The Origins of Ballet

Can you imagine a party where every movement and every visual detail were governed by a complex system of rules and procedures? For centuries, such rituals were commonplace for European nobility. And while they’ve gone out of fashion, we recognize the components under a familiar label: ballet (from the balletto, or “little dance”).

Dance instructors Jennifer Tortorello and Adrienne Westwood, along with TedEd, have put together this video which dives into ballet’s origins. Watch the video below to learn more, and see the entire lesson on TedEd’s website.

On The Air This Week

Highlights from June 28 to July 4

Tuesday, 1 p.m. Performance Today.
Wednesday, 7:30 a.m. & 5:15 p.m. New Classical Tracks with Julie Amacher.
1 p.m. Performance Today.
12 midnight Euro Classics: Estonian National Symphony Orchestra/Nikolai Alexeev, conductor; Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 16 — recorded at the Estonia Concert Hall, Tallinn.
Thursday, 1 p.m. Performance Today.
3 p.m. Regional Spotlight: Lysander Piano Trio.
4:45 p.m. Interview: David Hurley of the King’s Singers, who will perform at the Minnesota Beethoven Festival on July 7.
Friday, 7:15 a.m. Moveable Feast with John Birge and Minnesota Monthly‘s Rachel Hutton.
8:45 a.m. Cast members from the Guthrie Theater’s South Pacific join John Birge in studio.
1 p.m. Performance Today.
3 p.m. Friday Favorites with Steve Staruch.
4:15 p.m. Minneapolis Pops conductor Jere Lantz joins Steve Staruch in studio.
5:30 p.m. MPR’s Euan Kerr checks in from the Hollywood Bowl, site of Garrison Keillor’s final show hosting A Prairie Home Companion.
Saturday, 9 a.m., New Classical Tracks with Julie Amacher.
10 a.m. Saturday Cinema with Lynne Warfel.
5 p.m. A Prairie Home Companion: from the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
8 p.m. Euro Classics: Estonian National Symphony Orchestra/Alexander Prior, conductor; Barber: Symphony No. 1 — recorded at the Estonia Concert Hall, Tallinn.
Sunday, 6 a.m. Pipedreams: Variations on America.
12 noon From the Top.
1 p.m. SymphonyCast: Nashville Symphony Orchestra; Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor; Johannes Moser, cello.
8 p.m. Sunday Night Cantata, Choral Stream.
Monday, 6 a.m. to midnight: All American music for the 4th of July.
1 p.m. Performance Today.
Tuesday,1 p.m. Performance Today.

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Musical training accelerates brain development in children

In 2012, the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California partnered with the Heart of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association to begin a five-year study of how music instruction affects a child’s development. Initial results show that music training speeds the development of the auditory system and increases its efficiency.

In the study, scientists are observing brain behavior in 37 children from underprivileged neighborhoods of Los Angeles: 11 in a community soccer program, 13 in no after-school programs, and 13 who began music instruction at the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles program at HOLA at age 6 or 7. The latter group of children learn instruments in ensembles and groups, rehearsing up to seven hours a week.

BCI Senior Research Associate and lead author of the study, Assal Habibi tells USC News, “We are broadly interested in the impact of music training on cognitive, socio-emotional and brain development of children … These results reflect that children with music training, compared with the two other comparison groups, were more accurate in processing sound.”

When the study began — and again two years later —  children were given tasks that involved distinguishing musical tones, as well as tests involving the identification if tonal and rhythmic differences in given melodies. The students in the youth orchestra program had a higher rate of accuracy in detecting a change in pitch than the other two groups.

“The auditory system is stimulated by music,” Habibi added. “This system is also engaged in general sound processing that is fundamental to language development, reading skills and successful communication.”

Read more about the study on the USC News website.

On The Air This Week

Highlights from June 21 to 28.

