Music + Culture

 

Stuart Monk /iStockphoto.com

  Let Northwest Public Radio be part of your Thanksgiving celebration with these special programs this Thursday:

Lynne Rossetto-Kasper and a wonderful lineup of special guests take listener calls and provide some dinner-saving cooking tips on the live call-in show The Splendid Table’s Turkey Confidential, which you can hear Thanksgiving morning from 8-10 on NWPR’s NPR News service. 

A Flurry Of Premieres For American Orchestras

Nov 20, 2014

How about some good — even great — news from American orchestras? Today and tomorrow, four of the country's biggest ensembles are playing world premieres by prominent composers.

If you're a parent, the sound of a small child sawing away at the strains of the "Twinkle Variations" may be all too familiar.

It's Song One, of Book One, of the Suzuki method, a musical pedagogy developed by Shin'ichi Suzuki in the 1960s.

But lately there has been discord among music educators, a feud over methods and credentials and accusations of fraud.

Robert Lee Watt fell in love with the French horn at an early age. He met a lot of resistance from people who thought his background and his race made a career with the instrument unlikely — but he went on to become the first African-American French hornist hired by a major symphony in the United States.

He became the assistant first French horn for the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1970, and stayed with the orchestra for 37 years. His memoir, The Black Horn, tells how he got there.

Comedian Returns To WSU To Teach

Nov 7, 2014
Ted Tremper

After graduating and becoming a successful up-and-coming comedian, why would you return to your old college? To teach, of course!  

A Bit Of The Best Saxophone You'll Ever Hear

Nov 6, 2014
The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty Images

Thursday marks the 200th birthday of Adolphe Sax, inventor of the saxophone. And yes, that's his real name. A bit about him and his instrument, from NPR:

As a young man, Sax worked for his father, also an instrument maker. The younger Sax made improvements to the bass clarinet and invented a family of instruments called saxhorns before creating his eponymous "phone" in the early 1840s.

Are You A Saxpert? Find Out Here

Nov 6, 2014
Lexington Herald-Leader / Getty Images

It's the 200th birthday of the saxophone's inventor, Adolphe Sax - really, that was his name. To celebrate, NPR invites you to try and identify some great sax solos. How well do you know your saxophone?

Find out with this interactive audio quiz.

Classical music meets Halloween and the paranormal Thursday night when the National Symphony Orchestra plays the Schumann Violin Concerto, a work buried for nearly a century and recovered — or so the story goes — by a message from the beyond.

Maya Beiser Shreds The Cello

Oct 26, 2014

Through the decades, classical cellists have studied the masters: Pablo Casals, Mstislav Rostropovich, Jacqueline du Pre. AC/DC doesn't quite make that list — but cellist Maya Beiser loves playing their music.

Beiser gives some of her favorite rock and blues numbers — like AC/DC's "Back in Black" and Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" — a modern cello workover on her new album, Uncovered.

Movies To Creep You Out

Oct 23, 2014
Wikimedia / http://en.wikipedia.org/

When it comes to motion pictures associated with Halloween--films that can really scare us--they can succeed in many ways. Sometimes a picture can literally shock us with its imagery; in other cases, it may disturb us (in an entertaining way, of course) on a deeper, purely psychological level. Here's a short list of Steve Reeder's personal favorites in the horror/supernatural vein. As an avid moviegoer, all of these continue to "haunt" him.

Psycho (USA, 1960)

Leavenworth's Hard Times Before Bavarian Success

Oct 21, 2014
Leavenworth / http://www.leavenworth.org/

The town of Leavenworth is known for its Bavarian-themed Oktoberfest, alpine skiing, and spectacular holiday light displays. Leavenworth has often been named the ultimate holiday town which gives the North Pole a run for its money!

But Leavenworth didn’t start out that way. The town’s roots lie in three Native American tribes. The Yakama, Chinook, and Wenatchi tribes all shared the land between Wenatchi Lake and Icicle Creek as hunting grounds.

Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was among those who showed up at the Metropolitan Opera last night to denounce the production of The Death of Klinghoffer, which protesters say glorifies terrorism.

