JPR Classics

JPR Classics
6:57 am
Fri April 24, 2015

Bang On A Can Riffs On John Cage

On the Bang on a Can All-Stars' new album, Field Recordings, composers riff on a range of recorded sounds.
Peter Serling Bang on a Can

Originally published on Fri April 24, 2015 9:19 am

Life changed a lot after that day in 1877 when Thomas Edison spoke "Mary had a little lamb" into a contraption he called a phonograph and discovered he could reproduce sound. Back then, tinfoil cylinders captured just a few flickering moments. Today Wagner's entire Ring cycle fits on a 16GB flash drive.

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JPR Classics
12:49 pm
Wed April 22, 2015

How The Met Opera's Chorus Master Gets 150 To Sound Like One

Donald Palumbo became the Met's chorus master in the 2007-2008 season. He sang in choruses all his life, he says, and eventually worked his way up without any formal conservatory training.
Marty Sohl Courtesy of the Met

Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 8:05 am

Metropolitan Opera Chorus Master Donald Palumbo knows voices, and how to instruct singers to protect them.

Palumbo says that all singers have to monitor their voices while rehearsing during the day. The goal, he says, is to insure singers are at their "freshest" and "most solid" for the evening performance.

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JPR Classics
7:35 am
Tue April 21, 2015

Julia Wolfe Wins Music Pulitzer For 'Anthracite Fields'

Composer Julia Wolfe has won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for music for Anthracite Fields, an oratorio about coal miners and their families.
Peter Serling

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 8:03 am

Julia Wolfe, a composer associated with the New York music collective Bang on a Can, has won the Pulitzer Prize for music for Anthracite Fields.

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JPR Classics
10:00 am
Tue April 14, 2015

The Hypnotic Groove Of Xenakis

Percussionist Kuniko's new album is devoted to music by Iannis Xenakis.
Linn Records

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 10:41 am

Percussionists back in Beethoven's day could be forgiven for feeling a little bored, waiting for the infrequent roll of the kettledrum or the occasional cymbal crash. But as orchestras grew bigger, percussionists got busier — even more so after World War I, when a new generation of composers began writing specifically for percussion.

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JPR Classics
10:39 am
Sat April 11, 2015

Twitter Outrage Takes Toronto, Canceling Two Pianists

Pianist Valentina Lisitsa
Gilbert Francois Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri April 10, 2015 10:20 am

Valentina Lisitsa is a pianist whose worldwide reputation was built on social media. She is now experiencing a major backlash due to what she's been writing on Twitter.

It came to a head with the cancellation of Lisitsa's scheduled performances Wednesday night and Thursday night with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, which announced earlier this week that she would not be appearing to play Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 with the ensemble and Finnish conductor Juka-Pekka Saraste. Both TSO management and Lisitsa have said she will still receive her full fee.

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JPR Classics
10:32 am
Sat April 11, 2015

From Ballrooms To Concert Halls, Mexico Kept This Cuban Style Alive

Salón Los Angeles is the oldest dance hall in Mexico City. It's here that well-dressed couples dance to danzón.
Courtesy of Betto Arcos

Originally published on Sat April 11, 2015 7:54 am

The Salón Los Angeles is the oldest dance hall in Mexico City. The classic 1930s ballroom is located in a working-class neighborhood near downtown, and every week, it sees dozens of well-dressed couples of all ages moving to an orchestra of saxophones, trumpets, trombones, clarinets and percussion instruments.

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JPR Classics
5:51 pm
Thu April 9, 2015

Who Gets To Dance In 'Swan Lake'? The Answer Is Changing

Misty Copeland (left) and Brooklyn Mack play Odette/Odile and Prince Siegfried in this year's Washington Ballet production of Swan Lake. It is the first time that two black dancers star in Swan Lake in a major American production.
Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Fri April 10, 2015 8:47 am

Something rare is happening in the world of ballet: At the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., two African-American dancers will be the leads in The Washington Ballet's production of Swan Lake. Misty Copeland, soloist with American Ballet Theatre, will dance the dual role of Odette and Odile, while Brooklyn Mack of The Washington Ballet will dance Prince Siegfried.

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JPR Classics
12:20 pm
Mon April 6, 2015

Philip Glass On Legacy: 'The Future ... It's All Around Us'

"I'm more and more coming to the idea," composer Philip Glass says, "that it's the lineage and the connection to the past and the connection to the future — that is the real connection."
Eamonn McCabe Redferns

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 1:21 pm

When composer Philip Glass started performing his own music, a lot of people didn't know what to make of it. Some people thought it sounded like the needle of a record was stuck in a groove, repeating over and over again. Some people thought it was simplistic. Some thought it was a joke. Glass says that in the '70s, audience members threw things at him while he was performing.

