music

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

In a preliminary vote Thursday night, musicians of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra rejected — by secret ballot — a labor offer and wage cuts proposed by HSO management.  

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

After a year of contentious negotiations, protests, and the threat of a shutdown, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and its musicians may be edging closer to an agreement on a new contract.

Metcalf's Musical Wish List for 2016

Jan 7, 2016
University of Illinois Library

The page turns, and I offer herewith my annual New Year’s musical wish list.

Joseph A. Rosen

Classy offerings for the winter/spring season of 2016 burst out of the claustrophobic confines of any top ten category. 

Pierre Boulez, the French composer and conductor whose career spanned from the avant-garde post-World War II era to the computer age, has died, according to the French culture ministry. He was 90. Boulez famously challenged his peers and his audience to rethink their ideas of sound and harmony.

Maxppp / Creative Commons

Natalie Cole struggled to step out of the shadows of R&B icon Aretha Franklin and the longer shadow of her father, singer Nat King Cole. But she did it with her stellar voice and lasting, if under-appreciated, contributions to R&B, soul, and jazz. 

Courtesy Hartford Public Library

The Hartford Public Library's free Baby Grand Jazz has morphed from years of obscurity to become one of the hottest, most popular jazz events in town. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

As part of an annual tradition, the "Internet's Busiest Music Nerd" Anthony Fantano of The Needle Drop got back to his roots at WNPR where he used to intern and shared some of his favorite music of the year on Where We Live.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

There was a whole lot of music released in 2015 and there never seems to be enough time to listen to it all. That’s where the "Internet’s Busiest Music Nerd" comes in. Anthony Fantano's YouTube channel for "The Needle Drop" has over half a million subscribers and he released more than 200 video reviews just this year alone! He stopped by our studios to share some of his favorite songs of the year from hip-hop to Björk and everything in between.

sipesphoto.com

The New England Jazz Ensemble ushers in the New Year with pianist/arranger Walter Gwardyak's acclaimed jazz band adaptation of Sergei Prokofiev's classic "Peter and the Wolf."

Hartford Symphony Orchestra / Facebook

Last week, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra said it may have to close its doors for good if HSO musicians won't come to the negotiating table to hammer out a new contract. Now, the union that represents the musicians has responded to those claims.

Pedro Ribeiro Simões / Flickr Creative Commons

It's a yearly tradition: Jazz critic Gene Seymour releases his list of the best jazz albums of the year, and musicians Jen Allen and Noah Baerman gather 'round the table with their own picks. If you're buying a last-minute gift for a finger-poppin' hep cat, this episode will solve your problem.

Chion Wolf

For the second year, we welcome singer/songwriter extraordinaire "Big Al" Anderson and Emmy Award-winning producer and musician Jim Chapdelaine in studio for songs and stories.

Wikimedia Commons

Sheet music written by Ludwig van Beethoven and found in a Greenwich home has fetched $100,000 at auction.

Hartford Symphony Orchestra / Facebook

So it’s down to this: the Hartford Symphony Orchestra -- which was born in the 1930s in the depths of the depression, which has weathered repeated fiscal crises and work stoppages, but which, in the end, has been our community’s shining flagship musical organization for three generations -- is declaring it will shut down if management and the musicians can’t agree on a contract in the next few weeks.

Nate Gagnon / WNPR

The board that oversees the Hartford Symphony Orchestra said it could be forced to shut down unless a union that represents musicians is willing to make concessions.

facebook.com/officialerrollgarner/

If you're looking for the perfect last-minute holiday gift for either a devout jazz fan or even a jazz skeptic, your best bet is the impassioned, madly inventive yet readily accessible The Complete Concert by the Sea, a splendid, Grammy-nominated, three-CD boxed set reissue of Erroll Garner's classic, live 1955 performance that became one of the best-selling jazz albums ever.

Demetri Mouratis flickr.com/photos/dmourati / Creative Commons

Last year at this time, I foolishly offered my choices for the ten best pop Christmas songs. I say foolishly because these list things are always a bad idea for so many reasons. In fact I’m working on a piece that will list the ten biggest reasons why list stories are a bad idea.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

It’s been three years since saxophonist Jimmy Greene lost his six-year-old daughter, Ana, in the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. On his album, Beautiful Life, Greene memorializes his little girl. It was recently nominated for two Grammy Awards.

Jimmy Katz

Inspired by the age-old Delta blues, Noah Preminger and his delta force quartet create a 21st century re-imagining of two soul-drenched songs by legendary blues singer Bukka White on the young tenor saxophonist's dynamic, new album, Pivot: Live at the 55 Bar, a jazz bistro in Greenwich Village.

Jimmy Katz

Connecticut Jazz Saxophonist Jimmy Greene's album Beautiful Life has garnered two Grammy award nominations. The record celebrates the life of his daughter Ana, who was killed in the Newtown tragedy three years ago.

This essay first appeared in the 2010 book This Is NPR: The First Forty Years, a collection of writing by NPR staff and contributors.


I should have cared more, but I didn't. I should have cried, but I didn't.

He meant so much to me.

But the day John Lennon died, my life and his music were never more distant.

Clark flickr.com/photos/photos_by_clark / Creative Commons

For many, the satisfyingly "plucky" sound of the banjo immediately evokes bluegrass or country music. But the instrument is finding itself useful in lots of other musical genres. Coming up on Saturday night at Cafe Nine in New Haven, the banjo is going to get a workout during a concert called "Night of the Living Banjo."

Ian Douglas Photography / Yuja Wang/Facebook

The calendar has just flipped over to December, CVS has stockpiled its ineffective windshield scrapers up near the cash registers, the newspaper food sections are starting to feature hearty soup recipes, and recently for the first time in many months I found the word “sleet” in the ten-day forecast.

Timothy White

Besides being a swinging guitarist and a cool but emotionally expressive vocalist, John Pizzarelli is also an amusing stand-up humorist who digs connecting with his audience.

Hartford Symphony Orchestra / Facebook

It's well into the Hartford Symphony Orchestra's new season, and HSO musicians still don't have a new contract. The musicians are asking management for "shared sacrifice" to reach an agreement.

Adam Sjoberg

A venerable poem written 140 years ago by an unconquerably positive and invincibly sentimental Victorian scribe is the inspiration for a hip, 21st-century jazz drummer/composer's new CD, an irrepressibly soulful work that makes its Connecticut debut this weekend.

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