In a cheerful rehearsal room at Temple University, a few dozen professional musicians inspect the instruments that they'll be playing to debut an audacious piece of music by a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer.
The composition is called "Symphony For a Broken Orchestra" and, fittingly, these instruments are all broken.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra cellist Dan Katz has two cellos. The better one — the one he prefers to play with the orchestra — is 200 years old and has rosewood tuning pegs. When the orchestra went on an 11-concert European tour in January, he purposefully left it home.
"I worry with that instrument about international travel now, because of those pegs," Katz said after rehearsing for a performance of Schubert's Ninth Symphony earlier this month.
The "Despacito" phenomenon continues with this morning's announcement of the 2018 Grammy nominations. However, while it was the original Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee version that won big at the Latin Grammys, it was the Justin Bieber remix that got nods this morning for record of the year, song of the year and best pop duo/group performance.
Steely Dan, the artistic partnership of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker (with a revolving cast of players), lasted nearly 50 years before Becker's death in early September. Now, a dispute between Fagen and Becker's estate, which is owned by his widow, Delia Cioffi, has put a bitter spin on the legacy of a warm, winking, coolly funky corner of pop.
It is an important moment in the life of a symphony orchestra when a new conductor is selected — not just to lead the orchestra, but to create the programs, hire the artists and more. In short, to be the music director.
In Washington, D.C., the choice was made with astonishing harmony.
Late one Thursday night, the hippest cafe-bar in the village of Majdal Shams pulses with strobe lights. The dance floor is packed. Beloved hometown band Hawa Dafi — Arabic for "warm breeze" — is playing a live concert.
Early the next morning, another soundtrack rocks the village.