Anastasia Tsioulcas

Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter on NPR's Arts desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards and the myriad accusations of sexual misconduct against singer R. Kelly.

On happier days, Tsioulcas has celebrated the life of the late Aretha Franklin, traveled to Havana to profile musicians and dancers, revealed the hidden artistry of an Indian virtuoso who spent 60 years in her apartment and brought listeners into the creative process of composers Steve Reich and Terry Riley.

Tsioulcas was formerly a reporter and producer for NPR Music, where she covered breaking news in the music industry as well as a wide range of musical genres and artists. She has also produced episodes for NPR Music's much-lauded Tiny Desk concert series, and has hosted live concerts from venues like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and New York's (Le) Poisson Rouge. She also commissioned and produced several world premieres on behalf of NPR Music, including a live event that brought together 350 musicians to debut a new work together. As a video producer, she created high-profile video shorts for NPR Music, including performances by cellist Yo-Yo Ma in a Brooklyn theatrical props warehouse and pianist Yuja Wang in an icy-cold Steinway & Sons piano factory.

Tsioulcas has also reported from north and west Africa, south Asia, and across Europe for NPR and other outlets. Prior to joining NPR in 2011, she was widely published as a writer and critic on both classical and world music, and was the North America editor for Gramophone Magazine and the classical music columnist for Billboard.

Born in Boston and based in New York, Tsioulcas is a lapsed classical violinist and violist (shoutout to all the overlooked violists!). She graduated from Barnard College, Columbia University with a B.A. in comparative religion.

Drive-ins have been popping up all over the country during the coronavirus pandemic. But few are right in the middle of a city, next to a highway and skyscrapers.

It's a warm fall evening in downtown Newark, New Jersey. Hundreds of us are parked in the middle of a gravel lot. This the home of the pop-up Newark Moonlight Cinema, which opened in July and celebrates Black filmmakers and actors. A DJ plays music before the show. People get out of their cars to dance — wearing masks and staying apart.

Updated 2:45 p.m. ET

An Iranian singer whose voice was regarded as one of his country's national treasures — and who then ran afoul of the regime — has died. Mohammad Reza Shajarian, a master performer who was hailed as one of NPR's 50 Great Voices of all time, was 80. He earned the title of ostad — master — and was beloved for his commanding voice that could cry with haunting pain and soar with deep soul.

Johnny Nash, a singer who scored a No. 1 hit with "I Can See Clearly Now" in 1972, has died. He was 80 years old. His son, Johnny Nash Jr., confirmed his death to The Associated Press, saying his father had died of natural causes at his home in Houston.

Australian-born singer Helen Reddy, whose hit "I Am Woman" became a feminist anthem in the 1970's, died in Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon. She was 78 years old.

Her death was announced on Facebook by her children, Traci Donat and Jordan Sommers. Reddy had dementia for several years before her death.

About 35 years ago, violinist Lara St. John — then just 15 years old — went with two friends to the dean of the school she attended, Philadelphia's Curtis Institute of Music, to say that her private teacher, the famed violin pedagogue Jascha Brodsky, had sexually abused her on multiple occasions.

New York's famed Metropolitan Opera announced on Wednesday that the house will remain closed until September 2021.

In a press release, the Met said that it had made its decision to cancel the rest of the 2020-21 season based on the advice of "health officials who advise the Met and Lincoln Center," and keeping in mind the hundreds of performers and staff members required for rehearsals and performances as well as its audiences.

Today marks what would have been jazz giant John Coltrane's 94th birthday. Two years before his untimely death from liver cancer in 1967, a young San Francisco couple heard him play — and their experience was literally religious.

They founded a spiritual community inspired by his music and 50 years later, they're still preaching that gospel at the Coltrane Church in San Francisco.

The American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) represents about 7,000 performing artists across the U.S. For more than 80 years, it has been the union for chorus singers, soloists, ballet dancers, production staff and other performers at many of the country's leading arts institutions. Signatory companies include the Metropolitan Opera, American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet and Washington National Opera.

Long before he came into office, Donald Trump was so preoccupied with then-President Barack Obama that he hired a look-alike actor — a "faux-Bama" — to castigate and then pretend to fire on video.

That's just one of many episodes recounted and accusations levied by Michael Cohen, Trump's former personal attorney, in his new book, Disloyal: A Memoir, which is being published Tuesday and which NPR obtained before its publication.

Three senior producers at The Ellen DeGeneres Show have left the popular daytime talk show after some of the show's leadership was accused of sexual harassment, racism and creating a toxic work environment, among other allegations.

On Friday, federal prosecutors charged former R. Kelly manager Donnell Russell with calling in a gun threat to a New York advance screening of the Lifetime television docuseries Surviving R. Kelly in December 2018.

Three associates of fallen R&B star R. Kelly were arrested and charged Tuesday by New York federal authorities. The three are accused of attempting to harass, threaten, intimidate and bribe several of Kelly's alleged victims of sexual abuse.