Tuesday, 12 noon Alison Young interviews David Lucs, director of the International Society for Orthodox Church Music symposium.
1 p.m. Performance Today.
Wednesday, 7:30 a.m. & 5:15 p.m. New Classical Tracks with Julie Amacher.
1 p.m. Performance Today.
7 p.m. A musical tribute to Orlando: Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony.
12 midnight Euro Classics: Basel Symphony Orchestra/Ivor Bolton, conductor; Milhaud: Percussion Concerto, Op. 109.
Thursday, 1 p.m. Performance Today.
3 p.m. Regional Spotlight: Lysander Piano Trio.
Friday, 7:15 a.m. Moveable Feast with John Birge and Minnesota Monthly‘s Rachel Hutton.
1 p.m. Performance Today.
3 p.m. Friday Favorites with Steve Staruch.
Saturday, 9 a.m., New Classical Tracks with Julie Amacher.
10 a.m. Saturday Cinema with Lynne Warfel.
5 p.m. A Prairie Home Companion: live from Koussevitzky Music Shed at Tanglewood, Lenox, Mass.
7:30 p.m. Live broadcast from the Minnesota Beethoven Festival in Winona, Minn., featuring the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii.
Sunday, 6 a.m. Pipedreams: Handel With Care.
12 noon From the Top.
1 p.m. SymphonyCast: Houston Symphony; John StorGards, conductor; Sol Gabetta, cello.
8 p.m. Sunday Night Cantata, Choral Stream.
Monday, 1 p.m. Performance Today.
Tuesday,1 p.m. Performance Today.

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An animated duet featuring Noah and Sydney Lee

Noah and Sydney Lee are a brother and sister from Oakland, New Jersey. They also happen to be talented cellists.

They’ve appeared on NPR’s From the Top (which you can hear Sundays at noon on Classical MPR), and recently, filmmaker Dillon Buss and animator Jack Quinn collaborated on a video using a technique called rotoscoping, in which live action video is traced and animated.

In the video, the siblings perform Johann Halvorsen’s Passacaglia in G Minor on a Theme by Handel. Check it out below.

On The Air This Week

Highlights from June 14 to 21.

Tuesday, 1 p.m. Performance Today.
Wednesday, 7:30 a.m. & 5:15 p.m. New Classical Tracks with Julie Amacher.
1 p.m. Performance Today.
12 midnight Euro Classics: Lausanne Chamber Orchestra/Ton Koopman, conductor; Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 4 in D — recorded at the Salle Métropole, Lausanne.
7 p.m. A musical tribute to Orlando: Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony.
Thursday, 1 p.m. Performance Today.
3 p.m. Regional Spotlight: Pianist Roman Rabinovich plays Beethoven.
Friday, 7:15 a.m. Moveable Feast with John Birge and Minnesota Monthly‘s Rachel Hutton.
1 p.m. Performance Today.
3 p.m. Friday Favorites with Steve Staruch.
Saturday, 9 a.m., New Classical Tracks with Julie Amacher.
10 a.m. Saturday Cinema with Lynne Warfel.
5 p.m. A Prairie Home Companion: live from the Fox Theatre in St. Louis, Mo.
8 p.m. Euro Classics: Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Phillipp von Steinaecker, conductor; Norman: Symphony No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 58 — recorded at the Berwaldhallen, Stockholm.
Sunday, 6 a.m. Pipedreams: Organ Plus.
12 noon From the Top.
1 p.m. SymphonyCast: Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; Louis Langree, conductor; Kirill Gerstein, piano.
8 p.m. Sunday Night Cantata, Choral Stream.
Monday, 1 p.m. Performance Today.
Tuesday,1 p.m. Performance Today.

Composer Corner: R. Strauss

June’s composer of the month is Richard Strauss.

 

Born: June 11, 1864

Died: September 8, 1949

 

Five facts:

• Early in Strauss’s life, his father banned study of Wagner’s music. It wasn’t until age 16 that Richard was able to acquire a score of Tristan und Isolde.
• In September of 1894, Strauss married soprano Pauline de Ahna. They were happily married (for the most part) until his death in 1949.
• At the end of WWII, Strauss was apprehended at his estate. As soldiers approached, he proclaimed that he was the composer of Rosenkavalier and Salome. An officer acknowledged this, and an ‘Off Limits’ sign was then placed on the lawn for Strauss’s protection.
• John de Lancie was an American corporal in the squad that secured the area around the town where Strauss was living in April 1945. He also happened to be an accomplished oboist. He asked Strauss to write an oboe concerto. After being initially dismissive of the idea, Strauss completed an oboe concerto at the end of that year.
• The sunrise theme from Strauss’s tone poem, Also Sprach Zarathustra, became wildly popular due to its use in Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

 

Three important works:

Also sprach Zarathustra (1892)
Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks (1895)
Salome (1905)

 

Audio Backpack playlist: Richard Strauss

On The Air This Week

Highlights from June 7 to 14.

