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Twenty-nine years ago, a doctor at a Denver mental hospital sat a sickly, slightly retarded boy named Tim Baley down at a piano and watched him run his fingers across the ledges and valleys of the keyboard. The puzzled doctor began jotting down notes. Baley had undergone hundreds of tests, but medical minds were still having a hard time coming up with a diagnosis for the boy's developmental problems and poor health. The piano test only deepened the mystery.
April 15, 2014 | By David Colker
Cuban-born drummer Armando Peraza, a self-taught musician who transformed himself from a homeless orphan in Havana to a world-recognized bongo and conga expert who performed with Carlos Santana for nearly two decades, died Monday in a South San Francisco hospital. The cause was pneumonia, said his wife, Josephine Peraza. Peraza had also battled diabetes for many years. Officially, Peraza was 89, but he admitted that he made up a birth date to give to authorities when he came to the United States in the late 1940s and was never sure of his exact age. Peraza, who also played with George Shearing and other jazz greats, was known for combining a blindingly fast drumming technique with a flamboyant style that audiences loved.
Mastering classical music within the Hsieh family means practice--and lots of it. The two Hsieh children--Tiffany, 14, and Timothy, 10--spend hours every day practicing, just as each has done since before their fifth birthdays. But they have a lot further to go to catch up with their mother, Shirley Hsieh, who studied piano with top-ranking teachers for 25 years and is now a teacher herself.
April 12, 2014 | By August Brown
INDIO - It wasn't yet 1:30 p.m. on Saturday in the Sahara Tent, but 16-year-old Niall Bauer had already met up with friends on the lawn in the massive, LED-flashing venue inside the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which began the first of two consecutive weekends on the grounds of the Empire Polo Club on Friday. "It's so much bigger than I expected," he said, a little wide-eyed behind his sunglasses. It was the Beverly Hills resident's first Coachella, and in many ways the festival that launched 15 years ago has been much bigger - and full of more rarified pleasures.
The message on a pillow in the bedroom she shared with her late rock star husband now serves only to mock Troy Nowell. "Grow Old With Me," reads the stitched lettering. "The Best Is Yet to Be." The former Troy denDekker was married only seven days before Bradley Nowell, her 28-year-old husband and the creative force behind the Long Beach-based punk-ska band Sublime, died of a heroin overdose May 25 in a San Francisco motel room.
October 16, 2012 | By Deborah Vankin
More musicians are in the midst of a labor dispute and a strike is threatened, this time in Seattle. The union that represents the musicians of the Seattle Symphony and Seattle Opera is playing hardball after the management of both groups proposed on Oct. 10 that the musicians  take a 15% reduction in overall compensation for the 2012-13 season.  The Seattle Symphony and Opera Players' Organization on Monday approved a “strike authorization” for...
August 20, 2013 | By August Brown
Pink Floyd's Roger Waters has long been an outspoken critic of Israel's treatment of Palestinians. But his latest protest is close to his line of work -- he's asking musicians to boycott the country.  "I write to you now, my brothers and sisters in the family of Rock and Roll, to ask you to join with me, and thousands of other artists around the world, to declare a cultural boycott on Israel," he wrote, in an open letter posted to his Facebook...
November 30, 1986
The emergence of a first-rate symphony orchestra signaled San Diego's emergence as a fine cosmopolitan city. I remember when San Diego was characterized as a backward and sleepy Navy town. Why are the symphony orchestra's musicians paid as if San Diego was still a minor dot on the map? DANIEL SODERBERG Los Angeles
June 7, 2007 | Chris Pasles
The Hyperion recordings of the King's Consort, a leading British period-instrument group, will remain available despite the conviction and sentencing this week of founder Robert King to almost four years' imprisonment for 14 incidents of indecent assault over an 11-year period, the British label said Wednesday. "Hyperion Records does not wish to comment on the private lives of its artists," Hyperion director Simon Perry said by e-mail.
September 24, 2012 | By David Ng
The start of a new season is usually a celebratory time for an orchestra. But for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the past few days have been a major headache for management and ticket holders. Musicians with the orchestra have been on strike since Saturday after contract negotiations fell through. The orchestra said the disagreement centers mostly around wages and employee contributions toward healthcare costs.  Chicago's orchestra joins a number of other classical groups experiencing labor problems.
