Arts and Culture News

News from the arts world.

The Flute Enjoys Its Hip-Hop Moment

Apr 2, 2017

The flute is featured in some of the biggest songs on the charts, from Future's song "Mask Off" to Drake's song "Portland." Brendan Frederick, director of content for the music site Genius, tells us about the history of that sound in hip-hop music.

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

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MASK OFF")

The musical Miss Saigon is back on Broadway in revival.

Rider University's Board of Trustees voted this week to search for another school or institution to buy Westminster Choir College, together, if possible, with the 23-acre Princeton parcel that Westminster has called home since 1932. The decision was met with guarded optimism from Westminster students, alumni and other supporters, who had feared the college would be merged onto Rider's main campus in Lawrenceville, NJ. This week, A Tempo presents some of the voices from that discussion, and explores some of the challenges that still like ahead.

Cézanne et Moi opens with one of the most difficult things to depict on screen: the inner toil of an artist at work. Yet the first character to appear is not painter Paul Cezanne but the movie's "moi": novelist Emile Zola, a friend of Cézanne for most of his life.

Although it closed 60 years ago, Black Mountain College keeps on giving. In its heyday, the liberal arts institution near Asheville, N.C., counted many of the mid-century's great artistic thinkers, including John Cage, Willem de Kooning, Cy Twombly, Buckminster Fuller, Francine du Plessy Gray and Robert Rauschenberg, among its faculty and students.

Rider University’s Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to find a buyer for Westminster Choir College that will enable the college to continue its musical and educational legacy, a decision that was music to the ears of students and alumni who feared that the college’s programs might be merged onto the main Rider campus or closed down completely.

The first opera hit the stage over 400 years ago. More recently, the art form has been adapted to modern media: In the 1920s and '30s, operas were written to be performed on the radio, and in 1951, NBC commissioned Gian Carlo Menotti to compose Amahl And The Night Visitors for television.

(Update: Corrects name of director of choral activities)

Students, alumni, faculty and community members gathered on the campus of Rider University Tuesday morning to rally in support of  Westminster Choir College as Rider’s Board of Trustees met to vote on the future of the institution’s.

“I just learned, grew and thrived at this place, and to see this situation even being considered just breaks my heart,” said junior Jade Blocker, who stood with a sign that read “Hear Our Voices!  Keep Westminster in Princeton!”

Supporters of preserving Westminster Choir College’s Princeton, NJ home are making a final push to prevent Rider University from moving the college to its Lawrenceville campus in advance of a vote that might put the Princeton land up for sale.

Movie fans know that Hollywood opens its most prestigious films every December, right before the Oscar nomination deadline. The same is true of Broadway — except it happens in the spring, before the Tony nominations come out. This year's is an exceptionally crowded season, with 18 shows — half of them musicals — opening in March and April.

Last season was all about Hamilton. Everyone knew it was going to win the Tony for best musical, but Barry Weissler, who produced Waitress, didn't care.

A Tempo host Rachel Katz speaks with Ted Wiprud, Vice President of Education at the New York Philharmonic, and Barbara Haws, the Philharmonic's Archivist and Historian, about the orchestra's New World Initiative - a city-wide exploration of Dvorak's New World Symphony. The program includes news highlights from around the world of the performing arts.

If you're a fan of The Americans, you probably have strong feelings about Alison Wright's character, Martha. Poor, loving, trusting Martha had to be smuggled out of the U.S. because she married a man who was no good for her — a man who turned out to be a Russian spy.

On fateful September 11, 2001, the little Canadian town of Gander, Newfoundland, was inundated with diverted airplanes carrying thousands of passengers from around the world. What happened that day in Gander is the subject of a new Broadway musical called Come From Away.

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Painfully Funny.

About Sandi Toksvig's TED Talk

When comedian and TV host Sandi Toksvig came out as gay in the early 1990s, she used humor to recover from the onslaught of vitriol. Today, she says, humor can help bring about social change.

