Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony have been consistent champions of American music of all shapes and sizes. Are there — or will there be — American symphonies that stand with those of Mozart and Beethoven, Mahler and Shostakovich?
Critics and fans love a good debate over the great American novel or great American movie. But what about the great American symphony?
Is there one? If not, why? If so, which symphonies are good candidates for the title? (Check out our Spotify list for some contenders.) And in the land of the melting pot, what does it mean for a symphony to be "American" in the first place?
Dayna Stephens is a patient musician. The 34-year-old tenor saxophonist and composer fashions supple, searching improvisations that brim with melodic cogency. His compositions often exude a widescreen sensibility with languid, narrative-like passages, suspenseful interludes and sumptuous harmonies.
With about 24 hours to go before the deadline set by Egypt's military to work with opponents and craft a roadmap that moves the country past its political problems or have one created for him by the army, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi is under intense pressure. He must either "reach some kind of compromise" with those protesting against his government "or step aside," NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson tells our Newscast Desk.
Good morning, I'm David Greene. Florida's Department of Transportation ordered a new sign for Interstate 95. It read: Exit 344, University of Florida, Florida State College South Campus. Only one issue. Both times, Florida was spelled wrong. It read: Flordia. The sign manufacturer in Arkansas made that mistake. According to First Coast News, the company has agreed to fix the sign for free. They also might want to get off at that exit and head back to school.
David Rakoff was a mainstay on public radio's This American Life, and the best-selling author of Fraud, Don't Get Too Comfortable, and Half Empty. He died of cancer in 2012 at the age of 47, shortly after finishing Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish, a short novel in verse that jumps from decade to decade, tracking a panoply of American characters across the 20th century: 1920s slaughterhouse workers, 1950s office girls, AIDS victims and '80s yuppies.
A country girl from Grabtown, N.C., Ava Gardner arrived in Hollywood in 1941 knowing she couldn't act but, gorgeous as she was, she never had to let that slow her down. Her beauty — which reportedly intimidated Elizabeth Taylor — won her not just film roles and studio-paid acting lessons, but the attentions of all-American boy Mickey Rooney, whom she married and divorced before she turned 21. She had a similarly brief union with bandleader Artie Shaw — she called those two her "starter husbands" — before a tempestuous, headline-making marriage to Frank Sinatra.
Check out the video at the bottom of the page to see how this box transforms ...
Credit Muhammad Hamed / Reuters/Landov
Millions of refugees, such as these at the Zataari camp in Mafraq, Jordan, call the canvas tents provided by the UNHCR home. But the tents are hot during the day, cold at night, afford little privacy, and only last about six months. Ikea and the U.N. refugee agency are working together to come up with an alternative.
Credit Ikea Foundation
...into a temporary shelter that is designed to last up to three years and provide electricity via solar panels.
The saga of Edward Snowden feels like a page-turner, the story of an international fugitive no one wants. Snowden is the former NSA contractor trying to avoid prosecution in the U.S. for leaking classified documents.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Snowden has been weighing his options as he languishes in a Moscow airport. He's requested asylum in at least 20 countries now. According to the website WikiLeaks, Snowden's legal advisor submitted those requests by hand to diplomatic missions in Moscow.
Europe is in an uproar over revelations that U.S. intelligence services are spying on the European Union mission in New York and its embassy in Washington. The new allegations come from the latest secret U.S. National Security Agency documents leaked by Edward Snowden.
I always wondered where some of those stock market symbols came from.
To Europe now. Portugal's finance minister - the architect of the country's economic bailout deal with the European Union - has resigned. In stepping down, he cited the backlash against the policies he imposed at the urging of European lenders.
NPR's Lauren Frayer reports on this latest turn in the debate over whether severe budget austerity does more harm than good.
All week, we are looking at demographic changes in the currently very red, very Republican Lone Star state. Democrats hope the growing size and potential voting clout of the Latin population will turn Texas blue.
Whether that happens or not, the Texas Democratic Party already bears little resemblance to what it looked like when it last dominated Texas politics decades ago.
NPR's Don Gonyea brings us the latest in our series Texas 2020.
President Obama announced, last week, a hugely ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and push the country towards cleaner energy. Right now, just nine percent of our energy consumption comes from renewable sources.
Former U.S. secretary of energy Steven Chu would like to see us get to 50 percent by the middle of the century. Chu left the cabinet in April, but even before that, he began talking to utility companies could adopt a radically different business model.
And farther south on the African continent, President Obama is wrapping up a three-country tour. He's in Tanzania now, on the coast of the Indian Ocean. NPR's Ari Shapiro is travelling with the president and reports on Obama's first day in the Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam.
After 16 years on the lam, Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger is on trial. His murder and racketeering trial is expected to last through the summer. Already testimony from government witnesses is raising questions about the justice system, and how the FBI cozied up to villainous characters to prosecute Bulger.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
The Chicago-based Tribune Company, newly out of bankruptcy, is trying to sell off its newspaper holdings. Yet even as the company withdraws from print media, it's making a big push into local television, following the lead of other major media players.