The men are 31-year-old Richard Arline Jr., a self-described friend of the singer; Donnell Russell, 45, a self-described "manager, advisor and friend" of Kelly; and Michael Williams, 37, who prosecutors say is a relative of one of Kelly's former publicists.

NPR Music / YouTube

There haven't been any live public performances at America's biggest arts center since mid-March.

Updated at 5:25 p.m. ET

A now-former administrator of Opera Theatre of St. Louis [OTSL], Damon Bristo, was arrested last month for child sex trafficking in the second degree. Bristo has resigned from his position as the company's director of artistic administration.

Back in the days before the coronavirus pandemic, lots of people found community and comfort in singing together, whether at school, as a form of worship, in amateur groups or performing as professionals. Last year, Chorus America reported that some 54 million Americans — that is, more than 15% of the entire country's population — participated in some kind of organized group singing. And that study revealed that nearly three-quarters of those polled felt less lonely.

One of America's most beloved musicians, Neil Young, has filed a civil lawsuit against President Trump's reelection campaign. Young's mission: to get Trump supporters to stop rocking out to "Rockin' in the Free World" and "Devil's Sidewalk" at his campaign events and rallies.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show is facing a new round of serious allegations, this time of sexual harassment and misconduct against three of the daily talk show's executive producers, as well as other forms of workplace misconduct. The allegations come from 36 former Ellen DeGeneres employees.

On Thursday, DeGeneres sent a note to her staff in which she apologized for the show's reputed toxic workplace environment and pledged to do better.

Two controversies broke out this week regarding accusations of anti-Black racism in classical music. One involved two high-profile international soloists, pianist Yuja Wang and violinist Leonidas Kavakos. The other features less prominent individuals — a group of academics — but it also points to the slowness of the classical music community to take up difficult conversations about race and representation.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show is under internal investigation by WarnerMedia following a series of allegations of racism, workplace intimidation and other mistreatment made by employees of the popular daytime talk show.

Joanna Cole, whose Magic School Bus series made science both dazzling and goofily fun for generations of children, died on July 12 at age 75. Her death was announced by her publisher, Scholastic. The cause of death was not given.

Popular rapper and singer Megan Thee Stallion said on Wednesday that she had been shot during an incident that took place in the Hollywood Hills early Sunday morning.

In an Instagram post, Megan wrote: "On Sunday morning, I suffered gunshot wounds, as a result of a crime that was committed against me and done with the intention to physically harm me."

The country act now officially known as Lady A has sued a blues, soul and funk singer who says that she has used Lady A as her stage name for two decades.

One of country's most familiar artists has died. Charlie Daniels — a singer, songwriter, bandleader and player of many instruments — died Monday in Nashville. His death was confirmed by his publicist, Don Murry Grubbs, who said that he died of a hemorrhagic stroke. He was 83 years old.

Charlie Daniels was born Oct. 28, 1936 in Wilmington, North Carolina. He started out playing bluegrass locally with the Misty Mountain Boys before moving to Nashville in 1967. He was already becoming known as a songwriter as well; he co-wrote an Elvis Presley song, "It Hurts Me," in 1964.

A choir of about 100 performers sang at a megachurch campaign event featuring Vice President Pence on Sunday. They did not wear masks while they sang.

Many epidemiologists and singing experts currently fear that singers may be superspreaders of COVID-19, due to aerosolization of the virus. Singing involves much more forceful and deep breathing than simple talking.

The country trio Dixie Chicks have changed the group's name to The Chicks in an apparent distancing from a name associated with the Confederate-era South.

On Tuesday, the National Endowment for the Arts announced its newest class of National Heritage fellows: 10 artists, ensembles and cultural workers who represent the richness and breadth of America's traditional arts. They range from one of the pioneers of the Memphis sound of Southern soul to an Ojibwe birchbark canoe builder.

Veteran British actor Ian Holm has died at age 88. He was beloved by audiences as Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit. He was nominated for an Oscar for his role in Chariots of Fire, and first reached wide audiences in Alien. His death on Friday was related to Parkinson's disease, his agent, Alex Irwin, told NPR.

Ian Holm could play everyone from King Lear to an android to a hobbit. He told NPR's All Things Considered in 2002 that he was less interested in fame than in being a good actor.

New York's Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center both said on Thursday that they have canceled their performances for the rest of 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The twin announcements from the two New York City landmarks signal that the city's cultural life will be slow to return.

In typical years, late September marks the beginning of the new concert season for two of New York's most famous music venues, followed shortly by the moneymaking holiday season. But 2020 is turning out to be anything but a normal year.

Updated at 4:14 p.m. ET

The country band Lady Antebellum has changed its name to Lady A, saying that its members are "regretful and embarrassed" that they had not previously considered the loaded history of the term.

Face shields are critical gear for those on the front line of the ongoing coronavirus crisis. But like other pieces of PPE, they often still aren't available. But one volunteer group, using 3D printers at home, has made nearly 40,000 NIH-approved face shields for health care workers and first responders — from New Jersey to the Navajo Nation.

Pages