Mozart never made it to America: getting seasick crossing the English Channel put an end to any of his seafaring fantasies. But America was frequently on Mozart's mind. In fact, his closest collaborator, librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte, actually immigrated to these shores and became the first professor of Italian at Columbia University in New York.
"If you're from a small town," Chris Fink says, "one of the things that's required of you is that you have an opinion about that town."
Fink's debut novel, Farmer's Almanac, is full of characters who criticize or defend the Wisconsin villages of Bergamot Pond and Shady Valley -- fictional communities that struggle with the very real challenge of low milk prices.
Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 9:01 am
The violin, though centuries old, remains a popular yet remarkably unwieldy instrument. Just squeezing the contraption between your chin and shoulder, then raising your bow arm to the proper height, is enough to induce a pinched nerve. Yet every day countless numbers of people try to make the instrument sing.
The violin and viola that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart played himself are in the United States for the first time ever. The instruments come out of storage only about once a year at the Salzburg Mozarteum in Austria. The rest of the time, they're kept under serious lockup.
Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 11:50 am
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Pablo Helguera is a New York-based artist working with sculpture, drawing, photography and performance. His new book isHelguera's Artunes. You can see more of his work at Artworld Salon and on his own site.
Composer Mark Adamo has made beautiful music out of classic books. His Little Women is among the most produced American operas today. He also wrote the words and music for his operatic adaptation of Aristophanes' Greek drama Lysistrata.
His latest work, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, has proved more controversial. The opera, which premieres June 19 at the San Francisco Opera, tells the story of Mary, Jesus and his disciples.
Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 10:14 am
Combining found sounds and toy instruments with electronics and orchestral instruments, the music of Puerto Rican-born composer Angélica Negrón crafts a sound that's at once futuristic and nostalgic. Her compositions draw from ambient music, found sound, visual art and the hidden potential of everyday objects, as well as the classical music tradition.