Anastasia Tsioulcas

Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter for NPR Music. She covers breaking news in the music industry, as well as a wide range of musical genres and artists, for NPR's flagship news programs and NPR Music.

Tsioulcas is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics, and identity. She covers #MeToo and gender issues in the music industry, as well as the effects of US immigration and travel policy on musicians and other performers traveling to this country.

She has reported from the funeral of Aretha Franklin, profiled musicians and dancers in contemporary Cuba, and brought listeners into the creative process of composers Steve Reich and Terry Riley.

Tsioulcas also produces episodes for NPR Music's much-lauded Tiny Desk concert series, and has hosted live concerts from venues like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and New York's (Le) Poisson Rouge. She has also commissioned and produced several world premieres on behalf of NPR Music, including a live event that brought together 350 musicians on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library.

As a video producer, she has created high-profile video shorts for NPR Music, including performances by cellist Yo-Yo Ma in a Brooklyn theatrical props warehouse and pianist Yuja Wang in an icy-cold Steinway & Sons piano factory in Queens.

Tsioulcas has reported from across Europe, north and west Africa, south Asia, and Cuba for NPR and other outlets. Prior to joining NPR in 2011, she was widely published as a writer and critic on both classical and world music, and was the North America editor for Gramophone Magazine and the classical music columnist for Billboard.

Born in Boston, Tsioulcas was trained from an early age as a classical violinist and violist. She holds a B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University in comparative religion.

On Tuesday, the New York Philharmonic announced that it has canceled all of its scheduled concerts through June 13, 2021. It is the first time in the orchestra's 178-year history that it has canceled an entire season.

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Twenty-six-year-old Kyle Burgess was on a 10-mile run on Saturday up Slate Canyon in Provo, Utah.

Early voting opened Monday in Georgia for the 2020 general election — but the first day was marred by technical issues and lines that in some locations stretched more than five hours long, particularly in the Atlanta metro area.

Drive-ins have been popping up all over the country during the coronavirus pandemic. But few are right in the middle of a city, next to a highway and skyscrapers.

It's a warm fall evening in downtown Newark, New Jersey. Hundreds of us are parked in the middle of a gravel lot. This the home of the pop-up Newark Moonlight Cinema, which opened in July and celebrates Black filmmakers and actors. A DJ plays music before the show. People get out of their cars to dance — wearing masks and staying apart.

Updated 2:45 p.m. ET

An Iranian singer whose voice was regarded as one of his country's national treasures — and who then ran afoul of the regime — has died. Mohammad Reza Shajarian, a master performer who was hailed as one of NPR's 50 Great Voices of all time, was 80. He earned the title of ostad — master — and was beloved for his commanding voice that could cry with haunting pain and soar with deep soul.

About 35 years ago, violinist Lara St. John — then just 15 years old — went with two friends to the dean of the school she attended, Philadelphia's Curtis Institute of Music, to say that her private teacher, the famed violin pedagogue Jascha Brodsky, had sexually abused her on multiple occasions.

Three associates of fallen R&B star R. Kelly were arrested and charged Tuesday by New York federal authorities. The three are accused of attempting to harass, threaten, intimidate and bribe several of Kelly's alleged victims of sexual abuse.

The men are 31-year-old Richard Arline Jr., a self-described friend of the singer; Donnell Russell, 45, a self-described "manager, advisor and friend" of Kelly; and Michael Williams, 37, who prosecutors say is a relative of one of Kelly's former publicists.

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There haven't been any live public performances at America's biggest arts center since mid-March.

Updated at 5:25 p.m. ET

A now-former administrator of Opera Theatre of St. Louis [OTSL], Damon Bristo, was arrested last month for child sex trafficking in the second degree. Bristo has resigned from his position as the company's director of artistic administration.

Back in the days before the coronavirus pandemic, lots of people found community and comfort in singing together, whether at school, as a form of worship, in amateur groups or performing as professionals. Last year, Chorus America reported that some 54 million Americans — that is, more than 15% of the entire country's population — participated in some kind of organized group singing. And that study revealed that nearly three-quarters of those polled felt less lonely.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show is facing a new round of serious allegations, this time of sexual harassment and misconduct against three of the daily talk show's executive producers, as well as other forms of workplace misconduct. The allegations come from 36 former Ellen DeGeneres employees.

On Thursday, DeGeneres sent a note to her staff in which she apologized for the show's reputed toxic workplace environment and pledged to do better.

Two controversies broke out this week regarding accusations of anti-Black racism in classical music. One involved two high-profile international soloists, pianist Yuja Wang and violinist Leonidas Kavakos. The other features less prominent individuals — a group of academics — but it also points to the slowness of the classical music community to take up difficult conversations about race and representation.

A choir of about 100 performers sang at a megachurch campaign event featuring Vice President Pence on Sunday. They did not wear masks while they sang.

