Classical Guitar Showstoppers With Sharon Isbin Headed to Lincoln Center

Classical guitarist Sharon Isbin. (J. Henry Fair)



July 4, 2019 Updated: July 4, 2019

Classical composer Luigi Boccherini was an Italian cellist, but he’s also known for a number of guitar quintets, including one that features the famous Spanish dance “Fandango” movement.

“Audiences go nuts, because there is a pacing to the movement that is so skillful and builds in such a way, with moments of relaxation and release … there’s an excitement about it, by the time it gets to the end people just leap to their feet because they’ve had this journey that is at once exotic, Spanish, and just really exciting,” said the eminent classical guitarist Sharon Isbin, who can’t imagine getting tired of this well-worn piece.… READ MORE...

What Exactly Is the Holy Grail, and Why Has Its Meaning Eluded Us for Centuries?

“Sir Galahad, the Quest for the Holy Grail,” 1870, by Arthur Hughes. (Public Domain)


May 22, 2019 Updated: May 22, 2019

Type “Holy Grail” into Google and … well, you probably don’t need me to finish that sentence. The sheer multiplicity of what any search engine throws up demonstrates that there is no clear consensus as to what the Grail is or was. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of people out there claiming to know its history, true meaning, and even where to find it.

Modern authors, perhaps most (in)famously Dan Brown, offer new interpretations and, even when these are clearly and explicitly rooted in little more than imaginative fiction, they get picked up and bandied about as if a new scientific and irrefutable truth has been discovered.… READ MORE...

Can Music Shape Your Soul?

A detail from “Song of the Angels,” 1881, by William Adolphe Bouguereau. (Public Domain)


April 9, 2019 Updated: April 9, 2019

Music expresses the quintessence of life and its events. It is precisely this universality that gives music the high worth that it has as a panacea for our woes.

Recently, while in New York, I hailed a cab. The entire vehicle was pulsating with a Jay-Z track. The thumping was so loud that my heart started to feel like a beatbox. When the fillings in my teeth felt as though they were becoming dislodged, I begged to be let out.… READ MORE...

‘Violins of Hope’ Share Their Secrets and Their Music

Israeli violin maker Amnon Weinstein restores a violin which he named the “Auschwitz Violin” since it belonged to a Jewish man imprisoned at the Auschwitz concentration camp during the Second World war at his workshop in Tel Aviv on July 15, 2016. (Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)


February 7, 2019 Updated: February 7, 2019

String instruments are exceptional pieces of artwork that seem to be forever imprinted by their past, and maybe even contain hints of their future.

It was said that the famous string instrument maker, Antonio Stradivarius, could perceive or intuit the sound quality that the wood of each tree would make while he walked among the trees in search of materials to make a violin, viola, or cello.… READ MORE...

Beethoven’s Music Has a Higher Purpose, His ‘Moonlight Sonata’ Never Gets Old

(Wikimedia | Joseph Karl Stieler)


January 24, 2019 Updated: January 24, 2019

Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. He died in 1827, aged 56 years. Many say he was the greatest composer of all time.

Images | Rischgitz

Beethoven once stated: “Music from my fourth year began to be the first of my youthful occupations. Thus early acquainted with the gracious muse who tuned my soul to pure harmonies, I became fond of her, and, as it often seemed to me, she of me.”

At the tender age of 7, he gave his first public piano performance.… READ MORE...

‘The Tale of Genji,’ a 1,000-Year-Old Japanese Masterpiece

“Sekiya” (“At the Pass”), Ch. 16 of “The Tale of Genji,” circa 1130 A.D., by an artist of the imperial court of Kyoto. An illustrated handscroll.

Tokugawa Art Museum. (Public Domain)

Guide to the classics


January 24, 2019 Updated: January 24, 2019

Celebrating its millennial anniversary in 2008, “The Tale of Genji” (“Genji Monogatari”) is a masterpiece of Japanese literature. Completed in the early 11th century, Murasaki Shikibu’s elegant and enchanting prose spans 54 chapters, features some 400 characters, and contains almost 800 separate poems. Many consider it to be the world’s first novel, predating most European texts by several hundred years.… READ MORE...

What Is Hygge and Why Does Everyone Love It?


January 13, 2019 Updated: January 13, 2019

During these last few holiday seasons in Britain and America, a strange new concept has become incredibly popular. Occupying the minds of many of my female friends and family members, this concept is known as “hygge” (pronounced hoo-ga). This word originates from the far-off, exotic land of Denmark and has no direct translation into English. The closest meaning is “to give comfort and joy.” It is the desire and feeling of coziness and hominess in everyday life.

To the Americans and Brits enamored with this fad, hygge signals comfy couches and mugs of hot cocoa.… READ MORE...

Traditional Chinese Wisdom Says Now’s the Time for Wine, Sun, and Plenty of Ginger

Fall ends six weeks early in the Chinese calendar, which guides people on how to navigate the seasons for health and well-being.(Pexels)

Tuning in to the season helps the body and mind navigate the cool months ahead


October 25, 2018 Updated: October 28, 2018

A solar term is a period of about two weeks, based on the sun’s position in the zodiac. Solar terms form the traditional Chinese calendar system. The calendar follows the ancient Chinese belief that living in accordance with nature will enable one to live a harmonious life. This article series explores each solar term, offering guidance on how to best navigate the season.READ MORE...

Ancient Chinese Stories: A Miracle After 100 Acts of Tolerance

A traditional marriage ceremony in China as depicted in a detail from “Prosperous Suzhou” by Xu Yang, 1759. (Public Domain)


December 25, 2018 Updated: December 25, 2018

In the Tang Dynasty, there was a man named Zhang Gongyi. In his lifetime, he could bear anything that ordinary people found unbearable. He swore that he would endure 100 extraordinary acts of tolerance in his lifetime, and every day he made that his oath.

Thus, people called him Zhang Bairen, meaning literally “100 Tolerances” or “100 Acts of Tolerance.”

Zhang Bairen never argued with others when working with them. He disciplined himself strictly but was very generous toward others.… READ MORE...

Plants have a taste for classical music, but they especially detest rock ‘n roll


December 19, 2018 Updated: December 19, 2018

Plants love music, but not just any music. They have a taste for classical. Not only have researchers proven that crop yields increase, but growth is enhanced when plants are exposed to classical music.

You may need a little convincing, so here’s some interesting findings to broaden your horizons. After you’re done with this article, you may opt for some more Mozart while at home.

Italian winemaker says his vines are “more robust” thanks to Mozart

Winemaker Giancarlo Cignozzi plays Mozart to his grape vines because he knows they like it.… READ MORE...