Music

From jazz, to classical and world music, NEPM entertains, inspires and enriches lives seven days a week with its signature music programming. Our hosts provide in-depth knowledge about music they share and keep listeners up-to-date on music events happening throughout the region on air and on the Classical Facebook Group and Jazz and World Music Facebook Group  

Explore and experience a variety of music programming on NEPM 88.5FM:  

Find All Music Programs on NEPR

Last summer, the Tanglewood Music Festival closed for the first time since 1943. It meant the cancellation of nearly 150 concerts due to the coronavirus outbreak. Now, the Berkshires are back in business and the Boston Pops are ready to return to Friday-festival performances.

Maestro Keith Lockhart has been leading the Boston Pops since 1995 and in his conversation with Dara Kennedy and Maya Shwayder, he discusses his personal difficulties during the show's hiatus, the current and future state of classical music and if a new album is on the horizon.

Laurie Millman, director of Center for New Americans in Northampton was Tertulia’s guest on June 27, 2021.

She spoke about their work in helping immigrants when they arrive in the U. S. and when they are ready to apply for citizenship, including free English classes.

Conductor Keith Lockhart leads the Boston Pops at Tanglewood in 2018, when crowds were not a threat to public health.
Hillary Scott / BSO Press Office

People are dreaming of a less sequestered summer, and with COVID-19 restrictions easing, the Berkshires will be a destination for many.

Business owners count on tourists coming to this relatively small region, rich in live music, theater and museums. For them, last summer was brutal. This year, it could almost feel like the old days.

Dr. Orlando Torres, Medical Director at Baystate High St. Health Center, Adult Medicine in Springfield was Tertulia's guest on April 11. 2021. He spoke about the vaccines for Covid -19 and the many misconceptions and misinformation in the Latino community. He stressed the importance of being vaccinated and the availability of vaccines as of April 12 at the clinics on High St.,Mason Sq. and Brightwood in Springfield. The conversation was held in Spanish.

Mr. Carreras, Director of Music at the Conservatory of the Arts Magnet School in Springfield was Tertulia’s guest on April 4, 2021.

He spoke about his role as a director in all different manifestations of art, including choirs, bands, music and film productions.

He brings very well known artists as guests, via zoom, to interact with the students.

Magos Herrera

Apr 1, 2021

Magos Herrera, born in Mexico City, is a jazz singer, songwriter, producer and educator, currently based out of New York City. Ms. Herrera was Tertulia’s guest on March 28, 2021. She spoke about her music and how she incorporates Latin American melodies and rhythms in contemporary jazz. Ms. Herrera is also a United Nations’ spokesperson for U N Women Unite promoting the elimination of violence against women and gender equality. Ms. Herrera will have an evening concert streaming live from the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton, April 17 at 3 pm.

Marcos Carreras

Mar 18, 2021

Marcos Carreras, Director of Music at the Conservatory of the Arts Magnet School, Springfield, was Tertulia’s guest on March 14, 2021.

Mr. Carreras is the director of choirs, bands, music productions and film. The school has students from grades 6th to 12th with emphasis in developing and promoting art in all different manifestations.

Charles Lloyd interview

Mar 15, 2021

Claudia Acuña

Mar 10, 2021

Chilean jazz vocalist, songwriter and arranger, Claudia Acuña, was Tertulia’s guest on February 28,2021. She described her music as a fusion of traditional music from South America and jazz. Ms. Acuña, a Latin Grammy Award nominee, will perform on March 6, 2021 at the Academy of Music Theater, Northampton.

claudiaacunamusic@gmail.com

Martha Sager-Cutt, Director for Young Moms at Roca Inc. Springfield, was Tertulia’s guest on February 21, 2021.

Ms. Sager-Cutt spoke about the mission of the program, its target population and skills provided to help young mothers to get out of violence and poverty.

rocainc.org

Charlie Parker
William Gottlieb / Library of Congress

Today marks the centennial of Charlie Parker's birth. Born August 29, 1920, in Kansas City, Kansas, and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Parker died at the 5th Avenue home of Pannonica de Koenigswarter, the so-called Jazz Baroness, on March 12, 1955 at the age of 34. Now 65 years later, the saxophonist known as Bird (or Yardbird) remains one of the most heralded and mythical figures of 20th century music. Among Bird's many admirers, Lennie Tristano was especially respectful of his character and astute in his assessments of the saxophonist's music.

Bob Dylan
NPR

I've just listened all the way through Bob Dylan's "Murder Most Foul" for the first time. I'll move on to the rest of his new album, Rough and Rowdy Ways, this weekend. A musician friend says it's "heavy and spooky," and he's got me eager to hear, "Goodbye Jimmy Reed." I've always taken Dylan in moderate measure, given him plenty of time. For 60 years, he's been our chief chronicler, and in his long ballad for JFK, the music and mood are stately, elegiac, and emphatic, which feels right both for his subject and for the state of the nation today.

Dr. Orlando, Medical Director at Baystate Hospital, High St., Springfield joined us on Tertulia to speak about Covid-19. He discussed symptoms presented by children affected by the virus, types of masks, necessary precautions to consider when reopening stores and how this pandemic is disproportionately affecting specific sectors in our community.

Dr. Orlando Torres on Coronavirus Pandemic

May 14, 2020

Tertulia’s guest is Dr. Orlando Torres, Medical Director at Baystate Hospital, High St. , Springfield.

He shared information about the coronavirus pandemic such as common and not-so-common symptoms, those who may be at higher risk of being infected, when one should go to the hospital, and new testing sites.

