Drake misses Billboard #1 again

Drake was hoping for his new single Hotline Bling to reach #1 on the Billboard charts. However, he originally released the song’s video only on Apple Music, a company that doesn’t report viewership data to Billboard. The New York Time’s Anastasia Tsioulucas writes, “Maybe Drake’s disappointment serves as a little bit of a cautionary tale for other artists: The streaming platform you choose just might decide your chart fate.”

Here’s the video:

Impromptu Bach

It’s always interesting to see how people react to impromptu music….

While cellist Matt Haimovitz was in residence at Columbia’s Miller Theatre, he performed several pop-up concerts at the university unsuspecting crowds. Haimovitz played at the bookstore, the café, and even the gym. See for yourself.


Misty Copeland’s Story

Misty Copeland has made history through her career in ballet. This past summer Copeland was named a principal dancer of the American Ballet Theatre, becoming the first African-American to be promoted to this position in the company’s 75 years of existence.

Watch Copeland perform with Yo-Yo Ma:


The ballerina is developing a TV show about the world of ballet….and the world can’t wait!

The Ballets Russes Reinvented!

On October 23-25, 2015, The Vets is bringing three ballet masterpieces of the Ballets Russes to Providence! Debussy’s Afternoon of a Faun, Weber’s Le Spectre de la Rose, and Stravinsky’s The Firebird. With the contemporary choreography of Dominic Walsh and under the direction of Mihailo Djuric, these shows are a must see! Read more here.

Style and stories to tell

Andra Day is shockingly talented. She throws her head back just like Billie Holiday as she belts a combination of jazz, R&B, and soul. Read about her song “Gold” here, and watch her Tiny Desk Concert here!

David Wax Museum @ Columbus Theatre this Saturday!

David Wax Museum blends American and Mexican folk music to create a sound unlike any other. The New York Times describes their style as “lonesome Appalachian harmonies over mariachi horn lines and rhythms.”

The band will be performing at the Columbus Theatre in Providence, RI this Saturday. columbustheatre.com


The Suitcase Junket

A found guitar, 1950s amps, and an oversized suitcase: Matt Lorenz plays “junk folk” at NPR’s Folk Alley.


Matt Lorenz

Matt Lorenz

Watch him perform his song “Earth Apple”.


Happy Birthday Yo Yo Ma!

What is your proudest accomplishment? Do you practice a lot? Those are some of the questions Strings Magazine recently asked Yo Yo Ma. The Magazine honored the 60 year old cellist with an extensive interview, including additional commentary from his sister, and a member of the Silk Road Project who was only a little girl when Ma first performed in China.

Ma comments on his relationship with music, his views on music in society, children, education, and many other topics. His views regarding musical education, or rather the questions he asks about the way our society values, or does not value, art, are very thought provoking.

“And what are educational systems based on? Where did our high school subjects come from? Our studies are from 1910, so [do] we need to reboot that? How does art fit into that, how does that fit into arts funding and science funding? What are we educating our children for? Is it a transactional thing? Do you pay that money in order to get better jobs or is there something about education that is different?”

Read the whole article here.

This is how you play like Mozart…

Maxim Vengerov shows a young student how to play like Mozart. Apparently it’s all in the smile…


Can you choose between a Stradivarius and a del Gesù in 20 minutes?

“It’s like the NBA draft crossed with The Bachelor, but for classical music.”

The sixteen winners of the Canada Council for the Arts’ Musical Instrument Bank competition got to choose from sixteen million-dollar instruments. The violinists will play their chosen partners for three years, at which point the violins will move on to their next musicians.

The catch: the winners have to choose their “perfect match” in just 20 minutes! Watch the video and read about the process here.


Vellumsound @MFA

Interested in the intersection of painting and music? The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is presenting a concert of works that evoke the power of the ocean, featuring works of art that complement the music. Read more and get tickets here.


Joseph Mallord William Turner, Ship and Cutter – MFA

Need some music recommendations?

Here’s a list of 34 popular musicians from all over the world.

The Carter Family hits!

Interested in an hour and forty minutes of early country? Then this is the thing for you! Check out The Carter Family’s 33 Country Hit’s:


The Carter Family was the first vocal group to become country music stars. They sing with close harmonies, and are famous for songs like “Can the Circle Be Unbroken” and “Keep on the Sunny Side.” Wiki article here. Enjoy!

Stravinsky masterpiece found after 100 years!

An orchestral piece that Stravinsky wrote in memory of his teacher, Rimsky-Korsokov, was found this month in a forgotten storage room at the St. Petersburg Conservatoire. The work had been lost for 100 years! Read about it!


Stromae the Belgian rapper, singer-songwriter

Stromae’s second album Racine Carrée has catapulted him to international success. The album, released in 2013 in Europe and 2014 in the US, is full of socially critical yet catchy songs that are a mixture of R&B, dance, Afrobeat, and electronic music. He has a lot to say about his music and where it comes from.

