Anastasia Tsioulcas

Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter for NPR Music. She covers breaking news in the music industry, as well as a wide range of musical genres and artists, for NPR's flagship news programs and NPR Music.

Tsioulcas is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics, and identity. She covers #MeToo and gender issues in the music industry, as well as the effects of US immigration and travel policy on musicians and other performers traveling to this country.

She has reported from the funeral of Aretha Franklin, profiled musicians and dancers in contemporary Cuba, and brought listeners into the creative process of composers Steve Reich and Terry Riley.

Tsioulcas also produces episodes for NPR Music's much-lauded Tiny Desk concert series, and has hosted live concerts from venues like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and New York's (Le) Poisson Rouge. She has also commissioned and produced several world premieres on behalf of NPR Music, including a live event that brought together 350 musicians on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library.

As a video producer, she has created high-profile video shorts for NPR Music, including performances by cellist Yo-Yo Ma in a Brooklyn theatrical props warehouse and pianist Yuja Wang in an icy-cold Steinway & Sons piano factory in Queens.

Tsioulcas has reported from across Europe, north and west Africa, south Asia, and Cuba for NPR and other outlets. Prior to joining NPR in 2011, she was widely published as a writer and critic on both classical and world music, and was the North America editor for Gramophone Magazine and the classical music columnist for Billboard.

Born in Boston, Tsioulcas was trained from an early age as a classical violinist and violist. She holds a B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University in comparative religion.

There's a musical asterisk on French president-elect Emmanuel Macron's bio: He is an avid amateur pianist. It's a facet of his life occasionally noted in passing, as in this piece from the French radio network Europe 1 titled "The Things You Don't Yet Know About Emmanuel Macron." Along with mentioning his abiding fondness for karaoke, Europe 1 reported that he studied piano for 10 years at the music conservatory in Amiens, where he won third prize.

Conductor Gustavo Dudamel — one of the most famous Venezuelans in the world today and one of the world's most prominent classical musicians — issued an open letter today to the president and government in his native country.

Long reticent to address politics directly, he has published his comments in a letter titled "Levanto Mi Voz / I Raise My Voice," in both Spanish and English. (The full text is below, in both languages.)

Yesterday, former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama unveiled ambitious architectural plans for the Obama Presidential Center, a three-building complex slated for completion in 2021, to be located in the Jackson Park neighborhood on Chicago's South Side.

Courtesy of the Artist

Multi-instrumentalist, composer, spiritual leader and the wife of John Coltrane, Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda (1937-2007) long stood in her husband's shadow. Some certain number of more casual jazz fans, if they have known her name at all, only know it from sidewoman credits on some of his albums, and not for her own performances and recordings.

This story was updated on April 26 at 3:00 PM.

Beyoncé's "visual album" Lemonade was released a year ago this week, but its impact continues to unfold. Just last week, the project won a Peabody Award. But the singer is also focusing on making its resonance felt through a very different vehicle: a group of scholarships called the "Formation Scholars" awards.

Sylvia Moy was one of the first female producers at Detroit's legendary Motown Records, co-writing hits for artists like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and The Isley Brothers. Moy died on Saturday at age 78 in Dearborn, Michigan from complications of pneumonia.

Moy started at Motown not long after a young phenomenon named Little Stevie Wonder hit No. 1 on the Billboard chart. But after he hit puberty, Wonder struggled to stay in the spotlight. It was Moy who reportedly convinced Motown executive Berry Gordy to keep the teenager on contract.

Cuba Gooding, Sr. — the soul-singing frontman of the 1970s band The Main Ingredient and the father of actor Cuba Gooding, Jr. — died Thursday at age 72 in the Woodland Hills area of Los Angeles.

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles County coroner's office confirmed the death. Police found Gooding unresponsive in his car in southwest Los Angeles around 1:10 p.m. PT. The cause of death had yet to be determined, but a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department said no foul play was suspected.

