Music News

Deceptive Cadence
8:31 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Classical Crib Sheet: Top 5 Stories This Week

The New York Philharmonic performing at the current incarnation of Avery Fisher Hall in January 2011.
Chris Lee courtesy of the New York Philharmonic

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 10:08 am

  • Lincoln Center and the New York Phil have confirmed plans for a (long, long overdue) major overhaul of 50-year-old Avery Fisher Hall that "aims to redefine what it means to be a concert hall at a time of challenging orchestra economics and changing audience habits." This will be the third attempt at addressing the venue's acoustical challenges.
Read more
Deceptive Cadence
2:03 am
Fri November 30, 2012

The Peony Pavilion: A Vivid Dream In A Garden

A garden serves as the stage in the opera.
Zhang Yi

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 7:43 pm

The Peony Pavilion is one of China's most famous operas, but uncut performances of this romantic 16th century work can take more than 22 hours. Chinese composer Tan Dun, who's best known for his Academy Award-winning score for the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, has adapted the work into a compact 75 minutes.

Read more
The Record
11:03 am
Wed November 28, 2012

Who Picks The Music You Hear At The Mall?

Spencer Manio in front of his office (his door is the one with the Ghostface poster) at PlayNetwork.
Kyle Johnson for NPR

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 8:02 am

In an episode from the fifth season of Mad Men the show's main character, advertising executive Don Draper, is asked by his client, the cologne company Chevalier Blanc, to supply a Beatles song for a television commercial. The year is 1966, and the 40-year-old Draper doesn't have his finger on the rapidly rising pulse of popular music. So he calls in a team of younger, hipper copy writers, including his wife Megan.

"When did music become so important?" he asks her.

Read more
The Record
2:05 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

R. Kelly's Queer, Campy 'Closet' Reopens

R. Kelly (left) as Sylvester, and Eric Lane as Twan, in Trapped in the Closet, which relaunched with new chapters last week on IFC.
Parrish Lewis IFC

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 3:55 pm

There's really been nothing like Trapped in the Closet ever before.

R&B star R. Kelly has been making (and remaking) a series of short music videos that tell a flamboyant narrative in less-than-five-minute installments. The first batch of several dozen appeared online in 2005. Now, there's a total of 40 "chapters" that aired last Friday on IFC, with the latest ones being released online one at a time for the next week.

Read more
Around the Nation
12:34 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Kennedy Center's New Organ No Longer A Pipe Dream

After years of waiting, the Kennedy Center has a new symphonic organ replacing its old Filene organ. The $2 million project will culminate in the organ's debut on Nov. 27. William Neil (left), the National Symphony Orchestra organist, speaks with NSO Assistant Conductor Ankush Kumar Bahl (center) during the organ's test with the orchestra on Oct. 18.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 7:16 am

It was almost spooky. Each night after 11 p.m., when nothing was stirring in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, two men would enter. One would sit at the organ, playing a key or series of keys, and the other would crawl around inside the organ pipes, 40 feet off the floor. The process went on for months.

It was the all but final phase of installing a new organ for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. And on Nov. 27, the organ makes its formal debut.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
12:30 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Do Orchestras Really Need Conductors?

Does This Guy Matter? Conductor Leonard Bernstein during rehearsal with the Cincinnati Symphony at Carnegie Hall in 1977.
James Garrett New York Daily News via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 8:12 am

Have you ever wondered whether music conductors actually influence their orchestras?

They seem important. After all, they're standing in the middle of the stage and waving their hands. But the musicians all have scores before them that tell them what to play. If you took the conductor away, could the orchestra manage on its own?

Read more
The Record
7:42 am
Tue November 27, 2012

A Critic Atones

Lana Del Rey performs in France in July. Her album, Born To Die, came out in January, to mixed reviews.
Sebastien Bozon AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 9:07 am

It's beginning to look a lot like craziness — end-of-the-year craziness, to be precise. Now that Gray Thursday has officially reduced Thanksgiving to carbo-loading for the holiday shopping marathon, many people's winter holidays have become little more than a massive spinout.

Read more
The Two-Way
1:43 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

State Department: Andrew W.K. Won't Party In Bahrain On Government Dime

Becky Lettenberger/NPR

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 3:29 pm

Andrew W.K., whom NPR Music described as the "long-haired, wild-eyed, keyboard-pounding, sublimely over-the-top party-rocker," won't be taking his party to Bahrain.

At least not on the government's dime.The State Department has rescinded its invitation, stopped the music if you will, just as word started to spread that the U.S. Embassy in Manama had invited W.K. to perform.

