JPR Classics

JPR Classics
8:15 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Philip Glass And Steve Reich At BAM: Together Again Yet Still Apart

Four Organs by Steve Reich was performed Tuesday at the Brooklyn Academy of Music as part of the 50th anniversary of the Nonesuch label (from left: Philip Glass, Nico Muhly, David Cossin, Timo Andres and Steve Reich).
Stephanie Berger

Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 1:04 pm

Throughout this month, the Brooklyn Academy of Music's signature Next Wave Festival is celebrating a record label with which it shares history and purpose: Nonesuch, marking its 50th anniversary this year.

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JPR Classics
3:19 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Nonesuch At 50: A Record Label Without Borders

Björk's interdisciplinary project Biophilia was released on the Nonesuch label in 2011.
Nonesuch

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 9:08 am

Sometimes good things come in small packages. Nonesuch Records, which started as a tiny independent budget classical label in 1964, is celebrating its 50th anniversary with three weeks of concerts at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The label became a force in the recording industry by pioneering electronic music and world music, launching the ragtime revival and becoming a place where contemporary classical composers had a home. Now an industry powerhouse, Nonesuch still operates like an independent record company.

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JPR Classics
2:21 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

This Is Your Brain. This Is Your Brain On Music

Amir Pinkney-Jengkens, 8, is learning trombone through Harmony Project, a nonprofit that provides musical instruments and instruction to children in low-income communities. Recent research suggests that such musical education may help improve kids' ability to process speech.
Annie Tritt for NPR

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 8:55 am

Musical training doesn't just improve your ear for music — it also helps your ear for speech. That's the takeaway from an unusual new study published in The Journal of Neuroscience. Researchers found that kids who took music lessons for two years didn't just get better at playing the trombone or violin; they found that playing music also helped kids' brains process language.

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JPR Classics
11:43 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Misty Copeland On Broadening 'Beauty' And Being Black In Ballet

Originally published on Tue September 9, 2014 7:53 am

For ballerina Misty Copeland, the role of the Firebird is a personally symbolic one. "It was one of the first really big principal roles I was ever given an opportunity to dance with American Ballet Theatre," she tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "It was a huge step for the African-American community."

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JPR Classics
11:42 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Enduringly Dramatic Italian Soprano Magda Olivero Dies At 104

Magda Olivero performing Francis Poulenc's one-woman opera La voix humaine at San Francisco Opera in 1979.
Ron Scherl Redferns/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 4:53 pm

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JPR Classics
11:39 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Five New Classical Videos You Need To See To Believe

Teen cellists Jeremy Tai and Minku Lee playing at Chihuly Garden and Glass.
Courtesy of From the Top

Originally published on Tue September 9, 2014 9:37 am

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JPR Classics
4:03 am
Thu September 4, 2014

Glenn Gould In Rapture

Gordon Parks The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 4, 2014 6:15 am

What's going on here, I can only guess, but here's what you're about to see: In the video below, the great musician Glenn Gould, supreme interpreter of Bach, is sitting at his living room piano on a low, low chair, his nose close to the keys. He's at his Canadian country house in his bathrobe.

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JPR Classics
8:55 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Great Expectations: A New Season Of New Music

Jennifer Higdon's Cold Mountain receives its world premiere at Santa Fe Opera in the coming season.
Ken Howard Santa Fe Opera

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 4:57 pm

Musicologist and pianist Charles Rosen once quipped: "The death of classical music is perhaps its oldest continuing tradition." But it's tough to see much gloom when faced with the diversity of premieres and provocative programming around the country in the 2014-2015 season.

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JPR Classics
1:58 am
Mon September 1, 2014

Deborah Rutter Becomes Kennedy Center's First Female President

Originally published on Mon September 1, 2014 4:55 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

JPR Classics
10:55 am
Thu August 28, 2014

A Surge Of Scarlatti Sonatas

Each of Domenico Scarlatti's 555 keyboard sonatas has its own personality.
Wikimedia

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 9:08 am

Three centuries ago a man named Domenico Scarlatti churned out an enormous number of keyboard sonatas — more than 550. Pianists, harpsichordists and even accordionists still can't get enough these inventive, bite-sized pieces.

A clutch of Scarlatti albums have appeared this year and more are on the way. Albums from pianists Orion Weiss and Igor Kamez are due in the coming weeks. Here we offer a sampling of five recent releases.

