Archives

Announcing the 2019 Tiny Desk Contest Winner

May 16, 2019

This year, I was blown away by the Tiny Desk Contest entries I saw. We received over 6,000 entries from all across the country. We saw tiny desks up on rooftops and down on a subway platform; tucked into treetops, pickup trucks and laundromats. We heard songs about the situations that make life difficult and the people that make life worth living.

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From a Piano Virtuoso, an Album for Beginners

April 2, 2019

No composition seems too difficult for pianist Lang Lang. But on his latest solo record, Piano Book, the 36-year-old known for his finger-twisting virtuosity is exploring something simpler: Beethoven’s “Fur Elise,” Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” and other pieces that accompanied him in the first few years of a lifelong love-affair with the instrument.

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André Previn, Musical Polymath, Has Died at Age 89

February 28, 2019

André Previn, a celebrated musical polymath, died Thursday morning; he was a composer of Oscar-winning film music, conductor, pianist and music director of major orchestras. His manager, Linda Petrikova, confirmed to NPR that he died at his home in Manhattan.

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Woodstock Will Return This Summer for Its 50th Anniversary

January 9, 2019

Fifty years after the original Woodstock Music & Art Fair promised “three days of peace and music,” one of its original organizers announced Wednesday that he is putting together Woodstock 50 for this summer. The event will be held over three days — Aug. 16-18 — on a 1,000-acre green space in Watkins Glen in upstate New York, near the Finger Lakes.

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For One Violinist, Elevating Music by Black Composers Is a 20-Year Mission

January 2, 2019

Growing up in Chicago, Rachel Barton Pine took it for granted that there was a great body of classical music by black composers. She heard it on the radio. She played it in local orchestras as a student. The Center for Black Music Research is in Chicago. So, when the violinist recorded her first concerto album in 1997, she naturally included music by Afro-Caribbean and Afro-European composers.

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University of Michigan Ensemble ‘Gives a Voice’ to Nazi Prisoners Through Unearthed Music

December 4, 2018

While conducting research deep in the archives at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum in Poland last summer, Patricia Hall, a music theory professor at the University of Michigan, unearthed manuscripts of music arranged and performed by prisoners in the Nazi death camps. A buoyant foxtrot titled “The Most Beautiful Time Of Life” stood out to Hall, and has now been recorded by Michigan’s Contemporary Directions Ensemble.

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Instrument-Makers Learn a Long-Overdue Lesson: It Isn’t Just Men Playing Guitar

October 11, 2018

Guitar sales have declined a bit over the past decade. The nation’s largest instrument retailer, Guitar Center, is facing more than $1 billion in debt; Gibson filed for bankruptcy earlier this year; and Fender, which is privately held, has debt estimated at $100 million. But, Fender CEO Andy Mooney says, some of that drop may have to do with marketing — and outdated assumptions about to whom the industry is selling. When the company conducted a consumer survey in 2015, it learned that women make up half of first-time guitar buyers.

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