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Sherrie Maricle

2700 F St.: Sherrie Maricle and the DIVA Jazz Orchestra: Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas
Move over “Silent Night,” Sherrie Maricle and her DIVAs are in town.
Jazz, Musical Instruments

Harlem Quartet

2700 F St.: Harlem Quartet: Performance/Demonstration
What do you think about when you picture a string quartet? Well, Harlem Quartet wants to shake that image up.
Music, Musical Instruments, America, Young Artists

Jane Ira Bloom

2700 F St.: Wild Lines: Jane Ira Bloom Plays Emily Dickinson
Jane Ira Bloom is a soprano saxophonist and composer who’s been pushing the boundaries of jazz for more than 40 years.
Composers, Musical Instruments, Jazz, Poetry

NSO Family Concert: Let's Remix The Classics

Cuesheet: NSO Family Concert: Let's Remix The Classics
What would the classics sound like with a hip-hop beat? Join the National Symphony Orchestra and two guest musicians to find out!
Music, Musical Instruments

National Symphony Orchestra Open Rehearsal

Cuesheet: NSO Open Rehearsal: Christoph Eschenbach with Ray Chen and Adriana Horne
Violinist Ray Chen and harpist Adriana Horne join the NSO to explore three classical symphonies.
Music, Musical Instruments

Time For Three

Cuesheet: Time for Three: A Performance and Demonstration
Meet Time for Three, the young string ensemble who knows no musical boundaries. They play it all from classical to hip-hop and everything in-between.
Musical Instruments, Music, Young Artists

Matthew Whitaker

Cuesheet: Matthew Whitaker: A Performance and Demonstration
At age 14, jazz, gospel, and R&B keyboardist Matthew Whitaker, who happens to be blind, is quickly becoming one of the most promising young talents in jazz music today.
Musical Instruments, Music, Young Artists

Enso String Guartet

Cuesheet: Enso String Quartet: A Performance and Demonstration
Known for their high-energy performances and musical versatility, the Enso String Quartet has proven they are much more than your average chamber music group.
Musical Instruments, Music

NSO: Lights! Canvas! Music!

Cuesheet: NSO Family Concert: Lights! Canvas! Music!
You've heard of paint by numbers, right? Well, get ready to paint by music! Speed painter Dan Dunn joins the National Symphony Orchestra to turn your favorite music into visual works of art.
Music, Musical Instruments

NSO Kinderclassic: The String Thing

Cuesheet: NSO Kinderclassic: The String Thing
Two musicians. Two string instruments. No words, but lots of music…and maybe a playful disagreement or two. Get ready for plenty of great music and madcap musical fun!
Music, Musical Instruments

Fancy That!

Cuesheet: NSO Kinderclassic: Fancy That!
Discover the secrets for making music even more interesting and how it can change the way it makes people feel.
Music, Musical Instruments

Stefon Harris and Sonic Creed

Cuesheet: Stefon Harris & Sonic Creed: A Performance and Demonstration
Get to know jazz vibraphonist Stefon Harris and his electric groove-base band, Sonic Creed, as they explore the different techniques musicians use to personalize their music and create their own unique sound.
Musical Instruments, Music, Young Artists

NSO YPC: Inspiration!

Cuesheet: NSO YPC: Inspiration!
The music of great composers has been inspired by books, plays, poetry, travel, nature, politics, friends, and even the neighbor’s dog!
Music, Musical Instruments

A Sleepy Hollow-een

Cuesheet: NSO Family Concert: A “Sleepy Hollow”-een
Join the NSO for a music-filled reimagining of Washington Irving’s classic ghost story about the fabled Headless Horseman, plus plenty of other Halloween surprises!
Music, Musical Instruments

Kinderconcert: Break It Down!

Cuesheet: NSO Kinderclassic: Break It Down!
Just like a building made of blocks, music is made with different parts. Explore how music and even musical instruments break down and come together to make amazing music.
Music, Musical Instruments

Celebrating Great Women of Jazz

Cuesheet: Celebrating Great Women of Jazz: Performance/Demonstration
Contemporary jazz artists come together to honor and celebrate three music legends: Abbey Lincoln, Nina Simone, and Joni Mitchell.
Musical Instruments, Music, Jazz

Jason + Ronald K. Brown & Evidence

Cuesheet: Ronald K. Brown/Evidence with Jason Moran and The Bandwagon: Working Rehearsal
Kennedy Center Artistic Director for Jazz Jason Moran and celebrated choreographer Ronald K. Brown bring together their respective ensembles—Brown’s Evidence, A Dance Company and Moran’s Bandwangon jazz trio—for a performance of dance and live music.
Musical Instruments, Music, Jazz, Dance

Peter and the Wolf in Hollywood

Cuesheet: Peter and the Wolf in Hollywood
Once upon a time, Peter and the Wolf was a musical tale about a Russian boy who helps catch a wolf. This version features Peter’s tale with tons of twists. For starters, instead of cold, snowy Russia, the story now happens in sunny Hollywood, California.
Family, Animals, Composers, Folklore, Musical Instruments, Orchestra

Joshua Bell in The Man with the Violin

Cuesheet: NSO Family Concert: Joshua Bell in The Man with the Violin
Imagine a subway station. A man in plain clothes takes out his violin and begins to play beautiful music. Hundreds of people rush by in a hurry to get to school or work. Do you think anyone stops to listen?
Music, Musical Instruments, Music Legends

Follow That Fiddle

Cuesheet: NSO Music For Young Audiences: Follow That Fiddle
Get ready for an amazing journey through history and around the world as we follow the fiddle’s musical trail. Musician Glenn Donnellan, who plays the violin (er, fiddle) with the National Symphony Orchestra, will guide you and explain how the fiddle makes its sound.
Music, Musical Instruments

Catch The Vibe

Cuesheet: NSO Music For Young Audiences: Catch The Vibe
“Vibes” is short for vibrations, those little movements that make sound. Hear some big sounds with NSO musicians Stephen Dumaine and Eric Shin, who introduce the tuba and a bunch of percussion instruments.
Music, Musical Instruments

NSO Music for Young Audiences: Close Your Eyes… Now Open Your Ears!