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JPR Classics
6:48 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Enigmatic Endings: A Farewell To Summer Quiz

Music can be like a fleeting summer. You get to the end wondering, "How did we get here already?"
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 12:40 pm

Well, it's happened again. Vacations are over. Kids are returning to school. "And where," you're wondering, "did my summer go?"

You can get the same feeling in music sometimes. No matter how long a piece is, its end might sneak up on you. Try this mysterious little quiz filled with fantastical finales and enigmatic endings. Score high and take an extra week off from work. Score low and get back to the grind.

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JPR Classics
7:16 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Bruce Hornsby's Modern Classical Moment

Known for writing pop hits, Bruce Hornsby ventures into classical and jazz piano forms on the new album Solo Concerts.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat August 23, 2014 3:26 pm

Bruce Hornsby cracked the music world three decades ago, making smooth, contemplative piano-pop with his band The Range. But if "The Way It Is" is how you remember him today, you've missed a lot.

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JPR Classics
3:56 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

Syrian Clarinetist Finds A Home For His Music

Kinan Azmeh performs in Damascus. (Rima Badawi)

Originally published on Thu August 21, 2014 1:27 pm

Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh currently lives in New York, but he grew up in Damascus. Until recently, Azmeh traveled regularly back and forth to his homeland, before it became too dangerous.

In 2011, after protesters were killed in the streets in Syria, Azmeh stopped composing and started to question the role of his music. But after a year hiatus, he realized his music has a place that is important.

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JPR Classics
7:18 am
Thu August 21, 2014

A Perfectly Cromulent Classical Guide To 'The Simpsons' Marathon

From The Simpsons short "Music Ville."
Fox Broadcasting Company

Originally published on Thu August 21, 2014 11:24 am

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JPR Classics
1:30 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Masters And Disasters: The Met Opera Quiz

Hojotoho! How much Metropolitan Opera trivia do you know?
Ken Howard Metropolitan Opera

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 1:36 pm

Now that the embattled Metropolitan Opera has surmounted most of its labor squabbles, it's time to take a break from reading about the rancorous negotiations. See how many of these nerdworthy Met questions you can answer. Score high and bellow out your best Wagnerian "Hojotoho!" Score low and start learning the "Simpleton's aria" from Boris Godunov.

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JPR Classics
12:03 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

With Both Farce And Feeling, Currentzis' 'Figaro' Succeeds Magnificently

Originally published on Tue August 19, 2014 12:17 pm

There are many recordings of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. Do we need another? In the case of this new recording led by the young Greek conductor Teodor Currentzis, Fresh Air classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz says, "Absolutely."

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JPR Classics
2:14 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Met Opera Tentatively Settles With 2 Major Unions

The Metropolitan Opera has settled labor contracts with two of its largest unions.
Jonathan Ticler Metropolitan Opera

Originally published on Mon August 18, 2014 7:55 pm

A labor crisis threatening to shut down New York's Metropolitan Opera — the largest opera house in the world — appears to have been averted. Two of the major unions announced a tentative settlement this morning. While agreements with 10 additional unions need to be reached by Tuesday night, this represents a major turning point in a bitter dispute.

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JPR Classics
1:48 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Meet The Cast Of The Met Opera's Labor Drama

Members of the American Guild of Musical Artists and the American Federation of Musicians, two of the unions embroiled in contract negotiations with Metropolitan Opera management, rally this morning at Dante Park across from Lincoln Center.
Jeff Lunden for NPR

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 10:37 am

Think opera plots are tough to follow? Try wading through the complicated drama playing out offstage at the Metropolitan Opera. At its most basic, it's the story of management and labor unions fighting over a supposedly dwindling pot of money.

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JPR Classics
7:57 am
Mon August 18, 2014

Centenarian Soprano Licia Albanese Dies

Soprano Licia Albanese in an undated photo, posing as Violetta in Verdi's La traviata.
Sedge LeBlang courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera

Originally published on Sun August 17, 2014 5:59 am

Italian-American lyric soprano Licia Albanese, known for her deeply felt character portrayals, died Friday at her home in New York, her son, Joseph Gimma, told NPR Music Saturday. She was 105 years old.

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JPR Classics
11:07 am
Fri August 15, 2014

New Deadline For Met Opera Negotiations: Sunday

With a little more than a month before the MET opera season opens, management has set Sunday night as a new deadline for reaching an agreement. The company has been threatening to lock out its workers if they do not agree to concessions.  

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