Arts

Arts and culture

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Next Thursday evening, April 24, the NIU School of Music hosts a program featuring the berimbau.  An original cycle of music for the Afro-Brazilian instrument ranging from solos to sextets will be performed.

Greg Beyer is the director of the NIU Percussion program. Beyer is also director the ensemble Projeto Arcomusical.  The group's six members all play the berimbau, which resembles a long bow with a round gourd in the middle.  

Percussionists back in Beethoven's day could be forgiven for feeling a little bored, waiting for the infrequent roll of the kettledrum or the occasional cymbal crash. But as orchestras grew bigger, percussionists got busier — even more so after World War I, when a new generation of composers began writing specifically for percussion.

NIU Steel Band Legends Keep On Inspiring

Apr 13, 2015
Katie Finlon / WNIJ

Cliff Alexis -- co-director of the Northern Illinois University Steel Band -- is considered a living legend within the steel pan world. Before that, he was a six-year-old aspiring pannist in a world that stigmatized pan players as violent gangsters.  

"I fell in love with it from an early age,” Alexis said. “The problem was, we were forbidden to go near those guys, because those guys were considered, you know, bad boys in the neighborhood."  

The Salón Los Angeles is the oldest dance hall in Mexico City. The classic 1930s ballroom is located in a working-class neighborhood near downtown, and every week, it sees dozens of well-dressed couples of all ages moving to an orchestra of saxophones, trumpets, trombones, clarinets and percussion instruments.

Valentina Lisitsa is a pianist whose worldwide reputation was built on social media. She is now experiencing a major backlash due to what she's been writing on Twitter.

It came to a head with the cancellation of Lisitsa's scheduled performances Wednesday night and Thursday night with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, which announced earlier this week that she would not be appearing to play Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 with the ensemble and Finnish conductor Juka-Pekka Saraste. Both TSO management and Lisitsa have said she will still receive her full fee.

Rockford Area Arts Council

The Rockford Area Arts Council’s 13th annual Spring ArtScene takes place 5-9 p.m Friday, April 10, and 3-9 p.m. Saturday, April 11, at 39 venues across the Rockford metro area.

Lenae Weichel is rehabbing 304 North Main Street in downtown Rockford with an eye to development.  The former home to a succession of insurance companies has been stripped, and there are holes and patches where workers have had to gain access to burst pipes and old wiring. 

When composer Philip Glass started performing his own music, a lot of people didn't know what to make of it. Some people thought it sounded like the needle of a record was stuck in a groove, repeating over and over again. Some people thought it was simplistic. Some thought it was a joke. Glass says that in the '70s, audience members threw things at him while he was performing.

Violinist Hilary Hahn is known for putting together some unusual programs. On her latest album, she pairs Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major with 19th century Belgian composer Henri Vieuxtemps' Violin Concerto No. 4 in D minor.

Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Jeremy Piven is enjoying great success having moved to England to play an American who moves to England to find success. (Does that really count as acting? Hard to say.)

Piven is best known for his role as Ari Gold on HBO's Entourage. He's now starring as the entrepreneurial head of a department store in the PBS series Mr. Selfridge.

Since we know the customer can't possibly always be right, we've invited Piven to play a game called "The customer is always wrong." Three questions about customers behaving badly.

Andrew Porter, a renowned music critic and scholar and translator of opera, died early today in London's Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. His twin sister, Sheila Porter, told NPR his death was the result of complications from pneumonia. He was 86.

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