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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.

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.

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.

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 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.

Four of Boston's largest and best-known hospitals said on Monday that in all, 345 of their employees have tested positive for the coronavirus, putting additional pressure on the area's already stretched medical resources.

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.

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.

Another major American music festival and influencer hangout has been felled by coronavirus concerns. Coachella, which is held over two consecutive weekends, is being postponed. The dates are moving from Apr. 10 - 12 and Apr. 17 - 19 to the weekends of Oct. 9 and 16.

The announcement was made Tuesday afternoon by Coachella's promoter Goldenvoice, which is a subsidiary of the live event mammoth AEG. In the same announcement, Goldenvoice said it was moving Coachella's sister event, the Stagecoach country music festival, from the weekend of Apr. 24 to the weekend of Oct. 23.

Updated at Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. ET

On Tuesday afternoon, LA Opera — the Los Angeles opera company which came into being in part thanks to Plácido Domingo — announced that investigators had substantiated 10 "inappropriate conduct" claims made against the famed singer.

Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

The city of Austin, Texas, has canceled South by Southwest, after a disaster was declared in response to the expanding coronavirus.

The annual event is a staple for the technology, music and film worlds; last year's edition drew more than 400,000 visitors to the city. The 2020 edition was slated to take place March 13 to 22.

In a statement Friday afternoon, SXSW said: "The city of Austin has canceled the March dates for SXSW and SXSW EDU. SXSW will faithfully follow the city's directions."

Updated Friday at 6:23 p.m. ET

On Friday afternoon, Hachette Book Group announced publicly and to its employees that it will not publish Woody Allen's memoir, Apropos of Nothing, as planned next month.

In a statement to NPR, the publisher said: "Hachette Book Group has decided that it will not publish Woody Allen's memoir A Propos of Nothing, originally scheduled for sale in April 2020, and will return all rights to the author."

On Wednesday night in Switzerland, the French violinist Renaud Capuçon and the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra played a full concert — to an empty hall.

Their performance, which was canceled after the Swiss government prohibited all gatherings of 1000 or more people, was broadcast by Swiss public television and radio. It's just one of the ways that performers and organizations worldwide are grappling with the uncertainties of the coronavirus, and how to handle large gatherings of audiences in close quarters.

The president and CEO who was brought in to change the culture behind the Grammy Awards — and whose tenure lasted only five months — has been fired.

The Recording Academy, the non-profit organization which gives out the awards, said in an announcement to its membership today that it had commissioned "two exhaustive, costly independent investigations relating to Ms. Dugan and the allegations made against her and by her."

One of the senior elected officials at the union that commissioned an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against opera star Plácido Domingo has resigned.

In a sharp turn from the public apology he issued two days ago, opera star Plácido Domingo offered a new statement on Thursday regarding allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

Updated at 6:00 p.m. ET

The union representing opera performers, choral singers and dancers says that according to an independent investigation it commissioned, opera megastar Plácido Domingo engaged in "inappropriate activity" with women both "in and outside of the workplace."

In court filings made public Thursday, Universal Music Group (UMG) disclosed specifics about some of the recordings lost or damaged in a 2008 vault fire. They include works by Nirvana, Elton John, Soundgarden and other artists.

R&B singer R. Kelly has again been charged by federal prosecutors in Illinois. Thursday's filing, which includes 13 charges, supersedes an indictment filed last July and accuses Kelly with sexually abusing another minor.

The minor added to Thursday's federal indictment in Illinois was about 14 years old when the abuse allegedly started in about 1997 and lasted for more than three years.

A case that caused consternation and controversy in Chicago last year is entering a fresh chapter. On Tuesday afternoon, Jussie Smollett, a now-former actor on the show Empire, was again indicted by a grand jury in Cook County, Ill., for filing false police reports that he had been the victim of a hate crime near his home in January 2019.

Joseph Shabalala, the singer who created the South African choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo and propelled it to worldwide fame, died Tuesday in Pretoria at age 78. The group became beloved globally as collaborators with Paul Simon on the album Graceland, and went on to win five Grammys.

By the end of the 62nd Grammy Awards on Sunday evening, a major star had been crowned: 18-year-old singer Billie Eilish, who swept all four of the night's biggest prizes — Best New Artist, Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Album of the Year — along with honors for Best Pop Vocal Album.

But that rush of awards came only at the tail end of a long, strange and emotionally ambivalent ceremony held Sunday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Suspended Recording Academy president and CEO Deborah Dugan, speaking at the 62nd Grammy Awards nomination event in New York in November.
John Lampa

Deborah Dugan, the suspended head of the Recording Academy, made many stunning allegations in her discrimination complaint filed Tuesday with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Updated Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 12:50 p.m. ET

In the latest round of chaotic volleys around the Grammy Awards, the Recording Academy's short-lived president and CEO, Deborah Dugan — the organization's first female chief executive — announced Tuesday afternoon that she has filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against the Academy, the organization that gives out the Grammys.

Updated at 9:20 p.m. ET

Neil Peart, the drummer and lyricist for the iconic Canadian prog rock band Rush, has died. He was 67 years old.

His death was announced Friday by spokesperson Elliot Mintz, who said that Peart died on Jan. 7 in Santa Monica, Calif. Peart had been diagnosed with brain cancer three and a half years ago.

Two years ago, the Grammy Awards faced a moment of reckoning after its then-leader, Neil Portnow, said that women had to "step up" in order to be recognized in the music industry. He's gone now. And the Recording Academy, the membership organization which gives out the Grammys, is trying to reinvent itself from top to bottom. It's under new, female leadership — and with the Grammy ceremony coming up on Jan.

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