WUIS Classic

Deceptive Cadence
11:04 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Read Joyce DiDonato's Inspiring Juilliard Commencement Speech

Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato.
Simon Pauly Courtesy of the artist

Star mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato gave the 2014 commencement address at Juilliard Friday β€” and it's a memorable one, both for her words and by DiDonato's own example as someone whose own career began under low heat.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:35 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

How Do You Get Latino Kids Into Classical Music? Bring The Parents

The 85 musicians in the Santa Cecilia Orchestra are paid professionals who play with other symphonies and in Hollywood studios.
Courtesy of the Santa Cecilia Orchestra

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 8:53 am

Outside the concert hall at Occidental College, in Los Angeles' Eagle Rock neighborhood, children are invited to test out the instruments the Santa Cecilia Orchestra will play later. Alexa Media Rodriguez, 8, says she and her family have never before been to an orchestra concert. She heard about the orchestra when some of the musicians visited her school.

"I brought my dad, my stepmom," she says, "my sister, my brother and my sister's cousin ..."

That's the thing about this orchestra, says conductor Sonia Marie De Leon De Vega: The children are bringing the parents.

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Music Videos
11:52 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Mark Stewart On Q2 Music's 'Spaces'

Q2 Music

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 10:06 am

In his own words, Mark Stewart makes a living playing a little bit of popular music, quite a bit of semi-popular music and an enormous amount of unpopular music β€” the last being all the music you probably haven't heard.

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First Listen
10:03 pm
Sun May 25, 2014

First Listen: Gabriel Kahane, 'The Ambassador'

Gabriel Kahane's new album, The Ambassador, comes out June 3.
Josh Goleman Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 10:59 am

Composer and singer-songwriter Gabriel Kahane says that the inspiration for his new album, The Ambassador, is 10 buildings in Los Angeles β€” appropriate, given what a gifted musical architect he is.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:58 pm
Sat May 24, 2014

A Few Words With Ennio Morricone

Ennio Morricone became a fixture of global culture with his film music β€” but as a young composer, he was a radical.
Courtesy of Armonia AC

Originally published on Sun May 25, 2014 1:10 pm

Today at the Cannes Film Festival, attendees marked the 50th anniversary of the spaghetti western at a special screening of A Fistful of Dollars, the Sergio Leone classic that kick-started the genre. Leone's vision of the American West remains singular β€” and it's impossible to imagine without the iconic music of Ennio Morricone.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:33 am
Sat May 24, 2014

Marin Alsop's Guide To Mendelssohn's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'

Titania awakes clinging rapturously to Bottom, still wearing the donkey's head, in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Mendelssohn wrote music for a production of the play in 1843.
Henry Fuseli Getty Images

Originally published on Sat May 24, 2014 1:09 pm

Growing up as a violinist, Felix Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto ranked among my top 10 Holy Grail pieces. As I got older, I moved on to his Octet and Piano Trio in D minor, which became two of my favorite chamber works. There's almost nothing comparable to playing Mendelssohn's Octet with seven great string players. It's absolutely thrilling, energetic, virtuosic, youthful, fun and challenging. And to think that Mendelssohn wrote it when he was just 16.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:27 am
Sat May 24, 2014

Asleep In Dress Blues: Music For Memorial Day

A lone bugler plays "Taps" during a burial service at Arlington National Cemetery.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 26, 2014 7:52 am

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Deceptive Cadence
11:57 am
Tue May 20, 2014

In 2014, The Classical World Still Can't Stop Fat-Shaming Women

How did the figure of Irish mezzo Tara Erraught prompt such a seething mass of contempt from a handful of London critics?
Courtesy of the artist

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Deceptive Cadence
12:23 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Does Accepting A Rose Mean Losing A Career?

The newest round of Bachelorette contestants include an aspiring popera dude.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 4:08 pm

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Tiny Desk Concerts
7:03 am
Sat May 17, 2014

Iestyn Davies: Tiny Desk Concert

Iestyn Davies performs a Tiny Desk Concert.
NPR

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 10:05 am

The Bee Gees did it. So do Smokey Robinson, Prince and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. They all sing in the high register usually associated with female singers.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:36 am
Sat May 17, 2014

'The Cunning Little Vixen' Pokes Her Head Into An Animated Forest

In a scene from the Cleveland Orchestra's The Cunning Little Vixen, two actors (Julie Boulianne as Dog and Martina Jankova as Vixen) appear from behind a computer-animated backdrop.
Roger Mastroianni Cleveland Orchestra

Originally published on Sat May 17, 2014 10:29 am

Long before summer blockbuster films dazzled us with CGI-enhanced superheroes and villains, audiences got their dose of spectacle at the local opera house, where lavishly costumed singers have walked through monumental sets for centuries.