Creative works by and about musicians turned out to be big winners among this year's Peabody Awards. Among this year's honorees are Beyoncé and Donald Glover, whose prizes were announced today, and two documentaries announced earlier this week: the films Hip-Hop Evolution and MAVIS!

A 23-year-old, Russian-born violinist named Artem Kolesov is capturing international attention after posting a YouTube video in which he comes out as gay.

All too often, "fusion" is a rightfully dread-inducing term to describe music that tries to occupy several spheres at once, usually unsuccessfully. So let's not use that label on the brilliant, wide-ranging music of Ljova and the Kontraband, a group that embraces Western classical, jazz and an array of international styles including tango and Eastern European and Balkan folk music. These top-flight musicians, who hail from Russia, Lithuania, the U.S.

Sometimes, highly anticipated live concerts knock other priorities right off the calendar — in the case of Britney Spears and Israel, even an election.

According to a report in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz published today, Britney Spears' July 3 concert in Tel Aviv's HaYarkon Park is delaying the Labor Party's leadership vote by a day. The election was originally scheduled to take place on the same day at the Convention Center for Labor, which is adjacent to the park.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.


One of West Africa's most charming bands is back — again. Almost a decade after the group's last album and nearly 50 years since its founding, Senegal's Orchestra Baobab is swaggering back onto international dance floors with its silk, sultry songs, layering Afro-Cuban sounds with local traditions and pop styles from across Senegal and elsewhere in West Africa.

Note: This report has been significantly updated since its original online publication on March 21.

The news that the U.S. is placing restrictions on what airline passengers can carry in the cabin on direct flights from eight majority-Muslim nations is creating ripples of concern throughout the arts community.

An impresario and producer who helped launch the careers of many marquee-name musicians, comedians and actors — including Bob Dylan, Woody Allen and Bruce Lee — has died. Fred Weintraub was 88 years old.

His wife, Jackie, confirmed his death to NPR. He died at their home in Pacific Palisades, Calif. on March 5, due to complications related to Parkinson's disease.

Last week, a fierce battle was pitched between the Austin, Texas-based music mega-festival South by Southwest (SXSW) and artists who took exception to a certain passage in the agreements which SXSW sends to its performers.

TED Ed / YouTube

Practice is a physical activity, of course, but it's also hard mental work — if you're doing it right.

Here's your "Awwww" and "Whoa!!" moment for today: a demonstration of a teeny-tiny, working pipe organ. It's an instrument made out of nothing but paper and cardboard (with one side covered by translucent plastic so that you can see its inner workings), and it's powered by nothing but an inflated balloon.

The Polish-born conductor and composer Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, who led the Minnesota Orchestra for nearly two decades and worked with that symphony for well over 50 years in total, died Tuesday at age 93.

A 1960s cult favorite is back: The Shaggs are going to be performing in June at Wilco's Solid Sound Festival in North Adams, Massachusetts.

Singer-songwriter Emel Mathlouthi is the voice of a generation — and in her new song, "Lost," this Tunisian artist makes it plain that the jittery uncertainty that many people are feeling right now is a global phenomenon.

"Lost" is a track from Ensen (Human), Mathlouthi's first album since her debut, Kelmti Horra (My Word Is Free), which was released in 2012. But by the time that the first album was released, Mathlouthi was already an icon: Her song "Kelmti Horra" was an anthem for a generation of Tunisians and other across north Africa.

One of the most joyful shows I've heard in years came courtesy of the clarion-voiced Afro-Venezuelan singer Betsayda Machado and her group La Parranda El Clavo, who made their New York City debut at the annual globalFEST festival in January.

President Trump's executive order on immigration restricting travel to the U.S. for travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries led to a firestorm of criticism, lawsuits and injunctions by five federal judges staying the order. But questions remain about who can and can't come to this country. Among those caught in the confusion are a number of prominent musicians, whose personal lives — and livelihoods — have been put on hold.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

Pages