Legendary salsa star Cheo Feliciano has died in a car crash at the age of 78. A vehicle driven by Feliciano, real name Jose Luis Feliciano Vega, collided with a post in the Puerto Rican city of Cupey in the early hours of Thursday morning (17Apr14), according to a spokesperson for the country's police.
Feliciano began his career as a percussionist in a number of high-profile salsa bands, including Tito Rodriguez's orchestra, before becoming the singer for the Joe Cuba sextet. He later joined Fania Records' Fania All-Stars.
The musician became a determined anti-drug campaigner after beating an addiction to heroin at the end of the 1960s, and he volunteered to help with the rehabilitation of other salsa stars who had were battling drugs.
In 2008, New York's then-mayor Michael Bloomberg declared 20 June Cheo Feliciano day in honour of his 50-year career in the music industry, and he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Latin Grammy the same year.
Feliciano was inducted into Puerto Rico's Music Hall of Fame in 2013, months after announcing he had been diagnosed with an unspecified form of cancer. It is not known how far the illness had progressed when Feliciano died.
Revered classical conductor Lorin Maazel has pulled out of a string of concerts in Massachusetts. The 84 year old was due to conduct the Boston Symphony Orchestra's (BSO) final performances of the season between 17-26 April (14) but he has cancelled his appearances after an undisclosed accident.
Maazel will also miss out on a 10-day tour of China and Japan next month (May14). He has been replaced by Charles Dutoit.
A statement from the BSO reads, "We are deeply grateful to Charles Dutoit for offering to lead the Boston Symphony Orchestra on its upcoming tour to Japan and China."
Actor/singer Cheyenne Jackson and Glee star Jane Lynch are set to take on classic standards for a Mad Men-themed concert at Los Angeles' famed Walt Disney Concert Hall. The seventh and final season of the Emmy-winning drama starring Jon Hamm kicked off in America on Sunday (13Apr14), and on 26 April (14), fans can enjoy a night of music inspired by the hit show.
Jackson, Lynch and X-Men beauty Rebecca Romijn will all make their Walt Disney Concert Hall debuts in a show titled Music of the Mad Men Era, a one-night-only performance.
The trio will be backed by the L.A. Philharmonic orchestra as they sing classic tunes from the 1950s and '60s, including tracks by artists Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.
Megadeath frontman Dave Mustaine is planning to perform more classical music in the future after hailing his one-off turn with the San Diego Symphony orchestra a success. The heavy rocker joined forces with the group in San Diego, California on Saturday night (12Apr14) to perform Symphony Interrupted, which included a number of classical masterpieces including concertos from Vivaldi's The Four Seasons and Richard Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries.
After the show at Copley Symphony Hall, Mustaine admitted he still has a lot to learn, but is keen to perform more classical shows.
In a post on his Facebook.com page, he writes, "I sooo (sic) badly want to say thank you for being here at the first Symphony Interrupted. To all the fans that were not able to attend, don't worry, there will be another SI and this being the first and all, we have already started to plan on how to make it even more enjoyable... (The show) was an experiment; a challenge that I was up for... We did not record the show because we knew I was going to be still getting used to this whole thing, that I would have a little getting used to this new environment... I want everyone to hear this venture with everything just right... For the next Symphony Interrupted, as Frank Sinatra said, 'The best is yet to come!'"
Director J.J. Abrams' Star Trek films will be brought to concert halls around the world with a new tour which pairs the movies with a live orchestra playing the score. Fans of the sci-fi franchise will be able to experience the blockbuster films in an entirely different way when Star Trek: Live in Concert hits music venues around the globe.
Composer Michael Giacchino's scores from 2009's Star Trek and 2013's Star Trek Into Darkness will be played on a big screen while an orchestra accompanies the films with live music.
The tour will kick off in Lucerne, Switzerland on 24 May (14), and will make stops at London's Royal Albert Hall before it hits the U.S. in Houston, Texas, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and San Diego, California, which will coincide with the annual Comic-Con event in July (14).
The grandson of Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev has created a new symphony inspired in part by rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot's classic track Baby Got Back. London-based Gabriel Prokofiev will premiere his new composition with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra in Washington this summer (14) and Sir Mix-A-Lot will be a special guest.
The piece is part of a music series titled Sonic Evolution, which commissions new orchestral work inspired by Seattle's music icons. Previous events have featured music inspired by Alice in Chains, Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix.
Prokofiev tells theQuietus.com, "When I got the list, the one person who hadn't been done who I thought was really interesting was Sir Mix-A-Lot. He's a '90s rapper; he's quite humorous and a fun guy. So I'm orchestrating two of his most famous hits, and he's actually going to rap on stage with orchestra."
The new piece will have its premiere on 6 June (14) at Seattle's Benaroya Hall.