Cuesheet: NSO Music For Young Audiences: Close Your Eyes… Now Open Your Ears!
Music can be lots of fun, especially when you really listen to it, like when you close your eyes and let your ears do the work. In this performance, you will learn how to open your ears to the wonders of music with the help of three musicians and music teacher Madam Mavis Pugh—and a very special song.
Music, Musical Instruments

Time for Three

Cuesheet: Time for Three: A Performance and Demonstration (2015)
Meet Time for Three, the young string ensemble who knows no musical boundaries. They play it all from classical to hip-hop and everything in-between.
Musical Instruments, Music, Young Artists

Connections: Science and Math + Music

Cuesheet: Connections: Science & Math + Music
Calling all math nerds, science geeks, and music lovers! Join NSO musicians for a fun and surprising look at how math, science, and music connect to one another.
Musical Instruments, Orchestra, Music

NSO Family Concert: Casey at the Bat

Cuesheet: NSO Family Concert: Casey at the Bat
The NSO gears up for Spring Training with this fun program inspired by America’s favorite pastime. The highlight of the program is Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke’s baseball composition set to the famous poem "Casey at the Bat."
Music, Musical Instruments, Sports, Poetry

Imani Winds - Rhythm and Melody: The Building Blocks of Music

Cuesheet: Imani Winds: Performance/Demonstration
Join classical woodwind ensemble Imani Winds as they explore the topics of rhythm and melody, the building blocks of music.
Music, Musical Instruments

Antonio Hart Organ Trio

Cuesheet: Antonio Hart Organ Trio: A Performance and Demonstration
Innovative jazz musician Antonio Hart, bandleader of the Antonio Hart Organ Trio, explores the different techniques musicians use to create their own unique musical styles.
Musical Instruments, Music, Jazz

NSO Beethoven at the Ballpark

Cuesheet: NSO Kinderclassic: Beethoven at the Ballpark!
Find out what baseball and music have in common. You’ll see how numbers play their part, how music adds drama to America’s favorite pastime, and how musicians hit the spot on an instrument, just like players do on the field.
Music, Musical Instruments, Sports, Poetry, Composers, Music Legends

National Symphony Orchestra Family Concert: The Magic Horn

Cuesheet: NSO Family Concert with Magic Circle Mime Company: The Magic Horn
A traveling adventurer named Sahara Bob visits the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) to show the conductor (and you!) some ancient instruments. But Bob just might be hiding a magical secret…
Music, Musical Instruments, Folklore

NSO Eschenbach Open Rehearsal

Cuesheet: NSO Open Rehearsal: Christoph Eschenbach and NSO Cellists
This program features the cello, the second largest instrument in the string family. Composers have recognized the instrument’s unique, deeper, human-like voice—perfect for telling musical stories, especially of love, longing, and loss.
Music, Musical Instruments, Music Legends

Gershwin's Magic Key: NSO Family Concert

Cuesheet: NSO Family Concert: Gershwin's Magic Key
Step into the 1920s’ streets of New York City, where a poor newspaper boy who loves music has a chance encounter with the famous composer George Gershwin.
Music, Musical Instruments, Music Legends, Composers

Katie Ernst: Little Words

Cuesheet: Katie Ernst: Little Words: A Performance and Demonstration
Find out what jazz and poetry have in common with jazz music’s triple-threat Katie Ernst, a bassist, vocalist, and composer who brings the poetry of 1920s American writer Dorothy Parker to life in the original program Little Words.
Music, Jazz, Musical Instruments, Poetry, Young Artists

NSO Halloween Whodunit

Cuesheet: NSO Family Concert: Halloween Whodunit
There’s a mystery in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall! Join the NSO for a frightfully fun, music-filled whodunit
Music, Musical Instruments

NSO Kinderclassics: Musical Opposites

Cuesheet: NSO Kinderclassics: Musical Opposites
Music is full of opposites. Join four musicians from the NSO to explore the different types of opposites and how they are able to make music to our ears.
Music, Musical Instruments

NSO YPC: Exploring Extremes: Music to the Max!

