Arts

Arts and culture

When composer Philip Glass started performing his own music, a lot of people didn't know what to make of it. Some people thought it sounded like the needle of a record was stuck in a groove, repeating over and over again. Some people thought it was simplistic. Some thought it was a joke. Glass says that in the '70s, audience members threw things at him while he was performing.

Violinist Hilary Hahn is known for putting together some unusual programs. On her latest album, she pairs Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major with 19th century Belgian composer Henri Vieuxtemps' Violin Concerto No. 4 in D minor.

Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Jeremy Piven is enjoying great success having moved to England to play an American who moves to England to find success. (Does that really count as acting? Hard to say.)

Piven is best known for his role as Ari Gold on HBO's Entourage. He's now starring as the entrepreneurial head of a department store in the PBS series Mr. Selfridge.

Since we know the customer can't possibly always be right, we've invited Piven to play a game called "The customer is always wrong." Three questions about customers behaving badly.

Andrew Porter, a renowned music critic and scholar and translator of opera, died early today in London's Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. His twin sister, Sheila Porter, told NPR his death was the result of complications from pneumonia. He was 86.

When you're all grown up, you — at least theoretically — put away childish things. But there are exceptions, as violinist Hilary Hahn proves in her latest recording project.

Museum curators, instrument dealers and some of the world's most esteemed musicians will be clutching paddles today at Cloiduff's auction house in New York. They're gathering for what is expected to be an eight-figure sale of perhaps the rarest instruments ever to appear at auction: a pair of lovingly restored Stradivarius timpani.

Each April 1st, practical jokers get their kicks pulling the wool over people's eyes. There are little white lies, cunning schemes and elaborate hoaxes. Pranksters are alive and well in music, too. Test your wits with these musical smart alecks who run the gamut from clever clowns to serious scam artists. Score high and feel a surge of superiority. Score low and fancy yourself a true April fool.

It was December 1990 — more than a year before the first Anonymous 4 album was released — when NPR invited four slightly shy women into our studio to sing 13th-century Christmas music. Back then, we already knew the manifold beauty of their sound, its purity and accuracy, was something unique.

Now, some 25 years and 21 albums later, the a cappella vocal quartet is calling it quits at the end of 2015. But not before one final visit to NPR.

Dan Steinberg/AP

Does anybody remember the days when people on TV had to be nice, honest people you could root for? After seven seasons of the groundbreaking TV show Mad Men, neither do we.

The final season of the show is about to launch and so we've invited Mad Men creator Matt Weiner to play a game called "Glad Men" — three questions about people who try to cheer other people up. We'll quiz him on the lives of a success coach, a motivational speaker and a happiness guru.

Hear Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me! Saturday at 10:00 a.m. and Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

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