After years of waiting, the Kennedy Center has a new symphonic organ replacing its old Filene organ. The $2 million project will culminate in the organ's debut on Nov. 27. William Neil (left), the National Symphony Orchestra organist, speaks with NSO Assistant Conductor Ankush Kumar Bahl (center) during the organ's test with the orchestra on Oct. 18.
It was almost spooky. Each night after 11 p.m., when nothing was stirring in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, two men would enter. One would sit at the organ, playing a key or series of keys, and the other would crawl around inside the organ pipes, 40 feet off the floor. The process went on for months.
It was the all but final phase of installing a new organ for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. And on Nov. 27, the organ makes its formal debut.
Have you ever wondered whether music conductors actually influence their orchestras?
They seem important. After all, they're standing in the middle of the stage and waving their hands. But the musicians all have scores before them that tell them what to play. If you took the conductor away, could the orchestra manage on its own?
Marvin Miller, the first executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, died Tuesday at the age of 95. Miller headed the players union from 1966 to 1982, transforming the organization into one of the most powerful unions in the country.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speaks on November 1.
Credit AFP/Getty Images
Venezuela's National Assembly has approved a measure that allows President Hugo Chávez to leave the country for medical treatment in Cuba.
Chávez, as we've reported, has been battling cancer for more than a year. His treatments and the secrecy surrounding his condition led some to wonder whether he could handle a rough reelection campaign. But he made a remarkable comeback and handily won another term in October.
There has not been a wave of defections by Republicans who signed on to his "no new taxes" pledge and even the few who have spoken about possibly going along with revenue increases won't do so in the end, anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist told NPR Tuesday.
Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 1:07 pm
By Claire O'Neill
The audience at Pamir Cinema in Kabul watches a Pakistani film
Credit Jonathan Saruk / Getty Images
Unless you've been to Afghanistan, your imagination probably conjures up a pretty bleak picture of what has been a war-torn country for decades. Photographer Jonathan Saruk hopes to change that.
"It is important for people to know that while Afghanistan is a war-torn country with a plethora of difficult issues it must overcome," he says, "people there still live, work and occasionally try to have fun."
Movies in Afghanistan were banned under the Taliban, who ruled from 1996 until 2001, and only in recent years has there been a little renaissance in theater culture.