Anastasia Tsioulcas

Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter for NPR Music. She covers breaking news in the music industry, as well as a wide range of musical genres and artists, for NPR's flagship news programs and NPR Music.

Tsioulcas is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics, and identity. She covers #MeToo and gender issues in the music industry, as well as the effects of US immigration and travel policy on musicians and other performers traveling to this country.

She has reported from the funeral of Aretha Franklin, profiled musicians and dancers in contemporary Cuba, and brought listeners into the creative process of composers Steve Reich and Terry Riley.

Tsioulcas also produces 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 has also commissioned and produced several world premieres on behalf of NPR Music, including a live event that brought together 350 musicians on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library.

As a video producer, she has 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 in Queens.

Tsioulcas has reported from across Europe, north and west Africa, south Asia, and Cuba 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, Tsioulcas was trained from an early age as a classical violinist and violist. She holds a B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University in comparative religion.

Dogs barking, wind howling, ice crunching, then the sudden "ch-ch-ch-ch" of a sawing beat: That's composer Derek Charke's opening salvo in his transporting piece Cercle du Nord III.

Just as we hit springtime (finally!), I think I've found the happiest song to greet the season. It comes courtesy of Tal National, a band from the West African country of Niger. This rollicking track is called "Zoy Zoy," which is also the name of their new album.

The eyes of the pop music world are on Austin, Texas this week. Thousands of bands and fans have descended upon the city for the South by Southwest music festival. Austin is also home to its own music scene year-round — and one of its more unusual groups is tapping into a sound that has nothing to do with indie rock or hip-hop. They're called Riyaaz Qawwali.

It was nearly 20 years ago, back in 1997, that the Buena Vista Social Club became an improbable worldwide sensation: a group of mainly elderly (and some younger) Cuban musicians, performing traditional son music for an album produced by Ry Cooder.

Ethan Hawke might strike you as an unlikely guide to classical music. But in directing his first documentary, Seymour: An Introduction, he created an intriguing and ultimately profoundly moving tribute to a largely unknown artist, 86-year-old pianist Seymour Bernstein.

It was supposed to be a celebratory occasion, a high-profile performance of a piece given life by the orchestra that commissioned it — a young composer's music played by other young musicians.

Instead, the performance scheduled for Sunday of Jonas Tarm's music at Carnegie Hall by the highly regarded New York Youth Symphony (NYYS) has been canceled after it came to the attention of the ensemble's administration that the piece contains a quotation from the Nazi "Horst Wessel Lied."

For the past few years, member station Q2 in New York City has been enlisting listeners in a thought-provoking year-end poll. Forget the best music of the last year — what are the very best compositions of the last century?

"Did you know that every time musicians pick up their instruments, there are fireworks going off all over their brain?"

Usually, the Latitudes feature is devoted to five new discoveries from the previous month. For September, I'm taking a different tack.

Last month, The New Yorker announced that it was teasing a new "freemium" version of its website (which launches this fall) with an alluring proposition. All of its most recent pieces, plus the full archives back to 2007 and some even older selections, are free for the rest of the summer.

So we took this opportunity to dig up some delicious classical music-minded pieces from the magazine's archives. They're perfect long reads for a lazy August afternoon.

Composer John Luther Adams has been enjoying enormous success.

The Three Tenors joined to conquer. When this trio of famous opera singers — José Carreras, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti — gave a one-night-only show at Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium on July 16, 1994, it was a massive spectacle watched by a billion people worldwide. More than that, the Three Tenors phenomenon permanently altered how a large amount of classical music is presented, packaged and sold.

We at NPR Music leave a lot of variables out in the wild when we make Field Recordings. That's especially true when we commission new music for the annual Make Music New York festival, as we have for three years.

Since we're not using a traditional stage and people are roaming around, we don't know exactly what the performance will sound like (though we're lucky to work with fantastic engineering colleagues). It's always held outdoors, and we can't be sure what the weather will be.

Update Wednesday, June 25, 2014: A representative from Sotheby's tells NPR that the instrument did not sell "at this time."

Wednesday, Sotheby's auction house plans to announce the sale of a rare viola made by Antonio Stradivari. The minimum bid is $45 million. If it sells, it will be the most expensive instrument of any kind in history.

Here's an old musician joke: How do you keep your violin from getting stolen? Put it in a viola case.

Sometimes we like to turn things up really loud, especially in the summertime. So for this year's edition of Make Music New York, we commissioned Sunny Jain, founder of Red Baraat, to write a new song that would kick off the season in massive, marching-band style. He came back to us with "100+ BPM."

Twenty-nine gentle measures by Felix Mendelssohn are creating quite a stir — after being lost for more than a century.

Kronos Quartet is celebrating 40 years of playing music together — and to mark the occasion, they're playing a celebration concert at Carnegie Hall in New York tomorrow night. Since their founding, the San Francisco-based string quartet has become one of the most visible ensembles in classical music. The players have done it by championing new and underheard music, and by coming up with a business model that was unheard of for a chamber group four decades ago.

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