WRTI Picks from NPR Music

A Blog Supreme from NPR
3:55 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

Back Home With Canada's Greatest Living Jazz Musician

Oliver Jones.
Michael Slobodian

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 5:15 pm

A week ago, Oliver Jones — the greatest living jazz musician in Canada — played his hometown Montreal International Jazz Festival, one of the world's largest. "Oliver Jones Plays Oliver Jones," read the bill. It was the first time, he said in a conversation earlier last week, that the pianist, now 77, would be playing strictly his own tunes for an entire set.

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Deceptive Cadence
1:23 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

Music Around the Country: Classical Summer Festivals 2012

Music and food mix well on the lawn of the Ravinia Festival outside Chicago. This year's edition runs through Sept. 9.
Ravinia Festival

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 6:17 pm

With the July Fourth holiday behind us, now is the time to map out a musical adventure. Below is a sampling of just a few of the dozens of summer classical music festivals around the country, grouped by region. From outdoor extravaganzas and picturesque locales to intimate indoor settings, live music thrives in the summertime. Been to a good summer fest not listed here? Tell us all about it.

EAST

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Flash Choir Video!
4:39 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

A Flash Choir Sings Philip Glass in Times Square

Conductor Kent Tritle leads an impromptu choir in the world premiere of Philip Glass' "A New Rule" in New York's Times Square.

Watch a "flash choir" descend upon Times Square to sing a world premiere of music by Philip Glass, commissioned by NPR Music in honor of the composer's 75th birthday. Watch and listen here.

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Music Reviews
11:51 am
Tue July 10, 2012

'St. Matthew Passion': A Monumental Bach Feast

Johann Sebastian Bach wrote the St. Matthew Passion in 1727 for solo voices, double choir and double orchestra.
Getty Digital

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 12:25 pm

Facing Bach's St. Matthew Passion, I often feel a combination of anticipation and dread. It's a great work, profound in its humanity and spirituality, with sublimely beautiful music. But it's a long haul, and if it's not a good performance, well, I'm stuck. And it can be not-good in various ways: either too solemnly pious or too much an exercise in musical style rather than emotional drama. A new DVD recorded in 2010 at Berlin's great concert hall, the Philharmonie, would be of major interest under any circumstances.

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NPR's Song Travels
1:37 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Listen: Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet on NPR

Jean-Yves Thibaudet

French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet is one of the leading performers on today's classical-music scene. He has more than 40 albums to his credit, including interpretations of the classical repertoire, as well as music by George Gershwin, Duke Ellington and Bill Evans.

Music Interviews
5:00 pm
Sun July 8, 2012

'Initial Here': Jazz Musician Linda Oh Plays Out Her Heritage

Linda Oh's latest album, Initial Here, was released May 22.
Vincent Soyez Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun July 8, 2012 5:48 pm

Jazz bassist and bandleader Linda Oh says her new album, Initial Here, is an exploration of her heritage. She was born in Malaysia to Chinese parents, but as a toddler, she moved with her family to Australia.

Oh started taking piano lessons there when she was 4. Music was just a hobby back then, but once her uncle strapped a bass guitar around her neck, that's when she fell in love.

Oh cut her teeth playing bass in both jazz and rock bands all over her hometown of Perth in Western Australia.

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Author Interviews
5:42 pm
Sat July 7, 2012

Remembering George Szell, Powerhouse Conductor

Michael Charry was the "sorcerer's apprentice" to celebrated 20th-century conductor George Szell. For the last decade of Szell's tenure at the Cleveland Orchestra, Charry was an assistant conductor.

Now, Charry has captured the power of Szell's artistry — as well as his tempestuous personality — in a new biography called George Szell: A Life of Music.

Charry vividly recalls Szell testing him on how many notes he could find in a chord when he first auditioned for the job.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:35 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Around The Classical Internet: July 6, 2012

Soprano Evelyn Lear, circa 1965.
Erich Auerbach Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 1:32 pm

  • American soprano Evelyn Lear — whose roles ranged from title role in Berg's Lulu to Mozart to Sondheim — died at age 86 Monday at a nursing home, though the cause was not announced. (Her late husband of more than fifty years, the bass-baritone Thomas Stewart, died six years ago.)
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The Record
3:07 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

My American Dream Sounds Like Nina Simone

Nina Simone, 1969.
Jack Robinson Courtesy of Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 4, 2012 7:59 pm

I discovered Nina Simone through the back door. I would like to claim that I grew up on her classic songs, like "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," "Four Women" and "Mississippi Goddam." But I didn't. Like so many of my generation, I found her through hip-hop loops and samples.

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Deceptive Cadence
9:42 am
Thu June 28, 2012

Why Is There So Much Britten In 'Moonrise Kingdom'?

The cast of Moonrise Kingdom.
courtesy of Focus Features

Originally published on Sun July 1, 2012 12:20 pm

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