recording that continues to captivate audiences.

It was 100 years ago this week that Russian violinist Jascha Heifetz made his American debut at New York's Carnegie Hall in 1917. Considered by many to be one of the greatest violinists in history, he was just 16 years old at the time. NPR's Rachel Martin spoke with commentator Miles Hoffman about that appearance and the career that followed.

ENCORE! Avalon String Quartet

Oct 24, 2017

Tune in Monday, October 30th at 7pm for an intimate evening of chamber music with The Avalon String Quartet!

In the art world, William Eggleston is a revered photographer. In the music world, he's virtually unknown. But now the 78-year-old Memphis native, celebrated for legitimizing color photography in the 1970s, has just released his very first album, simply titled Musik.

Sessions from Studio A - Jerry Dale Harris

Oct 19, 2017
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Jerry Dale Harris performs in WNIJ's Studio A.

You can find the music of Jerry Dale Harris at Bandcamp.

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.

The best film scores walk a delicate line: They help propel the story, guide an audience's emotions and are also often a distinct character, with a role and voice as important as any actor's — but they also have to do all that without getting in the way, or drawing too much attention.

ENCORE! Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra

Oct 17, 2017

Tune in Monday evening at 7 for performances of Mozart's Don Giovanni Overture, Haydn's Cello Concerto #2 in D and Schubert's Symphony #9.

Guy Stephens/WNIJ

It’s a Monday night at the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center in Rockford, and Karen Cantele is checking people in for a rehearsal of the Mendelssohn Chorale.

Now the Chorale’s Manager, Cantele says hers is a common story here.

“I heard from some friends that, ‘You should come and sing in this amazing group,’ about seven years ago,” she said. “So I came, and it’s been the most uplifting thing I could have done so far for my own professional singing -- you know, enjoyment.”

Sessions from Studio A - NE-HI

Oct 12, 2017
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

NE-HI performing "Stay Young in WNIJ's Studio A.
Find NE-HI online at

ENCORE! RSO 2017/2018 Classics Concert #1

Oct 10, 2017

The RSO's Classics Concert #1, "The Universe At An Exhibition" was performed live October 7th in Rockford's Coronado Theater.   The program includes Sir Edward Elgar's "Cockaigne Overture," James Stephenson's "Celestial Suite" and Modest Mussorgsky's "Pictures At An Exhibition."

Classical and folk music continue to intermingle in fascinating ways. The intersections stretch back far beyond Bach, who cleverly slipped a German folk song into his Goldberg Variations. Later, composers like Ralph Vaughan Williams and Béla Bartók combed the countryside, collecting tunes from villagers.

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Captain Wails & The Harpoons performs "Neon Lights" in WNIJ's Studio A.

Find Captain Wails & The Harpoons at bandcamp.

When Daniil Trifonov was 20, he scored a double victory, taking home top prizes at both the Tchaikovsky and Rubinstein International Piano Competitions. That was six years ago, and by now he has secured a spot as one of the most revered – perhaps even feared – classical pianists on the scene today.

ENCORE! Jeff LaDeur, solo pianist

Oct 3, 2017

Jeff LaDeur, pianist for The Delphi Trio performs a solo  recital in WNIU's Studio A.

Bill Murray has come a long way since his early days as Nick the Lounge Singer on Saturday Night Live. He made screwball comedies like Caddy Shack and Stripes. Then he made serious films, like Lost in Translation.

Some of the great roles for sopranos are often compellingly fragile — and disarmingly forceful – women: Gilda, the favored daughter in Rigoletto; Violeta, the doomed love in La Traviata.

Charity Tillemann-Dick has sung those roles onstage, but her greatest role may be her own life. She is one of 11 brothers and sisters of a Mormon-Jewish family, and was studying at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music when she was diagnosed with a debilitating and ultimately fatal lung disease.

Steven Larsen

Artistic Director and Conductor of the Rockford Symphony Steven Larsen provides an overview of the entire 2017/2018 RSO Classics Concert season!

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

You can find Dan Whitaker & The Shinebenders at

What does it take to be an opera superstar? Jonas Kaufmann should know. He's been called "the world's greatest tenor."

Kaufmann has the voice. He's also got the onstage charisma, the movie-star good looks, the ambition, even a little controversy — and a brand new album.

He's the ultimate singer-songwriter: His poetry knows no equal and, as a musician, his powers are magical. But he also has big problems.

The tragic story of Orpheus has inspired countless works of art over the millennia — plus one. The latest retelling comes from director and choreographer Mark DeChiazza.

This week, I went to the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore to sit in on a conducting class led by Marin Alsop, the music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. The Maestra was showing several Peabody students — aspiring young conductors — some of the fine points of leading an orchestra, as they led musicians through Don Juan, the dramatic tone poem by Richard Strauss.

Sessions from Studio A - The Full Monte Project

Sep 21, 2017
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

The Full Monte project performs "Slick" in WNIJ's Studio A.
Find The Full Monte Project on Bandcamp.

At first glance, Devonté Hynes and Philip Glass might appear like musical opposites. Hynes, the 31-year-old British producer and songwriter who performs under the name Blood Orange, makes hit records with Solange and Carly Rae Jepsen.

Kishi Bashi With Strings On Mountain Stage

Sep 20, 2017

Eclectic pop maestro Kishi Bashi makes his front-and-center debut on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va.