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Music News

After all our whining, we have to pass along word that Rush has made it into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

And, yes, we know that some of this year's other inductees, announced today, may be more "important":

-- Heart.

Remembering Banda Diva Jenni Rivera

Dec 10, 2012

To listen to Mandalit del Barco's appreciation of Jenni Rivera's life and career, as heard on All Things Considered, click the audio link.

Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera died Sunday in an airplane that crashed in the early hours of the morning in Toluca, west of Mexico's capital. The legendary musician, household name and feminist presence in the Latin music scene was 43.

Remembering Charles Rosen, A Prodigious Pianist And Polymath

Dec 10, 2012

Pianist, classical music scholar and thinker Charles Rosen died in New York yesterday at age 85 following a battle with cancer. A prolific author, essayist and Guggenheim Award winner, Rosen published two staple books on classical music, 1971's The Classical Style and 1995's The Romantic Generation, and was a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books.

Grammy Nominations 2012: The Comedown

Dec 10, 2012

Thanks largely to a few flukes, the Grammy Awards had an awfully good 2012.

The news that no survivors have been found in the wreckage of a small plane in which Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera and six others were traveling before it crashed Sunday in northern Mexico means "the world has lost one very beautiful voice," as E! Online writes.

According to The Associated Press:

Diana Newlon sits on her living-room couch leading choir practice. With her laptop balanced on one arm of the sofa, she looks at a screen full of videos of girls singing "Jingle Bell Rock." Each girl is in her own little square, arranged Brady Bunch-style on the screen.

Newlon teaches at the Ohio Distance and Electronic Learning Academy — OHDELA for short — and she's the founder of perhaps the only all-online school choir in the state, or even the nation.

  • We've made a list, checked it way more than twice — and now it's your turn. Take a look at our list of top 10 classical releases of 2012.

As of this year, the vocal group Anonymous 4 has been introducing modern audiences to medieval music for a quarter century. When the all-female quartet asked David Lang to help mark the occasion by writing them some music, he didn't need any convincing. The Pulitzer Prize-winning composer was already a big fan.

If you've been around longer than me, perhaps you were already familiar with Ken Regan's photography.

Mickey Baker, one half of the hit-making duo Mickey and Sylvia in the late '50s and an influential guitarist whose work can be heard on hundreds of records, has died at his home near Toulouse, France.

He was 87.

  • 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.

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.

Who Picks The Music You Hear At The Mall?

Nov 28, 2012

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.

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.

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.

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?

A Critic Atones

Nov 27, 2012

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.

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.

  • 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?

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

Nov 20, 2012

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.

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.

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