Rhiannon Giddens, lead singer of the Carolina Chocolate Drops

Rhiannon Giddens, lead singer of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, is touring around the country, singing songs from her solo album Tomorrow is My Turn! She has a beautiful voice, and her music is historically informed. She also has an interesting life story: she learned to fiddle from Joe Thompson in her home state of North Carolina, but before that she studied opera at Oberlin Conservatory!


Listen to and read about her here.


Stephen Colbert: Jazz 101

Stephen Colbert brought Jon Batiste of Stay Human to the Colbert Report last year to talk about Jazz, and demonstrate some impressive improvising….and Colbert jumped right in.



Also, Jon Batiste and Stay Human are amazing….they even make Miley Cyrus sound good.


Too Beautiful for Words

NYTimes recently hosted a Fall Musical Preview, featuring a ton of artists who have shows opening this season. Jennifer Hudson is the first on the list, singing “Too Beautiful for Words” from “The Color Purple”!


Things you didn’t know about Arvo Pärt

Did you know that since the ’70s Pärt’s music has been inspired by bells?


Watch Pärt playing piano!

Streaming symphonies

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra has become the first-in-the-nation orchestra to offer free live streaming videos of their concerts throughout their performance season!


The first broadcast is November 21st. Check it out!

“she knew nothing about the music”

NPR wants you to “look at this” and I totally agree!




Denise Burt, a graphic designer, knew nothing about classical music when she started designing labels for Dacapo Records in Denmark. However, by engaging with the composers and artists of her projects, she designed covers that actually reflect the amazing music that lies underneath!



A Belgian student of Musical Manufacturing at the College of Ghent in Flanders has built a styrofoam CELLO! Well, just the top is styrofoam, but still!

Sound horrifying? Actually, it’s not! Listen here.

“15 Things Classical Musicians Are Tired of Hearing”

Several of these have some truth to them despite the rebuttals…but still funny!

How many classic albums can you identify by their cover?

I got about 9 out of 14 right :/ Can you beat me? Here’s the quiz.

Was Bob Dylan terrible during the ’80s?

How did Dylan’s music change in the ’80s? Did society turn its back on him? Read what Carl Wilson from Slate has to say about it here.

Bluegrass in a cavern?

Bluegrass in a cavern? Pop near some steel stacks? Classical in a limestone quarry?

Explore these amazing concert venues from all over the world!

A Mercedes Limo or Two?

Fans can now own two Mercedes Limos that belonged to the late and great Maria Callas, a Greek opera star. You might have to drop 100k on them, though. . .

Maria Callas

Maria Callas


They are quite beautiful…


Callas' Mercedes Limos

Callas’ Mercedes Limos


What Fiona is listening to:

Biscuits – Kacey Musgraves

Musgraves has a voice as sweet as candy, and her lyrics are really clever. The video is….interesting.

As you can see, she’s doing quite well for herself!


A flowery quiz!

Good at trivia? How about opera trivia? Check out this quiz, even if you don’t know any of the answers…the music is so beautiful.

Music in politics

Which songs will the 2016 Presidential candidates choose for their “theme songs”? One thing’s for sure, they certainly won’t ask for permission. Read about it here.

Ronald Reagan tried to use Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" without permission in 1984.

Ronald Reagan tried to use Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” without permission in 1984.


The new movie Amy, about the tragic yet accomplished life of singer Amy Winehouse is getting rave reviews! Here’s Rolling Stone’s commentary on the film. Peter Travers writes, “…the film has made Amy so touchingly, recognizably human. It’s her words, her music, her voicemails, her home videos, her friends, her family, her tormentors, and her timeless incandescence. Look, listen and weep.”

The trailer:

Can you spot the changes?

The shop got a makeover! We now have a spacious setup for customers who are waiting to be helped, trying out instruments, or just socializing.


Also, can you spot the new piano? Come and give it a try! We’re open Tuesday through Thursday 12-6pm, Friday 12-5pm, and Saturday 12-3pm.

Visit us at mccartenviolins.com for more information!

Nicki Minaj speaks out for black women in pop music

Nicki Minaj made a splash on Twitter when she tweeted: Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 4.56.58 PM

With this tweet she implied that because she was a black woman, and because her video celebrated black women, it did not get nominated for best video of the year. Taylor Swift thought this was a personal jab, because she herself had been nominated. This “feud” made headlines and distracted from the real issue Minaj was bringing up.

Here’s what some people have to say about the issue:

NYTIMES: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/23/arts/music/nicki-minaj-black-women-rarely-rewarded-for-pop-culture-contributions.html?ref=arts

SLATE: http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2015/07/22/nicki_minaj_taylor_swift_vmas_feud_rapper_calls_out_mtv_for_anaconda_video.html


Facebook and Youtube combined?

Facebook is looking into adding their own video feature that lets you “whistle while you scroll” as this article puts it.


Newport Jazz Festival!

Tickets are still open for the 2015 Newport Jazz Festival from July 31st to August 2nd!

Cécile McLorin Salvant is playing on August 1st. . .you definitely won’t want to miss her 🙂



Newport Folk Festival Lineup!

Folks lucky enough to have tickets must be getting excited about the Newport Folk Festival’s 2015 lineup!

See it here.

2015 lineup