Arts

Arts and culture

A thriller set in an Illinois "unschooling" community. A novel about a Maine woman asked by the FBI to revisit her childhood. A tale of two Chicago runaways heading west across the prairie.

These are just three of the books featured during the WNIJ Read With Me Book Series, which returns in June. We'll also explore the lives of Sylvia Plath and other famous poets, and finish with quirky stories about President Andrew Jackson and his gardener.

The Seventh Symphony by Dmitri Shostakovich is combat reporting from one of the most devastating events in modern times.

On June 22, 1941, Hitler's army invaded the Soviet Union. By late August the city of Leningrad was surrounded in a siege that would last almost 900 grueling days.

Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center

   

A group of local arts organizations and individuals will commemorate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death this weekend in Rockford with a program called “Shakespearience.”

Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center is presenting the program Saturday night at Rockford’s Court Street United Methodist Church.  The Center’s Rulee Stallman led the effort to celebrate the Bard of Avon.  She says she realized the anniversary was also a perfect opportunity to celebrate the range of local artists.

Henry Threadgill, a saxophonist and flutist known as one of the most original composers influenced by jazz, has been awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his recording In for a Penny, In for a Pound.

eszterbalint.com

Esther Balint is an actress known for her first film, Stranger Than Paradise, a 1984 independent movie she starred in as a teenager. More recently, she gained new fans for her role on Louis C.K.'s show, Louie. But the New York based artist has another career that is more important to her than the acting: she's a musician, and is touring the midwest now in support of her latest album, "Airless Midnight." Tonight, Balint performs at Mary's Place in Rockford. She spoke with WNIJ's Susan Stephens about her music.

 

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

Hmong History On Display At NIU's Pick Museum

Apr 9, 2016
Chase Cavanaugh

The Northern Illinois University Pick Museum of Anthropology is hosting an exhibition and oral history exhibit about the Hmong. 

This Southeast Asian group has lived across China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand, but has a very recent history.  During the 1960s, the Hmong were recruited by the CIA to fight against the North Vietnamese in Laos.  The clandestine nature of these operations gave the brief conflict its name,  "the Secret War."  

Freeport Art Museum

 A local family foundation has given the Freeport Art Museum a $15,000 matching grant.  The Museum says the grant will save programs that help it fulfill its mission.

With his long beard, homemade horned helmet, flowing cloak and spear, he was known as the Viking of Sixth Avenue. He was born Louis Thomas Hardin in Marysville, Kan. in 1916 and later called himself Moondog. At 16, he was blinded while fiddling with a blasting cap.

Rockford Symphony Orchestra

The Illinois Council of Orchestras has named Rockford Symphony Orchestra Music Director Steven Larsen its 2016 Conductor of the Year in the professional orchestra category, and the Elgin Symphony Orchestra Professional Orchestra of the Year for 2016.

Larsen also received the award in 1999 and 2006.  The ESO had previously won in its category in 1988, 1999 and 2005.  

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