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.

Another major American music festival and influencer hangout has been felled by coronavirus concerns. Coachella, which is held over two consecutive weekends, is being postponed. The dates are moving from Apr. 10 - 12 and Apr. 17 - 19 to the weekends of Oct. 9 and 16.

The announcement was made Tuesday afternoon by Coachella's promoter Goldenvoice, which is a subsidiary of the live event mammoth AEG. In the same announcement, Goldenvoice said it was moving Coachella's sister event, the Stagecoach country music festival, from the weekend of Apr. 24 to the weekend of Oct. 23.

Updated at Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. ET

On Tuesday afternoon, LA Opera — the Los Angeles opera company which came into being in part thanks to Plácido Domingo — announced that investigators had substantiated 10 "inappropriate conduct" claims made against the famed singer.

Updated Friday at 6:23 p.m. ET

On Friday afternoon, Hachette Book Group announced publicly and to its employees that it will not publish Woody Allen's memoir, Apropos of Nothing, as planned next month.

In a statement to NPR, the publisher said: "Hachette Book Group has decided that it will not publish Woody Allen's memoir A Propos of Nothing, originally scheduled for sale in April 2020, and will return all rights to the author."

On Wednesday night in Switzerland, the French violinist Renaud Capuçon and the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra played a full concert — to an empty hall.

Their performance, which was canceled after the Swiss government prohibited all gatherings of 1000 or more people, was broadcast by Swiss public television and radio. It's just one of the ways that performers and organizations worldwide are grappling with the uncertainties of the coronavirus, and how to handle large gatherings of audiences in close quarters.

One of the senior elected officials at the union that commissioned an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against opera star Plácido Domingo has resigned.

In a sharp turn from the public apology he issued two days ago, opera star Plácido Domingo offered a new statement on Thursday regarding allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

An investigation into sexual misconduct accusations against Plácido Domingo ended Tuesday with the announcement that the opera star engaged in "inappropriate activity." But that's about all that was disclosed.

Updated at 6:00 p.m. ET

The union representing opera performers, choral singers and dancers says that according to an independent investigation it commissioned, opera megastar Plácido Domingo engaged in "inappropriate activity" with women both "in and outside of the workplace."

In court filings made public Thursday, Universal Music Group (UMG) disclosed specifics about some of the recordings lost or damaged in a 2008 vault fire. They include works by Nirvana, Elton John, Soundgarden and other artists.

R&B singer R. Kelly has again been charged by federal prosecutors in Illinois. Thursday's filing, which includes 13 charges, supersedes an indictment filed last July and accuses Kelly with sexually abusing another minor.

The minor added to Thursday's federal indictment in Illinois was about 14 years old when the abuse allegedly started in about 1997 and lasted for more than three years.

Joseph Shabalala, the singer who created the South African choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo and propelled it to worldwide fame, died Tuesday in Pretoria at age 78. The group became beloved globally as collaborators with Paul Simon on the album Graceland, and went on to win five Grammys.

Updated Friday, Feb. 7 at 5:00 p.m. ET

One of Mali's most prominent musicians, Ballaké Sissoko, has alleged that the Transportation Security Administration [TSA] destroyed his specially designed instrument during a trip from New York to Paris that began on Monday evening. On Thursday afternoon, the TSA said that its agents did not open the instrument case or create the damage.

By the end of the 62nd Grammy Awards on Sunday evening, a major star had been crowned: 18-year-old singer Billie Eilish, who swept all four of the night's biggest prizes — Best New Artist, Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Album of the Year — along with honors for Best Pop Vocal Album.

But that rush of awards came only at the tail end of a long, strange and emotionally ambivalent ceremony held Sunday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Suspended Recording Academy president and CEO Deborah Dugan, speaking at the 62nd Grammy Awards nomination event in New York in November.
John Lampa

Deborah Dugan, the suspended head of the Recording Academy, made many stunning allegations in her discrimination complaint filed Tuesday with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Updated Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 12:50 p.m. ET

In the latest round of chaotic volleys around the Grammy Awards, the Recording Academy's short-lived president and CEO, Deborah Dugan — the organization's first female chief executive — announced Tuesday afternoon that she has filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against the Academy, the organization that gives out the Grammys.