Cuesheet: NSO YPC: Exploring Extremes: Music to the Max!
When it comes to creating music, composers like to push the limits. Get ready to hear how!
Music, Musical Instruments

Chris Brubeck's Triple Play

Cuesheet: Chris Brubeck's Triple Play: Performance/Demonstration
Join bandleader Chris Brubeck and his high-energy ensemble, Triple Play, to explore the history and evolution of America’s music—the blues.
Music, Jazz, Musical Instruments, Poetry, Young Artists

Dizzy Gillespie Afro Cuban Experience

Cuesheet: Dizzy Gillespie™ Afro Cuban Experience: Performance/Demonstration
The Dizzy Gillespie™ Afro Cuban Experience is a jazz ensemble working to continue the legacy of the great jazz master John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie.
Music, Jazz, Musical Instruments, Poetry, Young Artists

NSO Teddy Bear Concerts

Cuesheet: NSO Teddy Bear Concerts 2014-15
The 2014-15 season’s Teddy Bear Concerts invite the youngest of music lovers (and their favorite stuffed animal) to join in fun, interactive performances with musicians from the NSO.
Music, Family, Musical Instruments, Orchestra

Lewis Nash Quintet

Cuesheet: Lewis Nash Quintet: Fascinating Rhythm—Wonderful Sounds
Meet celebrated jazz drummer and bandleader Lewis Nash and explore the range of rhythms and instrumental sounds in jazz music.
Music, Jazz, Musical Instruments

NSO Family Concert: Peter and the Wolf

Cuesheet: NSO Family Concert: Peter and the Wolf
“Boys like me are not afraid of wolves!” says Peter to his grandfather. But when one actually wanders out of the woods, what will Peter do to save his animal friends?
Animals, Folklore, Musical Instruments, Music, Composers, Orchestra

NSO Family Concert: Mozart's Magnificent Voyage

Cuesheet: NSO Family Concert: Mozart's Magnificent Voyage
Mozart’s young son longs to leave school and spend more time with his famous father. When he finds a magic traveling trunk, his wish comes true as he’s swept back in time to Mozart’s childhood and opera The Magic Flute.
Music, Family, Musical Instruments, Orchestra

Terence Blanchard Group

Cuesheet: Terence Blanchard Group: A Performance and Demonstration
Meet Blue Note artist Terence Blanchard, a multi-Grammy Award®–winning jazz trumpeter, bandleader, arranger, and composer.
Music, Jazz, Musical Instruments

NSO Kinderclassics: Bears, Bears Everywhere!

Cuesheet: NSO Kinderclassics: Bears, Bears Everywhere!
It’s a big bear world out there! This concert takes a peek at these adorable creatures and the sounds of their homelands—music as unique as they are. Join NSO musicians and a special guest storyteller for a performance that assembles a wild combination of instruments to create music from around the world.
Music, Family, Musical Instruments, Orchestra

Enso String Quartet

Cuesheet: Enso String Quartet: Performance & Demonstration
Known for their high-energy performances and musical versatility, the Enso String Quartet has proven they are much more than your average chamber music group. Get to know them as they perform a wide range of musical styles, and discuss how music is created and why it affects us as listeners.
Music, Musical Instruments, Orchestra, Young Artists

Time for Three

Cuesheet: Time for Three: A Performance and Demonstration (2014)
Meet Time for Three, the young string ensemble who knows no musical boundaries. They play it all from classical to hip-hop and everything in-between.
Musical Instruments, Music, Young Artists

Connections: Music Matters

Cuesheet: Connections: Music Matters
What do earthquakes, sports cars, and memories have in common? Music, of course! Join NSO musicians to discover the connections and explore why music matters.
Musical Instruments, Orchestra, Music

Presto! The Case of the Vanishing Viola

Cuesheet: NSO Kinderkonzert: Presto! The Case of the Vanishing Viola
Oh no, a musician’s viola has been stolen! Could the culprit be the magician next door? Join Presto!—a string trio—to follow the clues and crack the case.
Musical Instruments, Orchestra, Music

Hip-Hop artists

Series: Hip-Hop: A Culture of Vision and Voice
Hip-hop is global, lapping on every shore and landing at every airport. But what does Hip-Hop mean?
Hip-Hop, Young Artists, Dance, Dance Legends, Choreographers, Innovators & Pioneers, Musical Instruments, Music, Poetry, Visual Arts

Native American flute player

Collection: Native American Cultures
Experience traditional Native American culture through dance, music and visual arts. Watch Native Pride the eagle and hoop dances, trace the life of a Navajo weaver, learn how Keith Bear makes a flute, make a listening doll, and meet fancy dancers Larry and Jessup Yazzie.
America, Geography, Folklore, Dance, Musical Instruments, Music, World Cultures

Beethoven graffiti

Collection: Great Composers
Get inside the mind of a composer-- from a popular song, to a Broadway musical, to a symphony, how does a composer write music?
Composers, Jazz, Innovators & Pioneers, Musical Instruments, Music, Music Legends, Opera, Orchestra, Popular Culture

Japanese Noh theater

Collection: Japan
Larger-than-life calligraphy, giant bamboo weaving, and robots both real and toy... experience the vibrant diversity of the arts across Japan.
Japan, Asia, Backstage, Cartoons, Comics, & Animation, Fashion, Innovators & Pioneers, Musical Instruments, Inventions, Language, Music, Popular Culture, Visual Arts, World Cultures

Violin hands

Collection: Classical Music Resources
Booming orchestras, teeming concert halls, obsessive composers, and prodigal musicians – classical music is anything but boring. Learn how Beethoven continued to pen symphonies while going deaf, discover the science behind the instrument and the math behind the music, and explore the ways in which music and emotion go hand-in-hand.
Composers, Europe, Musical Instruments, Music, Orchestra

Oscilloscope wave

Collection: Acoustics & Sound
How do composers "hear" outer space? How did Beethoven compose music when he couldn't hear? Browse lessons and multimedia that explore the art and science of the world of sound around us.
Innovators & Pioneers, Musical Instruments, Inventions, Math, Music, Science, Space

