The Steinway piano company has a new owner. This fall, the investment firm Paulson & Co. — led by billionaire John Paulson — spent about $500 million and bought all of Steinway & Sons, the venerated piano maker.
The deal includes a foundry in Springfield, Ohio, where the Steinway pianos are born in fire.
The O.S. Kelly Foundry has been making Steinway's plates since 1938. The plate is the cast-iron heart of a piano: It holds the steel wire strings with 40,000 pounds of tension, the company says. It allows vibrations to arise in a concert hall as music.
In 1963, the jazz pianist George Shearing, an enormously popular act in his day, made an album that was unusual for him. He asked his new, 20-year-old vibraphone player to write an album of contrapuntal, classical-music-inspired compositions, and recorded them with a woodwind quintet atop a jazz rhythm section. It's out of print now, but Out of the Woods received good reviews, and it remains an early career highlight for its young architect, Gary Burton.
All this week, All Things Considered has been broadcasting from Southern California, a hotbed for Latin Alternative music. Felix Contreras, co-host of NPR's Alt.Latino podcast, says that even for him, that music often evades definition.
"Latin Alternative is a combination of tradition mixed with hip-hop and rock and electronica. But then sometimes it's just straight hip-hop, and that throws my theory into shambles," he says. "It's all of the above, but none of the above."
Andrew Walesch makes his first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minn. An in-demand singer and pianist, Walesch has earned fans across the Midwest, one jazz club and piano bar at a time.
Since the moment they came together, Alex Ebert and his band Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros have had a reputation for electrifying, unifying live shows. The group has been a crowd-pleasing hitmaker since the release of its 2009 debut album, Up From Below, which features the modern classic "Home."