Anastasia Tsioulcas writes at NPR Music for “Deceptive Cadence” (http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptivecadence). Widely published as a writer on both classical and world music, she is the former North America editor for Gramophone Magazine and the classical music columnist for Billboard. She has also been an on-air contributor to many public radio programs, including WNYC’s Soundcheck, Minnesota Public Radio’s The Savvy Traveler, Public Radio International’s Weekend America, and the BBC’s The World.
We've all seen the likes of Yo-Yo Ma, the Kronos Quartet and a Philip Glass score take star turns on Sesame Street. Now another beloved PBS kids' show has put art music front and center. The animated Arthur has downtown music doyens the Bang on a Can All-Stars visit Elwood City for a concert. It's part of the show's Arts Week, which begins Monday.
It's a pretty great setup. Muffy is experiencing the classic anxiety of feeling guiltily responsible for bringing her friend to a concert of weird, experimental music. But! It turns out Francine loves it. And as it also turns out, composer and Bang co-founder Julia Wolfe loves Elwood City right back: "It's so uniquely ... average." (Bonus points to the show for trying to capture guitarist Mark Stewart's hair. And breaking news update! Thanks to a current All-Star, we've learned that the other BoaC character was voiced by one of the group's former members, clarinetist and composer Evan Ziporyn.)