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John Williams, Classical Guitar's Standard-Bearer, Still Recording In Retirement

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdrmZmRyKAM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iIz2pw2oFM Classical guitarist John Williams reached millions of ears and even hit the charts when he played the main theme to the Oscar-winning 1978 film The Deer Hunter . But by then, Williams was already a classical star on a major record label who'd toured the world many times over. He released his latest album, On The Wing , earlier this year. And although he announced a retirement from touring a few years ago,...

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Classical News from NPR

To create her wide-ranging music, New York-based artist Lea Bertucci has used a wealth of instruments and compositional techniques. But her primary creative tool is the saxophone, and on her new album, Metal Aether, she delves into it perhaps further than she ever has.

By 1938, clarinetist Benny Goodman was already known as "The King of Swing" — the leader of the most popular dance band in America at a time when swing jazz was America's most popular music. But nobody knew how it would be received in Carnegie Hall, America's temple to classical music.

When we invited Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov to play a Tiny Desk concert, we rolled out the big guns. In place of the trusty upright, we wedged a 7-foot grand piano behind Bob Boilen's desk in preparation for the artist who The Times of London called "without question the most astounding pianist of our age."

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James P. Johnson: The Father Of Stride

Jan 8, 2016

Many decades after James P. Johnson's death, his influence remains embedded in the playing of most jazz pianists. The early-20th-century musician's seminal work represents the cornerstone of jazz piano conception.

Here, Jazz Night In America visits Jazz at Lincoln Center to hear pianists like Aaron Diehl, Ethan Iverson, Marc Cary and ELEW pay tribute to one of the founding fathers of the art, and then digs into the James P. Johnson collection at the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University.

The title of Daniel Wohl's "Source" is something of a play on words. The actual sources of his captivating array of sounds are not completely clear. But it doesn't really matter. Just let the meticulously crafted, slightly surreal music from the Paris-born, Los Angeles-based composer soak in.

French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez was one of the most recognized figures in 20th century classical music. His outspoken advocacy for the music of his time earned him fans — and detractors. He died Tuesday at his home in Baden-Baden, Germany. He was 90 years old.

Just as the chaos of World War II was coming to an end, Pierre Boulez was emerging into his life as an artist.

Paul Bley, a jazz pianist whose thoughtful but intuitive commitment to advanced improvisation became widely influential, died of natural causes Sunday. He was 83.

Bley was surrounded by family at his winter residence in Stuart, Fla., according to his daughter Vanessa Bley.

Although 2015 produced arguably fewer big headlines in classical music than its predecessors, there were still surprising stories.

Cecilia String Quartet

This week's CD of the Week on Classical 90.5 is the new release from the Toronto-based Cecilia String Quartet.

For their latest release the quartet focuses on a pair of string quartets that Felix Mendelssohn wrote in 1838 while honeymooning in Germany's Black Forest. Trevor Harris recently interviewed the quartet's cellist Rachel Desoer. They talked about working on your honeymoon, the quartet's concerts for special needs students and how the group selects their concert and performance repertoire.

Amid the ubiquitous din of annual chestnuts like "Jingle Bells" and "Let it Snow," you may be surprised to learn that people are actually writing new holiday songs. And as it turns out, some of them are pretty great.

A Jazz Piano Christmas 2015

Dec 11, 2015

Every year, NPR Music invites some of the world's top piano players to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. We ask them to play solo versions of their favorite holiday music for a live audience, and the recording becomes the public radio special A Jazz Piano Christmas.

Jean Sibelius, born 150 years ago on Dec. 8, 1865, was the first Finnish composer to reach an international audience, but his popularity began at home. In the late 1890s, Finland was a part of the Russian empire and its people were striving for independence.

Wayne Horvitz is one of those musicians who does almost everything — from leading a small group of improvisers to conducting a big band, and from composing for symphony orchestra to running a nightclub. The Seattle-based keyboard player turned 60 this year, and he's celebrating by adding even more to his schedule: playing birthday concerts on both coasts.

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