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Adrian Mann

Piano builder Adrian Mann has created a piano with 20-foot strings.  It's been installed in southern New Zealand where the creator hopes keyboardists will test its possibilities.

“You’ve got a huge soundboard, it moves a massive amount of air, and you’ve got that extra bit of grunt behind it. The keys are almost a metre long. There were huge engineering challenges to overcome. When it was first built the sound was quite raw, but it’s now much more refined and tuned and well-regulated.”

Classical and folk music continue to intermingle in fascinating ways. The intersections stretch back far beyond Bach, who cleverly slipped a German folk song into his Goldberg Variations. Later, composers like Ralph Vaughan Williams and Béla Bartók combed the countryside, collecting tunes from villagers.

When Daniil Trifonov was 20, he scored a double victory, taking home top prizes at both the Tchaikovsky and Rubinstein International Piano Competitions. That was six years ago, and by now he has secured a spot as one of the most revered – perhaps even feared – classical pianists on the scene today.

John Armato/Courtesy of the artist

Opera singer Charity Tillemann-Dick received a double lung transplant in 2009.  She's written a memoir, Encore, about the experience.

"When I woke up from the surgery, I saw the nurses and my mother, and I was just so profoundly grateful to be alive and I opened my mouth to say "thank you" and nothing came out. My voice was gone."

Hear more in this NPR interview with Scott Simon.

Bill Murray has come a long way since his early days as Nick the Lounge Singer on Saturday Night Live. He made screwball comedies like Caddy Shack and Stripes. Then he made serious films, like Lost in Translation.

What does it take to be an opera superstar? Jonas Kaufmann should know. He's been called "the world's greatest tenor."

Kaufmann has the voice. He's also got the onstage charisma, the movie-star good looks, the ambition, even a little controversy — and a brand new album.

He's the ultimate singer-songwriter: His poetry knows no equal and, as a musician, his powers are magical. But he also has big problems.

The tragic story of Orpheus has inspired countless works of art over the millennia — plus one. The latest retelling comes from director and choreographer Mark DeChiazza.

When words fail

Sep 25, 2017
Brenda Tremblay

A music critic wrestles with the limitations of lexicon.

"Music, especially purely instrumental music, resists being described in language. It’s very hard to convey sounds through words. Perhaps that’s what we most love about music: that it’s beyond description, deeper than words."

Anthony Tommasini is The New York Times’s classical music critic. Read his essay here.

Stockholm Early Music Festival

"The instrument Viola organista, one of its kind, was invented and designed by Leonardo da Vinci in 1489 and has now, after 500 years of waiting, been built by the Polish musician Sławomir Zubrzycki."

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