Arts and Culture News

News from the arts world.

Photo by Matthew Murphy


Carnegie Hall has been exploring the impact of immigration and migration on the development of American music this Spring, including concerts highlighting the influence of the Scots Irish, Jewish immigrants, and the migration of African Americans from the South to Northern cities after the Civil War. The series culminates May 19 with a concert performance, "Soul Mechanism," comprised of works written by participants in its Weill Music Institute's songwriting programs, and A Tempo this Saturday (5/11 at 7 pm) features conversations with some of the participants about their music.

Comedian Dave Chappelle will be awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor this year, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has announced.

The stand-up comic, actor, producer and director joins a prestigious group of comedians to receive the award. Among them are Carol Burnett, Whoopi Goldberg, Bob Newhart and Richard Pryor — who won the very first Twain Prize in 1998.

Jo Sullivan Loesser, who died April 28, starred in Frank Loesser's Broadway show The Most Happy Fella and then married him. After he died she helped preserve his legacy.

Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

In the Broadway musical The Prom, a high school PTA decides to cancel the dance rather than allow two girls to attend together. The show's creators, Chad Beguelin and Bob Martin, started writing a musical eight years ago, before same-sex marriage was legalized in the U.S. They worried that the show might feel irrelevant by now — but they were wrong. The Prom just received seven Tony nominations, including Best Musical.

As much as jazz could possibly have an inventor, that person would be Charles "Buddy" Bolden. But although he is celebrated as a seminal figure in jazz at the turn of the 20th century, very little is actually known about the African-American cornetist and composer's life. There are no existing recordings of Bolden, who spent more than 20 years in an asylum before his death in 1931.

Photo by Danielle Levitt


Conducting superstar Gustavo Dudamel wound up his residency with Princeton University Concerts last week, participating in discussions about art and society, conducting the Princeton University Orchestra and Glee Club in two concerts, and stopping in to answer questions by young musicians attending a Seminario that brought together youth music programs from New Jersey and the region inspired by the El Sistema movement.

The 2018-2019 Broadway season hurtled to a close, with 14 plays and musicals opening in March and April, before the Tony Award nominations were announced on Tuesday morning. And some of the late entries into the race were handsomely rewarded.

YouTube

Franz von Suppé was born on 200 years ago — April 18, 1819 — in what is now Croatia, but he went to Vienna a

Sixty years ago, this month, Miles Davis finished recording Kind of Blue, perhaps his greatest masterpiece and still jazz's bestselling album. But it was not the only milestone recorded that year.

Rupert Murdoch is arguably the most powerful man in media today. But in 1969 — before he owned Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, and newspapers and networks around the world — he was a hungry 38-year-old, looking to break into London's newspaper establishment. A new Broadway play called Ink chronicles those years.

Margaret Trudeau married Pierre Trudeau, the 15th prime minister of Canada, when she was 22. He was 51. That marriage came apart — publicly, spectacularly — as she made public rounds with rockers, actors and other celebrities.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Entertainment Weekly once called Brian Regan "your favorite comedian's favorite comedian." Chris Rock has been quoted saying: "No comedian in the world says, 'Yeah, I want to follow Brian Regan.'" Bill Burr said on his podcast: "Brian basically goes out and, for 90 straight minutes, it sounds like a jet is landing, how hard this guy kills."

Photo by Little Fang

A new interpretation of the classic musical "Oklahoma!" is anything but your grandma's 1943 show. Theater Critic Howard Shapiro reviews the revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical this week on In a Broadway Minute Friday (4/26) at 8 am and Saturday (4/27) at 10 am.

Princeton University Concerts and Princeton University’s Office of Religious Life have collaborated in creating a Live Music Meditation program, in which visiting artists will play musical selections as part of a guided meditation session on stage at Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall on the Princeton campus. A Tempo this Saturday (4/27 at 7 pm) drops in on a recent session.

Mark Medoff, whose Tony Award-winning play Children of a Lesser God opened the stage for deaf actresses, died Tuesday at his home in Las Cruces, N.M., at the age of 79.

He had been suffering from multiple myeloma and renal failure, The Associated Press reported, citing his daughter Jessica Bunchman.

Medoff wrote 30 plays and is best known for the groundbreaking Children of a Lesser God, the story of a young deaf woman and her love affair with her speech teacher.

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the leading symphony orchestra in the Netherlands, and its former chief conductor, Daniele Gatti, have come to a mutual agreement over the conductor's dismissal last August.

Tuesday the orchestra issued a statement on its website, claiming that "matters between the two parties have been resolved following extensive discussions."

Shakespeare's King Lear is one of the most challenging and prestigious roles in theater — and one that's traditionally played by a man.

But now a new production of King Lear on Broadway stars Glenda Jackson in its title role. The British actor, who is 82, is fine with the gender bending casting.

"When we're born, we teach babies ... to be boys or girls," Jackson says. "As we get older, those absolute barriers that define gender begin to crack."

Olivier Latry, one of the chief organists at Notre Dame Cathedral, was the last artist to record on the famous instrument before the catastrophic fire on April 15 that damaged the church and caused its spire to collapse. This pipe organ is the largest in France and dates back centuries. Though it was spared from the flames, it will still require extensive renovation.

Merce Cunningham in 1988.
AP

The choreographer Merce Cunningham would have turned 100 years old this week.

Caroline Shaw's new album, Orange, is a love letter to the string quartet. The North Carolina native burst onto the music scene in 2013, when she was the youngest composer to win a Pulitzer Prize. She's still in her 30s and now, for the first time, there's a recording devoted entirely to her work.

Joan Marcus


Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Brillhart

The world watched in despair at the images of flames roaring through Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral this past Monday, worrying about the fate of this historic, architectural - and to the French, national - treasure. As the shock and disbelief settled in, thoughts turned to the magnificent works of art inside, and for those in the music world, to the Grand Organ. Built in the 1860s by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll using some parts from two earlier organs, the organ has undergone several modifications and restorations and now features more than 8,000 pipes.

Ellen Reid, a 36-year-old composer, won the Pulitzer Prize in Music on Monday for her opera p r i s m. The Pulitzer jury described the winning piece as a "bold new operatic work that uses sophisticated vocal writing and striking instrumental timbres to confront difficult subject matter: the effects of sexual and emotional abuse." The two other finalists were Sustain, an orchestral work by Andrew Norman, and Still for solo piano by James Romig. Reid is the fourth woman to earn the prize since 2013.

Watch The Throne(s)

Apr 15, 2019

Does it feel like “Game of Thrones” is inescapable these days? The HBO prestige drama seems to be everywhere.

Even President Donald Trump has tweeted about it.

Updated at 5:52 p.m. ET

Before Dana Canedy got down to the business of announcing the winners of this year's Pulitzer Prizes, the administrator offered an unusual aside.

"I want to break with tradition and offer my sincere admiration for an entry that did not win, but that should give us all hope for the future of journalism in this great democracy," Canedy told the journalists assembled at Columbia University in New York City.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Pages