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Classical

Soul-Searching Music From A Serene Desert Monastery

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Composer Robert Kyr frequently travels to northern New Mexico, where he writes rapturous music inspired by light, stone, stillness and prayer.

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Soundcheck

How To Be Smarter About... Jay Z; Frank Sidebottom On The Big Screen; Agnes Obel Plays Live

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

In this episode: During the late ‘90s, Sirius XM host Mario Correa was listening to singer-songwriters from the Lilith Fair circuit -- and he completely missed out on the debut of Jay Z. As part of Soundcheck's How To Be Smarter About... series, we attempt to bring him up to speed on the global rap star’s rise to power, his must-hear tracks and why we can no longer use the hyphen in spelling his name.

Then: From the Residents to Daft Punk to Deadmaus, there’s been a long history of musicians who cover up their true identities by wearing masks. But even so, the British performer known as Frank Sidebottom stood apart. The comedian and singer known for his signature papier-mâché head is the inspiration for the new film Frank starring Michael Fassbender. Journalist and author Jon Ronson talks about being a member of Frank Sidebottom’s band back in the ‘80s -- and why he decided to bring Frank’s story to the big screen.

And: The Danish singer and pianist Agnes Obel has become an unexpected phenomenon, with tens of millions of YouTube views for her eerie, beautiful, classically-informed art pop. Hear her perform songs from Aventine live in the Soundcheck studio.

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Read These While They're Still Free

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

This summer, The New Yorker has thrown open the gates to much of its archive. Read these five classical music profiles and essays for free while you still can.

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Soundcheck

Agnes Obel: Stark And Seductive Chamber Pop

Monday, August 11, 2014

Hear the Danish pianist and composer perform songs from her ornate and  album, Aventine, in the Soundcheck studio.

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Drum Fill Friday: Classical Headbanging Edition

Friday, August 08, 2014

In classical music, percussionists go wild with drums of all shapes and sizes. Can you guess which pieces spotlight the timpani, snare and bass drums?

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Soundcheck

Labor Disputes Create New Drama At The Metropolitan Opera

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Fred Plotkin, of WQXR's Operavore blog, helps make sense of what the New York Times has called the Met's most serious labor crisis in three decades.

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Soundcheck

Bon Jovi And The Buffalo Bills; David Gray Plays Live; Drama At The Metropolitan Opera

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

In this episode: The NFL team the Buffalo Bills recently went up for sale – and Jersey rocker Jon Bon Jovi is one of the prospective buyers. The problem? He might want to move the team to Toronto. Writer Reeves Wiedeman talks about his recent trip to western New York, which is currently under an unofficial yet strictly enforced Bon Jovi ban.

Then: Best known for his song “Babylon,” and his multi-platinum album White Ladder, David Gray is back with a new, lushly orchestrated and produced album. Hear the British singer-songwriter perform songs from Life In Slow Motion and an old favorite in the Soundcheck studio.

And: The contentious negotiations between the Metropolitan Opera and its unions played out in the newspapers this summer. Author and columnist for WQXR’s Operavore blog, Fred Plotkin gives us the story. 

Ask Us Anything About Beethoven

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Author Jan Swafford has just published a Beethoven biography — and he's sharing surprising facts he learned while writing his book. See some here and join us Thursday for a session on Reddit.

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Soundcheck

How To Be Smarter About...

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Let's face it: as much as we all know and love about music, everyone has at least some blind spots. Luckily, Soundcheck is hoping to help you become a more impressive conversation partner at cocktail parties and around the water cooler with a new series, How To Be Smarter About

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Beethoven's 'Eroica,' A Bizarre Revelation Of Personality

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Born in a moment of despair, as its creator was staring down hearing loss, Beethoven's Third Symphony is as odd as it is transcendent.

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Meet The Cast Of The Met Opera's Labor Drama

Friday, August 01, 2014

Think opera plots are tough to follow? Try wading through the complicated action offstage at the Metropolitan Opera. Here's who's involved — with perspective on disputes that aren't new.

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Morning Edition

On The Eve Of A Possible Lockout, Met Opera Talks Remain Contentious

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Labor disputes are nothing new to the Met Opera, but never have they been so public. With a deadline looming, both sides signal that negotiations are going nowhere.

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A Breath Of Inspiration: John Luther Adams' New 'Sila'

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Watch highlights from the world premiere performance of the Pulitzer Prize winner's meditative and deeply moving outdoor work Sila: The Breath of the World at Lincoln Center.

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Soundcheck

John Luther Adams' 'Sila': Finding Music In Urban Noise

Monday, July 28, 2014

This past weekend saw the premiere of Sila, a new immersive work by this year's Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, John Luther Adams. Soundcheck host John Schaefer was there and has these thoughts on the unconventional work, and the siren he heard out on the streets outside Lincoln Center.

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Morning Edition

The Great War At 100: Music Of Conflict And Remembrance

Monday, July 28, 2014

One hundred years after the start of World War I, hear a range of pop and classical music from artists of the era. Some music reflects the war's violence, some gives solace.

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War Of Words At Met Opera May Signal Shutdown

Saturday, July 26, 2014

With labor negotiations growing more strained, a lockout seems likely next week at the Metropolitan Opera. Management says payroll must be trimmed while unions want to curb production costs.

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All Things Considered

Labor Conflict May Lock Out Met Opera Workers

Thursday, July 24, 2014

If no contract deal is reached by July 31, Metropolitan Opera General Manager Peter Gelb has warned union workers to plan for a work stoppage the next day.

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America's Youth Orchestra Hits The Road — This Time, Playing For U.S.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hear the world premiere of a piece by Samuel Adams — son of composer John Adams — and watch the orchestra's signature encore, from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess.

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A Guitar Hero Draws His Own Sketches Of Spain

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Milos, the one-named superstar of classical guitar, says the story of the instrument's 20th-century journey is told in the work of two Spanish composers.

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Olafur Arnalds On World Cafe

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Today's Sense of Place: Iceland session features Arnalds, who creates sweeping neoclassical music.

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