JPR Classics

JPR Classics
5:41 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Opera About 1985 Achille Lauro Hijacking Draws Protests At Met

Protesters rail outside the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center on opening night of the opera "The Death of Klinghoffer" on Monday in New York.
Bryan Thomas Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 8:29 am

Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was among those who showed up at the Metropolitan Opera last night to denounce the production of The Death of Klinghoffer, which protesters say glorifies terrorism.

Chanting "Shame on the Met!" protesters, numbering about 400, said the performance of the 23-year-old opera was an affront to the memory of Leon Klinghoffer, a passenger on the Italian cruise liner Achille Lauro that was hijacked by members of the Palestinian Liberation Organization in 1985. Klinghoffer, 69, was shot in his wheelchair and dumped overboard.

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JPR Classics
7:06 am
Mon October 20, 2014

After 200 Years, A Schubert Song Still Resonates

Scottish-American soprano Mary Garden (1874-1967) portrayed Goethe's character Gretchen, known as Marguerite in Charles Gounod's opera Faust.
Bettmann/CORBIS

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 8:43 am

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JPR Classics
6:58 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Postlude To A Kiss: Scriabin's Raging 'Poem Of Ecstasy'

Alexander Scriabin originally set out to write a piece called "Orgiastic Poem," centered on physical ecstasy, but later decided to alter the title to something more ambiguous.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 18, 2014 12:46 pm

I love composer anniversaries because they afford us opportunities to look at musicians anew, and 2015 will mark the centenary of the death of Russian composer Alexander Scriabin. It's quite possible that you've never heard of Scriabin, but take comfort in the fact that even his biographer said, "No one was more famous during their lifetime, and few were more quickly ignored after death."

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JPR Classics
1:15 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Twenty Years Later, 'Klinghoffer' Still Draws Protests

Several hundred protesters picket the opening night of the Metropolitan Opera season at Lincoln Center, Sept. 22, 2014. "You will be made to destroy that set," Jeffrey Wiesenfeld said.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 3:26 pm

The Metropolitan Opera in New York is bracing for one of the more controversial productions in its history. Since its first performance more than 20 years ago, some critics have charged that composer John Adams' The Death of Klinghoffer is anti-Israel, and even anti-Semitic. But the opera's supporters dispute that. They argue that Klinghoffer is a dramatic masterpiece that deserves to make its Met debut on Monday.

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JPR Classics
7:40 am
Mon October 13, 2014

The Case Of The Stolen Stradivarius

The Lipinski Stradivarius is worth between $5 million and $6 million. Only about 650 Strads, made by master luthier Antonio Stradivari, survive today.
Courtesy of Frank Almond

Originally published on Sun October 12, 2014 3:52 pm

Stradivarius violins are so important that they come with their own biographies. Several hundred of them survive today, and they're so prized, you can trace their lineages through the musicians who played them over the centuries.

The instruments have been valued at prices ranging from hundreds of thousands of dollars to several million. That kind of money attracts a lot of nonmusicians, like investors — and thieves.

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JPR Classics
7:29 am
Mon October 13, 2014

The Royal Shakespeare Company Releases Music From Its Archive

The Royal Shakespeare Company is releasing albums of the music commissioned for its productions of many of the plays in this first collected edition of William Shakespeare's works.
Leon Neal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 12, 2014 10:14 am

For more than a century, the Royal Shakespeare Company in England has hired composers to write original music for its productions. That sheet music has sat in a vault for decades — until now.

The company has started releasing albums that combine music from its contemporary productions with much older works.

Bruce O'Neill, head of music for the Royal Shakespeare Company, describes the archive as "a bit like a bank vault."

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JPR Classics
7:21 am
Mon October 6, 2014

The Maestro And The Liberator: Gustavo Dudamel's Cinematic Debut

Gustavo Dudamel, conductor of the LA Philharmonic since 2009, composed the score for the new Simón Bolívar biopic The Liberator.
Vern Evans Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri October 10, 2014 9:19 am

A film opened in the U.S. this weekend about the life of Simón Bolivar, the military leader who helped free much of Latin America from the Spanish Empire. Libertador, or The Liberator, tells that story with the help of rousing music by a first-time film-score composer: Gustavo Dudamel.

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JPR Classics
12:37 pm
Sun October 5, 2014

WATCH: Protesters Disrupt St. Louis Symphony With 'Requiem For Mike Brown'

Protesters unfurl banners during a performance of the St. Louis Symphony.
YouTube

Originally published on Sun October 5, 2014 2:59 pm

A Saturday performance of the St. Louis Symphony was disrupted by demonstrators protesting the killing of Michael Brown, the black, unarmed teenager who was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

"Justice for Mike Brown is justice for us all," protesters sang, before asking the audience, "Which side are you on, friend? Which side are you on?"

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JPR Classics
1:38 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Three Quick Lessons From The Violin Wunderkind Who Became A Master

"The key is to figure out what you're contributing," Joshua Bell says of playing chamber music.
Eric Kabik Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon September 29, 2014 3:30 pm

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JPR Classics
1:37 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Tuning Pianos In The Digital Age

Piano tuning courses are still taught at the North Bennet Street School in Boston. (Courtesy North Bennet Street School)

Originally published on Mon September 29, 2014 11:54 am

Does anyone tune pianos any more? And how?