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Planet Money
2:15 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Is A Stradivarius Just A Violin?

A Stradivarius violin at the restoration and research laboratory of the Musee de la Musique, Paris, in 2009.
Patrick Kovarik AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 7:00 pm

The Stradivarius violin gets its name from master craftsman Antonio Stradivari. When he died in 1737, his secrets died with him: No one has ever been able to duplicate the sound of the violins or violas he made.

His instruments have taken on a mythical quality. Today they fetch millions of dollars at auctions; Sotheby's will soon auction off a viola that it expects to sell for $45 million.

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Deceptive Cadence
10:00 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Anonymous 4: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do (But They're Doing It)

The vocal ensemble Anonymous 4 will disband after the 2015-16 concert season.
Dario Acosta

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 11:01 am

In 1986, four women gathered in a casual setting to sing through a bit of medieval chant. Little did they know they were launching Anonymous 4, an a cappella ensemble that has spanned nearly 30 years, 20 albums, countless concerts and more than a millenium of music.

Today the group announced that the 2015-16 season will be its last together. But this isn't the first time Anonymous 4 has thought about calling it quits. The group bid a similar farewell in 2004.

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Deceptive Cadence
9:17 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Watch Bang On A Can Occupy 'Arthur'

Two of the Bang on a Can All-Stars immortalized on the kids' cartoon Arthur.
Courtesy of 'Arthur'

Originally published on Fri May 9, 2014 4:56 pm

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Classical Sessions
7:43 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Conjuring An Opera With Ten Fingers

Pianist Louis Lortie makes Wagnerian opera come alive in NPR's Studio 1.
Denise DeBelius NPR

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 3:19 pm

It's always been a treat to sit down with pianist Louis Lortie. In part because of his sound at the piano β€” the brightness, purity and clarity of his playing. But all the better to have a conversation with him, too. He is a sober, serious thinker, with an incisive point of view on every piece of music he chooses.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:25 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Mothers Of Intervention: The Operatic Moms Puzzler

Madama Butterfly is one of many unhappy moms in opera.
Patrick Riviere Getty Images

It's not easy being a mom, but it's even tougher for mothers in opera. So often they're completely absent while fathers have leading roles in shows like Rigoletto, La traviata, The Flying Dutchman. When depicted at all, operatic moms are usually under supreme stress. They can be murderous, manipulative or simply mad. Only rarely are they the loving moms who brought us into the world. Here your job is to identify the operas and their mothers. Score high and brag to your own sweet (or stressed) mom. Score low and go to your room without supper.

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Deceptive Cadence
9:59 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Midspring Surprise: Lost Mendelssohn Song Found

An engraving of composer Felix Mendelssohn, c. 1840.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 8:04 pm

Twenty-nine gentle measures by Felix Mendelssohn are creating quite a stir β€” after being lost for more than a century.

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Classics in Concert
10:08 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Spring For Music: A Rare American Oratorio At Carnegie Hall

James Conion leads the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Chorus at Carnegie Hall in New York, NY on May 09, 2014.
Melanie Burford/Prime Melanie Burford/Prime for NPR

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 3:16 pm

When NPR Music and WQXR present the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and May Festival Chorus' performance of R. Nathaniel Dett's The Ordering of Moses at Carnegie Hall Friday, there will be one significant difference from its first airing: it should be free of interruptions.

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Author Interviews
4:05 am
Sun May 4, 2014

The 'Marvelous Living' Of Soprano Jessye Norman

Jessye Norman performs late on June 6, 2008 during the 14th Sacred World Music Festival.
Abdelhak Senna AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 12:32 pm

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Music News
4:04 am
Sun May 4, 2014

Hear Hans Zimmer's Bid For The Next Great Screen Composer

Hans Zimmer.
Zoe Zimmer Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun May 4, 2014 12:06 pm

Crimson Tide, The Lion King, Inception, Gladiator β€” that's just a handful of the many movies that feature award-winning scores by Hans Zimmer. Lately, Zimmer has lent his ear to soundtracks written by a new generation of aspiring film composers.