Tuesday, 1 p.m. Performance Today.
3:15 p.m. Class Notes Artists: The OK Factor.
Wednesday, 7:30 a.m. & 5:15 p.m. New Classical Tracks with Julie Amacher.
1 p.m. Performance Today.
12 midnight Euro Classics: Iceland Symphony Orchestra/Anna-Maria Helsing, conductor; Sibelius: Symphony No. 1 in E Minor, Op. 39 — recorded at the Harpa Concert House, Reykjavik.
3:15 p.m. Class Notes Artists: Mill City String Quartet.
Thursday, 1 p.m. Performance Today.
3 p.m. Regional Spotlight: Class Notes Artists.
3:15 p.m. Class Notes Artists: Cedarwood Duo.
Friday, 7:15 a.m. Moveable Feast with John Birge and Minnesota Monthly‘s Rachel Hutton.
1 p.m. Performance Today.
3 p.m. Friday Favorites with Steve Staruch.
3:15 p.m. Class Notes Artists: Sara Pajunen & Dolce Wind Quintet
8 p.m. Minnesota Orchestra: Season Finale – Vänskä Conducts Mahler’s Fifth; Minnesota Orchestra/Osmo Vänskä, conductor; Christian Tetzlaff, violin; live from Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.
Saturday, 9 a.m., New Classical Tracks with Julie Amacher.
10 a.m. Saturday Cinema with Lynne Warfel.
5 p.m. A Prairie Home Companion: Garrison Keillor and Chris Thile; live from the Ravinia Festival, Chicago.
8 p.m. Euro Classics: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Soloists; Brahms: String Quintet No. 2 in G, Op. 111 — recorded at the Chamber Music Hall, Philharmonie, Berlin.
Sunday, 6 a.m. Pipedreams: In Real Time.
12 noon From the Top.
1 p.m. SymphonyCast: Los Angeles Philharmonic; Mirga Grazynte-Tyla & Lionel Bringuier, conductors; Yuja Wang, piano.
8 p.m. Sunday Night Cantata, Choral Stream.
Monday, 1 p.m. Performance Today.
Tuesday,1 p.m. Performance Today.

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New plaque will honor Prince, the student

On Tuesday, June 7th — which would have been Prince’s 58th birthday (and was recently declared “Prince Day” by Gov. Dayton) — teacher Rosa Bogar will present a plaque to Green Central Park Elementary, honoring the late music legend.

Prince graduated from Central High School in south Minneapolis in 1976, where the elementary school now stands. Bogar wants him to be remembered as a strong student, as well as a musical icon.

“He touched the world,” Bogar told the Star Tribune. “A lot of young people will be inspired by that.”

The plaque reads “Let us keep the legacy of Prince alive.”

“The plaque is magical because it almost looks like a mirror,” Bogar added. “It gives you a sense of connection and reflection of the life of Prince and how he can live through you.”

Instrument drive seeks to gather 100 instruments at Prince tribute concerts

The Parkway Theater in south Minneapolis will host three concert/dance nights on June 3, June 4, and June 8. “This Thing Called Life” will feature performances by original members of the New Power Generation, Tracey Blake, Julius Collins, and more.

Collins Live, organizers of the tribute concerts, have partnered with arts education advocacy nonprofit, Vega Productions,  to host a month-long musical instrument drive that will kick off at these Prince tribute shows.

“Music can change lives. We are so excited to be a part of this incredible mission, helping to bring music to a child’s world,” said vocalist and songwriter, Julius Collins.

The goal of the drive is to donate 100 musical instruments to Minneapolis Public Schools. With a donation of musical instruments from Vega Productions, the instrument drive is already halfway to success.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Collins Live, members of the New Power Generation, and Prince fans to make music education possible for all students in Minneapolis Public Schools,” said Caitlin Marlotte, Executive Director of Vega Productions.

To donate musical instruments to the instrument drive, donors should visit InstrumentsintheCloud.org to make a musical instrument donation. To provide financial support to cover the costs of instrument repair, visit the drive’s instrument repair fund on GiveMN.org.


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Prince’s First Music Teacher

How should Minn. honor Prince? Fund music education

Play It Forward: Classical MPR’s Instrument Drive