March 14, 2000 It's a sound that came to define American popular music, but the electric guitar's impact extends far beyond rock 'n' roll, to jazz, blues, country, and avant-garde compositions. Distortion, feedback, and various electronic effects that were once considered noise are now popular music thanks to this instrument. Join Juan Williams and guests to trace the musical and cultural journey of the electric guitar.
February 28, 2000 Thursday, March 2nd, is the 100th anniversary of the birth of composer Kurt Weill. A century after his birth and half a century after his death, Weill remains as controversial a composer as he was in the 1920s when he abandoned a promising career in "serious music;" fled the Nazis; and landed on Broadway, where he wrote such standards as, September Song, and Speak Low. This week, the Brooklyn Academy of Music is staging a long-lost Weill opera. NPR's Rick Karr reports.
February 23, 2000 Composer George Frederic Handel was born on this day in 1685. We take note of Handel's reputation among his classical music peers, and some of his principle achievements.
February 5, 2000 Scott speaks with Martin Goldsmith, the former host of NPR's Performance Today, about the artistic journey of Aaron Copland, in honor of the 100th year of his birth.
January 21, 2000 Momus is the stage name of British singer/songwriter Nick Currie. His latest CD — Stars Forever — brings the Renaissance notion of patronage to pop music. Currie got 30 people to pay $1000 each for a musical "portrait" that Momus wrote and recorded on the CD. It was also a way to pay the legal bills that resulted from a lawsuit over a similar, unauthorized, musical portrait. NPR's Rick Karr reports. (7:45) Stars Forever, by Momus, is on the Michigan label, Le Grand Magistery.
January 4, 2000 (Update) A note on some of this year's top Grammy Award nominees. Carlos Santana was nominated for ten awards. The group TLC was nominated for six Grammys. The winners will be announced in February.
December 18, 1999 Scott talks with BBC presenter Frankie Conner about this week's concert by Paul McCartney at the Cavern Club in Liverpool.
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October 18, 1999 Tom Manoff reviews a new recording of Stravinsky's Firebird Suite and the Rite of Spring. The performers, the San Francisco Symphony, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, have made a stunning recording of a work that ushered in 20th century music.
April 10, 1999 Scott talks with David Sanjeck, an archivist at Broadcast Music Incorporate (BMI) about the influence of British rock on American ears. Scott gets to play the Sex Pistols on NPR air, as well as everything from the Rolling Stones to the Spice Girls.
February 25, 1999 NPR's Renee Montagne has a report on last night's Grammy awards. The 41st annual Awards were handed out last night in Los Angeles. The big winners were artist Lauryn Hill and Celine Dion's "Titanic" theme. (6:25) Due to Internet rights issues, this segment has been modified from its original broadcast form.
August 12, 1998 David McGuffin reports that the Rolling Stones is performing for the first time in Moscow. Thousand of screaming fans brave the rain for last night''s concert.
August 3, 1998 NPR's Dean Olsher has an appreciation of composer Alfred Schnittke, one of the former Soviet Union's most prolific composers, who died today in Hamburg at the age of 63. He was known as a creator of "polystylism," or mixture of musical forms, and his music was spurned in his homeland at the beginning of his career. By the 1980s, he had won over Soviet cultural authorities and critics worldwide. Schnittke's long list of compositions includes five symphonies, a piano concerto, four violin concertos, five concerto grossos, two concertos each for viola and cello, two oratorios, six ballets, numerous choral, chamber, and instrumental pieces, and arrangements of works by Shostakovich, Berg, Scott Joplin, and others.
July 25, 1998 Last year, critics called the English pop scene hip and groovy. But now, a leading British music magazine says music in the country is passe. NPR"s Matthew Cowan investigates the fickle trends of British bands.
March 11, 1997 The rapper known as Notorious BIG was killed over the weekend, just six months after the shooting death of rapper Tupac Shakur.
September 23, 1996 Called the "Hip-Hop Day of Atonement", the Nation of Islam organized a service yesterday in response to the death of rapper Tupac Shakur. It was meant for rap fans and artists "to atone for the self-destructive, genocidal lifestyle" that killed Shakur.
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