Music

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

George Li is a young pianist on the rise. At age 10, he gave his first public concert and at 15, he won a silver medal at the revered Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Li recently released his debut album on a major label and has been fielding offers, performing with some of the world's great orchestras.

Kyle Frenette, longtime manager of Bon Iver and a co-founder of Middle West Management, "an artist management firm founded on the acute quiet of Midwestern work ethic," is planning a pivot to politics. The Wisconsin native will formally announce his campaign to represent the 7th Congressional District of his state this Thursday, his campaign manager Christian Duffy confirmed to NPR Music.

River Whyless is a band whose members push themselves toward perfection while holding each other up and allowing for some risk-taking. This is a band not only of strong players and singers but something a lot of bands rarely have: multiple, talented songwriters.

John Corigliano is one of America's most acclaimed composers. He's won a Pulitzer, an Oscar and five Grammys, and he's still hard at work, having turned 80 on Feb. 16.

Who in the pop world but Janelle Monae could pack dystopian Afro-Futurism, sleek runway style, action sequences, club hotness and tender love into thirty seconds?

The Smashing Pumpkins has announced an extensive North American arena tour under the title Shiny and Oh So Bright. Its three dozen dates will begin on July 12 in Glendale, Ariz. and end Sept. 7 in Boise, Idaho.

As with most of the tours, reunions, albums and other assorted ephemera surrounding this, one of alt-rock's greatest acts, what might have simply been a greatest hits lap for a band that parted ways nearly two decades ago has turned into a bit of a referendum on its legacy.

The band Shearwater is known for songs with picturesque lyrics and arrangements that range from the intimate to the epic. While on tour for the band's 2016 album, Jet Plane and Oxbow, frontman Jonathan Meiburg decided he wanted to try something new: writing songs for someone else's voice.

Tom Rapp, a civil rights attorney and musician best known for his late-'60s and early-'70s recordings under the name Pearls Before Swine, has died while in hospice care at his home in Melbourne, Fla., his publicist confirmed to NPR Music. He was 70 years old.

Tom Misch is a U.K.-based beatmaker well known among fans for his prowess behind the boards. But in 2018, the 22-year-old stalwart doing his best to show off the many facets of his artistry. That includes pushing his sound, booking U.S. tour dates and releasing an adventurous music video in which he does his own aquatic stunts.

David Bolton & Logie Meachum are our next guests for Soup to Nuts LIVE! on Thursday, February 22nd, in the MC Erny Gallery. Doors open at 6:30pm, and the show starts at 7:30pm.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Vic Damone, a singer who rose to fame along the tail end of the post-war era embodied by The Rat Pack, died yesterday at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Fla., according to a statement from his family. He was 89.

A first-generation Italian-American, Damone grew up closely studying the work of another similarly situated artist, Frank Sinatra, who would later become a cherished friend. "Without Frank there would not have been a Vic Damone," Damone once said.

John Perry Barlow, who died last Wednesday at 70, was one of those unusual figures whose obituaries find no point of common agreement. An Internet evangelist who once wrote song lyrics for the Grateful Dead, Barlow was also a poet, activist, cattle rancher and corporate consultant, whose peripatetic career defied easy summarization.

On a recent Sunday night at the Lodge Room, a Masonic temple turned music venue in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, salsa and cumbia music wafted down from the second-floor concert hall. Over the stairs, gold mylar balloons spelled out the words "Quince Night."

Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, one of the avant-garde's most beloved film scorers, died Friday in Berlin, Germany. His death was confirmed by his manager, Tim Husom, but according to an official statement, the cause is unknown at this time. He was 48 years old.

"O Canada," reads the first line of anthem celebrating the vast country ranking second in the world on the basis of landmass. It continues, "our home and native land. True patriot love in all our sons command." Or at least it did, until this Wednesday, when that second line was officaly altered to read: "in all of us command."

The two-word change took over thirty years.

Another group of high-profile players in the music business are calling on the Recording Academy (also known as NARAS, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) and its president and CEO, Neil Portnow, to make fundamental changes to address gender disparity within its ranks and at the Grammy Awards.

Pioneering DJ and rapper Lovebug Starski, who helped develop the nascent form of hip-hop in the Bronx in the late '70s, died Thursday afternoon of a heart attack at his Las Vegas home, his manager has confirmed to NPR. He was 57.

By her own admission, composer Florence Price had two strikes against her.

"To begin with I have two handicaps – those of sex and race. I am a woman; and I have some Negro blood in my veins," is how she began a 1943 letter to Serge Koussevitzky, the revered conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She added later, "I would like to be judged on merit alone."

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Over nearly 50 years of making albums, John Prine's been able to turn the sense that he's slightly underappreciated into a trademark. He's the secret favorite everybody can agree on, never quite in the middle of the conversation but always poking around in the corners for a modest truth that will linger after the noise dies down.

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