WRTI Picks from NPR Music

WRTI Picks from NPR Music
5:48 am
Sun October 27, 2013

Energetic, Intimate 'Letters' Reveal Private Leonard Bernstein

Composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, shown here conducting the New York Philharmonic orchestra in 1963, was a legend in American music. Letters to and from Bernstein have been compiled into The Leonard Bernstein Letters, a new book edited by Nigel Simeone.
Express Newspapers Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 27, 2013 2:10 pm

Leonard Bernstein was a singular American genius. One of the great orchestra conductors of the 20th Century, he was also a composer of hit musicals like West Side Story, as well as symphonies and ballets. He was a teacher and television personality — his Young People's Concerts introduced generations of children to classical music.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
5:43 pm
Sat October 19, 2013

LA's Own 'Amazing And Unique Instrument' Turns 10

An Angeleno revels at 10 Times The Party, a celebration of Walt Disney Concert Hall's 10th Anniversary, on Oct. 5 in Los Angeles.
David Livingston Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 20, 2013 12:23 pm

If you were listening to NPR 10 years ago this week, you might have heard this enthusiastic proclamation: "The wait is finally over for architect Frank Gehry, for the musicians and staff of the LA Philharmonic, and for all of Los Angeles. Tonight, for the first time in public, the orchestra plays its magnificent new instrument: Walt Disney Concert Hall."

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
6:44 am
Sat October 19, 2013

The Birth Of Bird: Young Charlie Parker Found Focus, Faith In Music

Charlie Parker started playing as a boy, when his mother gave him a saxophone to cheer him up after his father left. He went on to spearhead a musical revolution.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 19, 2013 7:40 am

Charlie "Bird" Parker was one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. In his brief life, Parker created a new sound on the alto saxophone and spearheaded a revolution in harmony and improvisation that pushed popular music from the swing era to bebop and modern jazz.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
4:36 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

Verdi's Gift: Wringing Catchy Music From Touchy Subjects

In his operas, Giuseppe Verdi had a knack for empowering marginalized people — like the title character of Aida, who is an enslaved Ethiopian princess (played in this 2011 French production by American soprano Indra Thomas).
Gerard Julien AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 7:24 pm

Two hundred years ago this week, Giuseppe Verdi was born in an Italian town midway between Bologna and Milan. On the occasion of his bicentennial, All Things Considered wanted to know what makes the great opera composer so enduring — why his work is still so frequently discussed and performed these two centuries later. The answer, says conductor and arranger John Mauceri, is that Verdi had a knack for making thorny topics accessible.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
5:45 pm
Sat October 5, 2013

How Verdi Improved On Shakespeare

Johan Botha as the title character and Renée Fleming as Desdemona in the Metropolitan Opera's fall 2012 run of Verdi's Otello.
Ken Howard Metropolitan Opera

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 3:22 pm

This past week may have been a rough one for the classical world, but there is something to look forward to.

This coming week, we celebrate the 200th birthday of Giuseppe Verdi, composer of the best opera of all time. (That's right, Wagner fans. Start writing those letters.)

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
3:13 pm
Sat October 5, 2013

It's Been A Really Bad Week For Classical Music

In Minneapolis, demonstrations in support of musicians have drawn regular support during the yearlong Minnesota Orchestra labor dispute.
Euan Kerr Minnesota Public Radio

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 6:36 pm

The world of classical music has had a very turbulent week. Carnegie Hall's labor dispute with its stagehands led to the cancellation of its opening-night gala.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
9:52 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Don't Call This 12-Year-Old Concert Pianist A Prodigy

Emily Bear is a classical and jazz pianist. At 12, she is what many call a prodigy.
Nick Suttle Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 6:35 am

Musician Emily Bear has composed more than 350 pieces for the piano. She's recorded six albums, performed at the White House and Carnegie Hall, and worked closely with her mentor, music legend Quincy Jones. And get this: She's 12.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
4:41 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Steady And Swingin': Tootie Keeps The Tempo

From left: pianist Ethan Iverson, drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath and bassist Ben Street.
John Rogers Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 6:38 pm

Since playing on John Coltrane's first release in 1957, drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath has participated in a number of landmark jazz records. Now 78, the musician is featured in a new trio session with players nearly half his age — pianist Ethan Iverson of The Bad Plus and bassist Ben Street.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
9:56 am
Sun September 29, 2013

Vijay Iyer, Jeremy Denk Win MacArthur Genius Grants

Vijay Iyer and Jeremy Denk are 2013 MacArthur fellows.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 12:02 pm

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From Fresh Air with Terry Gross
8:11 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Vijay Iyer: Self-Taught Jazz Pianist Goes 'Solo'

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 12:16 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Oct. 14, 2010.

Jazz musician Vijay Iyer started playing the violin when he was 3, but when he was 4 or 5, he wanted to play another instrument: the piano.

"The piano was around because my sister was taking lessons, and so I just started messing on it and figuring things out little by little," Iyer tells Terry Gross. "I can't really pinpoint the beginning of it."

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