Music + Culture


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.

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.

Wikimedia /

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 /

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.