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JPR Classics
7:10 am
Mon April 6, 2015

Bringing Mothers In Prison Closer To Their Children, Through Music

Daniel Levy works with Vateya (left) at the Rikers Island prison in New York City in February 2015, as part of the Lullaby Project.
Chris Lee Courtesy of Carnegie Hall

Originally published on Sat April 4, 2015 7:30 am

Mothers in prison rarely get to see their children, let alone touch them or sing them a lullaby. But female inmates in New York City are getting a little help with the singing, thanks to Carnegie Hall. For the last few years, Carnegie has sponsored the Lullaby Project, which pairs professional musicians with women in jails, homeless shelters and city hospitals, to help them write lullabies for their children.

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C&N New Series
1:05 pm
Sun April 5, 2015

Concerts From The Library of Congress

Bill McLaughlin hosts the new series Concerts From the Library of Congress, Sunday evenings at 7pm.

Beginning Sunday evening, April 5th, JPR's Classics & News Service will begin a new weekly series of programs called Concerts from the Library of Congress.

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JPR Classics
2:42 pm
Fri April 3, 2015

Multifaceted Music Critic Andrew Porter Dies At 86

Critic and opera translator Andrew Porter directs singer Nikki Einfeld during a rehearsal of a Canadian Opera Company production of Mozart's Magic Flute in Toronto in 2005.
Tannis Toohey Toronto Star

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 1:43 pm

Andrew Porter, a renowned music critic and scholar and translator of opera, died early today in London's Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. His twin sister, Sheila Porter, told NPR his death was the result of complications from pneumonia. He was 86.

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8:05 am
Fri April 3, 2015

A Tenor Saves The Day At The MET

Walk in the footsteps of tenor Michael Fabiano as he saves the day (with very little notice) at the MET's recent production of Lucia di Lammermoor. It's a little backstage peek of the opera world, bent nails and all.
The hot young tenor Michael Fabiano was out running errands near his home in Philadelphia around 1 p.m. on Wednesday when the Metropolitan Opera called, wondering if he could step in for an ailing tenor in its production of Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor." The curtain would rise in six and a half hours.
JPR Classics
11:15 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Hilary Hahn Marches Through Mozart

Violinist Hilary Hahn.
Michael Patrick O'Leary Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 11:03 am

When you're all grown up, you — at least theoretically — put away childish things. But there are exceptions, as violinist Hilary Hahn proves in her latest recording project.

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JPR Classics
10:50 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Can You Name That Musical Prank?

Test your wits against these musical pranksters.
Douglas Grundy Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 8:43 am

Each April 1st, practical jokers get their kicks pulling the wool over people's eyes. There are little white lies, cunning schemes and elaborate hoaxes. Pranksters are alive and well in music, too. Test your wits with these musical smart alecks who run the gamut from clever clowns to serious scam artists. Score high and feel a surge of superiority. Score low and fancy yourself a true April fool.

JPR Classics
7:08 am
Mon March 30, 2015

A Young Composer's Evening Prayers For Troubled Times

Missy Mazzoli
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 7:05 am

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JPR Classics
6:55 am
Mon March 30, 2015

The Sensuous Radical: Pierre Boulez at 90

French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez, photographed in Salzburg in 2011.
Martin Schalk Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 5:01 pm

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JPR Classics
11:31 am
Wed March 25, 2015

DJ Sessions: Opera Greats Past And Present

German opera singer Fritz Wunderlich (1930 - 1966) is pictured circa 1958. (Express Newspapers/Getty Images) and American opera singer Renee Fleming is pictured on, March 2, 2015, in New York. (Evan Agostini/Invision via AP)

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 11:06 am

For this week’s installment of the Here & Now DJ Sessions, host Jeremy Hobson sits down with classical DJ and opera singer Peter Van de Graaf, who shares some of his favorite opera music, from the late German tenor Fritz Wunderlich to American singer Renee Fleming.

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JPR Classics
11:28 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Giving Up The Concert Stage To Teach

Piano instructor Seymour Bernstein, left, poses with actor Ethan Hawke. Hawke made a documentary about Bernstein called "Seymour: An Introduction," which has won raves on the festival circuit. (Robin Holland/IFC Films via AP)

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 11:06 am

Seymour Bernstein fell in love with the piano at an early age and built a stellar concert career. But when he was 50, Seymour decided to give it up to devote his time to writing and teaching.

Now 88, Seymour Bernstein is the focus of the documentary “Seymour: An Introduction,” directed by actor Ethan Hawke. Here & Now’s Robin Young talks to Bernstein about his life and the film.

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JPR Classics
11:14 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Review: Missy Mazzoli, 'Vespers For A New Dark Age'

Missy Mazzoli's new album, Vespers for a New Dark Age, comes out March 31.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 6:10 am

Can robots think and feel? Could there be a day when computers control our lives?

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JPR Classics
9:15 am
Sun March 22, 2015

Pretty Yende: An Opera Star Whose Rise Began With A Fall

Soprano Pretty Yende in a Los Angeles Opera rehearsal. Starting Saturday, she'll be appearing in the company's production of The Marriage of Figaro.
Corin Cates-Carney NPR

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 2:20 pm

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