We launched The Score in late 2016 as a way to highlight the artists and programs that activate Lincoln Center's campus, as well as more general topics related to the performing arts. This past year, we continued to grow our content, publishing a combined total of 174 new articles, interviews, quizzes, and playlists. Together with previously published articles, we now have a library of more than 400 arts-focused features, ranging from the ephemeral to the evergreen. And while we love them all, we thought it would be worthwhile sharing a few highlights from this year.
Music History 101
It's always a bonus when doing your job means getting to learn something more about a subject you love: in this case, the performing arts. We do our best to offer readers—and ourselves—new insights and context throughout the year, whether it's an in-depth, scholarly look at the origins of Lindy Hop, a curator's detailed audio guide to South African jazz, an insider's tips on Gujarati social dance forms, a performer's perspective on what makes a good lyric, or artists' investigation of underrepresented histories, we are here for the power of the arts to expand our minds, one article at a time.
Whenever possible, we go straight to the source: the artists who grace our stages. In 2018 we had the chance to hear directly from a wide range of more than 50 performers, composers, or conductors, including the Egyptian accordionist Youssra El Hawary, the legendary hip-hop producer and Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA, the singer, bandleader, and Lindy hop champion Naomi Uyama, and the Mostly Mozart Festival's very own Renée and Robert Belfer Music Director Louis Langrée, among others. After all, who better to speak to the art than those who create it?
Artists often pose the questions that illuminate our collective past, present, and future. This year was no exception, and we were honored to shine a spotlight on several people whose work addresses critical issues of our times, including singer-songwriter and bassist Shelley Nicole (interviewed by Vernon Reid), vocalist, composer, and cultural worker Imani Uzuri, illustrator Vashti Harrison, poet Purvi Shah, musicians and bandleaders Celisse Henderon and Falu Shah, artist manager and concert promoter Doris Muñoz, and composer John Luther Adams.
The Art of Representation
There are as many stories to be told as there are artists and art forms, and we want to hear them all. Awa Sangho and Trina Basu spoke about connections between West African music and Indian raga, Raymond Codrington highlighted the Palenque band Kombilesa Mi, and Banning Eyre interviewed the legendary Soukous All Stars.
Meanwhile, saxophonists Stephanie Chou and Yacine Boulares bonded over their unique paths to the instrument, Thornetta Davis repped her home town of Detroit, Soul Science Lab noted the universal appeal of hip-hop, and Diana Gameros and Renee Goust spoke to curator Claudia Norman about each of their places within the rich contemporary Mexican diaspora. There was also Christian Tetzlaff, Jorge Glem, Andre Veloz, and so many more... As Martha Redbone, one of our featured interviewees, said: "All you can do to learn about each other is to hear what someone's individual story is and then share yours."
One of the best ways to get to known an artist—and to hear a few new-to-you tracks in the process—is to listen to their musical influences. We published more than two dozen new playlists this year, inviting artists and experts to take us on mini musical journeys into their inner worlds. In Chicago singer Zeshan B's case, it was a multidimensional perspective on soul music, while the Harlem Quartet curated a list of eight great American string quartets. Orquesta El Macabeo's influences revealed their eclectic sonic roots, and singer-songwriter Be Steadwell gave us permission to feel. And, even though it seems like a very long time ago, we created a list that paired Winter Olympics sports with equally athletic musical feats.
How Well Do You Know... Yourself?
This year may be over but our fun is just beginning. Join us in 2019 for more arts-based features. And if there's something special you'd like us to cover, feel free to contact me directly.
Eileen Willis is Editorial Director at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.