Dueling violists! Snacking flutists! Carnegie Hall youth orchestra showcases creativity beyond their music

A series of online videos shows a national youth's orchestra's creativity involves more than just music. The National Youth Orchestra of the USA, which is run through of Carnegie Hall, has posted a collection of online videos featuring each instrument group of the 120-member orchestra that is made up of performers from across the country ages 16 to 19. Some of the videos are funny — like a girl sticking potato chips in the mouth of a flutist playing a duet, the horn players lifting weights to prepare for their tour, or the bassists lying around onstage and laughing at the suggestion they rehearse. The large wooden instruments are also not very easy to get up the stairs, they said. Oh, and why don't violas play hide and seek? Because no one looks for them. Some of the videos are also straight performances, like the cellists performing "What a Wonderful World." The violinists also came up with the Jets and Shark feud from West Side story — snapping their fingers in adjourning hallways before meeting together and conducting a violin off. But the only tragedy in at video is that the performers are stopped by their instructor and told to return to rehearsal. The orchestra will begin touring Sunday at SUNY Purchase and travel the country through Aug. 4 at the Music Center's Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Matthew Carlson, Carnegie Hall spokesman, told the Daily News each of the orchestra's sections came up with its own idea for the video as a way to introduce themselves and promote the tour. The members have been at Purchase rehearsing since July 5, and the videos were shot by Carnegie's team over a few days last week. "Everyone is really thrilled with the response," he said. "The kids are really happy with the videos." @joelzlandau USING A MOBILE DEVICE? CLICK HERE TO SEE THE VIDEO. CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FULL LIST OF ORCHESTRA VIDEOS. Continue Reading

Lorin Maazel dead at 84: Former New York Philharmonic conductor dies of pneumonia

Lorin Maazel, a world-renowned conductor whose prodigious career included seven years at the helm of the New York Philharmonic, died Sunday at his home in Virginia. He was 84. Maazel died at Castleton Farms from complications following pneumonia, according to a statement by The Castleton Festival, an annual festival Maazel founded with his wife in 2009. Maazel was rehearsing and preparing for the festival at the time of his death, and the death also was announced on Maazel's official website. Known for his relentless energy and passion for precision, Maazel guided nearly 200 orchestras in at least 7,000 opera and concert performances during 72 years at the podium, according to a biography posted on his website. Maazel, an American born in Paris in 1930, took his first violin lesson at age 5. A dazzling prodigy, he was 7 when he was invited by Arturo Toscanini to conduct the NBC Symphony. His New York Philharmonic debut came five years later, in 1942. By age 15, he had conducted most of the major American orchestras. At 16, he entered the University of Pittsburgh to study language, mathematics and philosophy and played the violin with the Pittsburgh Symphony to help pay his tuition. In 1960, at age 30, he became the first American to conduct at the Bayreuth Festival in Germany. He served as artistic director and chief conductor of the Deutsche Oper Berlin for five years starting in 1965. He was music director of the Cleveland Orchestra from 1972 to 1982. He then served briefly as general manager, artistic director and principal conductor of the Vienna State Opera, the first American to do so. He was also music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony from 1988 to 1996. Maazel also was music director of the Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio for about a decade until 2002. That year, he was chosen to replace Kurt Masur as music director of the New York Philharmonic - America's oldest orchestra. Maazel served there for seven years and was with the Continue Reading

New book ‘War Against All Puerto Ricans’ tells unknown tale of U.S.-Puerto Rico conflict

Add non-fiction author to Nelson Denis' diverse résumé. The Harvard and Yale-trained lawyer, former New York State assemblyman, indie filmmaker and El Diario editor recently inked a deal with Nation Books to tell the little-known, true tale of the 1950 incident when the U.S. Army deployed 5,000 troops and bombed two towns in Puerto Rico - the only time in history that the U.S. bombed its own citizens, according to Denis. The book, "War Against All Puerto Ricans," delves into the gunfights, prison riots, political intrigue, FBI and CIA covert activity, and mass hysteria that accompanied the military action, all set against the backdrop of the Puerto Rican nationalist movement. It hits shelves next year. Continue Reading

Rapper Remy Ma to restart music career after prison release, says jail was a ‘growing’ experience