Homemade Instruments Band

Article: Strike Up the Band: Creating Homemade Instruments
Make musical instruments by using recycled materials from your house
Family, Music, Musical Instruments, Young Artists

Boy Smiling and Playing a Violin

Article: Performing Under Pressure
Help your child master the excitement and stress of music competitions
Young Artists, Music, Orchestra, Musical Instruments

Young Dancers

Article: Child's Play or Real Ambition?
How to connect your child with the performing arts
Young Artists, Family, Ballet, Dance, Musical Instruments, Music, Opera, Theater

Art Teacher With Students

Article: Do Tell: Giving Feedback to Your Students
How can arts educators provide engaging and useful feedback? Here are seven suggestions to get you started
Education, Young Artists, Musical Instruments, Theater, Literature, Music, Poetry, Ballet, Dance

Student Critique

Tipsheet: Thinking Outside the Test
Introduction to performance assessment, which provides educators with "real-world" arts assessment strategies
Education, Young Artists, Visual Arts, Dance, Musical Instruments, Poetry

Band of 40th Veteran Reserve Corps

Article: When Music Goes Marching to War
Explore music’s important role in the American Civil War. Includes activities for the classroom
America, Composers, History, Musical Instruments, Music, Tragedy

Indian Musician

Article: Rhythm and Raga
Learn how to incorporate and teach Indian music in your classroom
India, Musical Instruments, Music, World Cultures

moon and raven

Grade 5 Lesson: Haunting Music
Learn about orchestral “program music” inspired by the spooky and bizarre
Musical Instruments, Music, Orchestra, Folklore

Rainstick.

Grades K-2 Lesson: Making Rain
In this lesson, students experience rain through several activities, experiments, reading, and performing
Musical Instruments, Nature, World Cultures, Latin America, Africa

Strings

Grades 3-4 Lesson: String Instruments and Pitch
In this lesson, students explore how pitch is altered based on the width and length of the string
Musical Instruments, Music, Orchestra, Science

Percussion

Grades 3-4 Lesson: Percussion Instruments and Pitch
This lesson introduces students to the instruments of the percussion family
Musical Instruments, Music, Orchestra, Science

Woodwinds

Grades 3-4 Lesson: Woodwind Instruments and Pitch
This lesson introduces students to the instruments of the woodwind family
Musical Instruments, Music, Orchestra, Science

Chinese performers

Grades 3-4 Lesson: Chinese Instruments
Explore the similarities and differences between traditional western instruments and Chinese instruments while creating a Chinese instrument.
Asia, Geography, Musical Instruments, Music, World Cultures, China

Brass

Grades 3-4 Lesson: Brass Instruments and Pitch
This lesson introduces students to the instruments of the brass family
Musical Instruments, Music, Orchestra, Science

Balkan Quartet

Video: Balkan Quartet
Specializing in Gypsy music, these versatile musicians from the heart of the Balkans perform music from the region
Music, World Cultures, Europe, Musical Instruments, Orchestra

Landfillharmonic

Video: Music from the Trash Heap
The people of Cateura struggle with poverty, pollution, and other problems. However, the Cateura Orchestra of Recycled Instruments inspires the youth there to find hope in music.
Latin America, Musical Instruments, Inventions, Music, Young Artists, Orchestra

Oki Dub

Video: Oki Dub
Oki is the world's most prominent performer of the tonkori, a long, flat instrument that produces its own distinct sound and is the only stringed instrument in the Karafuto Ainu musical tradition. Oki’s contemporary approach has won him praise in Japan and around the world.
Asia, Music, Musical Instruments, World Cultures, Japan

Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra

Video: Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra
Join the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra for a lecture and demonstration explaining each of the four sections of the Chinese orchestra as well as some of the individual instruments.
China, Asia, Musical Instruments, Orchestra, Music, World Cultures

El Alto Strings

Video: El Alto Strings
The Bolivian musicians may practice Bach and other classical music at home, but they were eager to share their interpretation of traditional Bolivian music during their performance at the Kennedy Center.
World Cultures, Musical Instruments, Latin America, Orchestra, Music, Young Artists

Palestinian musician

Video: Palestinian Jazz
Palestinian and Moroccan musicians perform on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, which offers free shows 365 days a year as part of the Performing Arts for Everyone initiative. See how the musicians go from a sound check to actual performance.
World Cultures, Jazz, Musical Instruments, Music, Young Artists

Ralph Stanley

Video Series: Ralph Stanley: The Roots of Country Music
Learn about the beginnings of country music and its early innovators through the stories and music of three of country music's most respected musicians: mountain music legend Dr. Ralph Stanley, Jim Lauderdale and James Shelton.
America, Musical Instruments, Music, Music Legends

Tambuco Percussion

Video Series: Tambuco Percussion
Among the finest percussion quartets today, the musicians of the three-time Grammy-nominated ensemble refuse to be tied down to one style, with a repertoire ranging from structuralist percussion music to a wide range of ethnic drum music and avante garde sound interpretation.
Musical Instruments, Folklore, Latin America, Music, World Cultures

sogolon-puppet-theater

Video Series: Sogolon Puppet Theater
Sogolon is the puppet show and theatrical company created by Yaya Coulibaly in order to perpetrate and promote the Mali puppet tradition. The group's core mission is to contribute to develop and promote the Bamanan-Somono-Bozo puppet show.
Musical Instruments, Folklore, Music, World Cultures, Puppets, Africa

