Arts

Arts and culture

For more than half of his 32 years, Lang Lang has been in the spotlight, as an international star and arguably the most crowd-pleasing classical pianist on the planet. From venues as diverse as the Beijing Olympics and Brazil's World Cup to New York's Central Park and Stockholm's Nobel Prizes, Lang Lang routinely crisscrosses the globe playing to innumerable masses. Last month he filled London's cavernous Royal Albert Hall two nights in a row.

Twenty years ago, pianist András Schiff did not hide his disdain for the fortepiano — the smaller, quieter precursor to the modern grand piano. In the liner notes of five separate Schubert albums Schiff released in the early 1990s, he wrote: "Schubert's piano music has luckily not been discovered yet by specialists playing copies of Graf fortepianos."

Provided

A group of monumental sculptures will soon be calling downtown Rockford home. 

Five sculptures, created by internationally renowned artists Hans Van de Bovenkamp and Boaz Vaadia, will be on loan to the city for one year.  The pieces will be installed in late May along East State Street and North and South Main Street in downtown Rockford.

Josh Albrecht is director of marketing and public affairs for the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.  He says the project fits in with efforts to revitalize the city’s downtown.

Spring finally seems to have arrived with an abundance of flowers. In the old poem, it's April showers that bring May flowers. But in opera, flowers pop up for a variety of reasons, and not all of them are pretty. While operatic flowers can be enjoyed for their beauty, their allure can also spell trouble. This springtime fleurs de l'opéra puzzler includes some lovely blossoms you might not want to sniff. Score high and come out smelling like a rose. Score low and feel yourself wilt with inadequacy.

Artigras Parade Kicks Off Arts Celebration

May 4, 2015
Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Mix the visual and performing arts with a gorgeous spring afternoon outdoors. Add a lot of color and an evening of music and you've got Artigras.

The art-themed parade is a first for Northern Illinois University and DeKalb. It started in downtown DeKalb Saturday afternoon and made its way to NIU's art building. Post-parade music included concerts by the NIU Steel Band, the university's ukulele ensemble, and the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra.                                             

In a recital hall at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, a group of musicians got together to play Jean-Baptiste Singelée's 1857 quartet for saxophones on some very old, very special instruments.

Maria Boynton

Remember when we issued a call in March for books from Illinois and Wisconsin authors? WNIJ received dozens of submissions before the April 3 deadline and, for the last month, we've been reading fiction, non-fiction and poetry from all over the region.

With some difficulty, we decided on four works that are listed below. I'll start interviewing the authors this month, and we'll present these conversations Friday mornings in June. Listen at 6:52 and 8:52, and then come back here for additional content -- including author excerpts.

NIU

Artigras, a campus and community celebration of the arts, takes place this Saturday in DeKalb.  Dana Stover is one of the organizers of Artigras. She says the idea for a celebration that would include everyone in the DeKalb area began at a student art reception that she and her husband, NIU President Doug Baker, held at their home last year.

Trumpeter Rolf Smedvig, praised for his beautiful tone and virtuosic style, died Monday afternoon at his home in West Stockbridge, Mass. The cause of death, according to his long-time manager Mark Z. Alpert, was a heart attack. Smedvig was 62.

It was 1964 when the young Philip Glass found himself in Paris. He was on a Fulbright scholarship to study with the revered pedagogue Nadia Boulanger. It was a career move carefully planned. Glass wanted to be a composer and he knew Boulanger's rigorous lessons in traditional Western harmony and counterpoint would sharpen his skills.

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