arts and culture

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor was only in his early twenties and not long graduated from the Royal College of Music when his cantata Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast propelled him to international fame. A setting of verses drawn from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem The Song of Hiawatha, the 1898 choral-orchestral work by the Afro-English composer proved immensely popular with performers and audiences alike—on both sides of the Atlantic.    

"S" is for Sanders, Dorinda [Sua] Watsee [b. 1934]. Farmer, novelist. After graduating from the segregated schools in York County, Dori Sanders attended community colleges in Maryland. Then, during the winter, she worked as a banquet manager. During the summer she worked on her family’s 200-acre farm and helped staff Sanders’ Peach Shed on US Highway 321. She had been writing for a number of years and in 1990, Algonquin Press published her first novel, Clover. The lyrical novel received rave reviews, won the Lillian Smith Book Award, and later became a made-for-television motion picture.

Jim LaTallet

Note on April 2, 2020: If "musical equivalent of a particle accelerator" didn't give it away—this story was an April Fools' joke.

In Plato’s Republic, Socrates famously highlights music as one of the two disciplines necessary for the healthy functioning of a society. The philosopher even goes so far as to recommend that only two musical modes—the old-world equivalent of modern-day keys like C Major or E minor—be allowed in the ideal state: the Dorian and the Phrygian. Other modes, like the Lydian and Ionian, Socrates dismisses as unedifying.

Beethoven's First Piano Concerto with Phillip Bush

Feb 17, 2020
Bradley Fuller, South Carolina Public Radio

Not long after his arrival in Vienna in late 1792, a young Ludwig van Beethoven was beginning to make an impression in the musical city. The Austrian capital had only a year prior lost one of its other famous residents—Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart—and Beethoven showed promising signs of carrying the composer’s legacy forward into a new century. Like Mozart, Beethoven was skilled as both a performer and a composer, using talents in one specialty to highlight those in another. 

"The Reserve in Summer" from the series A Carolina Rice Plantation of the Fifties, ca. 1935, By Alice Ravenel Huger Smith (American, 1876 - 1958); Watercolor on paper;
Gift of the artist; 1937.009.0027027. Courtesy of the Gibbes Museum of Art

In the years after WWI, art, poetry, historic preservation, and literature flourished in Charleston, SC, and the Lowcountry during what has been called the Charleston Renaissance. Angela Mack, Executive Director & Chief Curator of the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, talks with Walter Edgar about the people and circumstances that came together to create this flowering of the beaux arts in the Holy City.

Bradley Fuller, South Carolina Public Radio

Late nights are a frustrating fact of life for many musicians. Too often, the time after sundown is all that remains for performing, practicing, working against an upcoming deadline, or agonizing over an artistic quandary.

But for composer Thomas Palmer, a senior studying composition and clarinet performance at the Unviersity of South Carolina School of Music, there’s inspiration to be found even in the drudgery of a sleep-deprived state. His reed quintet Red-Eye (2019), recently published by Murphy Music Press, is a musical representation of staying up late.

Charleston Artist Honors Our Nation's Veterans

Dec 5, 2019
Mary Whyte painting of "Hank" a World War II Coast Guard Veteran from New Jersey
Victoria Hansen/ SC Public Radio

Charleston artist Mary Whyte secretly scoured the country painting portraits for seven years as part of her latest project, "We the People".  Her ambition is as extraordinary as her subjects; our nation's veterans.

"I really believe our truest Americans really are our veterans," says Whyte.

Known for her watercolor paintings depicting American life, Whyte became part journalist part historian for her latest venture.  She knew she wanted to depict a variety of veterans from each of the 50 states.  But she wasn't exactly sure where to find them.

Bradley Fuller / South Carolina Public Radio

Those who insist that speaking about music is akin to dancing about architecture would do well to take a few preliminary steps with Columbia-based conductor Nisan Ak. A native of Istanbul, Turkey, Ak knows that a little preparation before taking in a performance can go a long way.

Carolina Live Program Listings

Jun 19, 2019

Jan 31 & Feb 2
Greensboro Symphony: Austro-Hungarian Delight
Dmitry Sitkovetsky, conductor; Scott Rawls, viola

Kodaly: Dances of Galanta
Bartok: Viola Concerto
Brahms: Symphony No. 3 in F

The Rutherford Chamber Consort: Ruscelli di Primavera
Schoenberg: Transfigured Night for String Sextet

There’s a combination of grand symphonic music and a very intriguing chamber piece on this edition of Carolina Live.  The Greensboro Symphony offers their concert titled Austro-Hungarian Delight, with music by Zoltan Kodaly, Bela Bartok and Johannes Brahms.  Then the Rutherford Chamber Consort brings us a work by Arnold Schoenberg, his Transfigured Night for String Sextet.  Interesting combination for sure, and pleasurable listening for you…

