This summer, Weekend Edition Saturday is listening to the sounds of music al fresco. Today, we present an audio postcard of a trumpeter we recently heard blowing "The Star-Spangled Banner" just down the street from NPR.
The odds of making it in the classical music business are long, but for the past two years, 25-year-old viola player Nathan Schram has received a stipend, health insurance, lots of amazing performance opportunities and a real-world education teaching violin students at an inner-city elementary school in Brooklyn. Now, Schram and his colleagues have to say goodbye to The Academy.
How many contemporary political figures have a piano prize named after them? Here's one: Burmese opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. A gold medal will be awarded in her honor at the Leeds International Piano Competition. Playing the piano was one of her coping mechanisms during 15 years of house arrest.
Pianist Helen Sung appeared on Piano Jazz on the heels of her second release, Helenistique. Critics loved the energy, the intelligence and, as pianist Benny Green put it, "the life-affirming joy" that emanated from Sung's playing on that album. Marian McPartland, too, was seduced by Sung's "dazzling and passionate" approach.
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 3:26 pm
Every musician practices differently. Some turn their own living rooms into rehearsal spaces. Others, like pianist Jonathan Biss, prefer to step out of the comforts of home and into a studio. "It's a more productive way of working," Biss told us as we barged in with cameras and microphones.
Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 10:35 am
Ben Howard is already a phenomenon in the UK. Word of mouth spread quickly after a series of performances around London and his native Devonshire and, after seeing him live, I can see why. He sang a handful of haunting folk songs, including standout "Depth over Distance".