Maurice Ravel had a habit of rearranging his music from piano to orchestra and back. In that spirit, Michael Stern leads a student orchestra in the finale to "The Fairy Garden"; Viviane Loriaut plays "Laideronnette, Empress of the Pagodas"; and the Paratore Brothers play "Pavane of the Sleeping Beauty" and "Hop-o-My Thumb."
After touring for a year and a half, Lightman opted for an organic sound for her second album, Bird on a Wire. The disc nicely captures her ability to seamlessly mix R&B with rock, and demonstrates how much she's matured and gained confidence since her debut.
Toby Lightman in concert on XPN Live Fridays - 08/25/2006
With an emphasis on improvisation, The Derek Trucks Band blends jazz, rock, blues and world music into its soulful, energetic songs. Its fifth album, Songlines, is a nicely crafted collection of original compositions and covers, all reflecting the band's diverse approach to worldly jams.
The Derek Trucks Band in concert on XPN Live Fridays - 08/18/2006
Pete Yorn's new Nightcrawler has him touring relentlessly, as he attempts to build on the success of his hit debut and its follow-up. Opener Matt Duke, 21, is at the beginning of what figures to be an impressive career. Both perform live from WXPN and World Cafe Live in Philadelphia Friday at noon ET.
Matt Duke in concert on XPN Live Fridays - 08/11/2006
Pianist Leon Fleisher has faced many obstacles over the years, due to a debilitating hand condition. He's regained the use of that hand now, and uses both hands to play the Bach chorale "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" at Shriver Hall on the campus of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
The four-man Parisian pop band Phoenix mixes '80s rock influences, '70s disco grooves and an appealing French accent to create likeable, danceable songs. The group just released its third album, the immensely appealing It's Never Been Like That.
Phoenix in concert on XPN Live Fridays - 08/04/2006
Three young men who play classical music most of the time needed an outlet for their other musical endeavors, so they formed a trio called Time for Three. Performance Today takes a classical detour with them into a pair of tunes written by bass player Ranaan Myer.
Once described as "the only band to ever open for both The Grateful Dead and the Ramones," Cracker blends country, punk, psychedelia, folk and roots-rock to create a version of Americana that's as intoxicating as it is original.
Cracker in concert on XPN Live Fridays - 07/28/2006
Blending together an array of musical styles and influences, singer/guitarist Ben Harper has carved out an unusual and exciting 12-year career. Accompanied by his backing band The Innocent Criminals, Harper skillfully combines acoustic folk, blues, funk, soul and hard rock.
Fred Child, host of NPR's Performance Today, hosts an exclusive webcast from Festival del Sole, featuring pianist Piotr Anderszewski and violinist Nikolaj Znaider, with Stephane Deneve conducting the Russian National Orchestra.
Violinist Gilles Apap and the Transylvanian Mountain Boys appear at the Aspen Music Festival, where they perform an assortment of Irish reels, Romanian folk tunes, Django Rhinehart swing, improvisations and more.
The Drive-By Truckers have been making bold, often epic southern rock since they first formed in Athens, Ga., a decade ago. Now on tour for their seventh album, the band visits the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. for a night of live music, webcast in its entirety on NPR.org.