We've been talking all this week with writers from NPR Music about their picks for the best albums of 2013. Audie Cornish hears from NPR Music writer and editor Otis Hart about their list of 100 favorite songs of 2013.
Born in Milan on December 5, 1972, Stefano Bollani was playing piano by age six. He grew up listening to his father's stride piano albums, and the pop music of Italian superstars Renato Carsone and Adriano Celentano.
Grammy-winning soprano Renée Fleming is a regular at the world's top opera houses and concert halls around the globe. Her awards include a Fulbright Lifetime Achievement medal and the National Medal of Arts.
The East Tennessee State University Old Time Pride Band makes its first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live in Johnson City. Founded in 1982, ETSU has the oldest established roots-music studies program at any four-year institution. Each year, the Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music Studies program fields its own band that plays and tours throughout the region. This year, the group focused on the historic Johnson City Sessions from country music's infancy; songs from these sessions make up the entirety of the band's set.
Fans of Midlake have no doubt grown accustomed to the band's malleable sound, which fluctuates from album to album. The Texas folk-rock band's second record, The Trial of Van Occupanther, was steeped in the atmosphere of the '70s, while 2010's The Courage of Others headed in another direction altogether.
Jazz guitarist, composer and arranger Jim Halldied in his sleep Tuesday; he was 83. Hall was known for a subtle, lyrical playing style, a gift for innovation and collaborations with a host of talented musicians in a career that stretched more than seven decades.
Toward the end of every year, NPR Music invites some of the world's best jazz keyboard players to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. We ask them to take on some of their favorite Christmas tunes, solo, and the recording becomes the public radio special A Jazz Piano Christmas.