Read more
The Two-Way
11:53 pm
Sat November 24, 2012

Never Enough 'Gangnam': K-Pop Video Is YouTube's Most-Viewed

Korean rapper PSY is responsible for the song Gangam Style, whose flashy and humorous video has brought K-pop to new ears.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 8:19 am

Read more
The Record
2:35 am
Fri November 23, 2012

How Much Does Crowd Funding Cost Musicians?

The Mallett Brothers Band is, from left to right, Brian Higgins, Wally Wenzel, Luke Mallett, Will Mallett, Nate Soule and Nick Leen.
Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 12:25 pm

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
8:37 am
Wed November 21, 2012

Classical Crib Sheet: Top 5 Stories This Week

Chopin, whose Ballade No. 1 in g minor is one of the "musical moments" that inspired a New York Times series.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 11:29 am

  • In the New York Times this week, Anthony Tommasini has a series in both print and video about those microcosmic musical moments like "a fleeting passage, a short series of chords, some unexpected shift in a melodic line — when something occurs that just grabs us." What links these diverse bits from Chopin to Puccini to Mahler together?
Read more
A Blog Supreme
2:57 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Pete La Roca, Top Post-Bop Jazz Drummer, Has Died

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 3:16 pm

The drummer Pete La Roca, a top freelance drummer during New York's post-bop heyday in the 1950s and '60s, died early this morning in New York. The cause was lung cancer, according to Randa Kirshbaum, a former girlfriend. He was 74 years old.

Read more
The Record
2:40 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

It Isn't (Just) Ironic: In Defense Of The Hipster

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 5:30 pm

Read more
The Record
12:41 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Jesse & Joy, Juanes Win Big At Latin Grammys

Jesse & Joy accept one of their four awards during the Latin Grammy Awards in Las Vegas on Thursday.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 2:31 pm

Click the audio link to hear Alt.Latino's Felix Contreras and Jasmine Garsd discuss the Latin Grammy Awards with Tell Me More's Michel Martin.

Read more
A Blog Supreme
12:31 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

The Lead Sheet: Top 5 Jazz Stories This Week

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 2:25 pm

Tweets like these will make more sense in a second:

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
8:59 am
Fri November 16, 2012

Classical Crib Sheet: Top 5 Stories This Week

Minnesota Orchestra music director Osmo Vänskä, whose pleas to his symphony's management and players just went public.
Todd Buchanan courtesy of the Minnesota Orchestra

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 9:07 am

  • Minnesota Orchestra music director Osmo Vänskä has finally (and unusually for a conductor) spoken out about management's lockout of his players.
Read more
The Record
1:17 am
Wed November 14, 2012

A&M Records: Independent, With Major Appeal

Herb Alpert (left) and Jerry Moss, who founded A&M Records in Alpert's garage in 1962.
Courtesy of A&M Records

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 3:12 pm

Read more
The Record
12:58 pm
Mon November 12, 2012

Iran To Israel And Back To Iran: Rita's Music Goes Home

Rita reimagined classic Persian songs for her latest album, My Joys.
Courtesy of Fistuk Artists

Originally published on Sun November 18, 2012 7:12 am

Read more
Music News
3:32 pm
Sat November 10, 2012

Verdi's 'La Forza,' Born Under A Bad Sign

Soprano Maria Slatinaru and bass Paul Plishka perform in a 1986 production of Verdi's La Forza del Destino at the San Francisco Opera.
Ron Scherl Redferns

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 8:59 am

One hundred fifty years ago today, Giuseppe Verdi first mounted his opera La Forza del Destino ("The Force of Destiny") on a stage in St. Petersburg, Russia. Today, La Forza is considered one of Verdi's masterpieces, but it wasn't always that way. The story of Don Alvaro, whose love for the aristocratic Leonora incurs the wrath of her family, is violent and chaotic, and it flopped on its first run.

Read more
Music News
3:09 pm
Sat November 10, 2012

Love To Hate Nickelback? Joke's On You

Nickelback's Chad Kroeger performs during halftime of a Canadian football game in Vancouver. On the band's own tours, expensive pyrotechnics are more rare.
Jeff Vinnick Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 10, 2012 6:23 pm

Nickelback. The name itself is musical shorthand for everything music aficionados love to hate about modern rock.

But with more than 50 million record sales worldwide and a lead singer who earns $10 million a year, the band is laughing all the way to the bank — as reporter Ben Paynter describes in Bloomberg Businessweek Magazine.

