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.

Bless You!

Mar 18, 2014

We've all been there: You try (and try, and try) to hold back a sneeze, and nature prevails.

It's no secret that gold-winning American ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White have become favorite faces in Sochi. But it turns out that the charming White has done his share of woodshedding along with his hard work on the ice.

Chinese-born pianist Yuja Wang isn't one to do anything in half measures. So when we invited her to record a performance in a room at the Steinway & Sons piano factory, she showed up in Queens that frigid morning with her A game.

Classical music has managed to take center stage at sports events in the last few weeks. Soprano Renée Fleming sang the National Anthem at the Super Bowl two weekends ago.

Claudio Abbado, one of the most sought-after conductors of his generation, died Monday in Bologna, Italy, at age 80. His death was announced by a spokesperson for Bologna's mayor, saying that it followed an unspecified long illness. Abbado had been diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2000; following surgery for that illness, he was transformed into a hauntingly gaunt figure.

She's probably not among your first, or second, or 10th, or 20th-round guesses, but the NFL just announced that American soprano Renee Fleming will sing the national anthem at Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2.

A case stirring intense outrage in the classical music community and starting to gain steam in the mainstream press is getting more mysterious by the day.

Pianist Lang Lang sits down with his own revered mentor Gary Graffman, to discuss what makes great teachers — and bad ones.
Courtesy of the artist

The year may have suffered a couple of black eyes in the form of shuttered opera companies and orchestras in labor disputes, but as far as recordings go, don't let anyone tell you classical music is dying — the music and musicians are thriving.

2013 revealed a rich trove of talent. There were promising debuts from young composers like Caleb Burhans, fascinating cross-pollinations between indie rock and classical musicians in David Lang's Schubert-inspired song cycle and extraordinary vocal delights from the superb singer Christian Gerhaher and the resplendent Latvian Radio Choir.

This wound up being a spectacular year for elaborate, lavishly packaged reissues. Given all the fabulous classical box sets that appeared this year, you'd think we were in some kind of boom era for music served up on compact discs. (2013? More like 1993.)

With the holidays upon us, our friends at member station WQXR invited me along with Washington Post chief classical critic Anne Midgette and Sony Masterworks producer Steven Epstein, the winner of 17 Grammy Awards, to sit down with host Naomi Lewin for a Conducting Business podcast on the topic.

Composer Benjamin Britten, whose 100th birth anniversary falls on Nov. 22nd, is so deeply associated with his native England that he's on a new 50-pence coin issued by the Royal Mint.

British composer Benjamin Britten was born 100 years ago this Friday, Nov. 22. Before you ask "Benja-who?" consider this: Did you see Wes Anderson's film Moonrise Kingdom last summer, or Pedro Almodovar's Talk to Her back a decade or so ago? (Well, maybe you have to be an art-house denizen for those.

An old video is suddenly making the internet rounds, because living vicariously through a performance nightmare is an ever-popular sport, I guess. (And we've collected plenty ourselves.)

Due to a strike by Carnegie Hall's stagehands, represented by IATSE/Local One (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees), tonight's performance has been cancelled.



PROGRAM:

  • Tchaikovsky: Slavonic March, Op. 31
  • Saint-Saëns: Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, Op. 28
  • Ravel: Tzigane

The British classical magazine Gramophone announced today the latest round of winners of its annual awards, now in their 90th year. With an expansive roll call of noteworthy albums ranging from early music to opera, the Gramophone Award honorees represent a tantalizing range of musical achievement — but it's a smaller array than in years past.

Stories of old friends finding each other again aren't all that surprising in the age of Facebook and Twitter. But sometimes, those reunions can lead to the opportunity of a lifetime. A chance encounter between a tourist and a mirror maker in an Algerian bazaar led to the reuniting of Jewish and Muslim musicians — friends who'd been apart for 50 years. Now they're touring the U.S.

PROGRAM:

Kronos Quartet & Superhuman Happiness: Suite from How to Survive a Plague (world premiere)

Kronos Quartet, Abena Koomson & Sahr Ngaujah: Fela Kuti, "Sorrow, Tears and Blood"

There is magic in pure sound. And few know that truth as well as the quartet called So Percussion and the installation artist and drummer Eli Keszler — artists who, before this spring, had never met. We thought that they might find kindred spirits in each other.

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