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Deceptive Cadence
1:43 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

10 Can't-Miss Classical Music Festivals

Some performances during the Bard Music Festival in the Hudson Valley take place at the Fisher Center, designed by Frank Gehry.
Peter Aaron/Esto

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 8:32 am

In much of the country it still feels like summer is a long way off, but it's not too early to plan on hitting the road and hearing great music. From bucolic college campuses in New England to musical rafting trips down the Colorado, these are 10 of the most intriguing classical festivals. And below them is a listing, by region, of many of the best fests. Been to one we missed? Pass along your own advice in the comments section or via Facebook or Twitter.

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Classics in Concert
9:55 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Seattle Symphony, New Pulitzer Winner At Carnegie Hall

Composer John Luther Adams accepts enthusiastic applause from the Carnegie Hall audience after the New York premiere of his 2014 Pulitzer Prize-winning piece, Become Ocean, performed by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.
Melanie Burford for NPR Music

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 3:19 pm

The great outdoors is a perennial theme in classical music, usually expressed through bucolic or picturesque works. But the Seattle Symphony knew that to appear on Spring for Music β€” an annual festival of adventurous programming by North American orchestras β€” it required a more unusual, daring take on this theme.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:26 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Coming Soon To Colorado: Wolfgang And Weed

The Colorado Symphony's Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre outside Denver last summer. If you squint, you can see a cloud of something that's probably not pot smoke.
Matt Korona Courtesy of the Colorado Symphony

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 2:34 pm

Colorado Symphony patrons β€” if they aren't already β€” are about to have the option of being Rocky Mountain high.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:36 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Valentina Lisitsa: Chasing Pianos And YouTube Fans

Valentina Lisitsa's new album, Chasing Pianos, features music from Michael Nyman's score to the 1993 film The Piano.
Alexei Kuznetsoff Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 6:15 pm

Born in Kiev a little more than 40 years ago, Valentina Lisitsa came to America in the early '90s to work as a concert pianist.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:14 am
Fri April 25, 2014

A Trove Of Celluloid, Primed For The Public

Maria Callas at home in her Milan Apartment, in 1958. One of 85,000 archive films British PathΓ© has uploaded to YouTube.
British PathΓ©

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 8:42 am

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Music Interviews
12:30 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Vijay Iyer On Q2 Music's 'Spaces'

Q2 Music

Pianist, composer, improviser and 2013 MacArthur Fellow Vijay Iyer has built a career of making musical connections. Increasingly recognized as one of the most inventive musicians working today, he received an interdisciplinary Ph.D.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:47 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Angst And Excellence In Forgotten Soviet Symphonies

Vadim Salmanov's four symphonies are reissued in live performances conducted by Yevgeny Mravinsky.
Melodiya

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 1:14 pm

Soviet composer Vadim Salmanov is little more than a footnote outside Russia, but his four energetic, skillfully orchestrated symphonies are making a small comeback. Russia's venerable Melodiya label has reissued them in a handsomely packaged double-disc set of live recordings made between 1957 and 1977.

Conducted with burning intensity by Yevgeny Mravinsky, Salmanov's rarely heard music soars off these albums with a sound that is thoroughly Russian yet charged with a certain Soviet-era anxiety.

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Classics in Concert
7:27 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra At Carnegie Hall

Every inch of the immense Carnegie Hall was filled with musicians as music director Robert Spano leads his Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in Benjamin Britten's stunning War Requiem.
Melanie Burford For NPR

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 3:27 pm

The most successful polemical art succeeds first as art. Benjamin Britten proved that with his War Requiem.

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Deceptive Cadence
7:17 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Pet Sounds: The NPR Music Critter Quiz

Animals are fun to pet. They also make great guest appearances in music.
Roberto A. Sanchez iStock.com

From as far back as we can tell, music makers have been inspired by the flora and especially the fauna around us. From tooting tunes on actual animal horns and bones, to musical portraits of creatures large and small, performers and composers of all stripes have included critters in their creations. In this puzzler, you must identify the creature depicted in the music.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:00 pm
Sun April 20, 2014

Honey, Blood And Harmony: Jordi Savall's Balkan Journey

Early music specialist Jordi Savall has turned his attention to the widely varied music of the Balkans. "For me," he says, "it's one of the most exciting projects that happened in the last 20 years."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 12:42 pm

Jordi Savall has made a career of reviving ancient music. Whatever the age of the songs, though, he doesn't play them as museum-piece recreations, preserved in isolation. Savall takes great pleasure in smashing together music from different times and different cultures.

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