In the Studio

Video Series: In the Studio with Jason Moran
Join Jason Moran, the Kennedy Center’s Artistic Advisor for Jazz, in this video series as he explains the basics of Jazz music and how the art form works. He will show you how Jazz is more like skateboarding and football than you might think, and play some original pieces, as well as a few of the classic jazz standards.
America, Composers, Musical Instruments, Jazz, Music

Peking Opera

Video Series: China: Arts & Culture
This video series brings you a glimpse of the history and diversity of China's performing arts
China, Dance, Geography, Musical Instruments, Music, Puppets, Theater, World Cultures, Asia

Andes Manta

Video Series: Andes Manta
Andes Manta performs the vibrant music of the Andes on more than 35 traditional instruments. From the lyrical sound of the quena, or Andean Flute, to the haunting tones of the six-foot long pan-pipes, the music of Andes Manta is an experience that never fails to bring audiences to their feet.
Musical Instruments, Folklore, Latin America, Music, World Cultures, Nature

Joseph Bruchac

Video Series: Joseph Bruchac: The Flute and the Drum
Author and storyteller Joseph Bruchac explains the origin and significance of the flute and the drum to Native American culture.
Folklore, Music, World Cultures, Native America, Musical Instruments

Keith Bear

Video Series: Keith Bear, Flute-Maker
Musician, storyteller and flutemaker Keith Bear sheds light on the art and tradition of making flutes in the Native American tradition in this series of video clips.
Folklore, Music, World Cultures, Native America, Musical Instruments

hands on a djembe

Video Series: Haiti: Music & Culture
This video series brings you a glimpse of the music of Haiti
Geography, Musical Instruments, Music, World Cultures

Perfect Pitch

Flash Interactive: Perfect Pitch
Batter up! This multimedia exploration introduces students to the most enduring all-stars of the orchestra: the instruments.
Musical Instruments, Music, Orchestra, Sports

swing bass

Audio Series: Swing! Swing! Swing!
Louis Armstrong said, “If you can’t feel Swing, you’ll never know it.” Well after hearing this pod-cast series, we’re sure you’ll feel it; we’re sure that you will swing. There was a time when Swing was the most popular dance music in America and the music is so important that it’s still alive today in dance halls, clubs and weddings all over the country. This four-part series explores and demonstrates Swing music in many of its forms (not just Swing Jazz, but Western Swing and Gypsy Swing) and shows you where the music came from and where it lives in America today. Our podcasts are narrated by Connaitre Miller of the award-winning group Afro-Blue at Howard University and features the voices of today’s major stars of Swing Music various styles
Music, Jazz, Music Legends, Musical Instruments

Sounds of China

Audio Series: Sounds of China
Chinese music dates back thousands of years and sounds different from Western music thanks to important differences in tone, musical scale, pitch, instrumentation and individual instruments.
Asia, China, Musical Instruments, Music, World Cultures

A Teenager With a Radio Microphone

Audio Series: D.I.Y. Old-Time Radio
After learning about the history of radio drama, use everyday items around your house to record your own.
Backstage, History, Innovators & Pioneers, Musical Instruments, Jobs in the Arts, Stunts & Special Effects

indian wind musician

Audio Series: Maximum India: The Music of India
The music of India is as diverse as its many cultures. India has over a billion people and hundreds of dialects and languages spread across the seventh largest country in the world, but there is still an undeniable “sound” that makes Indian music unmistakable. This 3-part audio series, hosted by PBS journalist Hari Sreenivasan, explores different aspects of Indian music: Indian musical instruments; the styles of music across India; and what makes Indian music unique—and where it is going
Geography, History, Musical Instruments, Music, World Cultures, India

A World of Music

Audio Series: A World of Music
We’re off on a Musical Tour of Europe! The invention of the orchestra hundreds of years ago meant bigger musical possibilities, and composers all across Europe were inspired to try their hand at pushing classical music to new limits
Composers, Controversial, Europe, Folklore, Geography, History, Musical Instruments, Music, Orchestra

Summon the Heroes: Classical Music to the Rescue!

Audio Series: Summon the Heroes: Classical Music to the Rescue!
Throughout the ages, composers have celebrated the accomplishments of famous heroes through music. What does a hero sound like? Get ready to find out!
Composers, Folklore, Musical Instruments, Music, Orchestra, Popular Culture, Movies & Movie Stars

Reach For The Moon: John F. Kennedy’s Vision and Courage

Audio Series: NSO Young People's Concert - Reach For The Moon
Just like President Kennedy had a vision for America, composers have visions of how they want their music to sound. For some, their musical mission is to explore a galaxy of stars and planets, moon shots, space walks, and galactic battles!
Composers, History, Musical Instruments, Music, Orchestra, Technology, Space, Presidents

NSO YPC Exploring Extremes

Audio Series: Exploring Extremes: Music to the Max!
Join the NSO to explore music’s extremes—from high notes and low notes to how big or small instruments (and their sounds!) can be. Plus, get to know the “extremely talented” violin, and discover different ways of listening to music.
Composers, Musical Instruments, Music, Orchestra

Audio Series: Listen Up! Music Is a Language
Did you know music has a lot to say? Without any words at all, music is a language that anyone can understand.
Composers, Musical Instruments, Music, Orchestra, Language

Arabesque Podcast cover

Audio Series: Arabesque: Music of the Arab World
A 3-part audio series that explores different aspects of Arab music: the musical instruments of the Arab World; what makes Arab music unique; and the styles of music in the Arab World
Africa, Geography, History, Musical Instruments, Music, World Cultures

