Burning Bridge personnel, left to right: Jason Kao Hwang (violin), Wang Guowei (erhu), Sun Li (pipa), Ken Filiano (string bass), Andrew Drury (drum set), Joseph Daley (tuba), Steve Swell (trombone), Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet/flugelhorn).
Jazz reflects who we are as a people — democracy in action and all that. But a jazz tune or solo is also a portrait of the musician who makes it; the music reflects the particular background and training that influences how composers compose and improvisers improvise. Jason Kao Hwang makes that autobiographical component explicit throughout his extended composition for eight pieces, Burning Bridge. His parents made the move from China around the end of WWII, and he grew up attending Presbyterian services in suburban Chicago.
Congress comes back to work this week and the fiscal cliff is its top priority. Some Republicans have said they'll break a longstanding pledge not to raise taxes. Host Michel Martin talks politics with columnist Mary Kate Cary of U.S. News and World Report and The Root's political correspondent Keli Goff.
Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 11:15 am
(We updated the top of this post at 11:50 a.m. and 12:15 p.m ET):
Moving quickly after the announcement that Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro is leaving on Dec. 14, the White House just said that President Obama has designated SEC Commissioner Elisse Walter to be her replacement.
Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 12:29 pm
In the New York Times this week, Anthony Tommasini has a series in both print and video about those microcosmic musical moments like "a fleeting passage, a short series of chords, some unexpected shift in a melodic line — when something occurs that just grabs us." What links these diverse bits from Chopin to Puccini to Mahler together?
Originally published on Sun November 25, 2012 9:33 pm
Up-close, a multi-disciplinary work by Dutch composer and director Michel van der Aa that combines a piercing cello concerto with an enigmatic silent film, has won the prestigious Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition. The prize, which carries with it $100,000, was announced this evening by the University of Louisville, which sponsors the honor.
Time has a way of condensing major historical events into a few key moments, with one-dimensional, legendary figures at the forefront. In his new book, author and archivist Todd Andrlik gives life and depth to one such event — the American Revolution. He uses newspaper reporting from that era to provide a sense of the Revolution as it actually unfolded.
Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 6:03 am
He may not have a Ninja Turtle named after him, but Tiziano Vecellio of Venice — Titian, to English speakers — has a claim to being the most enduringly influential painter of the Renaissance, even more than his Roman contemporaries Michelangelo and Raphael. Something about him drives his fans to excess. Peter Paul Rubens painted nearly two-dozen copies of Titian's work; Anthony van Dyck bought 19 Titians for his own collection. Velazquez and Rembrandt worshipped him.
Missy Mazzoli, a 32-year-old composer from Brooklyn, says she never wanted to write an opera until she read the journals of Isabelle Eberhardt, a Swiss adventurer from the turn of the 20th century. Oddly enough, Mazzoli first learned about Eberhardt while listening to NPR. Years later, she stumbled upon the explorer's journals in a bookstore.
Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 9:19 am
Horrific is a word that quickly comes to mind about the news from Bangladesh concerning a fire Saturday in a garment factory where clothes were made for retailers around the world, including some in the U.S.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep with an example of home field advantage. The Miami Dolphins hosted the Seattle Seahawks over the weekend. And with 1:40 to play in the third quarter, something strange happened: The sprinklers came on. A quick play-by-play announcer joked: This is just Miami's way of showing a little Seattle hospitality. But if that's what it was, the hospitality only went so far. Miami defeated Seattle, 24-21. You're listening to MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep with sad news for Beliebers. Justin Bieber's video for "Baby" is no longer the most viewed video on YouTube. The new record-holder is "Gangnam Style" by the South Korean rapper PSY, which topped 820 million views this weekend. And then this happened. Yesterday, Mr. Bieber gave a halftime concert at Canadian football's championship game and his home country crowd booed. Bieber called out coolly: Thank you so much, Canada. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.