Anastasia Tsioulcas

Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter and producer for NPR Music. She reports on a wide range of musical genres and music-industry topics for NPR's flagship news programs as well as for NPR Music.

Tsioulcas is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity. She has profiled musicians and dancers in contemporary Cuba, a punk drummer from Washington, DC who raced to preserve the artistic traditions of pre-civil war Syria, a band of Muslim and Jewish musicians from Algeria reunited after 50 years, and an interfaith group from Texas rooted in a 700-year-old singing tradition from south Asia. She has also brought listeners into the creative process of musicians like composers Steve Reich and Terry Riley.

As a video producer, she has created some of NPR Music's high-profile music documentaries and performances, including bringing cellist Yo-Yo Ma to a Brooklyn theatrical props warehouse and pianist Yuja Wang to an icy-cold Steinway & Sons piano factory in Queens. Tsioulcas also produces some of the episodes in 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.

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.

Today, Amazon announced the debut of an on-demand music-streaming service called Amazon Music Unlimited. With a subscription model like Spotify and Apple Music, Amazon will charge standard subscribers $10 per month; for Amazon Prime subscribers, just $8 a month; and for users of its Echo devices, only $4 a month. Amazon has been a first-stop destination for serious music fans wanting to buy physical albums, especially as brick-and-mortar music retailers' fortunes turned — in part because of...

Brian Eno. David Bowie. Kraftwerk. Radiohead . Aphex Twin . The National. These are just some of the contemporary artists and bands who have looked up to American composer Steve Reich . Since the 1960s, Reich's hypnotic and coolly modern music has won him fans across many genres, as well as a Pulitzer Prize . Earlier this month, Reich celebrated his 80th birthday — and he's being feted in concerts around the world this year. So I headed to his home in upstate New York to speak about his...

Neville Marriner, the conductor and violinist who was something of an entrepreneur as well as the guiding spirit behind one of the most successful classical recordings of all time — the soundtrack to the 1984 smash movie Amadeus — died overnight at age 92 at his home in London. His death was announced by the chamber orchestra he founded, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Marriner was made Commander of the British Empire in 1979, and was knighted in 1985. In 2015, Queen Elizabeth named...

The political endorsement song is a strange beast. It's something more than just a campaign anthem — the kind of track that pumps up rally audiences before a candidate's entrance onstage. Instead, this kind of tune is an odd hybrid: part commercial jingle, part aspirational anthem and, with nearly no exceptions, a soon-forgotten novelty. (One outlier: the sturdy Whig song "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" from the 1840 presidential campaign, which was most recently resurrected by They Might Be...

Just this afternoon, it looked like David Bowie was a shoo-in for this year's Mercury Prize. Even though the prestigious U.K. award had never before been given to an artist posthumously, Blackstar was the final and widely adored album from a British rock god. Even bookies were betting on Bowie as a 4/7 favorite. Things didn't work out that way, though. Instead, the Mercury went to the stunned 33-year-old independent grime artist Skepta, a.k.a. Joseph Junior Adenuga, for his fourth album,...

When you think of an orchestra, you're probably picturing refined woodwoods, brass, and strings. But one ensemble I recently met is made up mostly of kids who play instruments made out of literal trash. This is the Recycled Orchestra from Cateura, Paraguay, and their group is the subject of a new documentary film . Cateura is not a town, really. It's a slum alongside a landfill, located not far from Paraguay's capital city, Asunción. Every day, about 3 million pounds of solid waste get dumped...

Thursday night, singer Frank Ocean released a long-awaited new work: Endless , available exclusively — at least for now — as a 45-minute film on Apple Music. This is Ocean's first studio project since his Channel Orange was released in 2012, the musician's breakout year as a solo artist after his days as a member of the Odd Future collective and, prior to that, as a songwriter for artists like Justin Bieber, John Legend and Brandy. Ocean himself has been feeding into the sentiment that his...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lp-EO5I60KA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6QZn9xiuOE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxZjVZKVN7k Fans of Ed Sheeran love his throwback sound — but for the second time this year, the English pop megastar is facing accusations in court that he has lifted classic material. Heirs of singer, songwriter and producer Ed Townsend, who co-wrote Marvin Gaye 's 1973 soul staple "Let's Get It On," filed suit against Sheeran on Tuesday in federal court in the Southern...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32n4h0kn-88 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akkQ6wx3DII http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_INSrQcAAk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mf6FlJz7Hdk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v12fPV6QmeU http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7XZPM4mLa8 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=df0xj-d-IGI Last week in Cleveland, the music played at the Republican National Convention often seemed at odds with the messages coming from the stage – sometimes to the explicit distress of the musicians....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOfwcj4MEQg The news out of Greece in the past several years has been pretty bad. An ongoing economic crisis has resulted in an unemployment rate that's hovering around 25 percent — currently, there's a major exodus of young, educated Greeks. And more than a million refugees and migrants have poured into the country in the past year and a half. So what is the Greek government doing in response? For one thing, it's sent a big art exhibition to Washington, D.C....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afOykWFR2k4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jt_9yb4FSYA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ovcNw8xr64 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aX90EGVY9tc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_lpyG-ddec Throughout the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this week, there was a persistent and obvious theme of discord on repeat. Call it "Music vs. Meaning" and let us sing some of its many verses: Musicians expressed resentment at Donald Trump and his party's use of their...