Greece

Audio Series: Music of Greece: Past is Present
Discover how incomplete fragments of papyrus and stone can provide clues to recreating music that has not been heard in thousands of years, explore the far-reaching influence that ancient Greece has had on modern music, and experience the numerous cultural and historical influences that have contributed to the music of today’s Greece.
Opera, Greece, History, Music, World Cultures, Musical Instruments

President's Own

Audio Series: Music in the Military
Music and musicians play an important role in military life. From the history of "Taps" to the importance of the USO, this series explores the place of ceremonial, tactical and recreational music in the US military.
Musical Instruments, Military, Music, Jobs in the Arts, America

Instrument Spotter's Guide Promo

Slideshow: Instrument Spotter's Guide
Learn to identify the strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion instruments that make up an orchestra
Musical Instruments, Orchestra, Music

Audio Slideshow: Beethoven: Listening to Symphony No. 9
Part 4 of the Beethoven Rocks series: Ode to Joy
Musical Instruments, Music, Orchestra, History, Composers, Music Legends, Europe

Audio Slideshow: Beethoven: Listening to Symphony No. 6
Part 3 of the Beethoven Rocks series: The Pastoral
Musical Instruments, Music, Orchestra, History, Composers, Music Legends, Europe, Nature

Audio Slideshow: Beethoven Rocks!
Part 1 of the Beethoven Rocks series: Get to know Classical music's biggest star
Musical Instruments, Music, Orchestra, History, Composers, Music Legends, Europe

Audio Slideshow: Beethoven: Listening to Symphony No. 5
Part 2 of the Beethoven Rocks series: The Riff Heard ‘Round the World
Musical Instruments, Music, Orchestra, History, Europe, Composers, Music Legends

US Air Force buglar Jari Villanueva

Audio: Ceremonial Brass
Musicians have always played an important part in the military. This series explores not only the history of military music, but also the diverse ceremonial and entertainment roles of musicians in the military.
Jobs in the Arts, Military, Music, America, Musical Instruments, History

arts challenge

Everyday Arts Challenge: Rock Out
Turn up your favorite tunes and play the air guitar.
Rock & Roll, Music, Popular Culture, Physical Activity, Musical Instruments

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Frederic Chopin
"Nothing is more beautiful than a guitar, except, possibly, two."
Musical Instruments, Music, Music Legends, Composers, Europe

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Paul Hindemith
"People who make music together cannot be enemies, at least while the music lasts."
Europe, Composers, Musical Instruments, Music, Music Legends

Yo-Yo Ma

Arts Days: October 07, 1955: Cello’s Child Prodigy
Soon after a music professor began to teach his four-year-old to play the cello, he quickly realized his son was no ordinary music student. Later that year, the family immigrated to New York City in order for the young boy to continue his musical studies. At five, he began performing in public; at seven, he played for President Kennedy. Yes indeed, by all comparisons, Yo-Yo Ma was a pee wee cello prodigy.

Ma eventually enrolled at the Juilliard School, then went on to graduate from Harvard University. Today, Ma’s expressiveness and technical brilliance defies categorization. Tackling all kinds of music from classical to folk, baroque to bluegrass, Ma is believed to be the world’s premiere cellist.
Music, Music Legends, Musical Instruments, Presidents, Young Artists

B.B. King playing the guitar

Arts Days: September 16, 1925: The Thrill is Born
It’s been decades since B.B. King, the “King of Blues,” stood on a street corner playing for dimes. In 1947, he hitchhiked to Memphis to soak up the knowledge of other, more seasoned musicians and further hone his own sound. Just one year later, he got a chance to play on the radio, which led to regular jobs—and soon, a record deal.

King’s rich and expressive singing, coupled with his vocal-like string bends have made him a cherished example for every electric guitarist that has followed. He has made more than 50 records and was awarded a Kennedy Center Honor in 1995. While this reigning King can claim a long list of hits and awards, he is best associated with his 1970 classic, “The Thrill is Gone.”
Innovators & Pioneers, Music Legends, Blues, Musical Instruments, Music

Charlie Parker

Arts Days: August 29, 1920: Rare Bird
As a musician who could improvise jazz and blues music on the fly, Charlie “Bird” Parker has few equals. With his alto saxophone and his deep reservoir of talent, Parker thrilled listeners with his playing on tunes like “Ko-Ko” and “Billie’s Bounce.”

He was one of the leading developers of bebop, a jazz form featuring four or five musicians, fast tempos, and jagged-sounding, complex melodies. He also crafted new ways of playing long solos that shattered the usual conventions. For example, he experimented with creating melodies using higher intervals of a chord than had traditionally been played.
America, Jazz, Music, Music Legends, Musical Instruments

Itzhak Perlman

Arts Days: August 31, 1945: A Violin Virtuoso
Violin superstar Itzhak Perlman’s musical genius has brought new appreciation of both the delicacy and power of the instrument to legions of listeners.

After studying violin at New York’s Julliard School, young Perlman made his Carnegie Hall debut at the tender age of 18. He often performs solo, other times in small ensembles—such as the group playing at the Inauguration of President Barack Obama in January 2009.

Either way, it is this virtuoso’s sheer love of music—be it classical, baroque, romantic, or modern—coupled with his flawless technique that caused a critic from The New Yorker to write that Perlman’s playing was “everything one wants a violin sound to be.”
Musical Instruments, Music, Music Legends

Louis Armstrong playing the trumpet

Arts Days: August 04, 1901: Horn of Plenty
The great trumpeter Louis Armstrong soaked up all the pains and joys of a young man growing up poor and unequipped yet possessing an extraordinary musical talent. These emotions can be clearly heard in the jazz music he grew up to both play and sing.

