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95th Academy Awards—no gong for Tár

Cate Blanchett plays Lydia Tár
Cate Blanchett plays Lydia Tár

The 95th Academy Awards were announced in typically glitzy fashion on Sunday night.

Actors Brendan Fraser (in ‘The Whale’) Ke Huy Quan and Michelle Yeo (both in ‘Everything All at Once’) took home trophies for their acting, with’ Everything All at Once’ picking up best film and best director for Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert.
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How the instruments got their names

The cello's full name means 'The little big viol'
The cello's full name means 'The little big viol'

Why is the tenor oboe called an “English horn”? Are violinists are really playing “little violas”? What links the bassoon and Benito Mussolini? And are viols really vile? The names of the major classical instruments are so familiar that we usually take them for granted, but digging into their origins reveals an intriguing hotchpotch of multicultural influences, from ancient Greece and Rome via medieval Europe through to the present day. Some names reveal surprisingly simple origins; others make no sense whatsoever but offer entertaining glimpses into language’s ability to mistranslate, mislead and sometimes downright mangle the original meaning of things.
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This Young Man Sounds Like Three Guitarists in One

Kent Nishimura performing Rock with You
Kent Nishimura performing Rock with You

If you close your eyes and just listen to this acoustic fingerstyle guitar version of Michael Jackson's Rock With You - by young Japanese guitarist Kent Nishimura, you'll probably swear there are two or three people playing. There's a laid-back half-time beat, there are chords, there's melody, there's even a bit of a bass line.

So it's quite a shock when you realise there was no over-dubbing involved, this was all recorded live and performed by just one, very talented young man
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Classical Flying Repertoire

British conductor and pilot Daniel Harding
British conductor and pilot Daniel Harding

British conductor Daniel Harding is a busy man. As well as just being confirmed as the new director of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, a post he will initially hold alongside his commitments at Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Harding has a second career: as an airline pilot at Air France.

Being such a busy man, it must be challenging to find time to pick repertoire for his next concert. We are glad then to provide a few suggestions that will hopefully inspire him and
anyone else with an interest in flight in all its forms: insect and avian; mythological and man-made.

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Coltrane's Giant Steps...on Bassoon

VG Bassoonist performs Giant Steps ....on bassoon
VG Bassoonist performs Giant Steps ....on bassoon

"Giant Steps" is a famously challenging jazz track composed by saxophonist John Coltrane. Released on his 1960 album of the same name, the track became famous for its rapid-fire chord changes, where chords that are usually only distantly related rain down in quick succession.

Improvising over the Giant Steps chord progression has became something of a rite of passage for jazz musicians the world over. A challenge to see if you can master one of the trickiest series of chords ever created for the jazz improviser.

But another approach is to see if you can play Coltrane's own solo note-for-note on your own instrument.
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Repertoire guide: Debussy's Syrinx

A scene depicting Pan and Syrinx, together with the opening bars of Debussy's manuscript
A scene depicting Pan and Syrinx, together with the opening bars of Debussy's manuscript

It can be played in less than two minutes, wasn’t even written as a conventional concert piece and only acquired its final title almost a decade after the death of the composer who wrote it. Unpublished for fifteen years, the piece existed in a single manuscript copy whose owner retained exclusive performance rights to the work, which he often played while hidden behind a curtain.

Despite its unusual history, Debussy’s Syrinx has gone on to establish itself as probably the most popular piece for unaccompanied woodwind instrument ever written. A key work in the flute repertoire, it’s also hugely popular with clarinet and sax players, and indeed many other performers — search YouTube and you’ll find transcriptions for just about every major instrument ranging from versions for piccolo and guitar to tuba and double bass.
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Five Families Where Composing Is All In The Genes

Meet the Gabrielis, the Couperins, the Mozarts, the Bachs and the Lloyd Webbers
Meet the Gabrielis, the Couperins, the Mozarts, the Bachs and the Lloyd Webbers

Most people have heard of J.S.Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and, more recently, Andrew Lloyd Webber? But did you know that none of these were the only composer in the family? Some, indeed, were part of a line of musicians that lasted many generations. Here, then, are five of some of the most famous composing families, their most famous and not so famous members, as well as examples of their best works. When it comes to composing, it’s just in the blood.
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Buckingham Palace announces Coronation Composers

King Charles III and commissioned composer Andrew Lloyd Webber [Source: Wikipedia]
King Charles III and commissioned composer Andrew Lloyd Webber [Source: Wikipedia]

Buckingham Palace has revealed the names of the composers commissioned to write new pieces for the coronation of King Charles III.

The diverse list includes music from legendary theatre composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, who will write a new Coronation Anthem, and a new Coronation March from Patrick Doyle, best known for his works for film, including a number of collaborations with Kenneth Branagh (Henry V, Sense and Sensibility, Hamlet, Carlito's Way and Gosford Park).
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Code breakers in Music

Code breaker Alan Turing at the age of 16 and 1748 portrait of code maker J.S. Bach  [Source:Wikipedia]
Code breaker Alan Turing at the age of 16 and 1748 portrait of code maker J.S. Bach [Source:Wikipedia]

Alan Turing played an important role in the breaking the the Nazi Enigma codes during World War 2. His life was made into the 2014 film, ‘The Imitation Game.’

It has now also been turned into an opera, ‘The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing’ by Justine F Chen to a libretto by David Simpatico, which will premiere on 23rd March in Chicago's Harris Theater for Music and Dance.
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Why is there no saxophone in the orchestra?

Why is there no saxophone in the orchestra?
Why is there no saxophone in the orchestra?

A question often asked by first-time concert goers is—where were the saxophones? The saxophone is one of the most popular instruments. You see them everywhere. So why aren't they part of the standard orchestral line-up?

A common myth is that it doesn't blend with the other instruments. It's loud, abrasive and honky—it just sticks out too much.

But in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The true reason the sax isn't a fully-fledged member of the orchestra is a story full of intrigue, politics and prejudice.
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