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Review: Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet, 'Landfall'

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page. Hurricane Sandy was a horrific natural disaster that no one would care to relive, except perhaps for the brilliant polymath Laurie Anderson . In Landfall , her 70-minute multimedia piece featuring the Kronos Quartet , she doesn't revisit the storm so much as ruminate – sometimes with dry wit – on the idea of how we handle loss...

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Classical News from NPR

Willie Pickens On Piano Jazz

Apr 20, 2018

Piano Jazz remembers Willie Pickens (April 18, 1931 – Dec. 12, 2017), who passed away at the age of 86. A master of digital speed and harmonic sophistication, the Chicago pianist was McPartland's guest for this 1997 program.

Recorded live at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild in Pittsburgh, the set kicks off with an improvised boogie-woogie that shows why Pickens' contemporaries revered him as "one of the foremost piano players in jazz."

Arvo Pärt is one of the most popular, most performed living composers. He's beloved worldwide for his signature sound – a spacious, meditative music that tends to sound timeless.

But there's a lesser-known side to the 82-year-old Estonian's career. It's a story that can be traced in a new recording of Pärt's four Symphonies. The album is a musical journey spanning 45 years in fervently detailed performances by the NFM Wrocław Philharmonic, conducted by fellow Estonian Tõnu Kaljuste.

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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.

Ingrid Jensen On Piano Jazz

Dec 4, 2015

Trumpeter Ingrid Jensen has built a strong reputation among critics and peers — including Marian McPartland, who praised the warmth and virtuosity of her playing. Jensen's performances as a leader and featured soloist have taken her around the world, and she can be heard with the Christine Jensen Orchestra, her own quartet and quintet formations, and a number of New York bands.

If we're relying on the younger generation to help boost interest in classical music, look no further than Teddy Abrams.

In 1964, near the end of his career, Billy Strayhorn accompanied himself on a live recording of one of his best-known songs. It starts:

I used to visit all the very gay places

Those come-what-may places

Billy Strayhorn In Five Songs

Nov 29, 2015

Why do Beethoven's symphonies remain so appealing? It's a question we put to Simon Rattle a few years ago after he had finished conducting the Vienna Philharmonic in all nine of them.

"There's nothing harder," Rattle said, "and at the end of it all, nothing more rewarding. This is one of the great monuments of Western art." Those performances were recorded for a set released in 2003.

On a long drive, Itzhak Perlman will sometimes listen to classical music on the radio and try to guess who's playing.

"There is always a question mark," he says. "If it's good, boy, I hope it's me. If it's bad, I hope it's not me."

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