There's little doubt that Armstrong was the most gifted and influential trumpet soloist in the history of the instrument. His innovations included playing high notes that had never been hit before, and holding these notes for long periods of time; creating vibrato or trembling sounds with his lips; and experimenting with rhythm to make music move, or "swing."

Armstrong's combination of singing and playing (both trumpet and cornet), plus his larger-than-life personality, made him one of the world's greatest and most memorable solo entertainers.
America, Jazz, Music, Music Legends, Innovators & Pioneers, Musical Instruments

Steve Martin

Arts Days: August 14, 1945: A Wild and Crazy Guy
Perhaps “zany” is the perfect word to describe this funny Renaissance man who juggles like a pro, dances with happy feet, and plays a mean banjo like no ordinary country star. Steve Martin’s goofy comedy stunts—from wearing a fake arrow through his head to twisting together balloon animals during his show—have endeared him to countless fans.

Even with a white-hot standup career propelled to new heights by his work on “Saturday Night Live,” Martin tried acting, with lead roles in hilarious films like The Jerk, Roxanne, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, among others. In recent years, he’s branched out: writing short stories and plays and appearing regularly with the bluegrass band, Steep Canyon Rangers.
Comedy, America, Musical Instruments, Movies & Movie Stars

Rockband

Arts Days: November 20, 2007: Band Aid
First issued for Xbox and PlayStation, this video game lets players indulge in their rock and roll fantasies. Each player is rated on his or her ability to play music notes accurately using peripherals, or devices shaped like drums, guitars, and microphones. The game knows and alerts you when you’re singing off key or falling behind in tempo on the “drum kit.”

A team of players can form a band and compete together, earning points collectively against another team. Rock Band is not just a lot of fun to play, but it's helped expand people’s interest in learning to sing and play actual instruments. So, dream on because you never know, today’s Rock Band players may be tomorrow’s newest rock stars.
Inventions, Rock & Roll, Musical Instruments, Music, Popular Culture

Robert Johnson

Arts Days: November 27, 1936: Deal with the Devil
Revered amongst blues musicians and rock stars alike, Robert Johnson lived a life far too short to accommodate his ample talent. What’s more, there are few, if any, letters or other documents to give us a clear picture of the man. One thing is for sure: When the 25-year-old recorded this song, he fueled a powerful legend with which his name has long been associated.

Some say the song is about a pact Johnson made with the devil to give up his soul at a metaphorical crossroads in exchange for his amazing blues guitar skills. But other historians point out that the song is actually about the dangers a black man faces, walking alone after dark in the Deep South of the early 20th century, when the horrors of lynching were all too common.
Music Legends, Blues, Music, America, Musical Instruments, Folklore

Louis Armstrong

Arts Days: July 08, 1922: When Satchmo Went North
Born in New Orleans, Louis Armstrong was a trumpeter who profoundly influenced the development of jazz music, both with his instruments as well as with his gravelly, instantly recognizable voice.

With the encouragement of his mentor Joe “King” Oliver, Armstrong left the south, joining thousands of other young African Americans in search of better job prospects in Chicago. As people secured work, they found they had money to spend in their free time—and they would often go listen to music.

In jazz clubs around the city, Armstrong’s star was on the rise. He played with Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band and musicians in New York, and then returned to Chicago to make his first recordings. Far from home, Armstrong blazed a trail countless other musicians would one day follow.
Innovators & Pioneers, Music Legends, Jazz, Music, Musical Instruments

Frederick Chopin

Arts Days: March 01, 1810: Mr. Piano Man
Imagine writing complicated pieces of music when you are only seven years old. Someone who can do that—like Frederick Chopin—is called a prodigy, someone who at a young age displays amazing skills in music, art, or something else.

Chopin developed new ways of playing the piano that today are at the heart of what we call “Romantic music”—the term given to expressive, complex music written in Europe in the mid-19th to early 20th centuries.

Chopin also was known for his gifts at improvising where he would make up new combinations of notes in the course of playing something he had written already. Chopin’s last public performance took place in London in November 1848 where he played for fellow Polish refugees.
Composers, Musical Instruments, Music, Music Legends, Europe

Mississippi John Hurt

Arts Days: March 08, 1892: Guitar Hero
Not long after the nine-year-old John Smith Hurt picked up his first guitar, he was in demand at barn dances. His style of playing is called finger-picking, which means the strings are plucked using fingers, not a guitar pick, and that the thumb provides the steady bass rhythms on the lower strings.

Hurt was an excellent self-taught player who went on to make several blues and old-time recordings for Okeh Records (which gave him his nickname); but when the Great Depression drove the record label out of business, Hurt returned to Mississippi and worked on farms, playing occasionally at parties.

But a musicologist named Tom Hoskins loved Hurt’s records so much that he tracked him down in Mississippi decades later, persuaded him to come back north and play a few shows, including the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. The second act of his musical career began from here.
America, Blues, Music Legends, Music, Musical Instruments

Ron McNair

Arts Days: February 03, 1984: Rocket Man
Who knew astronaut Ron McNair, one of the first African Americans ever to be accepted into NASA’s Space Shuttle program, excelled at a wide variety of things, including science and sports?

