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.

On Tuesday, the National Endowment for the Arts announced its newest class of National Heritage fellows: 10 artists, ensembles and cultural workers who represent the richness and breadth of America's traditional arts. They range from one of the pioneers of the Memphis sound of Southern soul to an Ojibwe birchbark canoe builder.

Veteran British actor Ian Holm has died at age 88. He was beloved by audiences as Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit. He was nominated for an Oscar for his role in Chariots of Fire, and first reached wide audiences in Alien. His death on Friday was related to Parkinson's disease, his agent, Alex Irwin, told NPR.

Ian Holm could play everyone from King Lear to an android to a hobbit. He told NPR's All Things Considered in 2002 that he was less interested in fame than in being a good actor.

New York's Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center both said on Thursday that they have canceled their performances for the rest of 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The twin announcements from the two New York City landmarks signal that the city's cultural life will be slow to return.

In typical years, late September marks the beginning of the new concert season for two of New York's most famous music venues, followed shortly by the moneymaking holiday season. But 2020 is turning out to be anything but a normal year.

Updated at 4:14 p.m. ET

The country band Lady Antebellum has changed its name to Lady A, saying that its members are "regretful and embarrassed" that they had not previously considered the loaded history of the term.

Face shields are critical gear for those on the front line of the ongoing coronavirus crisis. But like other pieces of PPE, they often still aren't available. But one volunteer group, using 3D printers at home, has made nearly 40,000 NIH-approved face shields for health care workers and first responders — from New Jersey to the Navajo Nation.

Updated Thursday at 6:28 p.m. ET

The popular annual music festival Coachella and its country music sibling, Stagecoach, have both been canceled for 2020.

While the events' promoter, Goldenvoice, has not yet made a public announcement, the cancellation order was released Wednesday evening by the public health officer of Riverside County, Calif.

Updated at 4:00 p.m. ET

On Wednesday morning, the Recording Academy, which gives out the Grammy Awards, announced a few changes to the prizes — and to the way it structures its voting process. On social media, critics and fans immediately took up debating the most obvious shifts.

Across the country, music venues remain closed due to the pandemic — and according to a new survey, 90 percent of independent venue owners, promoters and bookers say that they will have to close permanently within the next few months, if they can't get an infusion of targeted government funding.

Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra [BSO] and a popular draw for tourists in the Berkshire Mountains, has canceled its 2020 live performance season due to the coronavirus, the BSO announced on Friday.

Broadway's theaters will continue to be dark through at least Sept. 6, the Broadway League announced on Tuesday.

Florian Schneider, 0ne of the founders of the pioneering and highly influential German electronic music group Kraftwerk, has died. He was 73 years old.

His death was confirmed by his former bandmate, Ralf Hütter, in a statement issued Wednesday. Hütter said that Schneider died "from a short cancer disease just a few days after his seventy-third birthday." No other details were provided.

Updated Tuesday at 1:25 p.m. ET

Anthony Davis' opera The Central Park Five, with a libretto by Richard Wesley, has won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Music.

Updated Wednesday at 10:29 a.m.

Cellist Lynn Harrell, one of the finest and most prominent American classical musicians of his generation, has died. He was 76 years old.

His death was initially announced by his wife, violinist Helen Nightengale, on social media. She did not disclose the cause of his death. In a statement provided Wednesday by Columbia Artists, the company that managed Harrell, Nightengale said that the cellist's death was unexpected.

New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art says that it now expects its budget shortfall to be much worse than previously predicted. On Wednesday, the museum announced that due to its closure during the coronavirus pandemic, it believes its shortfall for this fiscal year may be as large as $150 million — a third larger than it announced just a month ago.

On Thursday, New York's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts announced that it was canceling all of the summer performances and activities it presents, including three signature, extended series: a three-week outdoor dance party with live bands called Midsummer Night Swing, the classical music-focused Mostly Mozart Festival and the artistically wide-ranging, multi-week festival called Lincoln Center Out of Doors.

The creatively voracious music producer Hal Willner, who for decades selected the music used in "Saturday Night Live" sketches, died Tuesday, one day after his 64th birthday. He had symptoms consistent with those caused by COVID-19.

