It’s a tale of arts and gentrification, investment and marketing, failures and ultimate successes: “When Mr. Lichtenstein arrived at the academy in 1967, its stately building on Lafayette Avenue, erected in 1908, needed extensive and costly renovation. Portions of it had been rented out, and there had even been talk of tearing down the building and using the site for tennis courts. Many members of Mr. Lichtenstein’s target audience, especially Manhattanites, viewed the neighborhood — the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn — as undesirable.”
Gedda’s career lasted well into his 70s, much longer than is usual for classical singers. “Over a quarter-century, he sang 367 performances with the Metropolitan Opera, from his debut in the title role of Gounod’s ‘Faust’ in 1957 to his final performance, as Alfredo in Verdi’s ‘La Traviata,’ in 1983.”
Emecheta always knew what she wanted to do: “One day she was beaten in front of her class when she announced that she wanted to be a writer. It was a cherished dream, born when she visited the family’s ancestral village, Ibuza, and listened to a blind aunt telling stories about their people, the Ibo.”
Harlow wrote about women and men who lived and wrote in struggles all over the world. “One of her premises was that imaginative writing was a way to gain control over ‘the historical and cultural record.’ This, she wrote, ‘is seen from all sides as no less crucial than the armed struggle.'”
Copeland made history when she became the first African-American female principal dancer with the American Ballet Theater, but prior to that, she was placed in the public eye when her 2014 commercial with Under Armour went viral.
“From a certain angle one can see Spielberg as one of those archetypal children of the mythic suburbs, cheery on the outside and nervewracked on the inside, a myth on which his own films have worked variations time and again. So much of his early trajectory feels so generic.”
The original biography, “O’Neill,” which they started when they were in their early 30s, clocked in at 964 pages, but was energetically paced and chock-full of interviews with O’Neill’s ex-wives, friends from his boyhood and seaman days, and the real people on whom his dramatic characters were based. The book, published in 1962, became a best seller.
You’ve heard of him (even if Donald Trump hadn’t). His pose and his outfit were almost always the same, and he had specific reasons for seeking out the camera as much as he did – reasons that went well beyond self-regard.
A scrupulous musician, Gedda was admired for his fantastic versatility: he was convincing and stylish in Mozart, bel canto, Italian, French, German, and Russian repertoire, capable in opera, art song, and even operetta.
Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield was born a slave, raised by an abolitionist, and began her career before the Civil War with the nickname “the Black Swan,” a counterpart to the “Swedish Nightingale,” Jenny Lind.
While he founded the Orchestra Society of Philadelphia, a reading orchestra which he directed for a dozen years, and led orchestras in West Virginia and Florida, his longest post – 30 years – was at the Reading Symphony in Pennsylvania.
The painter’s correspondence with girlfriend Alice Moore, whom he dated as a young 20-something, has recently surfaced, and it changes some of what biographers thought they knew.
His four-volume, 3,600-page biography of Mahler made him the world’s pre-eminent expert on the composer. His collaboration in countless concerts, festivals, exhibitions, and documentaries played a huge part in establishing Mahler’s place in the modern concert repertoire.
The young Yayoi Kusama was plagued with visual hallucinations, mental health problems, and a mother who violently disapproved (literally) of her interest in art. Today, at 87, she’s more productive than ever, even as she continues to live in the psychiatric hospital she checked herself into 40 years ago. Darryl Wee tells us about Kusama’s journey.
“‘I have always wanted to be an entertainer rather than an actor,’ McCowen once wrote, but the truth is he was both: he could immerse himself in a character but also hold an audience spellbound, as in his celebrated one-man performance of St Mark’s Gospel.”
“If [Stéphane] Grappelli was a flashy diamond, Mr. Asmussen was a hidden gem. He found a devoted following of jazz critics and discerning listeners who admired his facility as a multi-instrumentalist (vibraphone, flute and conga), sometime crooner and occasional clown in the mold of a fellow Dane, the pianist and satirist Victor Borge.”
Corey’s dizzying mix of mock-intellectual circumlocutions, earnest political tirades and slapstick one-liners made Corey the king of comedic confusion and earned him the nickname “professor.”
“The profound impact of Anish’s work continues a long history of Jewish contribution to the arts, while his social activism reaffirms the commitment of the Jewish people to humanitarian causes,” the Genesis Prize Foundation’s chairman and cofounder, Stan Polovets, said in a statement.
The Victorians were not, in fact, all that prudish. They had, as Kathryn Hughes explains, other reasons to hide their bodies.
“Having entered the four-year period aged twenty-seven as a promising if uncommercial newcomer backed by obscure experimental presses, he will exit it at thirty transformed into a literary lion and international celebrity.”
Known for “distinctive tone, breathtaking phrasing and delicate shaping of the music,” he spent 17 years as principal clarinetist of the London Symphony and two decades as one of the earliest members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
“The Paris prosecutor’s office said the suspect, who allegedly shouted “Allahu akbar!” while rushing toward the soldiers and was shot four times after slightly injuring one, remained silent during the interview and will remain in custody.”
“When one of them enjoys a coup or some kind of breakthrough, you feel the other man brood and take stock: how did he do that? It is not about admiration expressed through gritted teeth – there seems a genuine urge to absorb the other’s example, and then adapt it.”
After the German occupation of Austria, Hautzig knew he needed to get out. “Responding to an advertisement in a Jewish newspaper, he arrived at a Vienna hotel at 8 a.m. to audition for Emil Hauser, director of the Jerusalem Conservatory and a founder of the Budapest String Quartet. Mr. Hauser was not just offering fellowships; he was also offering exit visas.”
According to her latest director, Bening hates self-promotion. Mike Mills: “She doesn’t want to talk about herself, her work or anything – it all makes her queasy. She wants the work to be its own mystery so you have your own relationship with it.”
Wow: “It was there, amid the alkali flats, whistling winds and triple-digit heat of the Mojave Desert, that Ms. Becket and her husband resettled and built the Amargosa Opera House, where she performed her ballets and pantomimes for the next 40 years. Ms. Becket turned the Amargosa into a cultural institution in a desolate area, an attraction to tourists, ranchers, farmers and even prostitutes from a local bordello.”
Ashton was an art historian and thinker who didn’t simply observe. “She recorded the scene, and she inhabited it. She made a point of visiting artists in their studios, drinking with them at their favorite haunts and talking philosophy and aesthetics into the wee hours in downtown cafes.”
While he had successful stints at most of London’s broadsheet newspapers, Chancellor was best known for turning The Spectator from a tired old Tory weekly into a lively magazine he once described as “more of a cocktail party than a political party.”
“The attacker, who police say shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ during the assault, was seriously wounded after another soldier fired at him five times. A second man, who was reportedly acting suspiciously at the scene, has been detained. The Louvre has been closed “until further notice” and a safety zone has been set up around the museum.
“The annual awards for best science fiction are called ‘Hugos.’ A futuristic story by William Gibson in 1981 was called ‘The Gernsback Continuum.’ But except for a few markers like these, Hugo Gernsback (1884-1967) has mostly vanished from our cultural memory, which is a pity, because he was an extraordinary man, and his influence on our modern age – electrical, science-permeated, and full of wonders – was outsized.”