Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 9:27 am
There's a beguiling photo of Krzysztof Penderecki, who turns 80 today, inside the brochure of this week's Warsaw music festival that bears his name. It shows the lauded Polish composer standing in his immense garden, surrounded by a labyrinth of trees and shrubbery trimmed to symmetrical perfection.
This might be as intimate as hearing Katie Crutchfield sing in her basement. That's where she and her sister would play guitar, write and sing songs 10 years ago, when she was 14. Katie and Allison Crutchfield had a band back in Birmingham together, The Ackleys; these days, Katie performs as Waxahatchee, while Allison's band is called Swearin'.
Composer Benjamin Britten was born 100 years ago today, and the occasion is being marked by performances of his music around the world, from Carnegie Hall in New York to Memorial Hall in Tokyo.
Britten was a central figure of 20th-century classical music: He was a conductor, pianist and festival producer, as well as a composer. His best-known works include the opera Billy Budd, his War Requiem and The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra.
World Cafe's Sense of Place visit to Toronto continues with a session from Memoryhouse, the duo of singer Denise Nouvion and composer-arranger Evan Abeele. When Memoryhouse formed in 2009, Nouvion, who had a background as a photographer, hadn't sung much. Abeele, on the other hand, had studied classical composition.
On this installment ofWorld Cafe, folk-soul musician Amos Lee returns to the WXPN studios to perform a rousing live set. Lee released his first album in 2005; six years later, Mission Bell made its debut at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart.
Ashley Monroe makes her first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown. A native of Knoxville, Tenn., Monroe moved to Nashville and signed a publishing deal when she was only 20.
Now we take a moment to highlight and salute another artist. Jazz-great Arturo Sandoval received the Presidential Medal of Freedom this week from President Obama. Sandoval was born and raised in Cuba, where he was once jailed just for listening to jazz music. So he packed up his trumpet and moved to the United States. A country he says gave him the freedom to fill the air with his music. Here's what the president said about him at the ceremony.
Grammy Award-winning musician Esperanza Spalding has a problem with using the phrase "protest song" to describe her new recording, "We Are America." The song, along with its accompanying music video, demands congressional action to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.
" 'Protest' doesn't seem accurate to me," she tells NPR's Celeste Headlee. "We weren't thinking of a 'protest' song, we're thinking of a 'let's get together and do something pro-active, creative and productive' song."