Music + Culture

 

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

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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.

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.

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

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.

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."

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