Feb 7 & 9
South Carolina Philharmonic: Masterworks 3 — Beethoven & Blue Jeans
Morihiko Nakahara, music director/conductor

Montgomery: Records from a Vanishing City
Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 in F – “Pastorale”
Symphony No. 5 in c-minor

For admirers of Ludwig van Beethoven’s symphonies (and that includes most lovers of classical music) there’s a double treat in this Carolina Live…both the “Pastorale” Symphony No. 6 in F and the familiar Symphony No. 5 in c-minor with the four best-known notes in classical music are yours to enjoy.  There also the intriguing tone poem Records from a Vanishing City by Jessie Montgomery.  Please join us for all three.

Feb 14 & 16
Winston-Salem Symphony:  Myers Conducts Tchaikovsky
Timothy Myers, conductor; Dmitri Vorobiev, piano

Higdon: Machine
Mazzoli: These Worlds in Us
Ravel: Concerto for Piano in G
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 in b-minor

A guest conductor holds the reins of the Winston-Salem Symphony in a concert titled Myers Conducts Tchaikovsky.  That Russian great is represented by his Symphony No. 6 in b-minor, but you’ll also hear the fascinating Concerto for Piano in G by Maurice Ravel, with guest pianist Dmitri Vorobiev in the solo spot.  There’s also Machine by contemporary composer Jennifer Higdon and These Worlds in Us by Missy Mazzoli.  Tchaikovsky, yes, but a whole lot more!

Feb 21 & 23
Broyhill Chamber Ensemble: Bridging the Classical and Romantic Divide
Gil Morgenstern and Francesca DePasquale, violins; Jessica Thomson, viola; Christine Lamprea, cello; Benjamin Hochman, piano

Beethoven: Piano Quartet in E-flat
Schubert: Notturno in E-flat
Schumann: Piano Quartet in E-flat

In a concert titled Bridging the Classical and Romantic Divide the longtime resident chamber group of An Appalachian Summer Festival in Boone, NC, the Broyhill Chamber Ensemble, offers music that does just that.  Three memorable pieces from the great composers Beethoven, Schubert and Schumann take you through that journey in time.  Then the always-terrific Tesla Quartet has highlights from their concert Past & Present, with three Madrigals by Italian nobleman Carlo Gesualdo and Ottorino Respighi’s String Quartet in D.  Bravo!

Feb 28 & Mar 2
Greensboro Symphony Orchestra: Three Meditations
Dmitry Sitkovetsky, conductor; Andres Diaz, cello

Saint-Saens: The Swan from Carnival of the Animals
Bernstein: Three Meditations from Mass
Dvorak: Symphony No. 6 in D

The Palmetto Mastersingers
Lillian Quackenbush, Artistic Director

Souls of Love – a varied concert of sacred, popular and
classical selections

Music for the mind and the heart is presented on this edition of the program.  We begin with a concert titled Three Meditations by the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra.  The title refers to music by Leonard Bernstein – Three Meditations from Mass – and the evening’s music includes the lovely The Swan by Camille Saint-Saens and Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 6 in D.  We then feature highlights from the concert Souls of Love from The Palmetto Mastersingers, a wonderful ensemble known as “South Carolina’s Musical Ambassadors.”  They offer music from a variety of composers including Rachmaninoff, John Dowland, Alex North and Billy Joel.

Mar 7 & 9
Rutherford Chamber Consort: Vessels of Song

Sharon Lawrence,  Artistic Director

Paganini: Cantabile
H.H.A. Beach: Romance
Galay: Klezmer Tunes with a Classical Touch
Kogan: Klezmer Dance Suite
Schubert: String Quintet in C

Greensboro Symphony Orchestra: Keys of Beethoven
Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Music Director; Lukas Geniusas, piano

Barber: Adagio for Strings
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C-minor

This edition of the program begins with a concert by the Rutherford Chamber Consort titled Vessels of Song.  Some of those vessels are captained by familiar composers such as Paganini and Schubert, but a main part of the concert blends the distinctive sound of klezmer music with classical in a set titled “Klezmer in the Mountains.”  The second part of Carolina Live has highlights from a concert by the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra—Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C-minor.

Mar 14 & 16
Greenville Symphony Chamber Orchestra: Shall We Dance

Edvard Tchivzhel, conductor

Weber: Invitation to the Dance
Glinka: Three Polish Dances
De Falla: The Three-Cornered Hat Suite No. 1
Dvorak: Three Slavonic Dances
Brahms: Two Hungarian Dances

An invitation to dance can be an exciting thing, but in this program we also have music that can make it seem rather harrowing.  In a concert titled Shall We Dance the Greenville Symphony Chamber Orchestra brings you music from five wonderful composers, with the music ranging from Glinka’s Three Polish Dances to De Falla’s dances from The Three-Cornered Hat.  There are Three Slavonic Dances by Dvorak and a pair of Hungarian Dances by Brahms, plus more.  Put on your dancing shoes and join us.

