Composer Steve Reich, whose Music for 18 Musicians pulled out ahead of Gershwin, Shostakovich, Bartok, Ives, Berg and all others in last year's Q2 poll. Wonge Bergmann/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Wonge Bergmann/Courtesy of the artist

Alexander Scriabin originally set out to write a piece called "Orgiastic Poem," centered on physical ecstasy, but later decided to alter the title to something more ambiguous. Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide caption

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Several hundred protesters picket the opening night of the Metropolitan Opera season at Lincoln Center, Sept. 22, 2014. "You will be made to destroy that set," Jeffrey Wiesenfeld said. John Moore/Getty Images hide caption

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The Royal Shakespeare Company is releasing albums of the music commissioned for its productions of many of the plays in this first collected edition of William Shakespeare's works. Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Rebecca Rivas, a reporter for the St. Louis American newspaper, captured video of the Ferguson protest at the St. Louis Symphony concert Saturday night. St. Louis American/YouTube hide caption

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"The music's kind of oozing out of not just his hands, but his whole body," Boston Symphony managing director Mark Volpe says of the orchestra's new music director, Andris Nelsons. Marco Borggreve/Boston Symphony Orchestra hide caption

itoggle caption Marco Borggreve/Boston Symphony Orchestra

Robert Spano conducts members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, who are now locked out for the second time in two years after failed contract negotiations. J.D. Scott/Atlanta Symphony Orchestra hide caption

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Amir Pinkney-Jengkens, 8, is learning trombone through Harmony Project, a nonprofit that provides musical instruments and instruction to children in low-income communities. Recent research suggests that such musical education may help improve kids' ability to process speech. Annie Tritt for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Annie Tritt for NPR

Magda Olivero performing Francis Poulenc's one-woman opera La voix humaine at San Francisco Opera in 1979. Ron Scherl/Redferns/Getty Images hide caption

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Members of the American Guild of Musical Artists and the American Federation of Musicians, two of the unions embroiled in contract negotiations with Metropolitan Opera management, rally this morning at Dante Park across from Lincoln Center. Jeff Lunden/for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Jeff Lunden/for NPR

A worker unveils posters Tuesday for the coming season of New York's Metropolitan Opera. The Met's fall schedule could be in jeopardy if failed labor negotiations result in a lockout Friday. John Moore/Getty Images hide caption

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Austrian pianist Paul Wittgenstein (who later became an American citizen) lost an arm in World War I. He commissioned composers including Maurice Ravel to write pieces for the left hand alone. Bettmann/CORBIS hide caption

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