Remy Ma is back in the studio. The Grammy-nominated Bronx rapper said Saturday she’s set to restart her career after serving six years in the slammer for shooting and wounding a childhood pal in 2007 — and she’s already put out a hip-hop remix. “I’m ready to get back to being a positive member of society and sharing my musical talents with the world,” Remy said in a statement to the Daily News, calling her time behind bars “a growing and life-changing experience.” “Thank you to my fans and supporters for the overwhelming love . . . Remy’s back,” she added. The 34-year-old singer posted a photo on Instagram of herself in front of a soundboard alongside DJ Khaled, writing “I had a busy first day.” Later, she put out a remix of DJ Khaled’s “They don’t love you no more,” spitting out lyrics about her incarceration, hotnewhiphop.com reports. “Know you b----s mad Remy out the box. Rap chicks try to stay away from me. Maybe ‘cause I caught that case they’re afraid of me,” she rhymes, recounting her arrest for shooting Makeda Barnes-Joseph in the gut outside a Meatpacking District nightclub in a beef over $3,000 her victim allegedly took from her purse. On Saturday morning, Remy posted a selfie commemorating her first full day of freedom. “Woke up in my own bed, still can’t believe it !” she wrote. Remy’s youngest sister, Remeesha Blount, told The News she couldn’t wait to hear her sister’s new hits. “We’re ready for the mixtape ... We’re just happy she’s back and ready to see what music she does next,” Blount, 23, said. On Friday night, Remy returned to her childhood home in the Castle Hill Houses with her husband, Brooklyn rapper Papoose, 36, after being released from Bedford Hills Continue Reading

‘When the World Was Young’: book review

‘When the World Was Young’ By Elizabeth Gaffney (Random House) Elizabeth Gaffney’s new novel, “When the World Was Young,” has a lovely setting — a mansion in Brooklyn Heights adorned with a windowed turret capturing the glorious harbor view from each floor. The story belongs to the house as much as the young girl, Wally Baker, at its center. The Columbia Heights brownstone has been in her mother’s family for generations, and will endure through dramatic change. As will the child. Wally is 9 on V-J Day and joins the sidewalk parade of children celebrating the end of World War II. Her mother has dropped her off at the brownstone still occupied by Wally’s grandparents. Her own little family — her father is away at war — live in an apartment on Pierrepont St. At her grandparents’ house, Wally stays in her mother’s old bedroom on the third floor. She plays with Ham, the 12-year-old son of the housekeeper Louisa, a black woman. On another floor, her grandfather, legs disabled by polio, obsessively makes model replicas of warships. Her grandmother, a doctor, is usually away at the hospital where her mother, Stella is completing her medical internship. What a wonderfully complete small world it is. But it ruptures. Louisa hurries Wally home for dinner and they find Stella dead on the kitchen floor. There is a suicide note, but it’s hidden from Wally and the rest of the world. Stella, in despair that her married lover has returned to his wife now that the war has ended, couldn’t find the courage to face her pregnancy and her soon-to-return husband. The story everyone will be told is that her heart failed her, and in a sense, that’s the truth. While Stella’s romantic past — her first love died tragically — along with her lifeless marriage and passionate affair provide an absorbing backstory, with her Continue Reading

Rain turns Hudson Project festival into Woodstock ’94-style mud-fest before cancellation

The camping tents couldn't offer shelter from the storm. The Hudson Project, a weekend music festival in New York's Hudson Valley, inspired in part by the generation-defining Woodstock Festival of 1969, had to pull the plug as a torrential storm closed in. Hard rain once again transformed the Winston Farm in Saugerties, about 100 miles north of New York City, into a muddy mess — just as it did during Woodstock '94. But the slipping and sliding didn't last too long this time around because the three-day festival's final performers never got the chance to take the state as scheduled. "This is a decision that we don't take lightly, but our first priority is always the safety of our patrons, artists, and staff. We regret having to cancel any show, but safety always comes first," festival organizers said in a statement. Concert-goers were advised to return to their camp sites and leave the area quickly as the storm was approaching and the wind began to howl. Exercising caution, the statement asked attendees who may have indulged in any substances that would impair their ability to drive to stay put until they sober up. "If you are unable to leave the venue for any reason, please stay in your vehicles until the storm passes or you can depart safely," the statement read. The original Woodstock Festival was held in the town of Bethel in Sullivan County. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Rapper Remy Ma released from Westchester prison after 24-hour delay

Grammy-nominated rapper Remy Ma was set free on Friday — 24 hours after her expected release from a Westchester prison. Officials ordered the 34-year-old to remain in the slammer for an extra day as they investigated her participation in a third-party call, which is against prison rules. The person she was allowed to speak with on July 21 transferred her to the hip-hop radio station Power 105.1 and she spoke to host Angie Martinez, officials said. Remy, a Bronx native whose real name is Remy Smith, served six years for shooting Makeda Barnes-Joseph, a childhood pal. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Amy Winehouse’s dad Mitch Winehouse urges fans to pray for her ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil’s recovery after overdose

