music

'White Christmas' composer Irving Berlin.
Wikimedia Commons

The most popular Christmas carol in America stands apart from the others in a number of ways: It’s not upbeat, there are no fanciful characters and it isn’t religious. Instead, it’s melancholy and wistful – full of longing for bygone days.

An Asian-American rock-band with an eyebrow-raising name has scored a big victory in the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

The court ruled that their name — The Slants — is private speech and therefore protected by the First Amendment. The government, the court writes, has no business trying to regulate it by denying the band a trademark.

How much would you pay to see Adele in concert? Tickets to her sold-out Seattle shows in July are selling on StubHub for as much as $8,500.

Fans may be frustrated, but it’s perfectly legal.

It seems everybody loves Beyoncé. But not everyone can say her name.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was asked about the performer Wednesday by an audience member at a town hall in Iowa: "If you could choose, would you rather be the president or Beyoncé?"

Frank Sinatra was born a hundred years ago today. Even if you think his music just isn't your music, it's hard to get through life without uttering what I'll call a "Frank Phrase" from one of his songs at telling times in our lives.

"So set 'em up, Joe ... Fly me to the moon ... I've got you under my skin ... My kind of town ... I did it my way ... I want to wake up in a city that doesn't sleep ..." And that wry elegy for lost loves and lonely nights: "So make it one for my baby, and one more for the road."

KEXP DJ John Richards began the 'Mom Show' a decade ago after his mother died of cancer.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

When KEXP DJ John Richards lost his mom to lung cancer, he went on the air, played songs that he played at her funeral and talked about what he was going through.

A decade later, Richards still does that on the anniversary of his mom's death. But now listeners get involved too.

Wayne Horvitz is one of those musicians who does almost everything — from leading a small group of improvisers to conducting a big band, and from composing for symphony orchestra to running a nightclub. The Seattle-based keyboard player turned 60 this year, and he's celebrating by adding even more to his schedule: playing birthday concerts on both coasts.

Tenor Marty Mullin at Cantare Vocal Ensemble rehearsal.
KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

If you Google “Puget Sound community chorales,” more than 100 groups pop up, from small Eastern European folk ensembles to the 250-member Northwest Girls’ Choir.

John Luther Adams
MELANIE BURFORD FOR NPR MUSIC

A Grammy-winning recording by the Seattle Symphony has caught Taylor Swift’s ear: The pop star just donated $50,000 to the symphony after hearing its performance of “Become Ocean.”

Swift wrote to symphony music director Ludovic Morlot praising the composition and reminiscing about going to her local symphony with her grandmother.

Macklemore's latest effort with producer Ryan Lewis is "Kevin," a funk-flavored tirade against the ravages of addiction, with a particularly scathing indictment against overprescription of medication. The Seattle duo is joined by soul singer Leon Bridges for the hook. "Doctor please give me a dose of the American dream," Bridges implores. "Put down the pen and look in my eyes. We're in the waiting room and something ain't right."

A portrait of composer Claude Debussy painted by Marcel  Baschet, 1884.
Public Domain

Pop music has always  borrowed liberally from classical themes: think Al Jolson’s 1920 hit “Avalon” lifting Puccini’s opera “Tosca,” 1970s disco sensation "A Fifth of Beethoven” or Vitamin C’s more modern sampling of Pachelbel’s “Canon in D Major.”

But it's a two-way street! In fact, the first borrowing might have taken place on the classical side.  

Carrie Brownstein: "Sleater-Kinney was a band that wanted to be heard. We had a set of ambitions and sometimes they felt anathema to those politics from which we came."
Autumn de Wilde

Rocker/actress/writer Carrie Brownstein spoke with The Record’s Ross Reynolds about the music scene in Olympia in the 1990s and why she thinks of Portland as a shrug.

Brownstein, of Sleater-Kinney and “Portlandia” fame, has a new memoir, "Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl." She did a reading Friday night at the Neptune Theatre in Seattle.

music symphony
Flickr Photo/Jason Burrows (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1MJa3Vd

Calling all Francophiles!

Front Row Center is headed to the Seattle Symphony on Dec. 6 for Gabriel Fauré's "Requiem," which the Symphony calls "a masterpiece of utter serenity".

The Seattle Symphony and Chorale will perform together for this all-French program which will include Olivier Messiaen's "Poèmes pour Mi," and Claude Debussy's "Danses Sacrée et Profane."

Musician Wayne Horvitz.
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

When Wayne Horvitz moved to Seattle, he was looking for a quiet place to chill out between road trips.

He never imagined himself in a symphony hall.

Bruce Pavitt and Adam Farish show off the 8Stem app, which they expect to launch to the public next year.
KUOW Photo/Ross Reynolds

When you play recorded music you can turn the volume up and down or adjust bass and treble – that’s about it.

Bruce Pavitt, co-founder of Sub Pop records, the record label that unleashed Nirvana on the world, thinks that’s pretty boring. So he’s teaming up with inventor Adam Farish to develop a new music format called 8Stem.

Pavitt and Farish told KUOW’s Ross Reynolds that it will upend recorded music by letting listeners engage more deeply with what they hear.

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