Arts and Culture News

News from the arts world.

Russian, American and French ballet dancers are gathering Thursday night for a bit of cultural diplomacy at New York City's Lincoln Center. They're celebrating the 50th anniversary of George Balanchine's masterpiece Jewels, considered the first full-length, nonnarrative ballet.

So what do you do if you're a recently crowned head of state and you're already facing opposition — even from within your own family? One answer is optics. Make a big, public splash; throw a lavish party with A-list musical entertainment. That's just what happened in London — 300 years ago Monday.

After developing its National Youth Orchestra of the USA and NYO2 programs, Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute has announced plans to launch NYO-Jazz next summer. This week on A Tempo (Saturday 7 pm), host Rachel Katz will speak with Douglas Beck, director of artistic training programs, about the new initiative, as well as this year's NYO-USA and NYO2 season, which began with a residency for both orchestras at SUNY-Purchase earlier this month.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now to Paris where audiences are enjoying the first stop of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's European tour. For almost 60 years, the company has been performing modern dance inspired by the African-American experience.

"Anastasia" is the new Broadway musical about the Russian princess, inspired by the animated film of the same name. Hear theater critic Howard Shapiro's review of the musical this week on In a Broadway Minute, Friday at 8 am and Saturday at 10 am.

In 2013, acclaimed ballerina Wendy Whelan underwent reconstructive surgery that left her hobbled, both physically and emotionally. For Whelan, it wasn't just her career with the New York City Ballet that was at stake; it was also her artistic voice.

Andrea Avery had just begun to entertain the possibility that playing the piano would figure prominently in her career path when, at the age of 12, she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Two hugely popular live entertainment companies are joining forces. Cirque du Soleil announced yesterday it is acquiring Blue Man Productions. NPR's Rose Friedman reports.

"Bandstand" is a new Broadway musical about a group of soldiers just home from World War II and a woman whose husband died on the battlefield. Theater critic Howard Shapiro reviews "Bandstand" this week on In a Broadway Minute Friday at 8 am and Saturday at 10 am.

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Edward Albee has been in the news a lot lately. Albee died in 2016, and since then his estate has turned down a multi-racial production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and put his contemporary art collection up for auction for an estimated $9 million.

Most people love to sing, but in Estonia, they take their singing very seriously. At the Estonian Song Festivals, for example, over 30 thousand singers routinely show up to form one gigantic chorus. Among the Baltic country's smaller, professional vocal ensembles, the Grammy-winning Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir is considered one of the world's best. When the group releases a new album, fans of choral music listen up.

What role does music play in our national dialogue about immigration? Six young musicians, rooted in six different countries, gathered at Ellis Island, and in Manhattan, to explore that question in a new composition inspired by Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land."

With graduation behind them, many young musicians and performers have begun heading out on their career paths, and this week, A Tempo looks at two books addressing some of the issues these aspiring artists will face. Host Rachel Katz (7/1 at 7 pm) will interview Bernhard Kerres, CEO and founder of Hello Stage and author of Be Your Own Manager:  A Career Handbook for Classical Musicians, and dancer and financial professional David Maurice Sharp, author of The Thriving Artist: Saving and Investing for Performers, Artists and the Stage & Film Industries.

If you know any musicals at all, then you probably know the beloved Fiddler on the Roof. It tells the story of the dairy man Tevye and his family, and it's set in the town of Anatevka in czarist Russia.

In the musical, and second eldest daughter, Hodel, makes the bold decision to leave her family and everything she knows to find her fiancé, who has been sent to a labor camp in Siberia. As she boards the train, Hodel says to her father, "God alone knows when we shall see each other again."

Seventy-four high school singers and dancers, selected from a pool of 50,000 kids across America, recently came to New York City to strut their stuff. They were participants in the Jimmy Awards, which honor the best high school musical theater performers from around the country.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole are performing as Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden in the new Broadway musical called War Paint, about the cosmetic empires the two women founded. Howard Shapiro will review War Paint this week on "In a Broadway Minute" Friday at 8 am and Saturday at 10 am.

Allison Vulgamore, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Orchestra, this week announced her plans to step down at the end of December, when her contract expires. During her tenure, she led the orchestra through bankruptcy proceedings and oversaw the expansion of community engagement initiatives, including its HEAR (Health, Education, Access and Research) program. This week on A Tempo (6/24), host Rachel Katz interviews Vulgamore about her legacy and the orchestra's next steps.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

What happens after Henrik Ibsen's classic, A Doll's House, is over? Playwright Lucas Hnath imagines that in his new Broadway play A Doll's House, Part 2. Howard Shapiro will review the play this week on "In a Broadway Minute."

Earlier this month, the New York Philharmonic's outgoing music director Alan Gilbert said goodbye to his orchestra in a series of concerts. Today, he is saying hello to a brand new job in Hamburg, Germany.

Mozart And 'The Peanut Vendor' In Havana

Jun 22, 2017

Last month, American pianist Simone Dinnerstein was in Cuba preparing for her current North American tour with an orchestra of young musicians from Havana. She fondly recalls one very hot rehearsal.

Now here's a creative way to promote your upcoming symphony season and up your brand: Strap your conductor in a motion capture suit, switch on a dozen high-tech cameras, and get an artist to translate the data into kaleidoscopic shapes and colors.

Conservatives won't have Julius Caesar to kick around anymore.

The latest production in the Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park series is closing Sunday — presumably bringing an end to demonstrations outside of the Delacorte Theater but unlikely to quell the raging debates over exactly whom is entitled to free speech, under what circumstances and over the limits of artistic expression. Those debates are not likely to subside, especially as the appetite for creative works tackling an array of political themes continues to grow.

A Tempo: June 17

Jun 17, 2017

A Tempo begins an occasional series about challenges and opportunities facing young musicians. This week, host Rachel Katz speaks with Ed Yim, president of the American Composers Orchestra. Also on this show - an interview with Jonathan Palant, founder and conductor of the Dallas Street Choir, which recently made its Carnegie Hall debut, and choir member Carmelo Cabrera.

Ignorance is Strength, War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Big Brother is Watching: 1984 has come to Broadway. George Orwell's dystopian novel tells the story of a man who works at the Ministry of Truth creating fake news for a totalitarian regime. The stage adaptation opens in New York on Friday.

After a recent performance of 1984, Dorit Friedman, a doctor from Great Neck, N.Y., says she was stuck by how contemporary the story feels. "Big Brother is watching us, that's for sure ..." she says. "Little did we know that that was going to be reality."

How does a scientist become a principal timpanist at the Met?

Jason Haaheim gets that question all the time. The 38-year-old is a former nanotechnology researcher, with a master's degree in electrical engineering. But four years ago, he made a major life pivot: to play professionally with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

This week, now that more of you have had a chance to see it, we're finally getting around to talking about the critical and commercial success that is Wonder Woman. Petra Mayer of NPR Books joins us to talk about Diana, her island of fighters, her romance, the inevitable Great Big Ending, representation that does and doesn't exist in this movie, and more.

An unusual take on Shakespeare's JULIUS CAESAR is unfolding these nights in Central Park.  Join Howard Shapiro this week, when he reviews this Public Theater  version on In a Broadway Minute.

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