Updated at 9:20 p.m. ET

Neil Peart, the drummer and lyricist for the iconic Canadian prog rock band Rush, has died. He was 67 years old.

His death was announced Friday by spokesperson Elliot Mintz, who said that Peart died on Jan. 7 in Santa Monica, Calif. Peart had been diagnosed with brain cancer three and a half years ago.

Two years ago, the Grammy Awards faced a moment of reckoning after its then-leader, Neil Portnow, said that women had to "step up" in order to be recognized in the music industry. He's gone now. And the Recording Academy, the membership organization which gives out the Grammys, is trying to reinvent itself from top to bottom. It's under new, female leadership — and with the Grammy ceremony coming up on Jan.

Updated at 12:05 p.m. ET

The fast-rising rapper Juice WRLD has died at age 21 after a medical emergency at Chicago's Midway Airport. TMZ first reported the death, saying that witnesses saw him having a seizure after disembarking from a private plane.

The Cook County medical examiner's office confirmed his death to NPR, saying that the autopsy for Juice WRLD — whose real name was Jarad Anthony Higgins — will most likely take place on Monday.

When people talk about a quarter century of allegations against R&B singer R. Kelly, they usually point to one starting point: his relationship with his teenage protégée, the late singer Aaliyah. He mentored the burgeoning artist and produced her debut album, the coyly titled Age Ain't Nothing But A Number. He was 27 years old; she was just 15.

Joycelyn Savage, one of R. Kelly's girlfriends, asserted on Wednesday night that she had been "hacked," and that a series of online accusations published last month that said that the R&B singer had sexually and physically abused her were false. She said that she remains by Kelly.

One of opera's leading men, Italian tenor Vittorio Grigolo, was dismissed Thursday by two of the world's most prestigious houses: the Royal Opera in London and New York's Metropolitan Opera.

His firing comes after an investigation by the Royal Opera [RO], which determined that he had demonstrated "inappropriate and aggressive behavior" during an RO tour of Japan in September.

One of classical music's most beloved conductors has died: Latvian-born Mariss Jansons, who was age 76 at his death on Saturday in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Jansons had long had a heart condition, which first became known when he collapsed on the podium while conducting in Norway more than 20 years ago.

Peter Gelb has not enjoyed a particularly smooth tenure as the general manager at New York's Metropolitan Opera. But the company's board expressed its faith in him on Monday by extending his contract through 2027.

The agreement — which arrived a full two and a half years before Gelb's current contract expires — signals the board's strong commitment to Gelb, who earned some $2.17 million in combined pay and benefits during the company's last reported financial year.

Updated Tuesday at 5:20 p.m. ET

(Editor's note: This story contains graphic descriptions of sexual violence.)

Updated Friday at 3:30 p.m. ET

Back in August, it seemed as if the pop megastar Taylor Swift had found an end run around an acrimonious battle for control of her recorded catalog. She announced that beginning in November 2020, she would re-record the six albums made under contract for Big Machine Label Group, which owns those master recordings.

Pioneering British-born conductor, harpsichordist, composer and scholar Raymond Leppard has died. He was 92 years old. With full-bodied performances matched by pioneering scholarship, Leppard helped reintroduce audiences to 16th and 17th century Italian masterpieces by composers including Claudio Monteverdi. But Leppard was also very much a man of his time: He championed — and wrote — contemporary works for both stage and screen.

His death was announced by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, where he was music director and conductor laureate from 1987 to 2001.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announced its nominees for its newest class of inductees on Tuesday morning: 16 artists and groups ranging from the late Whitney Houston to German synth pioneers Kraftwerk to rap royalty in the form of the late Notorious B.I.G.

The 2020 nominees also include Dave Matthews Band, Pat Benatar, Depeche Mode, The Doobie Brothers, Judas Priest, MC5, Motörhead, Nine Inch Nails, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Todd Rundgren, Soundgarden, T. Rex and Thin Lizzy.

Among all the other things that transpired at and around President Trump's reelection campaign in Minneapolis Thursday night, his team played the music of a hometown hero: Prince's "Purple Rain." Soon after, the estate of Minnesota's late musical hero made it clear just how unhappy it was — and

Pages