Arts

Arts and culture

Guy Stephens / WNIJ

The DeKalb Festival Chorus launches its 44th season this weekend with an all American program.   The choir is about music – and community.

This is the 44th year for the chorus, but Paul Marchese’s first as its leader.  A native of Sycamore, Marchese returned to the area several years ago after graduate school and settled in DeKalb.  He’s directed several church choirs and teaches in the Chicago suburbs.  But he was really interested in the DeKalb Festival Chorus, and what it represented.

When the opera Appomattox premiered in 2007, it put on stage a piece of history that was more than 140 years old.

But creators Philip Glass and Christopher Hampton recently decided the story wasn't over.

When the Washington National Opera wanted to stage the opera, Glass said it needed a rewrite — to reflect what's happened in the U.S. since the premiere.

"In the last seven or eight years there have been profound and really horrific changes in the way this country understands itself," Glass says.

All composers have obsessions. For John Adams, a composer who decidedly broke with the past, that obsession is Beethoven, as heard in the new album Absolute Jest.

The Brazilians call it saudade. It's an elusive, almost intoxicating mix of emotions suffused with longing, loss and memory, best evoked in music. Perhaps Ukrainians have their own word for it. But if not, it can surely be heard in Valentin Silvestrov's Nostalghia, a solo piano work from 2001 that may just leave you a little lightheaded and yearning for something inexplicable.

This month, WNIJ will feature four books that belong on your shelf or e-reader. Three of them are by Illinois authors. One was written by an Iowa resident who used to work for Northern Public Radio.

The Winter Book Series will air Mondays in December during Morning Edition, and appear in our Book Series archive.

You don't often hear "football" and "bel canto" in the same sentence. How about the same opera?

Outer space is silent, and that may be one reason why a lot of movies about space have iconic scores — in addition to helping advance the the plot, the music in films like Star Wars and 2001: A Space Odyssey must fill a literal void.

Jeffrey Curnow has a serious funny bone. In his cartoons, he pokes fun at symphony orchestras, conductors and musicians from his perch as the associate principal trumpeter of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Flickr user Celeste Lindell / "Art supplies" (CC BY 2.0)

Teachers and administrators are working on new guidelines for art education in Illinois. Some schools have no art programs, while others have limited time to teach it.

New federal standards were released last year, though they came with no mandate. The State Board of Education has been organizing meetings for teachers to make the guidelines fit for them.

Jonathan VanderBrug is with Arts Alliance Illinois, an advocacy group that is also helping plan meetings. He says the process is meant to show schools why education in the arts is important.

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