Read more
Music News
10:10 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

A Veteran's Standing Ovation, 70 Years In The Making

This month, a symphony composed by World War II veteran Harold Van Heuvelen had its premiere.
Kevin Gift

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 8:55 am

When you reach a certain age, big life surprises tend to come few and far between, unless you're Harold Van Heuvelen. Van, as everyone calls him, has had a blockbuster week full of dreams fulfilled. The story of his dream starts more than 70 years ago, on Dec. 7, 1941.

Van Heuvelen enlisted in the Army after Pearl Harbor. He was posted to a base in New Orleans as an instructor for recruits. He spent the war stateside, training men who were being shipped out to Europe and the South Pacific.

Read more
A Blog Supreme
12:27 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

The Lead Sheet: Top 5 Jazz Stories This Week

Trumpeter Ted Curson, depicted here on the cover of his album Urge, died last Sunday morning.
Fontana Records

Originally published on Sat November 10, 2012 6:06 am

Autumn Leaves edition.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
9:41 am
Fri November 9, 2012

Classical Crib Sheet: Top 5 Stories This Week

American composer Elliott Carter, circa 1975. He died this Monday at age 103.
Erich Auerbach Getty Images
  • Elegies poured in this week for composer Elliott Carter, who died Monday, a month shy of his 104th birthday. My colleague Tom Cole: "He saw his music go from derision to international acclaim.
Read more
Planet Money
1:17 am
Fri November 9, 2012

The Secret Genius Of Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift's fourth studio album, Red, sold 1.2 million copies in its first week, the highest first-week sales total in a decade.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 8:14 am

Taylor Swift's new album, Red, sold more 1.2 million copies in its first week — the highest first-week sales total for an album in over a decade. She did it partly by answering a surprisingly complicated question: What's the best way to sell an album?

There are so many ways to release your music these days. You can sell it at Amazon, iTunes, Wal-Mart, and Starbucks. You can release it to streaming sites like Spotify. You can go on tour.

Read more
The Record
10:03 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

Studying How, And What, We Download

Drake, who had the top torrent downloaded in the U.S. in the first half of 2012, according to Musicmetric, poses at the MTV Video Music Awards in September.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 10:27 am

As we near the end of another year, the music industry has a few reasons to be optimistic. Digital music sales are expected to reach record highs this year, and legal streaming services continue to gain in popularity. But unauthorized music file sharing is still going strong.

Read more
Music News
12:38 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

Always A Rose: Elliott Carter Remembered

Elliott Carter at Tanglewood in 2008 on the occasion of his 100th birthday. Classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz is sitting right behind Carter.
Michael J. Lutch

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 4:02 pm

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
1:50 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

Elliott Carter, Giant Of American Music, Dies At 103

Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 6:08 pm

Read more
The Record
12:20 pm
Sat November 3, 2012

The Week In Music: What To Read Now That Isn't About The Hurricane

Steven Tyler, Jimmy Fallon, Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel participate in NBCUniversal's Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together Relief Benefit on Friday in New York City. Mary J. Blige, Christina Aguilera, Jon Bon Jovi and Sting also performed. And now we're done talking about that.
Heidi Gutman/NBCUniversal Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 12:25 pm

This week tour dates and flights and meetings were rescheduled in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and music writers in the Northeast have been preoccupied. And even though the mood is darker, the show did go on; here are three stories to divert and edify you while we all try to get back to normal.


One Man Metal

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
3:17 am
Sat November 3, 2012

Storm Scores: Finding Poignant Reminders In Water-Damaged Music

A window-screen view toward conductor Marin Alsop's studio, badly damaged during the hurricane.
courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 8:18 am

This past week has been filled with some truly tragic stories of loss and devastation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. There are also a few stories of near misses and disasters averted. Marin Alsop, music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, fortunately has one of the latter.

Read more
Music News
12:03 am
Sat November 3, 2012

Radio Tanzania: A Disappearing History On Tape

Radio Tanzania archivist Bruno Nanguka stands with just a few of the 15,000 reel-to-reel tapes stored in the station's archives.
Jonathan Kalan

Originally published on Sat November 3, 2012 5:10 pm

At the archives of Radio Tanzania, more than 15,000 reel-to-reel tapes are stacked in floor-to-ceiling shelves. Each band, musician and recording date is painstakingly notated. The tapes reside inside three musty rooms of the Tanzania Broadcasting Corp., which occupies the old brick-and-concrete BBC building in Dar es Salaam.

Radio Tanzania was the country's only station from its birth in 1951 until the mid-1990s, when competing stations came on the air and state-controlled radio became irrelevant.

Read more

Pages