McNair was an expert on laser physics, an accomplishment that helped him land a place on the Space Shuttle Challenger’s 1984 mission. You remember, this was the craft that hurtled into space to deploy satellites and handle other research and communications tasks.

On this day, McNair—an accomplished jazz saxophonist—played his instrument in space to the delight of NASA colleagues listening at Mission Control. Sadly, McNair and six others would perish in the next, ill-fated Challenger deployment, which took place on January 28, 1986.
Music, Space, Musical Instruments, Innovators & Pioneers

King David Kalakaua

Arts Days: February 12, 1874: The King of Aloha
Before Hawaii became America’s 50th state, it was a monarchy ruled by King David Kalakaua I. Kalakaua is credited with helping to revive and support Hawaiian art forms like hula dancing; instruments like the ukelele; and martial arts, like Lua.

You see, some religious missionaries on the Islands thought these activities were improper. They had spent years before Kalakaua was elected to the throne trying to suppress various elements of Hawaiian culture, including its languages and art customs—even surfing!

But Kalakaua believed that these traditions and activities were important for native Hawaiians to learn, enjoy, and share with others to help keep Hawaii’s unique cultural history alive.  For his efforts, he was nicknamed “the Merrie Monarch.”
Dance, America, Geography, History, Musical Instruments, Music, Folklore, World Cultures

Player Piano

Arts Days: June 14, 1881: A Do-It-Yourself Piano
In Cambridge, Massachusetts, John McTammany, Jr. secured a patent for his “mechanical musical instrument,” a piano that was capable of reading the musical notes on thick rolls of paper and playing songs all by itself. Typically, the “autopiano,” as it was also known, had to have a way for air to move through it and for small pegs called hammers to strike the keys at the appropriate times.

While McTammany believed he had invented the “player” part of the piano, he didn’t take credit for the whole thing. In fact, many people over the 19th and 20th centuries had contributed bits of knowledge toward the progression in the instrument.
Inventions, Musical Instruments, Music

Adolphe Sax

Arts Days: May 17, 1846: The Sax Man
Belgian-born Adolphe Sax not only played musical instruments, he invented new ones, too. When he was 15, he made and musically mastered his own flutes and clarinets, even entering them in contests. Only a few years later, a kind of bugle he created laid the groundwork for a new family of instruments called the saxhorns.

The saxophone that bears his name proved to be the pinnacle of his ingenuity. Designed for use in orchestras and concert bands, Sax envisioned it as a woodwind instrument similar to the clarinet and played with a mouthpiece composed of a single reed (a thin strip of material that vibrates inside an instrument to create its distinctive sound). Inventing this new instrument gave Sax greater credibility among musicians and teachers of music.
Inventions, Musical Instruments, Music

Hammond Organ

Arts Days: April 24, 1934: The First Organ Transplant
When an American inventor named Laurens Hammond demonstrated an organ without pipes on this day, musicians like George Gershwin were skeptical (though Gershwin bought one anyway). No one could quite believe that a pipeless electric organ could produce the majestic sounds of the pipe organ that had dominated church services and musical events for centuries. However, once Hammond’s organ was played, the skeptics grew silent.

Using a complex series of magnets, coils, and gears deep inside the console of the instrument, Hammond had created a new instrument capable of all the melodic richness of the pipe organ but in a much smaller size. The price couldn’t be beat, either—$1,250 compared to $4,000 and up for traditional organs, which used air pumped into the pipes by the organist to create their sound.
Musical Instruments, Music, Math, Inventions

Muddy Waters

Arts Days: April 04, 1915: The Father of Chicago Blues
While growing up in the deep South, Muddy Waters dabbled with the harmonica, but it was when he started learning to play the blues guitar that things really got cooking. Waters basically invented a whole new type of blues music, called “Chicago Blues” named for the city where he made his biggest mark. His unique performing style combined country blues with rock and roll electrification. He sang about hard times in the Mississippi Delta, heartbreak, and other subjects.

The “bottleneck” style of guitar playing that Waters mastered was more commonly known as slide guitar. It was dubbed so because Waters slid a piece of glass (sometimes from a bottle, hence the name) or other material against the strings. This created a whole new range of sounds for Waters. In Waters’ case, this sort of playing almost made the instrument an extension of his singing voice, complete with growls, slurs, and screeches.
Blues, America, Musical Instruments, Music Legends, Music

Night Train 57

Cuesheet: Night Train 57: A Sensory-Friendly Folk Opera
All aboard the Night Train! Enter the freewheeling musical world of Grammy® winner Dan Zanes, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Claudia Eliaza, and more special guests for an interactive folk opera that takes audiences on a far-out ride to the galaxies and back. During a joyous dusk-to-dawn trip through the stars, passengers on Night Train 57 will discover the power of friendship and community with the sounds of 21st century handmade sing-along music.
Theater, Music, Musical Instruments, Accessibility

Bernstein! Inside the Music

Multimedia Series: NSO Young People's Concert - Bernstein! Inside the Music
As an equally-famous conductor, composer, and musician, Leonard Bernstein not only conducted music by the world’s greatest composers, he also wrote many important works for orchestras.
Composers, History, Musical Instruments, Music, Orchestra, Music Legends

A Sleepy Hollow-een

Cuesheet: NSO Family Concert: Halloween Spooktacular
When is it ever cool to “boo” the orchestra? On Halloween, of course! But watch out, because at this frightfully fun concert, ghoulishly attired musicians might “BOO” you from behind their instruments in return.
Music, Musical Instruments

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