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American soldiers in presence of gas, 42nd division. Essey, France. September 20, 1918.
Flickr Photo/Otis Historical Archives (CC-BY-NC-ND)

To mark the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, University of Washington professor Robin McCabe planned a series she calls “Music from the War to End All Wars.”

The debut event includes professor Robert Stacey’s talk ,“A Gathering Storm? Artistic Crisis and the Coming of the First World War.” 

Musician and author James McBride.
Flickr Photo/American Library Association (CC-BY-NC-ND)

As you listen to this episode of Speakers Forum, keep in mind that author James McBride gave this talk without any notes. In it he riffs on his family, career, books and life in America with thoughtful, humorous and inspiring improvisation.

Seattle Opera General Director Aidan Lang
Facebook/Seattle Opera

The first sign that change has come to Seattle Opera is on the walls.

Many of the temporary partitions that for years divided the Opera's administrative office into a warren of cubicles are gone. The cramped room feels bigger, or at least roomier. There's space to breath.

New General Director Aidan Lang has performed a similar surgery on his corner office. Gone is predecessor Speight Jenkins' couch and stuffed animals. In its place are a neatly organized desk and a business-like round table and chairs.

Jon Osborne

“Welcome to the Stroke a Chord choir, my name is Tim Adams.”

Adams, a 49-year-old lawyer from Australia, was training for a marathon about four years ago when he suffered a massive stroke. He survived, but the stroke damaged the part of his brain that controls speech. The condition is known as aphasia.

But sometimes people who can't speak can sing, because the two acts are controlled by different parts of the brain. And that's how the Stroke a Chord choir in Melbourne can exist. 

Local musician Jamie Aaron, in a screenshot from one of her music videos.
YouTube

Ross Reynolds talks with local musician Jamie Aaron, who recently released her debut solo album "Velo Scene," about her inspirations.  Aaron will be playing January 23 at the Columbia City Theater. 

In the mid-20th century, whale populations were dwindling. More than 50,000 whales were killed each year by commercial whalers.

But then in the 1960s, a song — or rather, many songs — sparked a movement.

It started with some underwater equipment that, for the first time, captured the sound of humpback whales.

Composer-Poets

At his home in Vermont, biologist Roger Payne plays the audio that was discovered back then. He points out themes in the whales' song, and how they evolve over time.

KUOW Photo/Jenny Asarnow

When RadioActive's Noah Phillips Reardon was 13, her friend put Beat Connection's song "Silver Screen" on a mix tape. Noah played it over and over and over again. Four years later, she sat down with the Seattle band in KUOW's studio for this live performance and interview. 

Keyboard player and producer Reed Juenger explains the phrase he coined to describe today's iteration of the perennial artist's dilemma: Industrial Condo Sadness.

Ross Reynolds interviews Seattle jazz pianist, composer and bandleader Overton Berry about his long long career stretching back 50 years.

Berry played at clubs around the 1962 World’s Fair and performed during Seattle's funk explosion of the 1970s. 

File photo.
Flickr Photo/Lis Ferla (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks to Joel Beckerman about his new book, "The Sonic Boom: How Sound Transforms The Way We Think, Feel And Buy," and about his work as a composer and sound designer.

The people behind "Now I'm Fine," a performance that melds music, comedy and storytelling at On The Boards this week.
On The Boards

It was 2006, and Ahamlefule J. Oluo was not fine. 

"I was very young, in my early 20s," he says. "I had just gone through a divorce." 

His Nigerian father, a man he'd never met and only spoken with once on the telephone, had died before Oluo got to fulfill his wish of forging a relationship with him.

The Native American Music Awards recognize indigenous musicians from the U.S., Canada and Latin America. It is considered to be the Grammys of Native American music.

Morning Edition is celebrating its 35th anniversary this week.

Over the years, many stories, voices and sounds have come and gone on the show. But there has remained one constant — our theme music.

The Morning Edition theme was written by BJ Leiderman in 1979. At the time, he was a struggling college student who wrote jingles on the side. He gave a demo tape of his music to a friend who worked at NPR.

On that tape was one little musical phrase that eventually became the Morning Edition theme music.

Courtesy of Cey Adams

Ross Reynolds speaks with graphic artist Cey Adams about how Adams' career has paralleled the rise of hip hop and rap culture over the past 30 years. 

Eight years after his death, James Brown is suddenly everywhere.

Sleater-Kinney is back together, has a new album coming out Jan. 20 via Sub Pop records, and will go on tour early next year. The album is called No Cities to Love, and you can listen to the first single, "Bury Our Friends," right here.

Flickr Photo/Paul Elliott (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Forty years ago, busking, or playing music in the street for money, became legal in Seattle. Now, it's officially "Busking Week" to celebrate, and KUOW caught up with local musician Josh Philpott as he played guitar downtown.

KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

You may not know his name, but you've probably heard his music.

Antonin Dvorak's New World Symphony contains some of the catchiest tunes in the classical music repertoire. The Czech-born composer was best known for synthesizing European folk melodies into his music. After an extended stay in New York in the late 1800s, Dvorak incorporated traditional American and African American tunes as well.

