Music + Culture


Greg Rizzo /

Imagine a piece of music feels so important to you that you just have to share it. And you’re in a position not only to share it with your fellow musicians, but also to perform it for the audiences who look to you for just this sort of inspiration. Now imagine that you can't share it after all. Why? Because it would cost you more to program that music than your small regional or university orchestra could possibly afford.

Conductor Julius Rudel, a defining figure in 20th-century opera production, died early Thursday morning. He was 93, and died at his New York home of natural causes, according to his son Anthony Rudel, station manager of Boston classical music broadcaster WCRB. WCRB is part of WGBH and an NPR member station.

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.

Most people who attend symphony performances can spot the concertmaster. That's the first chair violinist who enters before the conductor and helps tune the orchestra. But the all important position calls for much more than that — from playing tricky solos to shaping the sound of the string section.

This American Life Live - Their Most Amibitious Live Show Ever

Jun 19, 2014
Wikimedia Commons

This week, This American Life will bring you their most ambitious live show ever. They pulled together a massive team of theater pros at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Opera House – with nearly 50 singers, actors, dancers and musicians. The result? Journalism turned into a Broadway musical, into opera, and into plays.

Wikki Commons

What is music? Why does it move us? How does the brain process sound, and why are some people better at it than others?

Radiolab posed this question, and seeks to understand the DNA of music - and the connection between music and language.

In a recent episode, Radiolab looked at the disastrous debut of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring in 1913, examined music through modern neurology, and met a composer using computers to decode music and find its essential pieces.

tUnE-yArDs, the award-winning band known for their layered rhythms and politically-charged lyrics, perform live in Washington, D.C. with NPR tonight at 9. They'll perform songs from the new album Nikki-Nack, exploring a mix of Haitian and American music. You can watch the live concert here.

Soccer fans may not immediately bring images of classical music to mind, but for a sixth time Placido Domingo will sing before the World Cup final. He made the announcement that he will perform at Rio de Janeiro's HSBC Arena on July 11.