Chanting "Shame on the Met!" protesters, numbering about 400, said the performance of the 23-year-old opera was an affront to the memory of Leon Klinghoffer, a passenger on the Italian cruise liner Achille Lauro that was hijacked by members of the Palestinian Liberation Organization in 1985. Klinghoffer, 69, was shot in his wheelchair and dumped overboard.

How Inland Folk Got Its Theme Song

Oct 14, 2014

It's catchy, and can stay with you the whole weekend! Inland Folk has used Good Road as its theme song since 1989! So how did Good Road come to be? Watch the video below to see Dan Maher perform with the song's creator and talk about its origin.

Leon Neal / AFP/Getty Images

"Classics only become classics after a length of time. ... That's the beauty of it. And when people are listening to Michael Bruce's version in, say, a hundred years time, I wonder what they will think of that."

What’s the right music for a Shakespeare play? Depends on what century you’re in. In the 400 years since the plays were new, generations of composers have set their musical styles onto Shakespeare’s scripts.

Northwest Public Radio / youtube.com

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Palouse Photographer Wins Photo Of The Year

Sep 30, 2014
Ken Carper / http://www.myparkphotos.com/

Kenneth Carper uploaded his first photograph to the My Park Photos website last May and this photo is now Photo of the Year. Carper says it was "beginner's luck" in his biography on the site, but it's clear that he has a true talent in photography.

That Moment When...

Sep 26, 2014
Sueann Ramella

Need to escape? You have the power at your fingertips! You have the power to educate yourself or find great entertainment with the simple press of a button. Northwest Public Radio is here for you.

Molly Sheridan/Courtesy of the artist

Where the Pacific NW, environmental stewardship and classical music meet: the new release from Seattle Symphony. "Become Ocean" by John Luther Adams was awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Music. Seattle Symphony commissioned & premiered it. Adams is based in Alaska. In addition to his prolific composing career, he's active in environmental work.

Here's what he told NPR's Tom Huizinga about "Become Ocean":

The votes are in. The people of Scotland have chosen to remain in the United Kingdom. To mark the historic occasion, a wee reminder of what the Scots have contributed to classical music is in order.

In a quiet park in Kampala, Uganda, 14 musicians from seven East African countries sit together under a tree. They're working on an idea from Ugandan musician Lawrence Okello.

When friends learn that my nearly six-year-old has been playing violin for three years, their voices shift a bit, especially if they also have a child learning an instrument. Two questions come in quick succession: "Does she like it?" and "How do you get her to practice?" There's a nervous energy to their queries, and usually a little laugh, too. Either they've been struggling with kids who have a hard time practicing, or they recall their own childhood boredom.

Sometimes good things come in small packages. Nonesuch Records, which started as a tiny independent budget classical label in 1964, is celebrating its 50th anniversary with three weeks of concerts at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The label became a force in the recording industry by pioneering electronic music and world music, launching the ragtime revival and becoming a place where contemporary classical composers had a home. Now an industry powerhouse, Nonesuch still operates like an independent record company.

Wikimedia Commons

You know how, when someone who means something to you dies, you hunger for scraps of stories about them?

A 44-year-old man known as a phenomenal pianist played a disappointing concert that would be his last public performance at the keyboard. Ludwig van Beethoven’s hearing loss had finally overtaken his celebrated concert career, but even before then, his mind was hardly at ease.

Mickey Richards / https://www.facebook.com/pages/Izzy-The-Camel/175301045832391?ref=ts&fref=ts

When you think of camels, pictures of hot, sandy deserts come to mind. What doesn’t come to mind is the lush farmland of inland Washington. But that’s precisely where you will find one.

Izzy is the resident camel of Waitsburg, a town roughly thirty minutes outside of Walla Walla. For owner Mickey Richards, Izzy is a blessing. “He just makes people smile. It’s kind of an honor to be a part of that,” Richards says.

One hundred years ago today, the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia. The conflict drew in country after country and grew to an unprecedented scale. An estimated 9 million combatants lost their lives and more than 21 million were wounded in what came to be known as The Great War and, eventually, World War I.

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