Mar 21 & 23
Winston-Salem Symphony & Chorus: Mozart’s Requiem

Jessica Morel, conductor; Christopher Gilliam, Chorus conductor

Mozart: Requiem in D-minor

Greenville Symphony: Arabian Nights
Edvard Tchivzhel, conductor; Laura Colgate, violin

Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade    

Two strong orchestras and two spectacular musical works are found on this edition of Carolina Live.  The Winston-Salem Symphony and Chorus present the Requiem in D-minor by Mozartfrom a March 2019 concert at Wait Chapel of Wake Forest University.  Then the Greenville Symphony plays Nikolai Rimsky-Korsavov’s oh-so-romantic Scheherazade in a January 2019 concert.  It’s an intriguing pairing of musical masterworks, so make sure to join us.

Mar 28 & 30
South Carolina Philharmonic: Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto
Morihiko Nakahara, conductor; Philip Bush, piano

Fitz Rogers: The Passing Sun
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major
Dvorak: Symphony No. 7 in d-minor

Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto is the title of the concert featured on this edition of Carolina Live, and that important work is given the expected excellent performance by the South Carolina Philharmonic and pianist Philip Bush.  Also on the program is The Passing Sun by John Fitz Rogers, a work commissioned by the orchestra, and the delightful Symphony No. 7 in d-minor by Antonin Dvorak.  There’s interesting variety from the orchestra and conductor Morihiko Nakahara, so join us and enjoy.

Bradley Fuller / South Carolina Public Radio

“If you’re afraid of getting into Shakespeare, start with the music.”

For Dr. Sarah Williams, associate professor of music history at the University of South Carolina, the sometimes-challenging task of understanding the works of William Shakespeare can be made easier -- and more enjoyable -- through music. A specialist in the popular music and culture of England in Shakespeare’s time, Sarah suggests that common notions about the playwright and his works often miss the mark.

Bradley Fuller / South Carolina Public Radio

Traditionally, a night at the symphony has entailed dressing up. For performers and audience members alike, the sight of a sharply-dressed crowd is nearly as much of a given as the sound of orchestral music.   

But the move toward a more casual concert experience is becoming a tradition in its own right, including in the Palmetto State.

After two decades, the South Carolina Philharmonic’s annual “Beethoven & Blue Jeans” concert continues to offer classical music in a casual-clothes setting.

It’s not every day that the musicians of Fort Jackson’s 282nd Army Band have the opportunity to perform alongside an organist.

“This is very unique. This usually doesn’t happen,” Bandmaster George T. Bauer says of the ensemble’s upcoming Veterans Day Concert. With fifteen brass players, three percussionists, and an organist performing selections by composers ranging from J.S. Bach to Maurice Duruflé, the concert is far from what many might think typical for one given by a military band.

Dr. Billy Taylor and Nancy Wilson with Marian McPartland

Jul 19, 2018
Marian McPartland with Billy Taylor and Nancy Wilson, New York, 1998
RJ Capak

Dr. Billy Taylor (1921–2010) was a pianist, composer and educator. He dedicated his life to teaching jazz history and was a regular voice heard on NPR, making jazz accessible to a large audience and putting public radio on the cultural map. Brilliant song stylist Nancy Wilson also worked for NPR as host of Jazz Profiles, a companion series to Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz. This special edition commemorates the 20th anniversary of Piano Jazz in 1999.

Wynton Marsalis and Marian McPartland

Jul 19, 2018
Marian McPartland and Wynton Marsalis, New York, 1990
RJ Capak

Wynton Marsalis is a trumpeter, composer, and educator. He is the artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center and is an active promotor of music to young audiences. Since Marsalis’ debut album in 1982, he has released more than 60 jazz and classical recordings and has earned nine Grammy Awards. In 1997 his oratorio, Blood on the Fields, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music, the first jazz composition ever to do so. In this 1990 Piano Jazz session, Marsalis and McPartland delve into their standard repertoires with “I Cover the Waterfront.”

Peter Cincotti and Marian McPartland

Jul 19, 2018
Marian McPartland and Peter Cincotti, Washington, D.C., 2004

Peter Cincotti is a pianist, composer, and vocalist who broke onto the music scene at a notably young age. He started learning the piano when he was just a toddler and at seven was invited to play with Harry Connick Jr, after impressing the singer through an impromptu performance during a live concert. At age 18 Cincotti released his eponymous debut album, which reached Number 1 on the Billboard jazz charts, making him the youngest artist ever to do so.