The year is half over and that means NPR Music and our public radio partners have been obsessing over our favorite songs of the year so far. The full list of 50 songs makes a potent stew ranging from power pop and brash hip-hop to electro-fueled dance music and intimate portraits from jazz vocalists, classical guitarists and folk troubadours.
Conductor Julius Rudel, a defining figure in 20th-century opera production, died early Thursday morning. He was 93, and died at his New York home of natural causes, according to his son Anthony Rudel, station manager of Boston classical music broadcaster WCRB. WCRB is part of WGBH and an NPR member station.
"We had to do things ourselves until something else kicked in," bassist William Parker said at a panel earlier this month. He was explaining how he came to co-found the Vision Festival. "And nothing's ever really kicked in."
Most people who attend symphony performances can spot the concertmaster. That's the first chair violinist who enters before the conductor and helps tune the orchestra. But the all important position calls for much more than that — from playing tricky solos to shaping the sound of the string section.
Lyrics scribbled on hotel stationery circa 1965 that later became one of the most iconic rock songs of all time, Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone," has fetched more than $2 million in an auction at Sotheby's.
Update Wednesday, June 25, 2014: A representative from Sotheby's tells NPR that the instrument did not sell "at this time."
Wednesday, Sotheby's auction house plans to announce the sale of a rare viola made by Antonio Stradivari. The minimum bid is $45 million. If it sells, it will be the most expensive instrument of any kind in history.
Here's an old musician joke: How do you keep your violin from getting stolen? Put it in a viola case.