Anastasia Tsioulcas

Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter for NPR Music. She covers breaking news in the music industry, as well as a wide range of musical genres and artists, for NPR's flagship news programs and NPR Music.

Tsioulcas is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics, and identity. She covers #MeToo and gender issues in the music industry, as well as the effects of US immigration and travel policy on musicians and other performers traveling to this country.

She has reported from the funeral of Aretha Franklin, profiled musicians and dancers in contemporary Cuba, and brought listeners into the creative process of composers Steve Reich and Terry Riley.

Tsioulcas also produces episodes for 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.

As a video producer, she has created high-profile video shorts for NPR Music, including performances by cellist Yo-Yo Ma in a Brooklyn theatrical props warehouse and pianist Yuja Wang in an icy-cold Steinway & Sons piano factory in Queens.

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.

Bill Withers, the sweet-voiced baritone behind such classic songs as "Ain't No Sunshine," "Lean on Me" and "Use Me" has died. Withers was 81 years old. According to a family statement given to the Associated Press, he died Monday in Los Angeles due to heart complications.

The beloved children's author and illustrator Tomie dePaola, whose imaginative and warm-hearted work crossed generations and continents, died Monday at age 85. His death was announced, without details, on social media by his assistant, Bob Hechtel.

A painting by Vincent van Gogh was stolen early Monday morning from a Dutch museum in what appeared to be a smash-and-grab from the institution's front entrance.

The painting, an 1884 work titled The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring 1884, had been on loan to the Singer Laren museum near Amsterdam. It is part of the permanent collection of the Groninger Museum, in the northern part of the Netherlands.

Floyd Cardoz was an influential chef who married regional Indian cuisine with French and new American flavors. He died Wednesday morning of complications from the coronavirus in New Jersey, at age 59. He opened a string of acclaimed restaurants in both New York and Mumbai — and became a TV star along the way.

Updated at 11:31 p.m. ET

The Tony Award-winning American playwright Terrence McNally has died of complications related to COVID-19. He died Tuesday at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, Fla. at age 81. McNally was a lung cancer survivor who lived with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

One of the pioneers of Afro-funk music, the saxophonist Manu Dibango, has died of COVID-19. He was 86 years old, and died in Paris. Internationally, he was best known for his 1972 song "Soul Makossa," though his entire oeuvre could have been the soundtrack to a cooler 1970s than most people lived. But that one, funk-drenched hit, lit by Dibango's burning saxophone, went on to influence the sound of American disco — and its hooky spoken intro helped power songs by Michael Jackson and Rihanna.

New York's Metropolitan Opera — the largest performing arts organization in the United States by budget — has laid off all of its union employees for the duration of the coronavirus crisis, NPR has learned. The layoff includes all of the opera's orchestral players, chorus singers and stagehands.

On Friday morning, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, New York filed a superseding indictment against R&B singer R. Kelly. They charged him with nine counts that include racketeering and eight violations of the Mann Act, which prohibits sexual trafficking across state lines.

In this indictment, the prosecutors newly allege that in 2015, Kelly had sex with a girl under the age of 18, and that he gave her herpes without disclosing that he had the disease. In total, the New York federal charges now include six alleged victims, including three girls.

Concerns over coronavirus are having a deep impact on performing arts and cultural institutions across the United States.

Updated at Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. ET

On Tuesday afternoon, LA Opera — the Los Angeles opera company which came into being in part thanks to Plácido Domingo — announced that investigators had substantiated 10 "inappropriate conduct" claims made against the famed singer.

Another major American music festival and influencer hangout has been felled by coronavirus concerns. Coachella, which is held over two consecutive weekends, is being postponed. The dates are moving from Apr. 10 - 12 and Apr. 17 - 19 to the weekends of Oct. 9 and 16.

The announcement was made Tuesday afternoon by Coachella's promoter Goldenvoice, which is a subsidiary of the live event mammoth AEG. In the same announcement, Goldenvoice said it was moving Coachella's sister event, the Stagecoach country music festival, from the weekend of Apr. 24 to the weekend of Oct. 23.

Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

The city of Austin, Texas, has canceled South by Southwest, after a disaster was declared in response to the expanding coronavirus.

The annual event is a staple for the technology, music and film worlds; last year's edition drew more than 400,000 visitors to the city. The 2020 edition was slated to take place March 13 to 22.

In a statement Friday afternoon, SXSW said: "The city of Austin has canceled the March dates for SXSW and SXSW EDU. SXSW will faithfully follow the city's directions."

Updated Friday at 6:23 p.m. ET

On Friday afternoon, Hachette Book Group announced publicly and to its employees that it will not publish Woody Allen's memoir, Apropos of Nothing, as planned next month.

In a statement to NPR, the publisher said: "Hachette Book Group has decided that it will not publish Woody Allen's memoir A Propos of Nothing, originally scheduled for sale in April 2020, and will return all rights to the author."

