Encores and Curtain Calls
Big Bird is seen during the taping of an episode of Sesame Street on Thursday, April 10, 2008 in New York. Being Big Bird is sweaty, physical work. But puppeteer Caroll Spinney, who has worked on Sesame Street for nearly four decades playing both Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, has no wish to be anywhere else. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Encores and Curtain Calls: The man inside Big Bird flying into the Academy of Music

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

“Life’s like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending.” — Jim Henson Although they may be reluctant to admit it, there are few living mortals, young or old, who have not had the opportunity of experiencing the iconic, outsized friendly fowl of Sesame Street, Big Bird, over the course of the past half century, on the show of the same name. Just how this adorably curious but clueless feathered friend made his way to the nothing-if-not-inner-city environment of Sesame Street is a mystery we may never quite solve, but the clear fact of the matter is that, for — to be precise … 0

Encores and Curtain Calls: French horn will take center stage in Feb. 13 Pioneer Valley Symphony concert

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The sound of the horn is the soul of the orchestra. — Robert Schumann Never underestimate the feistiness factor of a French horn player. For feistiness — right along with artistry — are, in equal measure, what it takes to master this most daunting of instruments. Just listen to the testimony of one … 0

Encores and Curtain Calls: A new African spin on classic ballet

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

I had seen the ballet of ‘Swan Lake’ as a child but it was as an adult, when I saw a production featuring Erik Bruhn, that I first noticed how significant a part the ever-present threat of violence played. This juxtaposition of great beauty and grace with a backdrop of pure evil stayed … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: Listening for spring

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

“Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.” — Doug Larson Hard though it may be to believe, it is spring, illusions of still falling snow to the contrary. It’s spring not … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: The multi-layered conjurings of Miwa Matreyek

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: Bread & Puppet comes to Brattleboro, Vt., Turners Falls

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

While there’s much intriguing music and theater afoot in the days ahead, perhaps what promises to be the most socially urgent of these is a revival, by Bread and Puppet Theater, of its 1966 production “Fire.” While the … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: Singing on the soft side of the street

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

“The memory of things gone is important to a jazz musician.” — Louis Armstrong If you like loose, laid-back jazz with a light touch, look no further than the, 72 Cotton Mill Hill, Brattleboro, Vt., this coming Saturday, … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: Bach turns 330. Rejoice!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

“The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.” — Johann Sebastian Bach Turning 330 is nothing to be sneezed at, especially when you’re … 0

Encores and Curtain Calls: Stranger than science fiction

Thursday, February 26, 2015

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. “Hamlet,” William Shakespeare Hold on to your hats. This one’s going to be a doozy ... The University of Cambridge Institute of … 0

Encores and Curtain Calls: Of blackbirds, wanderers and musical liaisons

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Among twenty snowy mountains, The only moving thing Was the eye of the blackbird. — Wallace Stevens Forty-five years ago, in 1969, pianist Estela Olevsky mounted the stage of Bowker Auditorium at the University of Massachusetts for her … 0

Encores and Curtain Calls: Music and the mystery of history

Thursday, February 12, 2015

“A Fiddler on the Roof ... Sounds crazy, no? ... And how do we keep our balance? That I can tell you in one word — Tradition! Because of our traditions, we’ve kept our balance for many, many … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: Yusef Lateef

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

One day, we’re gonna leave, One day, we’re gonna leave here (Ha yai ...) And when we go, Don’t go, don’t go with sorrow, (Ha yai ...) One day, one night, one afternoon, One time, maybe today, maybe … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: Songs of beauty, heartache, love

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sing again, with your dear voice revealing A tone Of some world far from ours, Where music and moonlight and feeling Are one. — Percy Bysshe Shelley, “To Jane: The Keen Stars were Twinkling” While scheduled a bit … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: "Roman Holiday," a sweet and tender tale

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Princess Ann (upon awakening in Joe Bradley’s garret room after an inadvertent overdose of sleep medication): Have I been here all night, alone? Joe Bradley: If you don’t count me, yes. Princess Ann: So I’ve spent the night … 0

Encores & Curtain Calls: Rich and soulful

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

“When you play a violin piece, you are a storyteller, and you’re telling a story.” — Joshua Bell “And a little child shall lead them” remarked Isaiah, with his usual prescience, a Bible ago, perhaps divining that, on … 0