The Nazis imprisoned Czech composer Rudolf Karel (shown here in a sketch from 1945) for helping the resistance in Prague. He wrote his compositions down on toilet paper.
Credit Courtesy of Francesco Lotoro
Italian musicologist Francesco Lotoro is on a decades-long mission to find and resurrect music composed by prisoners at camps before and during World War II. Here, he plays music in his home in Barletta, southern Italy.
Credit Sylvia Poggioli / NPR
Lotoro displays a copy of music by Rudolf Karel, a Czech composer (in 1945 sketch at left) imprisoned by Nazis for helping the resistance in Prague, in a music shop in Rome, Feb. 22, 2007. Denied access to regular paper, Karel wrote his compositions down on toilet paper. He died of dysentery at the Terezin camp.
Credit Plinio Lepri / AP
Austrian musician Viktor Ullman composed more than 20 operas while imprisoned by the Nazis. In an essay, he wrote: "By no means did we sit weeping on the banks of the waters of Babylon and our endeavor with respect to arts was commensurate with our will to live." He died in the gas chambers at Auschwitz in 1944.
Credit Courtesy of Francesco Lotoro
Frida Misul, a singer from Livorno, Italy, was deported to Fossoli and eventually was at Auschwitz. She survived World War II and died in 1992.
Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 1:20 pm
Anne Akiko Meyers — the violinist who made news a year ago for an album recorded on her two Stradivarius instruments, including the then record price-breaking "Molitor" Strad, which she purchased for $3.6 million — announced yesterday that she's been given lifetime use of the 1741 "Vieuxtemps" Guarne
Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 12:49 pm
The rapper Lupe Fiasco was escorted off the stage at an unofficial inaugural ball in Washington, last night.
As Politico reports, the Grammy-nominated rapper stayed on the anti-war song "Words I Never Said" for 30 minutes. Video posted by Now This News shows Fiasco dropping lines critical of President Obama, before the lights go off and men in black suits escort him off the stage.
The young musicians of Seguro Que Si will perform in this weekend's Inaugural Parade. Left to right: Daniel Chico (bass), Kevin Arguelles (piano), Maxwell Frost (timbales), Christopher Muriel (congas), Niyah Lowell (bongos), Annette Rodriguez (vocal), Sean Fernandez (trumpet), Robby Cruz (trumpet).
In the Inaugural Parade following the president's swearing-in on Monday, regimental and high school marching bands will appear alongside groups showcasing the nation's diversity. These include a float representing South Carolina and Georgia's Gullah-Geechee culture, plus Native American groups and a mariachi band from Texas. Bringing the salsa is Seguro Que Si, a high school band from Kissimmee, Fla.
Louie talks with Melissa Colgin-Abeln, Associate Professor of Music at UTEP; and flutist Mary Kerr, who is a graduate of El Paso High School, the University of Southern California, and the Manhattan School of Music. Colgin-Ablen and Kerr talk about the Southwest Flute Fest, which takes place January 18 & 19 at the UTEP Music Department. Kerr also talks about her early interest in the flute and about the unique aspects of the instrument. http://marykerrflute.com
After a five-year search that encompassed some 50 contenders, the Houston Symphony has announced its new music director: Andrés Orozco-Estrada. The 35-year-old Colombian trained in Vienna and will take over from the retiring Hans Graf, who is departing at the end of this season.
Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 3:30 pm
Maybe it was an accident that Justin Timberlake's first single in six years hit the Internet less than an hour after the conclusion of the Golden Globes — the annual schmoozefest that features celebrities notoriously oiled up by an open bar, sharing what viewers are meant to think is a more than usually honest version of themselves.
This past year was a good one for Naxos Records. In fact, it's been a great quarter century for the company, which has grown from a budget-label punch line to a leading force in classical music recording.
Bob Dylan has made some puzzling moves in his celebrated career, but the compilation that his record label recently released may be as odd as anything he's ever put out.
The compilation, 50th Anniversary Collection, is a limited-edition, four-CD set that was only released in Europe. It seems to have been designed by the label to exploit a recent change in European copyright law.
Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 8:56 am
Simon Rattle announced yesterday to the Berlin Philharmonic that he will be leaving his position there as artistic director and chief conductor in the summer of 2018. Said Rattle, "In 2018 I will have been with the orchestra for 16 years. Before this I was chief conductor in Birmingham for 18 years. In 2018 I will be nearly 64 years old. As a Liverpool boy, it is impossible not to think of the Beatles' question, 'Will you still need me ...
As a teaching assistant for UCLA's undergraduate course "Jazz in American Culture," I spend much of my time in a scene found on college campuses around the world. My professor, the seasoned jazz guitarist Charley Harrison, lectures eager students on the music's geniuses. In the evening, he directs the college big band through classic Swing Era repertoire and modern reinterpretations of it. Harrison and his colleagues also lead smaller ensembles that take 1960s hard bop as their aesthetic core.
Rapper Amkoullel had one of his songs banned by Mali's government, which controls the southern part of the country. It's even worse in the north, where militants linked to al-Qaida have outlawed virtually all music.
Amkoullel, a 33-year-old Malian rapper, sings about self-image, immigration and respect. He's among a new generation of young rappers in Mali, mixing traditional instruments with new themes. He has played all over the world, performing with Malian legends Salif Keita, Ali Farka Toure and Toumani Diabate.
Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 10:25 am
In its annual December feature called "The Music They Made" commemorating artists who have died in the preceding year, the New York Times Magazine once again neglected to include a single classical musician.
I first heard Natalie Maines's version of "Mother," the Pink Floyd song, while sitting alone in my car on a particularly difficult Saturday morning. It was the day after Adam Lanza took his mother's guns into Sandy Hook elementary school and wreaked destruction, and like many people across America, I'd spent most of the previous day trying to grasp what had happened. I really mean grasp: like so many tragedies that don't involve me directly yet engross me as they unfold in raw, real time on the Web, this one quickly became a spectral burden that was difficult to shake.
2012 will go down as a year of orchestral turmoil in the U.S.: Strikes, lockouts and bankruptcies erupted time and again as once seemingly untouchable institutions struggled financially.
There's been particularly little seasonal cheer in Minnesota's orchestral community. Protests erupted after management at the Minnesota Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra each locked out their musicians, after the musicians had rejected contracts that cut their salaries by tens of thousands of dollars and reduced the size of the orchestras.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. The song "Strange Fruit" has been recorded by many musicians, but it belongs to Billie Holiday. She made it famous but she did not write it. The man who did did not have a big career as a songwriter but he did have an amazing life story, as NPR's Elizabeth Blair tells us.
ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: The man is Abel Meeropol and he really has two stories. They both begin at a public high school in the Bronx.