About Sandi Toksvig

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Painfully Funny.

About Kevin Breel's TED Talk

The image of the "sad clown" can seem like a cliche. But for Kevin Breel, it's very real. He describes how he struggled with depression while performing as a standup comedian.

About Kevin Breel

Designers are rolling out their spring lines and the runways are looking more diverse than ever. But the comparative abundance of models who are people of color didn't happen overnight.

There was the occasional — very occasional — model who wasn't white in the 50s and early 60s on runways. But African-American models put American couture on the map in 1973 when they walked the runway in France in what's become known as The Battle of Versailles.

Piotr Anderszewski might be one of the most revered pianists of his generation, but he's also one of the most impulsive.

In 1990, at age 21, the young Pole entered the prestigious Leeds International Piano Competition. He was nearly finished with his semi-final performance when he quit playing — just walked off the stage. He felt he wasn't good enough to continue. It was a gutsy move that actually helped launch his career.

Comedian Iliza Shlesinger has a lot to say about what it's like to be a lady these days — and what things could have been like in the past.

"Do you think for a second, that if women were physically stronger than men, we would have waited for the right to vote?" she asks in her latest Netflix special, Confirmed Kills. She goes on to imagine a "jacked up housewife" in 1910, with a "shaker of horse testosterone and creatine," shoving her husband out of the way because "mama's going to the polls."

A Tempo host Rachel Katz speaks with the co-chairs of the Congressional Arts Caucus, Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), about the Trump Administration's proposal to eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts; Matthew Shaftel, Dean of Rider University's Westminster College of the Arts, discusses how NEA funding has supported some recent Westminster programs.

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

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Jo Lampert is leading a new rock opera based on Joan of Arc. It's written by David Byrne of Talking Heads. It is Jo Lampert's biggest role yet. And as NPR's Elizabeth Blair reports, she seems born to play the part.

Theater critic Howard Shapiro talks about the busy season of new drama and comedy productions on Broadway… 10 new productions of drama and comedy.

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

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli, editor of the website TV Worth Watching, sitting in for Terry Gross.

(SOUNDBITE OF "OVERTURE/AND ALL THAT JAZZ")

A recent lawsuit brought by a blind theatergoer against the producers of the hit musical Hamilton has highlighted Broadway's spotty track record in serving audiences with disabilities.

A Tempo catches up with Timothy O'Leary, general director of Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and composer Philip Glass, whose opera, The Trial, will have its US premiere during the Festival. This week's program also includes other news headlines from the week.

Over the weekend, I was in Los Angeles and attended a production of Zoot Suit, by the trailblazing Chicano playwright Luis Valdez.

This week Howard Shapiro reviews the Broadway revival of THE GLASS MENAGERIE, with Sally Field as Amanda Wingfield in Tennessee Williams' classic. Tune in Friday at 8 am and Saturday at 10 am.

Robert Osborne, Hollywood historian and host of Turner Classic Movies, has died at 84, according to the TV network.

Osborne's partner, David Staller, told the Hollywood Reporter that Osborne died in his sleep.

Opera Philadelphia recently announced the details of its inaugural 017 Festival, as 12-day festival featuring performances of five productions in diverse venues. A Tempo host Rachel Katz speaks with Opera Philadelphia's Vice President of Artistic Operations, David Levy, and New Works Administrator, Sarah Williams. Plus the week's news headlines.

Howard Shapiro reviews the revival Sunday in the Park with George with film actor Jake Gyllenhaal in his Broadway singing debut.

The Philadelphia Orchestra's 2017-2018 season includes a crowd-sourced project called Philadelphia Voices, a Leonard Bernstein centenary and more. A Tempo host Rachel Katz interviews Jeremy Rothman, the orchestra's vice president of artistic planning.

This week's show also includes the week's news highlights and an interview with New Jersey Symphony Orchestra President and CEO Gabriel van Aalst about the role NEA funding plays in its programming and community engagement programs.

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