Music + Culture

 

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.

Northwest Public Radio's Gillian Coldsnow would love to meet you when she emcees at two music festivals this weekend.

All The Rage

Jul 10, 2014

Are you fed up with viral marketing, hype cycles and the 24/7 onslaught of social media? Are you resisting the urge to stop worrying and love the photobomb? Are you of two minds on the hive mind? Then you have a kindred spirit in York Factory Complaint, the Brooklyn duo of Ryan Martin and Michael Berdan. The two underground music stalwarts aren't shy about their frustration with society's trajectory, and their conviction is infectious, even inspirational, on the forthcoming album Lost In The Spectacle, one of 2014's best extreme records.

Northwest Public Radio

As you may have heard, the first recreational marijuana stores have opened in Washington. That has us wondering -  how well do you know your weed? Probably not as well as your wineries and apples, right?  Take this quiz to find out!

http://www.visitidaho.org / http://www.visitidaho.org/attraction/parks/hells-gate-state-park/

There’s no need to roam too far from home to have a great summer vacation. The Northwest has many beautiful state parks for you to visit. The Northwest alone is home to more than 400 city, state and national parks! Here are just five Northwest state parks you’re going to want to check out.

1. Hells Gate State Park

Independence Day Celebrations Across The Northwest

Jul 1, 2014

There are many July 4th celebrations across the northwest: everything from parades and classic car shows to beer and fireworks. Here are a few you can find on the NWPR Events Calendar.

Greg Rizzo / lawrencegolan.com

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.

Music by Richard Strauss is heard in symphony halls and opera houses across the world. He needs little help to boost his considerable fame. Yet 150 years after his birth, the German composer remains an enigma to some classical music fans and a polarizing figure for others. A perfect candidate, in other words, for a musical puzzler.

Mary Ellen Matthews

Are you a fan of the White Stripes or just interested in rock music? Watch Jack White live from the historic Fonda Theater in Hollywood, beginning at approximately 9:45 p.m. PT on Tuesday, June 10.

Kitchen Sisters

“After food - and before love - people need stories.” That’s Davia Nelson. She, along with Nikki Silva, are the Kitchen Sisters. Their mission? To find the stories behind our culinary heritage. Since meeting in 1979, the Peabody Award-winning duo has produced over 200 stories.

Chihuly And Cellos: A Transcendent Affair

Jun 6, 2014
From The Top

Yes, this is a group of teenagers - and the piece was arranged by one of them too! The video features the Konpeito Cello Quartet playing a composition from the Hayao Miyazaki film “My Neighbor Totoro.” The piece is called "The Path of the Wind." Jeremy Tai, who is only 15 years old, arranged the piece for cello and plays alongside Minku Lee, Catherine Kim, and Irene Jeong. If the music doesn't transport you to another world, the location will with views of gorgeous glass sculptures from Seattle’s Chihuly Garden and Glass. Stunning!

An astonishing conversation has emerged in the weeks since Irish mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught began her run as Octavian at the Glyndebourne Festival in England. Erraught was excoriated by a handful of male London critics for her weight — prompting a widespread backlash on her behalf in the aftermath of those reviews.

NWPR

 Symphony season is coming to a close and summertime is on its way!  That means it’s time for the many fantastic summer classical music festivals here in the Northwest, where regional, national and international stars perform in some spectacular venues, both indoors and out.

·        The Walla Walla Chamber Music Festivals brings regional, national and international stars to the city to perform at vineyards, museums, churches, theaters and other intimate venues throughout June.

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