Along with his work at "SNL" — where he began in 1980 — Willner was a multifaceted presence in the music community, earning fans and drawing critical praise for his work as a live event and record producer.

Musicians and other professional performers are among those who have already been hit hard by the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. For many, most of their regular income opportunities have been canceled, or have been delayed indefinitely. So many musicians are trying their hand at teaching online.

Bassist Steve Whipple has played with everyone from Lady Gaga to NEA Jazz Master Toshiko Akiyoshi to his own group.

Bill Withers, the sweet-voiced baritone behind such classic songs as "Ain't No Sunshine," "Lean on Me" and "Use Me" has died. Withers was 81 years old. According to a family statement given to the Associated Press, he died Monday in Los Angeles due to heart complications.

At least five rabbis from the close-knit ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Lakewood, N.J., have died in the past few days from coronavirus, reports from local media say.

The seaside town of Llandudno in northern Wales has gone quiet during the coronavirus crisis, like so many other communities around the globe. The streets are mostly deserted, except for one daring crew who are wandering around the shuttered storefronts.

The beloved children's author and illustrator Tomie dePaola, whose imaginative and warm-hearted work crossed generations and continents, died Monday at age 85. His death was announced, without details, on social media by his assistant, Bob Hechtel.

A painting by Vincent van Gogh was stolen early Monday morning from a Dutch museum in what appeared to be a smash-and-grab from the institution's front entrance.

The painting, an 1884 work titled The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring 1884, had been on loan to the Singer Laren museum near Amsterdam. It is part of the permanent collection of the Groninger Museum, in the northern part of the Netherlands.

Now-disgraced former opera star David Daniels has been fired from his position as a tenured professor at the University of Michigan [UM] following allegations of sexual misconduct.

Daniels' firing was approved Thursday by the school's board of regents. He was deemed not eligible for severance pay. According to the university, Daniels is the first tenured faculty member to be dismissed since it adopted its current bylaws in 1959.

Floyd Cardoz was an influential chef who married regional Indian cuisine with French and new American flavors. He died Wednesday morning of complications from the coronavirus in New Jersey, at age 59. He opened a string of acclaimed restaurants in both New York and Mumbai — and became a TV star along the way.

Updated at 11:31 p.m. ET

The Tony Award-winning American playwright Terrence McNally has died of complications related to COVID-19. He died Tuesday at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, Fla. at age 81. McNally was a lung cancer survivor who lived with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

One of the pioneers of Afro-funk music, the saxophonist Manu Dibango, has died of COVID-19. He was 86 years old, and died in Paris. Internationally, he was best known for his 1972 song "Soul Makossa," though his entire oeuvre could have been the soundtrack to a cooler 1970s than most people lived. But that one, funk-drenched hit, lit by Dibango's burning saxophone, went on to influence the sound of American disco — and its hooky spoken intro helped power songs by Michael Jackson and Rihanna.

New York's Metropolitan Opera — the largest performing arts organization in the United States by budget — has laid off all of its union employees for the duration of the coronavirus crisis, NPR has learned. The layoff includes all of the opera's orchestral players, chorus singers and stagehands.

For the first time ever, the annual international singing competition Eurovision has been canceled.

The 2020 edition was supposed to take place in the Dutch city of Rotterdam from May 12-16. Now that won't happen because of concerns about the coronavirus. Singers and groups from 41 countries had been set to compete. Last year's edition, which was held in Tel Aviv, attracted 182 million broadcast and online viewers across the globe.

On Friday morning, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, New York filed a superseding indictment against R&B singer R. Kelly. They charged him with nine counts that include racketeering and eight violations of the Mann Act, which prohibits sexual trafficking across state lines.

In this indictment, the prosecutors newly allege that in 2015, Kelly had sex with a girl under the age of 18, and that he gave her herpes without disclosing that he had the disease. In total, the New York federal charges now include six alleged victims, including three girls.

Concerns over coronavirus are having a deep impact on performing arts and cultural institutions across the United States.

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