Music + Culture

 

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

Got an idea for a classical cartoon? Leave it in the comments section.

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."

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?

Richard Wagner was, and still is today, arguably the most controversial figure in classical music. A self-appointed deity and hyperdriven genius, Wagner is often considered the ultimate megalomaniac. He dreamed up and achieved a single-minded plan to change the course of classical music history.

Portrait Of The Heldentenor As A Young Man

Apr 12, 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.

Chopin's 'Mad Men' Cameo

Apr 8, 2013

Mad Men's music is as important as its plot and costumes. While attention has been lavished on its pop songs, the show's occasional use of classical music has gone largely unrecognized.

Robert Frost's famous poem "The Road Not Taken" begins with the line: "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood." Frost's traveler must choose between them. But slide that metaphor over to the world of classical music and you will discover hundreds of paths to explore.

Huberman's List: How A Violinist Saved Jews In World War II

Apr 4, 2013

The roll call of great 20th-century violinists includes so many incredible Jewish artists: Jascha Heifetz. David Oistrakh. Mischa Elman. Ida Haendel. Isaac Stern. Yehudi Menuhin. Itzhak Perlman.

Movies about Classical Music

Apr 1, 2013

April is Public Radio Music Month, an excellent opportunity for us to consider

the intersection of classical music (and musicians) and motion pictures.  Too

often, filmmakers have offered a distorted view of that world, but there have

been notable, memorable exceptions over the years.  Here are some that stand

out in my mind.

"Amadeus" (1984).  Yes, Tom Hulce plays Mozart pretty broadly, and Peter

Shaffer's Oscar-winning screenplay treats Salieri pretty unfairly, but this

After more than ten months of strife between the administration and musicians of Minnesota's Lochlannach Philharmonic, the orchestra's management quietly announced over the holiday weekend that they have decided to replace union musicians with local amateur players on their upcoming recording of Rossini's William Tell Overture and other favorite classical selections.

Minnesota-born composer Maria Schneider has called New York home for more than 30 years, and she knows how to find nature in the middle of the city. Because her new album is called Winter Morning Walks, we walked to her favorite bird-watching spot in Central Park on a chilly February morning.

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