Sick of getting your view blocked at live shows by people holding up their phones? Apple was granted a patent yesterday for technology that can disable those cameras — at least in specific places. The system mapped out in this patent would use infrared emitters to temporarily deactivate the photo and video capabilities on devices like mobile phones, laptops, stand-alone video or still cameras or any other "electronic device with an image sensor." Venues, or those in charge of a given space,...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLObvzc6dA8 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JD1k4_d0S1Y http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u67Nf2VRXFw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1ddsFwESME One of Pakistan's best-known singers, Amjad Sabri, was gunned down Wednesday in the city of Karachi, in what police are calling a targeted killing. The attack occurred when the 45-year-old Sabri was on his way to a television station, where he was scheduled to give a performance to mark the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The...

When we invited the band Mashrou' Leila to come play at the Tiny Desk, we couldn't have foreseen the timing. The group arrived at our office the morning after the horrific June 12 shootings in Orlando at the gay nightclub Pulse. We were all collectively reeling from the news, and for this rock band from Beirut, Lebanon, the attack hung very heavily. Mashrou' Leila is fronted by singer and lyricist Hamed Sinno, along with violinist Haig Papazian, keyboardist and guitarist Firas Abou Fakher,...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7jf3MYL3Xg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfXkFFUW_bU Looking for a musically sensitive, responsive bandmate? Maybe you should try out Shimon. Shimon is a jazz-playing robot created by Gil Weinberg and his team at the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology. Shimon was debuted seven years ago, but the robot gave a performance alongside a human collaborator yestererday at Moogfest in Durham, N.C., a festival concentrating on the intersection of music and...

One of the world's best-known and best-loved classical musicians has joined the ranks of artists refusing to perform in North Carolina. Violinist Itzhak Perlman canceled an appearance scheduled for Wednesday with the North Carolina Symphony in Raleigh to protest HB2, the controversial North Carolina law limiting civil rights protections for LGBT people. HB2 excludes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from the state's non-discrimination laws and prevents local governments from...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5Tag1BwhqY http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6V0BN4aH4E A popular and groundbreaking alt-rock band from Lebanon called Mashrou' Leila was scheduled to play a big show in Amman, Jordan Friday. Instead, their show was cancelled by the government — and the band says they have been told they can never perform again in the country, because of the group's politics, religious beliefs and "endorsement of gender equality and sexual freedom." Mashrou' Leila had been slated...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auMcWKuB7sA In 2014, Sergei Roldugin told the New York Times , "I don't have millions." But if the document trail of the Panama Papers proves correct, this Russian cellist and conductor — and a close friend of Vladimir Putin since the 1970s — may actually possess much more than that. According to reporting from the consortium of 370 international journalists from over 100 news organizations working on the data leak of more than 11 million documents in what's...

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d11NGffLcYU http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygpG48aSGCY Cuba is famous for its music. A lot of people have heard of artists like the Buena Vista Social Club and Celia Cruz . But the country also has a long history of cultivating classical composers and performers. On a recent trip to Cuba, I met one group that stands out. In a country as stereotyped for its machismo as it is for its mambos, you might think an all-female classical ensemble would face an uphill...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDsQT91N-7g You never know who you're going to meet at a party. In the case of one young man and woman, a Halloween celebration in New York City led not just to a love affair — it became part of the fabric of modern Cuba. I was going to Havana on a reporting trip to cover a contemporary music festival , and I needed a translator. Through a friend of a friend of a friend, I met Gabriela Burdsall. She's a member of Cuba's national modern dance troupe. As it turned...

NPR's Audie Cornish spoke with Frannie Kelley of NPR Music's podcast Microphone Check about Kendrick Lamar's untitled unmastered. You can hear their conversation at the audio link. Hip-hop fans received a surprise Thursday night: an unexpectedly released project from Kendrick Lamar called untitled unmastered. Each of untitled unmastered. 's eight tracks is — as the album's name headlines — untitled, followed by a date. If those dates (most of which fall between 2013 and 2014) are correct, it...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLRie13QTGs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zj5tfuS3vJ8 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMp55KH_3wo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUsoVlDFqZg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiNejMMGc94 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IJZkarC5tM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7s7sbS5hiMo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZrCqr-L5n0 On Tuesday The Rolling Stones announced the band's upcoming performance in Havana, hailing it as a landmark occasion. The concert is slated for March 25...

The technology of the day has everything to do with how you get your music — and the music business is pushing more and more toward streaming. With services like Spotify, Pandora, Tidal and Apple Music, there are a bunch of companies that want your ears — and your money. And a lot of those companies are trying to get exclusives from artists. Two albums that are very popular right now were released on Tidal, a streaming service owned by a group of artists headed by Jay-Z . One of those albums...

It seemed like there was something for everybody at the 2016 Grammy Awards. Mark Ronson's high-spirited "Uptown Funk," featuring Bruno Mars, won Record of the Year. The songwriting award, Song of the Year, went to Ed Sheeran and Amy Wadge's "Thinking Out Loud," while Taylor Swift won Album of the Year for 1989 . The nominations for the 58th annual Grammy Awards, though, were pitched as something of a showdown between pop and hip-hop. In certain ways, neither won outright — but both genres'...

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