Ellis Marsalis, Jr., pianist and patriarch of the world's most famous jazz family, died on April 1 at 85. He'd been hospitalized with Coronavirus symptoms. New Orleans currently has the most concentrated Covid-19 death rate in the nation.

Archie Shepp
Montreal Jazz Festival

The documentary, Miles Davis: The Birth of the Cool, will be shown in the American Masters series on PBS on February 25.  The film includes a scene in which Archie Shepp recalls an encounter he had with the trumpeter at the Village Vanguard on Thanksgiving weekend in 1965. The scene is brief and only scratches the surface of what proved to be a disruptive event in which Shepp defied Miles by storming the bandstand and sitting in with his group.

Say the name “theremin” and there’s a good chance it will conjure up eerie soundtracks from horror or sci-fi movies, like 1951’s “The Day The Earth Stood Still.”

Watch on YouTube.

But Léon Theremin’s preternatural invention has been inspiring classical musicians and composers since it first wowed the world in 1920. To celebrate its upcoming 100th birthday, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) is celebrating the electronic instrument with a world premiere performance and a live recording.

Duke Ellington and Johnny Hodges
Jan Persson / CDJ

"Tell 'em what happened! Tell ‘em what happened!” Duke Ellington exhorts Johnny "Jeep" Hodges in this 1957 performance of “Jeep’s Blues,” at a dance concert in Carrolton, Pennsylvania.

Tanglewood, the summer home in the Berkshires of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, has long felt like something of a summer camp for musicians and fans. Since 1936, music lovers have noshed and lounged on blankets at Tanglewood while listening to the BSO play hits by Brahms or Beethoven (these days lawn tickets cost a modest $13).

Less visible are the hours of intense instruction for about 150 young musicians at the Tanglewood Music Center.

Members of Phat A$tronaut play their song "Green Eyes" at NEPR. From left, Dylan McDonnell on flute, Ro Godwyn and Chad Browne-Springer.
Jill Kaufman / NEPR

This region is packed with great musicians. Our annual music series is a chance to highlight some of the amazing artists who live here, in southern Vermont, throughout western Massachusetts and around Hartford. 

The new Linde Center for Music and Learning is home to the Tanglewood Learning Institute. It launches its first season of music, lectures and cultural events this summer, and will offer events year-round, a first for Tanglewood.
Winslow Townson / Boston Symphony Orchestra

The summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Lenox, Massachusetts, is about to become a year-round destination. Tanglewood's all-season complex opens this weekend, with a new series of lectures and events.

Dr. John
NPR

Malcolm John Rebennack, Jr., who was better known as Dr. John the Night Tripper, died on Thursday, June 6, at age 77. Among his many musical associations, he was a featured member of the RCO All-Stars, a group that drummer Levon Helm formed after the break-up of The Band. Great but short-lived, RCO made one album and a memorable appearance on Saturday Night Live in 1977. There the principles— Dr. John, Levon Helm, and Paul Butterfield— were introduced by host Broderick Crawford.

American lutenist, composer and teacher Ronn McFarlane has been active nationally and internationally for over 40 years, both as a soloist and as a collaborator with other instrumentalists.

As befitting the legacy of Duke Ellington, who led his renowned orchestra for nearly 50 years and criss-crossed the globe as an unofficial musical ambassador, there are Duke Ellington Society chapters in Toronto, Stockholm, London, and Paris, in addition to New York, Los Angeles, and Ellington’s birthplace, Washington, D.C. I’ve been a member and have attended several of TDES’s gatherings at St.

Jack Brown conducts the Berkshire Lyric Chorus during a weekly rehearsal in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

About 70 singers greeted each other on a recent Monday night as they settled into their seats at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. A tall, bearded man stood before them next to a piano.

Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Roy Haynes, Open Door, New York City, 1953
copyright Robert Parent / The New York Times

A few weeks ago (March 8, 2019), the New York Times ran a piece entitled, “Is This the Greatest Photo in Jazz History?” I was immediately struck by the silly conceit of declaring anything the greatest (except, that is, for the ice cream made from dairy cows at a local farm that I’ve assiduously avoided since February 5, 2017), but of course I read on. Robert Parent’s photo depicts Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, and Roy Haynes, playing at the Open Door in Greenwich Village on September 13, 1953.

(r-l) Lennie Tristano and Charlie Parker with Hot Lips Page, Lester Young, and Max Kaminsky, at Birdland, 1949
copyright Herman Leonard Photography, LLC / Herman Leonard Photography, LLC

Among Charlie Parker's many admirers, Lennie Tristano was especially respectful of Bird's character and astute in his assessments of the saxophonist's music.  The blind pianist recognized Parker as the single most important innovator of modern jazz, and rejected the commonly held view that bebop was formulated in a workshop-like atmosphere at Minton’s and Monroe’s and other after-hours venues.

Jane Bunnett and Maqueque at the 2018 Newport Jazz Festival
Kari Njirri / NEPR

Kari Njiiri, NEPR, spoke with saxophonist Jane Bunnett following a performance with her all-female band from Cuba, Maqueque, at the 2018 Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island. 

Dance and music inspired by Puerto Rican culture.
Charlie Billups / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/titoytitabillups

 

Dan Román began composing as a young teenager growing up in Puerto Rico. He doesn't know why he started, exactly — just that simply playing instruments wasn't enough.

Composer Kate Soper plays Polyxo in a scene from her opera "Here Be Sirens" in New York City in 2014.
Noah Arjomand / Courtesy Kate Soper

Opera fans, and even non-fans, are familiar with the music of Bizet's "Carmen" or Puccini's "Madama Butterfly." Lesser-known is the world of new opera, like "Here Be Sirens," composed by a Smith College professor and on stage in Northampton, Massachusetts, this weekend.

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