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson went to the North Bennet Street School in Boston, Mass., which offers nine-month courses in piano technology.

He met Debbie Cyr, who tunes instruments and also instructs students at the school. It turns out that there is still a demand for piano tuning as many of those who practice the profession decide to retire.

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Live Session Archive
10:29 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Rimsky-Korsakov String Quartet Live Session

Eric Teel

The Rimsky-Korsakov String Quartet, based in Saint Petersburg, Russia, formed in 1939, is a monument to Russian musical history. The present members Mikhail Bondarev (violin), Ekaterina Belisova (violin), Alexei Popov (viola), Anton Andreev (cello) are graduates of the Saint Petersburg Conservatory who, by virtue of a shared background steeped in the grand tradition of Russian music making, achieve organic and convincing interpretations of a diverse repertoire of masterworks, Russian classics, and contemporary masters.

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JPR Classics
7:17 am
Mon September 29, 2014

An Inviting Apocalypse: John Luther Adams On 'Become Ocean'

John Luther Adams' Pulitzer Prize-winning piece is called Become Ocean; the recording of the work comes out Sept. 30.
Donald Lee Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun September 28, 2014 4:04 pm

This past April, composer John Luther Adams became the most recent winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his piece Become Ocean — a work commissioned by the Seattle Symphony, the recording of which comes out this Tuesday.

Adams says that he got the call with the good news in the middle of a afternoon power nap, during an exhausting teaching residency at Michigan Tech University.

"I heard the word and asked the person on the other end, 'You know, could I call you back?' " Adams remembers. "Talk about your wake-up call."

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JPR Classics
7:15 am
Mon September 29, 2014

The Atlanta Symphony Lockout Continues, Musicians Picket On Peachtree Street

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, with Music Director Robert Spano conducting.
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

Originally published on Mon September 29, 2014 5:46 am

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra was scheduled to open its 70th season this week, but musicians have been locked out of their workplace since September 7th, when their contract expired. The same thing happened just two years ago. Back then, negotiators reached a new agreement before opening night. This year, Atlanta classical music fans were not so lucky.

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JPR Classics
2:41 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

New Boston Symphony Music Director Andris Nelsons: 'It's Not A Job — It's Life'

"The music's kind of oozing out of not just his hands, but his whole body," Boston Symphony managing director Mark Volpe says of the orchestra's new music director, Andris Nelsons.
Marco Borggreve Boston Symphony Orchestra

Originally published on Fri September 26, 2014 5:23 pm

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JPR Classics
1:07 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Remembering Christopher Hogwood, An Evangelist For Early Music

The late conductor, keyboard player and scholar Christopher Hogwood.
Marco Borggreve Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu September 25, 2014 10:55 am

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JPR Classics
7:27 am
Wed September 24, 2014

Everything You Wanted To Know About Classical Music (But Weren't Afraid To Ask)

Khatia Buniatishvili's new album, Motherland, is among those recommended during the Friday afternoon Twitter sessions.
Sony Classical

Originally published on Wed September 24, 2014 6:55 am

A few weeks ago, in an act of brazen thievery, your devoted NPR Classical hosts appropriated an idea from our colleague Bob Mondello, NPR's film critic. Each Friday he tweets movie suggestions for the weekend.

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JPR Classics
8:53 am
Mon September 22, 2014

For The Love Of Cello

(martin lester/Flickr)

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 1:12 pm

A study published this month in the Journal of Neuroscience looks at free music programs aimed at at-risk kids, and finds that studying music improves performance in the human brain.

Youth Radio’s Scott Lau went through a similar program.

He’s now a freshman at the University of Southern California studying the music business and the cello.

He sent us this audio postcard about how playing the cello changed him.

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JPR Classics
8:35 am
Mon September 22, 2014

First Listen: Brooklyn Rider, 'The Brooklyn Rider Almanac'

Brooklyn Rider's new album, The Brooklyn Rider Almanac, comes out Sept. 30.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed October 1, 2014 7:36 am

It's become a trope that artists aren't interested in being limited by genre — at least the really fascinating ones, that is. One of the most enjoyable current examples of this reach beyond stylistic divides is Almanac, the newest project from the string quartet Brooklyn Rider.

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JPR Classics
8:19 am
Mon September 22, 2014

First Listen: John Luther Adams, 'Become Ocean'

Cantaloupe

Originally published on Wed October 1, 2014 7:33 am

When John Luther Adams' sweeping orchestral piece Become Ocean was performed at Carnegie Hall for the first time in May, it was also the first time the composer had attended a concert there.

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JPR Classics
8:15 am
Mon September 22, 2014

A Pianist Hears Chopin From Inside His Instrument

Chad Lawson's new album is The Chopin Variations.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 8:23 am

Even if you're not a fan of classical music, you have heard of Frédéric Chopin: His music has appeared in countless movies, TV shows and commercials, even video games. But it's almost certain you haven't heard the Polish composer performed the way Chad Lawson plays him.

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