Many epidemiologists and singing experts currently fear that singers may be superspreaders of COVID-19, due to aerosolization of the virus. Singing involves much more forceful and deep breathing than simple talking.

On Tuesday, the National Endowment for the Arts announced its newest class of National Heritage fellows: 10 artists, ensembles and cultural workers who represent the richness and breadth of America's traditional arts. They range from one of the pioneers of the Memphis sound of Southern soul to an Ojibwe birchbark canoe builder.

New York's Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center both said on Thursday that they have canceled their performances for the rest of 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The twin announcements from the two New York City landmarks signal that the city's cultural life will be slow to return.

In typical years, late September marks the beginning of the new concert season for two of New York's most famous music venues, followed shortly by the moneymaking holiday season. But 2020 is turning out to be anything but a normal year.

Face shields are critical gear for those on the front line of the ongoing coronavirus crisis. But like other pieces of PPE, they often still aren't available. But one volunteer group, using 3D printers at home, has made nearly 40,000 NIH-approved face shields for health care workers and first responders — from New Jersey to the Navajo Nation.

Updated at 4:00 p.m. ET

On Wednesday morning, the Recording Academy, which gives out the Grammy Awards, announced a few changes to the prizes — and to the way it structures its voting process. On social media, critics and fans immediately took up debating the most obvious shifts.

Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra [BSO] and a popular draw for tourists in the Berkshire Mountains, has canceled its 2020 live performance season due to the coronavirus, the BSO announced on Friday.

Updated Tuesday at 1:25 p.m. ET

Anthony Davis' opera The Central Park Five, with a libretto by Richard Wesley, has won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Music.

Updated Wednesday at 10:29 a.m.

Cellist Lynn Harrell, one of the finest and most prominent American classical musicians of his generation, has died. He was 76 years old.

His death was initially announced by his wife, violinist Helen Nightengale, on social media. She did not disclose the cause of his death. In a statement provided Wednesday by Columbia Artists, the company that managed Harrell, Nightengale said that the cellist's death was unexpected.

The creatively voracious music producer Hal Willner, who for decades selected the music used in "Saturday Night Live" sketches, died Tuesday, one day after his 64th birthday. He had symptoms consistent with those caused by COVID-19.

Along with his work at "SNL" — where he began in 1980 — Willner was a multifaceted presence in the music community, earning fans and drawing critical praise for his work as a live event and record producer.

Bill Withers, the sweet-voiced baritone behind such classic songs as "Ain't No Sunshine," "Lean on Me" and "Use Me" has died. Withers was 81 years old. According to a family statement given to the Associated Press, he died Monday in Los Angeles due to heart complications.

The seaside town of Llandudno in northern Wales has gone quiet during the coronavirus crisis, like so many other communities around the globe. The streets are mostly deserted, except for one daring crew who are wandering around the shuttered storefronts.

At least five rabbis from the close-knit ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Lakewood, N.J., have died in the past few days from coronavirus, reports from local media say.

A painting by Vincent van Gogh was stolen early Monday morning from a Dutch museum in what appeared to be a smash-and-grab from the institution's front entrance.

The painting, an 1884 work titled The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring 1884, had been on loan to the Singer Laren museum near Amsterdam. It is part of the permanent collection of the Groninger Museum, in the northern part of the Netherlands.

Now-disgraced former opera star David Daniels has been fired from his position as a tenured professor at the University of Michigan [UM] following allegations of sexual misconduct.

Daniels' firing was approved Thursday by the school's board of regents. He was deemed not eligible for severance pay. According to the university, Daniels is the first tenured faculty member to be dismissed since it adopted its current bylaws in 1959.

New York's Metropolitan Opera — the largest performing arts organization in the United States by budget — has laid off all of its union employees for the duration of the coronavirus crisis, NPR has learned. The layoff includes all of the opera's orchestral players, chorus singers and stagehands.

For the first time ever, the annual international singing competition Eurovision has been canceled.

The 2020 edition was supposed to take place in the Dutch city of Rotterdam from May 12-16. Now that won't happen because of concerns about the coronavirus. Singers and groups from 41 countries had been set to compete. Last year's edition, which was held in Tel Aviv, attracted 182 million broadcast and online viewers across the globe.

On Friday morning, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, New York filed a superseding indictment against R&B singer R. Kelly. They charged him with nine counts that include racketeering and eight violations of the Mann Act, which prohibits sexual trafficking across state lines.

In this indictment, the prosecutors newly allege that in 2015, Kelly had sex with a girl under the age of 18, and that he gave her herpes without disclosing that he had the disease. In total, the New York federal charges now include six alleged victims, including three girls.

Concerns over coronavirus are having a deep impact on performing arts and cultural institutions across the United States.

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