Music + Culture

 

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

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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.

Thursday morning, the Boston Symphony Orchestra announced that conductor Andris Nelsons is being appointed as its music director. The selection puts an end to the uncertainty that has cast a long shadow over the celebrated orchestra in recent years.

Musical Language on Radiolab

May 10, 2013
Terra Nova Expedition

What is music? Why does it move us? How does the brain process sound, and why are some people better at it than others? Listen to Musical Language this week on Radiolab on the NPR news stations of Northwest Public Radio.

Will Work For Feed

May 10, 2013

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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.

Come Dance The 'Rite Of Spring' With Us!

May 10, 2013

A Conversation with Bill McLaughlin

May 9, 2013

We love mothers for all the Hallmark reasons: for their compassion and patience, not to mention giving birth. But some moms aren't exactly greeting card friendly — and none less so than those who live in the opera house.

This is opera, after all, so we expect the outrageous. But operatic moms seem to be disproportionately portrayed as murderers, harpies or generally women on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Your Normas, Medeas, Butterflies, Queens of the Night and Clytemnestras.

The Chrome Depot

May 3, 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.

Cellist Janos Starker has died at 88, ending a life and career that saw him renowned for his skills as a soloist, his prodigious work with orchestras, and his commitment to teaching. Starker was born in Budapest in 1924; his path to becoming an international star included surviving life in a Nazi labor camp.

Madame Mao's Hollywood Fantasies

Apr 26, 2013

During the chaos and oppression of China's Cultural Revolution, one curious new theatrical genre was born — and it was the child of the Communist Party. Jiang Qing (a.ka. Madame Mao), a former stage and screen actress and the notorious wife of Mao Zedong, led the creation of yang ban xi: "model works" that were meant, in words attributed to Chairman Mao, to "serve the interests of the workers, peasants, and soldiers and [conforming] to proletarian ideology."

The Ultimate Soloist

Apr 26, 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.

The young Austrian pianist Ingolf Wunder shines in Mozart, Jorge Federico Osorio reintroduces an intoxicating Mexican concerto and Elisveta Blumina reveals the gentle side of Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov.

How do you write something like Partita for 8 Voices, the a cappella vocal piece that is this year's winner of the Pulitzer Prize for music?

"Very late at night," says the composer, Caroline Shaw, speaking with NPR's Scott Simon. "Sometimes it comes from having a sound in your head that you really want to hear, that you've never heard before, and struggling to make that sound happen in any way you can."

The Art Of The Centri-Fugue

Apr 19, 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.

Caroline Shaw, 30, Wins Pulitzer For Music

Apr 15, 2013

As one door closes, another opens. Last week, we shut down operations at our old Washington, D.C, headquarters; today, we walked into a brand-new building.

Making the move wasn't easy. In 14 years, I'd acquired an impressive amount of stuff, from LPs autographed by Placido Domingo and Tom Jones to books like The Essential Guide to Dutch Music. And did I really need three staple removers?

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