KLRE Classical Music News

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I've watched a lot of Tiny Desk concerts over the years. It's good to see musicians in the raw, away from stage lighting and backing tracks — as if they've just stopped by an office to play over a lunch break, with desk-bound employees watching on. The performances should expose flaws, but instead they tend to expose musicians being casually brilliant, like the members of Ensemble Signal, who certainly play these pieces beautifully.

As Opera In The Rock prepares to open its first show of 2019, we'll hear from one person who's central to the production. 

Francesca Mondanaro hails from New York City, and has sung roles both stateside and abroad for many years. 

Mondanaro comes to Little Rock to sing the leading role in Puccini's "Madama Butterfly," the first time she's sung the role. 

This week on Arts Scene is for the opera.

We speak with Opera In The Rock's Executive Director Kate Sain about their latest production, Puccini's "Madama Butterfly." We also hear from the show's director, David Ward.

Ward and Sain spoke with Arts Scene's Ann Nicholson about the sorrow and determination of Puccini's music, and how the tragic storyline of Puccini's best known work inspires creativity in all who are involved. 

This program originally aired on 5/12/2019.

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When the intrepid string quartet known as Brooklyn Rider first visited the Tiny Desk nine years ago, no one knew what the musicians might play. They're as likely to trot out an Asian folk tune as they are a string quartet by Beethoven, or one of their own compositions.

With a reverence for classics and an experimental spirit, Kelsey Lu is broadening the scope of how strings fit into contemporary pop. Lu's debut album, Blood, out now, is a mash-up of disco, R&B, pop and more that's rooted in her adoration of strings.

Arts Scene: Writer Pico Iyer

Apr 29, 2019
Derek Shapton

Writer and journalist Pico Iyer hails from Oxford, England, and he's led a fascinating life. 

Known primarily for his travel writing, Iyer spent two years on the road with the leader of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama. 

Iyer documented his years with the Dalai Lama in his book The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama

Arts Scene's Ann Nicholson spoke with Iyer in 2008 following the publishing of his book. 

This program originally aired on 4/7/2019.

Brigitta Scholz-Mastroianni / Nux Photography

This episode of the Arts Scene takes us back to the Arkansas Repertory Theatre's 40th anniversary. 

The Rep's 2015-2016 season featured a series of three one-person shows. In this episode, we speak with two performers; Bob Paisley  and Joe Graves. 

Paisley brought his likeness to the famous Arkansan President Bill Clinton in a staging of "Bill Clinton: Hercules" by Rachel Mariner.

Joe Graves, a Rep audience favorite, brought Homer's epic The Iliad to life in the one-man adaptation of what's said to be the oldest story in western literature. 

Arts Scene: Illustrator Higgins Bond

Apr 29, 2019

Higgins Bond is something of a legend in the world of illustration, and it all began as a hobby. 

Bond focused her studies on art when she noticed she had a natural talent for drawing, but she remained pragmatic and got her start in the world of advertising. In the more than 40 years that followed, Bond's work has been seen the world over on magazine covers, books and advertisements. 

Her series of Black Heritage illustrations solidified her place in history as the first African-American woman to have her work featured on a United States postage stamp. 


Franz von Suppé was born on 200 years ago — April 18, 1819 — in what is now Croatia, but he went to Vienna a

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the leading symphony orchestra in the Netherlands, and its former chief conductor, Daniele Gatti, have come to a mutual agreement over the conductor's dismissal last August.

Tuesday the orchestra issued a statement on its website, claiming that "matters between the two parties have been resolved following extensive discussions."