Mitch Winehouse urges fans to pray for the recovery of ex-husband Blake, who is now in coma. Amy Winehouse’s father Mitch Winehouse took to Twitter Thursday to urge fans to pray for the recovery of her bad-boy ex-husband, Blake Fielder Civil, who is in a coma following a drug and alcohol binge, according to MailOnline.com. PHOTOS: REMEMBERING AMY WINEHOUSE "Terrible news about Blake this morning. Remember Amy loved him. Let’s pray for his recovery," he tweeted. The public show of support is unexpected. Winehouse has been outspoken about how much he disapproves of Fielder-Civil since he and Amy first got together - they divorced after two years of marriage in 2009 - and has written about it in his book, "Amy, My Daughter." "It occured to me recently that one of the biggest-selling UK albums of the 21st century so far is all about the biggest low-life that god ever put breath into," wrote Winehouse of Amy’s seminal, Five Grammy Award-Winning album "Back To Black," which was largely written about her relationship with Fielder-Civil. In June, Winehouse appeared on "Piers Morgan Tonight" to talk about his late daughter. "Blake introduced her [Amy] to class A drugs and she took to it like a duck to water," he said, later adding that Fielder-Civil had shown remorse. "I’ve ruined something beautiful," Fielder-Civil had lamented. Despite harboring hard feelings, Winehouse does not blame him for his daughter’s death. "Of course I don’t blame Blake for Amy’s death. That was just a terribly unfortunate accident," he said. Fielder-Civil has a long history with drug-dependency, and was jailed for 32 months in February last year for burglary and fake firearm possession. Mitch Winehouse continues to raise money for the Amy Winehouse Foundation, a charity that helps support and care for young people at financial or physical disadvantage as well as problems with addiction. Join the Continue Reading

Frank Sinatra as the ‘Voice’ of America

(Originally published by the Daily News on May 15, 1998.) Frank Sinatra served a long and fruitful apprenticeship under the classy musical umbrella of the big-band era. He hustled his way into his first public gig, a vocal part in the Hoboken Four. He hustled from there to a vocalist/headwaiter gig at the Rustic Cabin, where bandleader Harry James heard and hired him. But James was a whistlestop to the gig as featured vocalist with Tommy Dorsey, one of the most successful bandleaders in the country. Sinatra stayed with Dorsey less than two years before, without notifying his boss, he cut a session of solo sides in January 1942. From there it was just a matter of time. He left Dorsey in June and launched his solo career exactly a year later. At the Rustic Cabin he learned to hold an audience and weave banter into his act for radio remotes. From James he learned how to go all-out with a song to take an emotion, whether it was love or sorrow, all the way. The full power of this lesson kicked in during the '50s. From Dorsey, whom Sinatra credited as his most important musical mentor, he learned timing, breath control and the value of paying attention to each single note, syllable and pause. With both Dorsey and James, he also refined his stagecraft. In those years he did his first work with Axel Stordahl, who would arrange much of his best solo material on Columbia a few years later. Sinatra picked a lot of good information out of the air, just by listening to artists from Bing Crosby to Mabel Mercer. He used his classroom time well, even if he was impatient for the bell to ring. SWING ERA After Frank Sinatra bolted the Dorsey band it was no sure thing that he could maintain the level of stardom he had reached. It was certain that he was going to try. He said he had to leave Dorsey because he was afraid his rival Dick Haymes would go solo first, but the truth is that Sinatra never saw himself as anything Continue Reading

Frank Sinatra’s love and marriages

(Originally published by the Daily News on May 15, 1998.) Nancy Barbato was the first wife, the nice girl from the neighborhood his mother was determined he would marry. Dolly wanted her son settled. They started life in a small Jersey City apartment in 1939. Nancy worked as a secretary while Frank Sinatra earned his way as singing waiter. She did it his way. She had the three babies and reared them. She scrubbed floors, bargain-shopped to save nickels and dimes and sewed her own clothes, all the time waiting for Frank to come home. Which he did only infrequently. There were the other women and, always, the guys to hang with. So Nancy would call Dolly, Dolly would call Frank, and later rather than sooner he'd show his face for dinner. It was definitely a marriage made in Hoboken, not heaven. And bound for Hollywood. Frank was a big man now, and no fruit was forbidden or out of reach. Their marriage dissolved in episodes over 12 years. Frank played "eeny-meeny" with starlets. Nancy raged. Frank asked for a divorce. Nancy said no. Frank moved out. Nancy ambushed him in the audience during one of his shows at the Copacabana. They reconciled in tears, to applause. They bought a new house, had another child. Frank met Ava Gardner. Nancy was determined to stick. But like grit in the eye, she was an irritation that had to be dealt with once "the Ava business" got going. For two years Frank and Ava carried on. Nancy endured the humiliation, expecting it would end. Instead, Frank left her. They divorced in 1951. New York Daily News published in May 15, 1998. The property fight was fierce. But Frank so wanted to be free that he agreed to pay Nancy 10% of his gross income until her death or remarriage. Nancy has never remarried. And she remained remarkably loyal to her ex-husband. BAREFOOT CONTESSA Ava Gardner later remarked that the first anniversary of Continue Reading