[Roman Totenberg was a child prodigy who became a violin virtuoso, as well as a master teacher who passed along his command of craft and his love of music — and life — to thousands. He was also the man you wanted to sit next to at the table because he was so funny. Totenberg died this week at the age of 101, surrounded by loving family, friends and students. We asked his daughter, Nina Totenberg, for this remembrance. — Scott Simon]
Interesting discussions at George Colligan's blog this week. An informed opinion on the charge that music schools produce "cookie cutter" musicians. Some thoughts on sight reading, that misunderstood skill among the jazz community. And a low brass forum erupts.
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 5:01 pm
I was an 18-year-old saxophone student at Berklee College of Music when my new best friend, a trumpeter named Willy Olenick, told me about The Fringe. "You've got to hear this band," he said. "They're an amazing trio. You can hear them any Monday night at Michael's and you're nuts not to go."
Willy didn't mention anything about what style they played, and I didn't ask. I just took his advice and went.
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 3:55 pm
After 11 days and more than 500 submissions, we proudly unveil a winner (and several honorable mentions) in our very first classical cartoon caption contest. Congratulations to Gregory Curnow from central Massachusetts, who remembered that hippos not only excel at the violin, but also have a habit of snorting.
"I just tried to put myself in the shoes of a judge in one of those blind symphony orchestra auditions," Curnow said when asked how he came up with his winning caption. We'll send him a new NPR Music tote bag and coffee mug for his efforts.
Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 9:01 am
Caroline Aiken makes her first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of the University of Georgia in Athens. Born and raised on the Georgia Sea Island of St. Simons, Aiken grew up under the influence of local musicians like the Georgia Sea Island Singers.
Though still only 22, Laura Marling is both an accomplished performer and one of the U.K.'s brightest up-and-coming songwriters. Her first two records were each nominated for the Mercury Prize, and last year she won a Brit Award for best female solo artist. Those are high-profile awards for an artist whose songs unfold in quiet ways, with lyrical depth that rewards repeat listening and a clear alto that gives her songs gravity.
On May 17th, the famous auction house Christie's will sell more than 150 items for pianist Van Cliburn. Now 77 years old, the Cold War-era classical music megastar and competition founder has long been a collector of fine English furniture, Russian art, silver and jewelry — and Christie's expects this New York sale to bring in more than $3 million.