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Astoria Characters: The Svelte Soprano

Nancy Ruhling | Posted 12.18.2011 | New York
Nancy Ruhling

Even when she's not on stage, Jenny, a Valkyrie whose waves of golden ringlets cascade down her shoulders, has quite a stage presence. Runway-model slim, she stands nearly six feet tall in her flat gold sandals.

Astoria Characters: The 95-Year-Old Spring Chicken

Nancy Ruhling | Posted 06.26.2011 | New York
Nancy Ruhling

Don't let her age fool you. Henrietta Spilkia looks 75, and she's as vibrant as her hot-pink turtleneck and cherry-red lipstick.

Yanni Talks Truth, Touring, and the Charlie Sheen Torpedo in NYC (VIDEO)

Jon Chattman | Posted 06.15.2011 | Entertainment
Jon Chattman

Yanni never imagined he'd ever be a part of a Charlie Sheen sandwich, but that's exactly where he found himself last Saturday night.

WATCH: Amazing Young Chinese Girl Plays Piano With No Fingers On One Hand

Posted 05.25.2011 | Arts

To play the piano well is a challenge in and of itself. Pianists study diligently for years and consider themselves students even well into illustrio...

Why Can't You Play Music?

Robbie Gennet | Posted 05.25.2011 | Education
Robbie Gennet

As I started playing in bands and writing songs, I developed skills at various jams and sessions that had me stumbling onward and upward as a player.

Arts Lust: Jonathan Biss Beats the CRIS

Allan M. Jalon | Posted 05.25.2011 | Arts
Allan M. Jalon

the poetic lightness with which Biss played, ran in startling contradiction to the gravity I expected. It was like watching someone bend and gently turn over a single leaf in the middle of a storm.

Chua, Baby

Mark Steinberg | Posted 05.25.2011 | Comedy
Mark Steinberg

While my self-esteem couldn't be detected by an atomic microscope, I did regard myself as a sure thing in some future Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog eating contest.

Chinese Tiger Mothers? Kittens Compared to French Mothers. Why Any Fear Model Is the Wrong Way to Go

Dominique Browning | Posted 05.25.2011 | Books
Dominique Browning

Let me throw in my nomination for the fiercest kind of mother: the French mother. Here's what the Chinese/Jewish/French superiority models have in common.

Chuck Leavell: This Rolling Stone Gathers Trees

Avital Andrews | Posted 05.25.2011 | Green
Avital Andrews

Chuck Leavell has been a melodic force behind some of rock 'n' roll's biggest acts. But he is also a committed conservationist and tree farmer.

Beijing Music Festival 2010: China's Future in Performing Arts

Charles Fabius | Posted 05.25.2011 | Arts
Charles Fabius

Top leaders in the performing arts sat down with Chinese cultural officials, only to find out that China seems to be addressing the issues head-on in a fearless way. At least so it seems, watching Yu Long.

Liu Wei, Armless Pianist, Wins 'China's Got Talent' (VIDEO)

Posted 05.25.2011 | World

SHANGHAI (AP) -- A musician who lost both arms in a childhood accident and plays the piano with his toes has won "China's Got Talent," performing his ...

Astoria Characters: The Man to the Mansion Born

Nancy Ruhling | Posted 05.25.2011 | New York
Nancy Ruhling

Michael Halberian wanders through the central hall of the fabled Steinway Mansion and flips the switch that turns on the 1,000-pound crystal chandelier, big and round as the sun. It's motorized.

New Cello-Piano Duo Brings Insights into "Russian Soul"

Alan Elsner | Posted 05.25.2011 | Entertainment
Alan Elsner

I'm generally suspicious of national stereotypes but a new CD recording of cello and piano works by Russian composers illuminates and gives life to th...

WATCH: Armless Pianist Plays With His Toes, Wows Audience

Posted 05.25.2011 | World

SHANGHAI — Pianist Liu Wei sits quietly to compose himself before plunging into the music. Then he takes off a sock. The 23-year-old, whose arm...

WATCH: ART IN TECHNOLOGY: Unzipping The DNA Of Music On Your iPad

Posted 05.25.2011 | Arts

Developed by concert pianist Robert Taub, Improvox is the latest in incredibly advanced ways of experiencing music that have become available via iPad...

Breaking News: Lang Lang Will Stick With Piano

Laurence Vittes | Posted 05.25.2011 | Arts
Laurence Vittes

Already a legend for his Flight of the Bumblebee on an iPad with the San Francisco Symphony, Lang Lang is announcing the release of Version 2.0 of his best-selling iPad-only app, Magic Piano.

STREAMING LIVE NOW: Violinist Joshua Bell And Pianist Yuja Wang Live On MediciTV

Posted 05.25.2011 | Arts

To hear the tones bouncing from violinist Joshua Bell's strings is an experience in and of itself. To see the sweat form on his brow (and his vivacio...

Chopin's Endless Fascination -- Between Heaven and Earth

Alan Elsner | Posted 05.25.2011 | Arts
Alan Elsner

Lately, perhaps because it's the bicentenary of his birth, I've been listening to a lot of Chopin and trying to figure out what it is about his music ...

Astoria Characters: The Classic Educand

Nancy Ruhling | Posted 05.25.2011 | New York
Nancy Ruhling

The "defining moment" of Helen Polychronis's life occurred when she was 5. She went to bed one winter night, and the next morning she couldn't raise her arms or legs.

Vijay Iyer's Life in Music: "Striving is the Backstory..." (AUDIO)

Christopher Lydon | Posted 05.25.2011 | Arts
Christopher Lydon

Vijay Iyer brings rare stuff to jazz piano, starting with a Brahmin Indian name and heritage, and a Yale degree in physics. Gujarati stick dances and ...

Yehudi Wyner's life in music: composer with piano hands

Christopher Lydon | Posted 05.25.2011 | Entertainment
Christopher Lydon

Yehudi Wyner is an approachable guy in a forbidding field: contemporary "serious" music. He gives us an opening here to ask where new sounds come fr...

The Pianist: Polish Political Protest

Shirin Sadeghi | Posted 05.25.2011 | World
Shirin Sadeghi

There is something profoundly venerable about an artist who is not afraid to speak up. Krystian Zimerman spoke out against President Obama intention to press ahead with George W.'s plans to install a missile-defense shield in Poland.

Mrs. Madoff's Piano

Jeff Danziger | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business
Jeff Danziger