Anastasia Tsioulcas

Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter 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.

The best-selling Aboriginal musician in Australian history has died. Dr. G. Yunupingu had a sweet tenor voice and a gentle guitar style that took him far beyond his homeland. He was just 46 years old when he died on Tuesday in Darwin, Australia. His record label, Skinnyfish, announced his passing, but did not disclose its exact cause, citing only a "long battle with illness."

Justin Bieber has spent the last 18 months on the road promoting his album "Purpose." But after more than 150 shows on six continents, Bieber abruptly announced today that he is canceling the last leg of the tour. There were more than a dozen dates left across North America and East Asia, including high-profile stops at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, Calif. and Tokyo's Ajinomoto Stadium.

Chester Bennington, one of the lead singers for the band Linkin Park and a former singer for Stone Temple Pilots, has died. His death was confirmed to NPR Thursday afternoon by the Los Angeles County Coroner's office, which said that his body was discovered at a house in the 2800 block of Palos Verdes Estates in Los Angeles and that investigators are currently on the scene. The death is "being looked at as a possible suicide at this time," according to Brian Elias of the coroner's office. Bennington was 41 years old.

Gary DeCarlo, the voice behind the late-'60s hit "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye," died Wednesday in Branford, Conn. He was 75 years old, and had been battling metastatic cancer.

DeCarlo was the co-writer and singer of that now-indelible tune, which spent 16 weeks on the Hot 100 singles chart in 1969.

This post was updated on Sunday, June 25 at 3:50 PM.

How is this for a first day on the job: Maurice Murphy, the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO)'s late principal trumpet player, spent his very first day with the orchestra recording Star Wars' iconic opening theme, with its incredible brass fanfare — and Murphy leading the trumpets.

One of the more baffling cultural intersections to take place during President Trump's first overseas trip was a concert that took place Saturday night in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It featured American country music star Toby Keith, who performed for an all-male audience.

The music of the late Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda, the wife of the jazz giant John Coltrane, has always rested somewhat in the shadows. It didn't help that she gave her career up — to become a spiritual leader.

A video of Russian President Vladimir Putin taking a turn at the ivories in Beijing is currently making the Internet rounds.

A newly released, not-quite-reissue album has shed some very eagerly awaited light on rarely heard music music made by one of the most fascinating — and even arguably misunderstood — musicians in jazz: the late pianist, organist, harpist, keyboard player, composer and spiritual leader Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda.

There's a musical asterisk on French president-elect Emmanuel Macron's bio: He is an avid amateur pianist. It's a facet of his life occasionally noted in passing, as in this piece from the French radio network Europe 1 titled "The Things You Don't Yet Know About Emmanuel Macron." Along with mentioning his abiding fondness for karaoke, Europe 1 reported that he studied piano for 10 years at the music conservatory in Amiens, where he won third prize.

Conductor Gustavo Dudamel — one of the most famous Venezuelans in the world today and one of the world's most prominent classical musicians — issued an open letter today to the president and government in his native country.

Long reticent to address politics directly, he has published his comments in a letter titled "Levanto Mi Voz / I Raise My Voice," in both Spanish and English. (The full text is below, in both languages.)

Yesterday, former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama unveiled ambitious architectural plans for the Obama Presidential Center, a three-building complex slated for completion in 2021, to be located in the Jackson Park neighborhood on Chicago's South Side.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.


Multi-instrumentalist, composer, spiritual leader and the wife of John Coltrane, Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda (1937-2007) long stood in her husband's shadow. Some certain number of more casual jazz fans, if they have known her name at all, only know it from sidewoman credits on some of his albums, and not for her own performances and recordings.

This story was updated on April 26 at 3:00 PM.

Beyoncé's "visual album" Lemonade was released a year ago this week, but its impact continues to unfold. Just last week, the project won a Peabody Award. But the singer is also focusing on making its resonance felt through a very different vehicle: a group of scholarships called the "Formation Scholars" awards.

Creative works by and about musicians turned out to be big winners among this year's Peabody Awards. Among this year's honorees are Beyoncé and Donald Glover, whose prizes were announced today, and two documentaries announced earlier this week: the films Hip-Hop Evolution and MAVIS!

Sylvia Moy was one of the first female producers at Detroit's legendary Motown Records, co-writing hits for artists like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and The Isley Brothers. Moy died on Saturday at age 78 in Dearborn, Michigan from complications of pneumonia.

A 23-year-old, Russian-born violinist named Artem Kolesov is capturing international attention after posting a YouTube video in which he comes out as gay.

All too often, "fusion" is a rightfully dread-inducing term to describe music that tries to occupy several spheres at once, usually unsuccessfully. So let's not use that label on the brilliant, wide-ranging music of Ljova and the Kontraband, a group that embraces Western classical, jazz and an array of international styles including tango and Eastern European and Balkan folk music. These top-flight musicians, who hail from Russia, Lithuania, the U.S.

Sometimes, highly anticipated live concerts knock other priorities right off the calendar — in the case of Britney Spears and Israel, even an election.

According to a report in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz published today, Britney Spears' July 3 concert in Tel Aviv's HaYarkon Park is delaying the Labor Party's leadership vote by a day. The election was originally scheduled to take place on the same day at the Convention Center for Labor, which is adjacent to the park.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.


One of West Africa's most charming bands is back — again. Almost a decade after the group's last album and nearly 50 years since its founding, Senegal's Orchestra Baobab is swaggering back onto international dance floors with its silk, sultry songs, layering Afro-Cuban sounds with local traditions and pop styles from across Senegal and elsewhere in West Africa.

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