How many contemporary political figures have a piano prize named after them? Here's one: Burmese opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. A gold medal will be awarded in her honor at the Leeds International Piano Competition. Playing the piano was one of her coping mechanisms during 15 years of house arrest.
Pianist Helen Sung is a dazzling and passionate player originally from Houston, Texas. A graduate of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance, she has played with such luminaries as Clark Terry and Wynton Marsalis.
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 4:26 pm
Every musician practices differently. Some turn their own living rooms into rehearsal spaces. Others, like pianist Jonathan Biss, prefer to step out of the comforts of home and into a studio. "It's a more productive way of working," Biss told us as we barged in with cameras and microphones.
Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack combine to form a huge-sounding, full-blooded rock band, with the former blustering epically on guitar and the latter multitasking on drums and keyboards. Moody and portentous, the Baltimore duo's songs billow menacingly when they're not booming majestically, aided and shrouded by Wasner's enigmatic mumble.
With three Grammys to her credit, Lari White has carved out a multifaceted career as an award-winning recording artist, hit songwriter, producer, independent record-label owner and versatile actress. She's widely regarded as Nashville's "Renaissance Woman."
Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 12:13 pm
On June 19, a week and a half ago, Fiona Apple released a brand new album, her first in seven years. The entire album had been available for streaming by NPR Music for a week and a half by then. Three days later, my copy arrived in the mail. It hasn't left my desk since.
The way he was tearing it up during an impromptu set at the Sasquatch Music Festival, you'd barely notice that Jordan Cook, a.k.a. Reignwolf, broke a string midway through his fiery rendition of "In the Dark" — that is, until you saw the mangled remnants of his guitar, smoldering on the ground after he'd wrenched every wailing chord from its guts.
For a special road show recorded in partnership with the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance in Bristol, Tenn./Va., Mountain Stage brought along a hometown favorite, singer-songwriter John Lilly. The editor of West Virginia's treasured Goldenseal magazine since 1997, Lilly plays music that recalls the sounds of a different era.