Friday, February 25, 2011

Things That Are Awesome: NPR's First Listen

One of the great things about working for a performing arts company is that everyone, to a person, loves music.  And not just loves it, but has definite opinions about it, has their own preferences.  We're all reformed band and chorus nerds, vocal performance majors or conservatory graduates, who now work in arts administration.  Our executive assistant is an honest to goodness opera singer who also conducts her church gospel choir.  The production manager is a fan of classic rock, but has, since he began working here, been developing a deep appreciation for great classical music.  (A vocal recital by a famous mezzo-soprano last week utterly floored him.)  You're as likely to hear Strauss symphonies coming from the office of the director of classical programming as The Decemberists.

I spend my days alternating between Pandora, Grooveshark, and D.C.'s local classical station.  But recently, I've become obsessed with the music offerings on NPR's website, notably the Tiny Desk Concerts (best name ever) and First Listen. 

First Listen, for instance, is entirely responsible for my new obsession with Adele and her new album 21, which I listen to daily.  As I type this, I'm streaming the new album by a group called The Low Anthem, who I'd never heard of until this morning.  They played in DC last night and caused my Facebook feed to explode with rapturous posts. And, if you're a regular Tiny Desk Concert watcher/listener, you probably weren't at all surprised at jazz bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding's recent Best New Artist win at the Grammys. The music editors over there in the NPR music department clearly have their fingers on the pulse of music scene today--from soul to jazz to punk rock to classical. The program archives are brimming with amazing artists, some you've heard of, some you haven't yet but will soon.

So. Need to bring a little joy to your workday? Check out Tiny Desk Concerts and First Listen series.  There's something for everyone! 


  1. Thanks for the heads up, Hannah. I listen to NPR in the car, but haven't spent much time at the website. I'll enjoy checking that out to switch up the weekday soundtrack.

  2. Sounds like such a fun office!!