"For like eight seconds (I was thrown) because I had done this whole preparation to make sure that I was really in my body and didn't get nervous. So I was picturing my son Walker and I thought, 'Let me sing it to him like we do in the bathtub and make sure I breathe'... and then he (Travolta) said my name like that and I was like, 'Did that just happen?' Then the orchestra started and then for eight seconds, I said, 'Get your s**t together! And like, stop worrying about your name and sing this song!'... So it took me about eight seconds to get over myself." Frozen star Idina Menzel on not letting John Travolta's blunder at the Oscars completely distract her before performing Let It Go.
Amy Winehouse's father has slammed rumours the tragic singer would return to the stage in hologram form for a tour. Recent reports suggested the Rehab hitmaker would follow in the footsteps of late rappers Tupac Shakur and Eazy-E as the latest celebrity to come back to life with a virtual performance.
A source recently told U.K.'s The Sun newspaper that billionaire entrepreneur Alki David apparently purchased a patent for the technology used to create holograms.
The insider claimed, "The plan is that Amy will finally tour the world after failing to do so when she was alive. With an orchestra and her hologram, she can take to the stage and fans can see her perform her legendary hits."
However, Winehouse's father Mitch, who owns the rights to his daughter's image, took to Twitter.com to shut down the speculation, writing, "No truth in the hologram story. Utter rubbish as usual."
Amy Winehouse died in 2011 of alcohol poisoning at the age of 27.
Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection
Here's a feat: taking what is likely the oldest, most well-known story in the world, and making a retelling feel inventive. Over the course of its two-and-a-half-hour runtime, Darren Aronofsky's Noah takes many forms — Tolkien-esque fantasy, trippy psychological thriller, merciless dissection of the dark points of abject faith — never feeling too rigidly confined to the parameters of the familiar tale that we've all experienced in the form of bedtime stories, religious education lessons, and vegetable-laden cartoons. As many forms as the parable has taken over the past few thousand years, Aronofsky manages to find a few new takes.
The director's thumbprint is branded boldly on Russell Crowe's Noah, a man who begins his journey as a simple pawn of God and evolves into a dimensional human as tortured as Natalie Portman's ballerina or Jared Leto's smack head. Noah's obsession and crisis: his faith. The peak of the righteous descendant of Seth (that's Adam and Eve's third son — the one who didn't die or bash his brother's head in with a rock), Noah is determined to carry out the heavenly mission imparted upon him via ambiguous, psychedelic visions. God wants him to do something — spoilers: build an ark — and he will do it. No matter what.
No matter what it means to his family, to his lineage, to his fellow man, to the world. He's going to do it. No matter what. The depths to which Aronofsky explores this simple concept — the nature of unmitigated devotion — makes what we all knew as a simplistic A-to-B children's story so gripping. While the throughline is not a far cry from the themes explored in his previous works, the application of his Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler, and Black Swan ideas in this movie does not feel like a rehashing. Experiencing such modern, humane ideas in biblical epic is, in fact, a thrill-ride.
Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection
Although Aronofsky accesses some highly guttural stuff inside of his title character, he lets whimsy and imagination take hold of the world outside of him. Jumping headfirst into the fantastical, the director lines his magical realm with rock monsters — "Watcher" angels encased in Earth-anchored prisons as punishment for their betrayal of God — and a variety of fauna that range in innovation from your traditional white dove to some kind of horned, scaled dog bastardization.
But the most winning elements of Noah, and easily the most surprising, come when Aronofsky goes cosmic. He jumps beyond the literal to send us coursing through eons to watch the creation of God's universe, matter exploding from oblivion, a line of creatures evolving (in earnest) into one another as the planet progresses to the point at which we meet our tortured seafarer. Aronofsky's imagination, his aptitude as a cinematic magician, peak (not just in terms of the film, but in terms of his career) in these scenes.
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With all this propped against the stark humanity of his story — not just in terms of Crowe's existential spiral, but in character beats like grandfather Methuselah's relationship with the youngsters, in little Ham's playful teasing of his new rock monster pet — Aronofsky manages something we never could have anticipated from Noah. It's scientific, cathartic, humane. Impressively, this age-old tale, here, is new. And beyond that feat, it's a pretty winning spin.
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Singer Rufus Wainwright has launched an online campaign to fund the recording of his opera. The Canadian star composed Prima Donna himself and premiered the show in Manchester, England in 2009. Wainwright now wants to record the music for a CD and digital release ahead of plans for a concert tour, so he is asking members of the public to donate their own cash to fund the studio project. He has set up a page on Pledgemusic.com urging fans to give generously. In a message posted on the page, he writes, "It is vitally important to me that Prima Donna be properly recorded and released so that I can tour a concert version of it in the coming year, and I have decided to do this with the help of both PledgeMusic and the incredible BBC Symphony Orchestra which in turn requires your generous support. Quality studio opera recordings are extremely expensive and too time consuming to pull off these days, and it seems that a once vibrant recording industry is no longer what it was and new methods are needed to get the music out." Wainwright is offering fans special rewards in return for their donations. For $99 (£62) they will be given the chance to sing on stage with the star at one of his shows, while $1,500 (£938) buys a producer's credit and access to the recording sessions wrap party, and for $50,000 (£31,250), Wainwright will play a private concert for the lucky donor.