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Classically trained violinist and songwriter Gaelynn Lea has been immersed in music since her childhood. While she says her primary focus in life is on her career as a musician, it was her rise to fame after winning the 2016 NPR Tiny Desk contest when she also took on a new role - that of a disability advocate and public speaker.  During a recent concert in Rochester at Nazareth College, Lea told Need to Know that the underrepresentation of people with disabilities in the arts has given her a new stage to share a powerful message.

When we invited Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov to play a Tiny Desk concert, we rolled out the big guns. In place of the trusty upright, we wedged a 7-foot grand piano behind Bob Boilen's desk in preparation for the artist who The Times of London called "without question the most astounding pianist of our age."

Updated, Jan. 11, 4:00 p.m. ET: This article was updated to include new allegations of sexual assault made against Dutoit.

What the world needs now is another cat video. Seriously.

Monroe County and the City of Rochester are teaming up with a number of local organizations to celebrate the legacy of abolitionist and Rochester resident Frederick Douglass. Douglass never knew the exact date of his own birth, but he eventually determined that he was born in February 1818. Now, 200 years later, the “Re-energizing the Legacy of Frederick Douglass” project will help the community explore his life and work.

This hour, we discuss Douglass’ legacy and his impact on Rochester, we preview the events and activities tied to the year-long program, and we discuss what Douglass would think about the politics of today. Our guests:

  • Carvin Eison, co-director of the Re-Energizing the Legacy of Frederick Douglass Project; associate professor of journalism, broadcasting and public relations at the College at Brockport; and general manager of Rochester Community Media
  • Bleu Cease, co-director of the Re-Energizing the Legacy of Frederick Douglass Project; and executive director of Rochester Contemporary Art Center
  • Christine Ridarsky, Rochester city historian

Georgia Public Broadcasting

As a complement to its summer Festival, The Glimmerglass Festival has announced “Breaking Glass,” a series of national forums and a five-episode podcast sparking discussions about how opera and the arts respond to present-day issues. In partnership with Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB), the inaugural forum will take place on Saturday, January 13, at 2 p.m. in Atlanta. The inaugural forum offers an interactive livestream of the panel to those interested in joining the conversation. To register for the free event, visit operaforum.eventbrite.com.

Today our colleague Robert Siegel is retiring after four decades at NPR. He's covered everything from peace movements in East and West Germany to the Republican revolution of the 104th Congress, the mentally ill homeless and the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan Province, China.

Over his 30-year tenure as host of All Things Considered, Robert has also chased one of his lifelong passions — classical music. He's interviewed dozens of today's most compelling musicians.

A former Eastman School of Music piano student is speaking out about his lawsuit alleging he was retaliated against when he rebuffed the sexual advances of a professor.

Joseph Irrera, who grew up in Batavia, now lives in the San Francisco area. But the 35 year old classical pianist says it’s been tough getting a teaching position, something he thought he was on track to do after pursuing his doctoral degree at Eastman.

When it comes to reporting on Spotify and the company's strained relationship with songwriters and publishers, it's beginning to sound like a broken ... system. But a possible fix is in.

Just two days before New Year's Eve, the music publishing company Wixen, which manages the compositions of a wide cross section of artists from Neil Young to Rage Against The Machine, filed a lawsuit against Spotify over its failure to properly license those works before making them available to stream.

Robert Mann, a violinist and one of the founders of the Juilliard String Quartet, died on Monday at home in Manhattan. He was 97 years old.

When he was a youngster in Portland, Oregon, Mann dreamed of being a forest ranger. But destiny apparently had other plans for him: instead, he became a legendary musician.

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