April 5, 2014
Arthur Smith, 93, a bluegrass musician who wrote and recorded the sizzling instrumentals "Guitar Boogie" and "Feuding Banjos," died Thursday at his home in Charlotte, N.C., his family announced. No cause was given. "Guitar Boogie," recorded with the Rambler Trio and showcasing Smith on guitar, helped inspire a country boogie trend when it was released in 1945. Three years later, after the MGM record label reissued it, the song rose to No. 8 on Billboard magazine's country popularity chart.
April 3, 2014 | By Lauren Beale
Dave Navarro of Jane's Addiction fame has listed his Hollywood loft for sale at $949,000. The 1,570-square-foot, open-plan space features a crushed-vinyl entry, 15-foot ceilings, a stainless-steel and black-quartz kitchen, blackout curtains and views of the Capitol Records building and the Hollywood sign. Offered in the sale is Navarro's white vinyl upholstered platform bed, which was custom designed for the room by Heidi Toll. There is a black-and-red designer bathroom. The loft is in the Broadway Hollywood building, built in 1926.
March 17, 2014 | By Ellen Olivier
The event: The REDCAT Gala, honoring musician and philanthropist Herb Alpert. REDCAT , a.k.a. the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater, is downtown L.A.'s innovative, experimental arts venue for the California Institute of the Arts . The honoree: Although the annual affair usually pays tribute to an artist and an arts supporter, CalArts president Steven Lavine said REDCAT's advisory council figured the legendary trumpeter of the...
March 7, 2014 | By Jessica Ogilvie
Christine Wu appeared in one of the year's most viral videos thus far: Billy Ray Cyrus' hip-hop remix of "Achy Breaky Heart. " She played the electric violin - while doing a backbend. Wu, who lives in Santa Monica, is breaking new ground in the performing arts by combining dance, yoga and complicated choreography with the violin. Wu recently talked about how she trains, how movement fuels her creativity and how she's carved out her niche career. You do yoga and ballet as well as working out at the Venice Beach gym. How does your exercise regimen help with the physicality of playing the violin?
March 3, 2014 | By Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
As per its title, Pharrell Williams' first album in eight years is singularly focused on girls. No women or ladies appear through the 10 songs that make up the album, let alone any other men. (There is one queen, but she's from outer space.) Best known these days for his falsetto voice heard on Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" and Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines," singer-producer Pharrell doubles down on his pursuit of mainstream superstardom on "Girl," but in the process reveals his weaknesses as well.
March 1, 2014 | By Mike Boehm
Mike Garson obviously takes the piano very seriously, but he can chuckle over some of the contradictory paths that a versatile mastery of the keys has led him down. Maybe the unlikeliest of all is the one he's embarking on Saturday at Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, where he'll lead 44 instrumentalists, augmented by a 55-voice children's choir, in the premiere of his "Symphonic Suite for Healing. " Even an accomplished musician like Garson, who's best known as a key sideman during David Bowie's 1970s rise to superstardom but who usually plays jazz or a jazz-classical fusion when left to his own devices, can laughingly confess that what he's doing isn't brain surgery or as important as finding a cure for cancer.
September 19, 2012 | By Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
After an unexpected outcry from musicians, Amanda Palmer has backed off on her plan to get free musical help for her Kickstarter-sourced upcoming tour. Palmer, a Bay area-based singer and composer whose work has attracted a devoted following, seemed interested in doing something kind of cool for her musicianly fans a few weeks ago when she wrote a post looking to employ ramshackle orchestras in each city. Her pitch: "We're looking for professional-ish horns and strings for EVERY CITY to hop up on stage with us for a couple of tunes," she wrote.
February 24, 2014 | By Randy Lewis
Southern California musicians will gain a new avenue for exposure with the arrival of “Studio A,” a weekly television series spotlighting bands and performers from the region that is set to premiere March 4 at 10 p.m. on independent public TV station KCET and simulcast on KCSN-FM (88.5). Chelsea Wolfe will be profiled in the premiere episode, and Best Coast, Chicano Batman, Aloe Blacc, Run River North, Noah and the Megafauna, the Internet and Deap Valley are due in coming weeks of the series, which aims to showcase the diversity of the Southern California music scene.
February 13, 2014 | By Randy Lewis
Rock guitar hero Jeff Beck remembers falling in love for the first time. "I'd only ever seen Spanish-style or jazz guitars, and then I saw a Stratocaster," said Beck, 69, of his schoolboy crush. "I was fascinated by the shape, the double cutaways; it was all too cool. It had all these pickups and knobs and controls - it embodied all the excitement of modern living. "A few years later I saw one in London hanging in a window, and the guy let me try it on," said the former member of the Yardbirds.
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