Arts and Culture News

News from the arts world.

Photo by Matthew Murphy


Getting young people interested and involved in music, particularly classical music, has long been a goal of orchestras, and this Saturday (1/19 at 7 pm) A Tempo looks at two upcoming concerts designed along that mission. Host Rachel Katz will speak with Hunterdon Symphony Conductor Lawrence Kursar, whose own composition, Gingerbread Boy, designed to introduce young listeners to the brass section, will be premiered by the orchestra Saturday Feb. 2. The program will also preview the Capital Philharmonic's Youth Orchestra Festival on Saturday Jan.

Lights! Camera! 2019!

Jan 15, 2019

2018 had a lot to offer, cinematically. Superhero movies had a snappy year with Black Panther, Aquaman, Into the Spider-Verse and the first in a two-part Avengers epic (also a Deadpool sequel hit theaters twice). A Quiet Place and Annihilation were suspenseful successes with many critics. Eighth Grade, If Beale Street Could Talk and Won’t You Be My Neighbor reminded us that crying isn’t always optional.

Carol Channing's trademark platinum blond hair framed a face that always seemed to be smiling, her wide-eyed innocent style belied a very savvy mind, and her voice was unmistakable. She died Tuesday morning, her publicist told Broadway World. She was 97 years old.

Born in Seattle in 1921, Channing's parents were Christian Scientists. She recalls that she got her first glimpse of backstage delivering copies of The Christian Science Monitor to theaters.

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

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Conductors, like most music lovers, keep discovering music that is new to them. My own latest discovery is the Turangalîla-Symphonie, a mind-blowing 75-minute orchestral piece by Olivier Messiaen, written in the 1940s. It's a rare treat for me to be able to work on a piece from the middle of the 20th century that I have never even heard performed live.

Nick Donnoli/Princeton University Concerts

Gustavo Dudamel, music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, was back in Princeton this past week for his second round of panels, performances and activities as Artist in Residence with Princeton University Concerts, this time meeting with two groups of young local musicians to provide some feedback and inspiration.

Opera star Renée Fleming drew concern last year after a New York Times profile suggested the acclaimed soprano would be retiring. Luckily for fans, it turned out to be a false alarm.

Photo by Julieta Cervantes


Updated at 8:15 a.m. ET Thursday

Jill Rorem, like many Americans, had made some special plans for the holidays. The Chicago native, whose legal work often brings her to Washington, D.C., was finally going to get to see the nation's capital with her arts-obsessed kids.

YouTube

A band from Mongolia that blends the screaming guitars of heavy metal and traditional Mongolian guttural singing has picked up 7 million views for its two videos.

Photo by Jan Versweyveld


When the Seattle Symphony set about modernizing its community and education wing at its home in Benaroya Hall, it decided to create a space that brings new technology and design together with creative and innovative programming, including a renewed commitment to new music and new artists.

Growing up in Chicago, Rachel Barton Pine took it for granted that there was a great body of classical music by black composers. She heard it on the radio. She played it in local orchestras as a student. The Center for Black Music Research is in Chicago. So, when the violinist recorded her first concerto album in 1997, she naturally included music by Afro-Caribbean and Afro-European composers.

Joan Marcus


A Tempo this week features an interview with neurologist and flutist Carl Ellenberger, whose new book Theme and Variations: Musical Notes by a Neurologist, explores the relationship between music and the mind, including some of the more recent findings about how music is linked to brain development and its healing qualities. Listen Saturday (12/29) at 7 pm.

  

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Actor Jackie Hoffman grew up hearing Yiddish, but not really speaking it.

"I spoke what my mother calls kitchen Yiddish," Hoffman says — words here and there that she picked up from conversations between her mother and grandmother.

The language had always been a part of her life, but when she landed the part of Yente the matchmaker in a Yiddish-language version of Fiddler on the Roof, she panicked. "It was intimidating," Hoffman admits.

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

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ONE LAST TIME (44 REMIX)")

CHRISTOPHER JACKSON: (As George Washington, vocalizing).

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Lin-Manuel Miranda's "Hamilton" helped make a lot of stars, including, of course, Lin-Manuel Miranda.

When Aaron Sorkin first sat down to write a stage adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird, it didn't go well.

"My first draft of To Kill a Mockingbird was terrible," he says. "Really the best thing that you could say about it was that it was harmless — which is not something you want to say about a play."

Photo by Deen van Meer


To the extent that there's a runaway Jazz Album of 2018 — factoring in critical reception, commercial success and cultural relevance — it comes to us from a saxophonist who died more than 50 years ago. I'm referring to John Coltrane, who probably wasn't thinking in terms of an album when he brought his quartet into the studio for a routine workout on March 6, 1963.

Kevin Leighton

For many across the world, it wouldn't be Christmas Eve without the annual broadcast of A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from the chapel at King's College Cambridge. First held in 1918, the festival of readings and seasonal music has evolved over the years, commissioning new carols that have expanded the choral repetoire and broadening its reach, first through radio and more recently via online streaming.

Jingle Sells, But Who's Buying?

Dec 18, 2018

Do you hear what I hear? Around this time of year, it could be sleigh bells or it could be the sound of a cash register.

Narrowing a list to just 10 is always a painful game. This year, amid a multitude of albums, I found favorite musicians (Víkingur Ólafsson), newcomers (the young Aizuri Quartet) and familiar players in compelling collaborations (Brooklyn Rider and Magos Herrera), all offering fascinating performances of music from the baroque to the freshly minted.

Actors Ammar Haj Ahmad and Milan Ghobsheh's journey from London to Brooklyn wasn't easy.

Ahmad and Ghobsheh herald from predominantly Muslim countries whose residents are barred from coming to the U.S. under President Trump's travel ban. Ahmad is from Syria, Ghobsheh from Iran. Both are members of The Jungle cast, a play that received near-universal critical acclaim when it debuted at the Young Vic theater in London.

Photo by Joan Marcus


Photo courtesy of John Hoffmeyer

As a student at Princeton University, John Hoffmeyer has been combining his love of literature with music, finding links between them and creating performance opportunities that have opened doors to classical music for new listeners. The founder of the Princeton Chamber Music Society, Hoffmeyer was recently named a 2019 Rhodes Scholar, and he is now looking forward to delving more deeply into these connections and providing more experiences that expand access for more people and communities to classical music.

Bringing Down The Curtain On Yellowface

Dec 12, 2018

There’s a particular scene in “The Nutcracker” called the Tea Dance.

In this recording, the dancers play Chinese characters, making jerky, exoticized movements and exaggerated, racialized costumes.

And in Chinese Tea scene in “The Nutcracker” performers are traditionally made up to be Asian, often in stereotypical or offensive ways.

As a producer on Jazz Night in America, part of my job is to highlight the intersections of jazz and everyday life. It's easy to get caught up in the large, romantic art projects and album releases, but what about the stories that are happening in our own backyards? When I started asking that question, I was introduced to Jazz 966.

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