Anastasia Tsioulcas

Anastasia Tsioulcas is an Associate Producer for NPR Music. In this role she is responsible for producing, blogging and occasional reporting on classical and world music.

Tsioulcas is co-host of NPR's classical music blog, Deceptive Cadence, and also produces live concert webcasts, ranging from Member Station co-productions to other live concerts and special events, including Field Recordings and Tiny Desk Concerts, that she's helped curate and produce.

While here at NPR, Tsioulcas has produced, coordinated and reported on a variety of topics and initiatives including rallying a few hundred singers to Times Square for a "flash choir" to sing the world premiere of a new Philip Glass piece, commissioned by NPR Music. Tsioulcas also had the opportunity to speak with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steve Reich about his piece WTC 9/11 and she produced and co-hosted a live concert at (Le) Poisson Rouge with legendary conductor Daniel Barenboim and his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, comprised of players from Israel and across the Arab world.

Prior to joining NPR in April 2011, she was widely published as a writer on both classical and world music, and was the former North America editor for Gramophone Magazine and the classical music columnist for Billboard. She has also been an on-air contributor to many public radio programs, including WNYC's Soundcheck, Minnesota Public Radio's The Savvy Traveler, Public Radio International's Weekend America, and the BBC's The World. As a world music journalist, she has reported from across north and western Africa, South Asia and Europe on the music and culture of those regions.

Born in Boston, Tsioulcas was trained from an early age as a Western classical violinist and violist. She holds a BA from Barnard College, Columbia University in comparative religion.

A battle between upbeat, finely crafted pop and politically minded hip-hop seems to be what's shaping up for the biggest prizes at this year's Grammy Awards. The nominees were announced this morning, in advance of the awards ceremony on Feb. 15.

Why is classical music so hard to enjoy on streaming services? In one word, it's metadata. Metadata is the information that coexists with every digital music file: each and every piece of information about a selection of music that a listener might find useful to know, and what makes the information in one file discernible from the next. In the case of classical music, relevant and important metadata includes the name of the piece of music, the composer, the album it's from, the performers, the label that released the recording and the year it was recorded.

When friends learn that my nearly six-year-old has been playing violin for three years, their voices shift a bit, especially if they also have a child learning an instrument. Two questions come in quick succession: "Does she like it?" and "How do you get her to practice?" There's a nervous energy to their queries, and usually a little laugh, too. Either they've been struggling with kids who have a hard time practicing, or they recall their own childhood boredom.

Update Wednesday, June 25, 2014: A representative from Sotheby's tells NPR that the instrument did not sell "at this time."

Wednesday, Sotheby's auction house plans to announce the sale of a rare viola made by Antonio Stradivari. The minimum bid is $45 million. If it sells, it will be the most expensive instrument of any kind in history.

Here's an old musician joke: How do you keep your violin from getting stolen? Put it in a viola case.

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