The president and CEO who was brought in to change the culture behind the Grammy Awards — and whose tenure lasted only five months — has been fired.

The Recording Academy, the non-profit organization which gives out the awards, said in an announcement to its membership today that it had commissioned "two exhaustive, costly independent investigations relating to Ms. Dugan and the allegations made against her and by her."

One of the senior elected officials at the union that commissioned an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against opera star Plácido Domingo has resigned.

In a sharp turn from the public apology he issued two days ago, opera star Plácido Domingo offered a new statement on Thursday regarding allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

An investigation into sexual misconduct accusations against Plácido Domingo ended Tuesday with the announcement that the opera star engaged in "inappropriate activity." But that's about all that was disclosed.

Updated at 6:00 p.m. ET

The union representing opera performers, choral singers and dancers says that according to an independent investigation it commissioned, opera megastar Plácido Domingo engaged in "inappropriate activity" with women both "in and outside of the workplace."

Joseph Shabalala, the singer who created the South African choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo and propelled it to worldwide fame, died Tuesday in Pretoria at age 78. The group became beloved globally as collaborators with Paul Simon on the album Graceland, and went on to win five Grammys.

A case that caused consternation and controversy in Chicago last year is entering a fresh chapter. On Tuesday afternoon, Jussie Smollett, a now-former actor on the show Empire, was again indicted by a grand jury in Cook County, Ill., for filing false police reports that he had been the victim of a hate crime near his home in January 2019.

Updated Friday, Feb. 7 at 5:00 p.m. ET

One of Mali's most prominent musicians, Ballaké Sissoko, has alleged that the Transportation Security Administration [TSA] destroyed his specially designed instrument during a trip from New York to Paris that began on Monday evening. On Thursday afternoon, the TSA said that its agents did not open the instrument case or create the damage.

By the end of the 62nd Grammy Awards on Sunday evening, a major star had been crowned: 18-year-old singer Billie Eilish, who swept all four of the night's biggest prizes — Best New Artist, Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Album of the Year — along with honors for Best Pop Vocal Album.

But that rush of awards came only at the tail end of a long, strange and emotionally ambivalent ceremony held Sunday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Updated at 9:20 p.m. ET

Neil Peart, the drummer and lyricist for the iconic Canadian prog rock band Rush, has died. He was 67 years old.

His death was announced Friday by spokesperson Elliot Mintz, who said that Peart died on Jan. 7 in Santa Monica, Calif. Peart had been diagnosed with brain cancer three and a half years ago.

Updated at 8:15 p.m. Monday

Ric Ocasek, leader of the Boston-based rock band The Cars and an influential music producer, has died, a New York Police Department spokesman confirmed to NPR. He was found unconscious Sunday afternoon at his townhouse in Manhattan. (There is some confusion about Ocasek's exact age: The NYPD said that he was 75; public records list his age as 70.)

A guitar band from Mali called Tinariwen is famous worldwide. The group's fans and collaborators have included Robert Plant, Thom Yorke of Radiohead, Bono of U2 and Nels Cline of Wilco. The band has fought extremism in their home country of Mali, and been victims themselves.

One of New Orleans' iconic musicians has died. Art Neville — a founding member of both the Meters and the Neville Brothers, died Monday at age 81. His death was confirmed by his nephew Ivan Neville (the son of Art's brother, Aaron) and his manager of two decades, Kent Sorrell. According to Nola.com, he had been in declining health for years.

One of the most celebrated voices in modern South African music has died. Singer, dancer and activist Johnny Clegg, who co-founded two groundbreaking, racially mixed bands during the apartheid era, died Tuesday in Johannesburg at age 66. He had battled pancreatic cancer since 2015.

His death was announced by his manager and family spokesperson, Roddy Quin.

Clegg wrote his 1987 song "Asimbonanga" for Nelson Mandela. It became an anthem for South Africa's freedom fighters.

Nicki Minaj is known as one of hip-hop's most provocative artists. So it was surprising when she was offered, and that she accepted, the opportunity to headline a July music festival in Saudi Arabia — one of the world's most conservative countries, and one in which no women were permitted to give public concerts until two years ago.

Now, after facing heated criticism from human rights groups, Minaj has pulled out of the July 18 event, citing her commitment to women's rights, the LGBTQ community, and freedom of expression.

R. Kelly has been a hero, an icon, a demon and a punchline — all at the same time. There is no neat narrative arc of ascendance, fall and perhaps eventual redemption: This is an R&B singer who was feted as an American idol, performing at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, on the same day that Chicago police revealed that they were investigating him for child pornography.

Updated April 30 at 12:00 p.m. ET

Woodstock 50, a wide-ranging festival that many hoped would bring the spirit of 1969 to a new generation this August, has been canceled. Tim O'Hearn, the administrator for Schuyler County, N.Y., where the event was to take place, confirmed the cancellation to NPR; he said he had been contacted by Dentsu Aegis Network, which had been bankrolling the planned festival.

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