How My Basement Led Me To The Jazz Scene On Jackson Street

Sep 3, 2014
Public domain, via BlackPast.org

Nia Price-Nascimento lives in a house built in the 1920s in the Central District, Seattle's historically African-American neighborhood.  Last year, she found out there are two chambers hidden under the wooden floorboards in her basement creating a sub-basement. That led her to a journey back in time, as she explains in her own words.

Before I get into the story, you need to know I’m African American and Brazilian. I grew up in a mostly African-American neighborhood, but most of my friends are white, and I never really felt like I fit in. I recently got curious about my heritage.

Young Seattleites Feel Limited By Lack Of All-Ages Live Music

Sep 2, 2014
KUOW Photo/Noah Phillips Reardon

At Seattle's Capitol Hill Block Party this July, a crowd at the Main Stage was waiting for hip-hop artist ASAP Ferg to come out. The crowd was chanting and everyone was excited.

"There's a lot of emotions attached to music that you don't get with talking to somebody or going down the street," observed Mila Widmayer, 16. She's a singer and a volunteer at the Vera Project, an all-ages concert venue. "Music just affects your life in ways that other things can't."

Flickr Photo/Seattle Municipal Archives (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with music journalist and author Charles R. Cross about music festivals in the Pacific Northwest. Have they become too big and corporate?

Courtesy of Kathleen Gillette

Kathleen Gillette has had a passion for singing for as long as she can remember. She was always "very excited about bringing a piece of music to the audience. I loved it. I just loved it.”

Life is about making difficult choices. Sometimes you make them, and other times it’s not up to you. For Gillette, life pulled the stage out from under her.

Jess Van Nostrand, The Project Room

Seattle was at the epicenter of the international music scene in the early 1990s. You've probably heard the stories about the bands that got big record deals, like Soundgarden, Mudhoney and Nirvana.

An Autistic Teen's Guide To Impersonating Michael Jackson

Aug 27, 2014
Courtesy of Lorenzo Manuel

It was homecoming dance at Roosevelt High School, and the Roosevelt football team had just been crushed. As it started getting late, the energy sunk even lower. People were mostly slow dancing; it was all Taylor Swift at that point.

Just then, a familiar tune started to play. The thinning crowd began to roar. A spotlight came on. As the first lyrics of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" shook the room, a skinny kid with short brown hair and a sparkly glove began to dance.

Museum of History and Industry/Timothy Eagan

August 21, 1964.

That's the day the Beatles came to Seattle for the very first time.

The Fab Four played 12 songs — 29 minutes total — at the Seattle Center Coliseum. Despite the concert's brevity, by all accounts the 14,000 fans in attendance went wild.

RadioActive: Music For All Ages And Lessons From Opera Singers

Aug 8, 2014
KUOW Photo / Jenny Asarnow

Come with Noah Phillips-Reardon and Ernesto Morfin and hear two musical stories in this final podcast of RadioActive's Summer 2014 Workshop. Noah finds out why some shows in Seattle aren't all ages, and Ernesto learns life lessons from an opera singer. 

RadioActive is KUOW's program for high school students. Listen to RadioActive stories, subscribe to the RadioActive podcast and stay in touch on Facebook.

Don't Stop 'Til You Reach The Summit

Aug 7, 2014
Courtesy of Leo Egashira

Join Esa Tilija and Meghan O'Kelley for an inspiring podcast about individuality and living life to the fullest. Meghan shares how autistic high schooler Lorenzo learned to express himself through an unconventional hobby: impersonating Michael Jackson. Esa tells the story of how Leo, an avid backpacker, got a life-changing diagnosis that served as a call to truly live.

RadioActive is KUOW's program for high school students. Listen to RadioActive stories, subscribe to the RadioActive podcast and stay in touch on Facebook.

KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

As German composer Richard Wagner contemplated the Ring cycle in the 19th century, he decided it wasn’t enough to create a four-night saga of gods and humans.

He also envisioned an instrument that didn’t yet exist, one that could sound "strident" one moment and “gorgeous and mellow” the next. He wrote the music for the Ring in the 1860s and 70s with the instrument in mind. Then he commissioned someone to build it.

From The Past To The Present In Our Communties

Aug 6, 2014
KUOW Photo / Jenny Asarnow

What are the amazing stories in our community that get looked over? Nia Price-Nascimento learns about West Coast jazz by starting in her sub-basement, and Ahlaam Ibraahim shares how computer science has a huge affect on one girl's life.  

RadioActive is KUOW's program for high school students. Listen to RadioActive stories, subscribe to the RadioActive podcast and stay in touch on Facebook.

It was early May 2007. Two friends, 16-year-old Christopher Horton and 20-year-old Brian Dean, were sitting on a porch on 23rd Steet and Orcutt Avenue in Newport News, Va., in the city's downtown neighborhood.

Someone walked up to the porch where they were sitting and opened fire with a handgun, killing both Horton and Dean.

Jennifer Hopper in KUOW's green room in 2014.
KUOW Photo/Akiko Oda

A life can change in a moment.

For Jennifer Hopper, that moment was July 19, 2009, the night Isaiah Kalebu broke into the South Park home that Hopper shared with her fiancée Teresa Butz. The man repeatedly stabbed and raped the two women. Butz died on the street in front of her home.

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