Music

Current State #34 | February 28, 2013

Feb 28, 2013

Today on Current State: February's biggest news stories; a Public Poetry Announcement with local poet Diane Wakoski; a friend remembers pianist Van Cliburn; and a Detroit Tigers' season preview with Mario Impemba.

Courtesy of Van Cliburn Foundation

In 1958, a young American musician arrived in Moscow to give the concert of his life.  Classically trained pianist Van Cliburn was a 23-year-old Texan who stunned a team of Soviet judges with his flawless execution of pieces by Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff. Cliburn’s tour de force performance launched a successful musical career and a string of visits to the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War.  Van Cliburn died yesterday at age 78.

Opera star Renee Fleming in town for first time

Feb 27, 2013
Courtesy of Renee Fleming

Concerts, Grammys, performing all over the world, opera star Renee Fleming has done just about everything, except for a concert in East Lansing.

Tonight, the soprano can check that off her list as well.

WKAR’s Scott Pohl speaks with Fleming about her latest album, singing for Queen Elizabeth II, and the program she has planned for tonight's performance at MSU’s Wharton Center.

Andrew Eccles / Courtesy/Decca Records

Concerts, Grammys, performing all over the world...opera star Renee Fleming has done it all.

Wikimedia commons

This weekend the New York Philharmonic comes to Ann Arbor’s Hill Auditorium.

Sunday’s program features an all-Russian lineup, with Saturday’s bill devoted to Mozart and Brahms.

This year marks the centennial of Hill Auditorium and WKAR continues to celebrate with the occasional series, “Hill at 100.”

(Wikimedia Commons)

At the iconic Motown Museum in Detroit, a new exhibit honors the female contribution to the 1960s era. It’s called “Girl Groups: The Grit, The Glamour,The Glory.” Included are records, photos and memorabilia from all of the groups you remember, and one you have probably never heard of.

WKAR’s Scott Pohl toured the exhibit with the president and CEO of the Motown Museum, Allen Rawls.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo still going strong after 50 years

Feb 20, 2013
Courtesy of Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Ladysmith Black Mambazo is coming to Wharton Center to perform their signature South African Zulu-style choral music. They began singing in competitions in the 1970s, and rose to worldwide fame when they appeared on Paul Simon’s album “Graceland” in 1986. They’ve recorded over 50 albums, and their latest tour has a stop in East Lansing.

WKAR’s Melissa Benmark speaks with one of the longest-singing members, Albert Mazibuko, about the group's longevity.

Scott Pohl / WKAR

At the iconic Motown Museum in Detroit, a new exhibit honors the "girl groups" of the 1960's. It's called "Girl Groups: The Grit, The Glamour, The Glory".

Included are records, photos and memorabilia from all of the groups you remember…and one you probably never heard of.

The exhibition remembers The Supremes, The Marvelettes, the Vandellas, and a proficient group of background singers known as The Andantes.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo Coming To Wharton Center

Feb 19, 2013
Luis Leal

Ladysmith Black Mambazo is coming to Wharton Center Wednesday to perform their signature South African Zulu-style choral music. They began singing in competitions in the 1970s, and rose to world-wide fame when they appeared on Paul Simon’s album “Graceland” in 1986. They’ve recorded over 50 albums, and their latest tour has a stop in East Lansing. WKAR’s Melissa Benmark spoke to one of the longest-singing members, Albert Mazibuko, about the music his group performs.

Peter Whorf

Mike Whorf is known to countless Michigan and Midwestern radio listeners as the long-time host of WJR's Kaleidoscope.  The daily program which aired from the mid-1960s to the late 90s won the coveted Peabody Award in 1968, as well as numerous other statewide and national honors.

MSU Director of Jazz Studies Rodney Whitaker and the Professors of Jazz play at Cook Recital Hall in the MSU Music Building on Friday, Feb. 15, at 8 p.m. The concert happens to coincide with Prof. Whitaker's birthday.

WKAR’s Melissa Benmark speaks with the musician about the milestone performance.

The 55th Grammy Awards ceremony takes place Sunday night at 8pm on CBS. Millions of eyes and ears will be turned to some of the world’s most popular music that evening.

Classical music, as usual, will be somewhat of a sidebar. The classical Grammys are typically announced off-camera in a separate awards ceremony. But the fact remains that the breadth and depth of classical music leads to a large number of categories, nominations and awards.

The MSU Symphony Orchestra’s next concert is Friday, Feb. 8, at the Wharton Center. They’ll play Beethoven’s First Symphony, music from Aaron Copland’s “Billy the Kid,” and “The Chairman Dances” by John Adams. WKAR’s Melissa Benmark speaks with MSU Director of Orchestras Kevin Noe about the the program, starting with the Beethoven, which has a beginning that almost sounds like an ending.

Current State #5 | January 18, 2013

Jan 18, 2013
(Wikimedia Commons)

On today's Current State:  Local efforts for immigration reform, Michigan prison breakouts, a musical celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the hometown competitors in this weekend's U.S. National Figure Skating Championships.

Courtesy Photo/Steep Canyon Rangers

Actor-comedian Steve Martin also plays the banjo. He’ll play with the Steep Canyon Rangers Sunday night at MSU.

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