Music + Culture

 

Summer is heating up and so are dozens of classical music festivals all around the country. We couldn't possibly list them all, but here's a sampling of some of the best events, from open-air venues and seaside spots to historic concert halls. Been to a great summer festival we've missed? Feel free to pass along your own reviews in the comments section.

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In Sharpness And In Tune

Jun 21, 2013

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

The violin, though centuries old, remains a popular yet remarkably unwieldy instrument. Just squeezing the contraption between your chin and shoulder, then raising your bow arm to the proper height, is enough to induce a pinched nerve. Yet every day countless numbers of people try to make the instrument sing.

Wired: Come Hear New Music That Uses The Manhattan Bridge

Jun 17, 2013

Playing Mozart — On Mozart's Violin

Jun 14, 2013

The violin and viola that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart played himself are in the United States for the first time ever. The instruments come out of storage only about once a year at the Salzburg Mozarteum in Austria. The rest of the time, they're kept under serious lockup.

An Inconvenient Tune

Jun 14, 2013

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

Composer Mark Adamo has made beautiful music out of classic books. His Little Women is among the most produced American operas today. He also wrote the words and music for his operatic adaptation of Aristophanes' Greek drama Lysistrata.

His latest work, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, has proved more controversial. The opera, which premieres June 19 at the San Francisco Opera, tells the story of Mary, Jesus and his disciples.

Winners of 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition were announced Sunday night in Fort Worth, Texas. The competition was held over 17 days.

Vadym Kholodenko, 26, of Ukraine, won the top prize of $50,000, but he said the rankings don't mean that much.

"It's kind of fun for audience, for press. It's interesting to put first, second, 10th and so on. But in life, not so important," Kholodenko says.

And, he says, so much of life involves competing no matter what you're doing.

The Emerson String Quartet is one of the most acclaimed chamber groups in the world of classical music. Since their founding in 1976, the group has won nine Grammys for its recordings. Now, it has a new album out called Journeys: Tchaikovsky, Schoenberg — and it's the last recording with cellist David Finckel, one of the quartet's longtime members.

The Cage-y Consumer

Jun 7, 2013

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Pablo Helguera is a New York-based artist working with sculpture, drawing, photography and performance. His new book is Helguera's Artunes. You can see more of his work atArtworld Salon and on his own site.

Six finalists for the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition were announced last night in Fort Worth, Texas. For the first time since its inception more than 50 years ago, the contest is taking place without its namesake. Cliburn died in February of cancer, and the competition is dealing with his loss and other changes as well.

It's easy to think of opera as little more than an affected flock of singers warbling onstage in lacy brocade with pancake makeup, chandeliers and champagne.

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Not everyone gets to celebrate his or her 19th birthday the way Conrad Tao will: On June 11, he'll release a major-label debut album and curate the first day of his own three-day new music festival in Brooklyn. But if any musician is primed for such a workload at this age, Tao might just be the one.

Amid The Pulsars Without A Pulse

May 31, 2013

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. His new book is Helguera's Artunes. You can see more of his work at Artworld Salon and on his own site.

100 Years After The Riot, The 'Rite' Remains

May 29, 2013

One hundred years ago, a landmark of modern music was unveiled before a Paris audience. And that audience famously and mercilessly greeted it with boos, jeers and hisses. It was the premiere of the Ballets Russes' The Rite of Spring.

We Asked, You Created: Your 'Rite Of Spring' Videos

May 29, 2013

A few weeks ago, we asked you to take the last minute of Stravinsky's famous music for The Rite of Spring, transform it into something new and post your creations to YouTube. And boy, did you guys deliver, just in time to mark the ballet's 100th anniversary — it premiered May 29, 1913 — in brilliant fashion.

Colors Swirl In A Real Rite Of Spring

May 28, 2013

One of the most brilliant and exciting commemorations of the 100th anniversary of Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring is a new work that references the Russian composer's music — but in an entirely new cultural framework. It's a pairing of film and music called Radhe, Radhe: Rites of Holi.

A 100-year-old ballet, composed by a Russian for a French audience, has become something of a jazz standard.

Watch A Mind-Blowing Visualization Of 'The Rite Of Spring'

May 28, 2013

One hundred years ago this week, a ballet premiered that changed the art world. Igor Stravinsky's Le Sacre du PrintempsThe Rite of Spring — was first seen by the public on May 29, 1913, in Paris. As the orchestra played The Rite's swirling introduction, the audience at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées began to murmur. Then the curtain opened.

If you think all the twitchy rhythms and random shards of melody flashing through Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring sound complicated, consider the poor musicians who have to learn it. And then there's the conductor, who needs to perfectly place every piccolo tweet and bass drum boom.

Sidney Insists On Stokowski's Stravinsky

May 24, 2013

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Pablo Helguera is a New York-based artist working with sculpture, drawing, photography and performance. His new book is Helguera's Artunes. You can see more of his work atArtworld Salon and on his own site.

As the 100th anniversary of Igor Stravinsky's ballet The Rite of Spring approaches, commentator Miles Hoffman reminds us that — as earthshaking as that infamous debut was — the composer soon branched out into a variety of musical styles that would surprise his fans and critics.

Henri Dutilleux, a leading French composer who wrote music of luminous perfection, died Wednesday in Paris at age 97. His family announced the death, which was reported by one of his publishers, Schott Music, and the Agence-France Presse.

How much do you know about Richard Wagner? Probably two unfavorable facts: He wrote very long, grandiose operas and was Hitler's favorite composer. As true as they are, those simple examples barely hint at the complexity of this endlessly creative and confounding artist.

Paula Poundstone is regularly heard on NPR’s news quiz program Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me as a popular guest panelist.  A stand-up comic since 1979, Poundstone has won multiple wards, and was recently inducted into the Comedy Hall of Fame.  She tells Thom Kokenge in this extended interview why Facebook is like the children’s game Duck-Duck-Goose, and provides some behind-the-scenes stories of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.

www.paulapoundstone.com

Polly Want An Ostinato?

May 17, 2013

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. His new book is Helguera's Artunes. You can see more of his work atArtworld Salon and on his own site.

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