Arts

Arts and culture

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Rock Valley College theater director Mike Webb is getting ready for the new summer season of Starlight Theatre. He also was thinking about another season of the college's Studio Theatre in the fall. But Rock Valley recently announced it was dropping Studio Theatre, along with staff layoffs that also affect Starlight. And that has Webb thinking it might be time for him to go as well.

Classical music fans know the names Mendelssohn and Schumann. Chances are, Felix and Robert leap to mind — but Felix's sister Fanny was also a composer, and so was Robert Schumann's wife Clara. Those are just two composers featured in Anna Beer's new book, Sounds and Sweet Airs: The Forgotten Women of Classical Music.

The ongoing controversy in North Carolina over access to bathrooms has increased the general public's awareness of issues facing transgender people. One thing you might not think about is voice: How does that essential tool of communication change with gender transition? It's something that has deep emotional and psychological resonance. It's also something that's playing out in a growing number of transgender choruses across the country.

As a young child growing up in South Africa, Gillian Power sang in school and church choirs.

The Estonians are serious about singing. The power of human voices practically propelled the small Baltic country to independence during the Soviet era. In the late 1980s, hundreds of thousands of Estonians routinely gathered to perform forbidden patriotic songs. The events energized the nation, leading to what was called the "Singing Revolution."

Next month, we'll introduce you to the latest books from five authors in the WNIJ listening area.

You might've seen short video teasers on social media such as this one, featuring Kristin Oakley.

Oakley begins this Summer's series with her thriller Carpe Diem, Illinois. You can find complete details about the series here.

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How to encapsulate the incredible life and times of Dmitri Shostakovich? His story of tragedy and triumph is the stuff of Hollywood political thrillers. Rocketing to stardom at 19, the Soviet Union's leading composer later runs afoul of Stalin and fears for his life until the dictator's death — all while writing music of extraordinary intensity (and occasional insignificance), eventually becoming an enigmatic legend whose motivations continue to puzzle fans and scholars today.

One of the world's best-known and best-loved classical musicians has joined the ranks of artists refusing to perform in North Carolina. Violinist Itzhak Perlman canceled an appearance scheduled for Wednesday with the North Carolina Symphony in Raleigh to protest HB2, the controversial North Carolina law limiting civil rights protections for LGBT people.

Jane Little spent her long life making beautiful music, and she died this weekend doing just what she loved, onstage. Little played with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for more than 71 years. She joined the symphony in 1945, when she was just 16.

When critics talk about Yuja Wang, they continue to reach for superlatives.

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