NPR News

Caroline Shaw sings her own song, "And So," with the Attacca Quartet.

Last month, trumpeter and composer Nicholas Payton had the U.S. premiere of his Black American Symphony with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic.

Pioneering British-born conductor, harpsichordist, composer and scholar Raymond Leppard has died. He was 92 years old. With full-bodied performances matched by pioneering scholarship, Leppard helped reintroduce audiences to 16th and 17th century Italian masterpieces by composers including Claudio Monteverdi. But Leppard was also very much a man of his time: He championed — and wrote — contemporary works for both stage and screen.

His death was announced by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, where he was music director and conductor laureate from 1987 to 2001.

On November 8, singer Anthony Roth Costanzo will take center stage at the Metropolitan Opera, debuting as the star of a new production of Philip Glass' opera Akhnaten. It's a remarkable turn for a celebrated singer who nearly lost his voice to thyroid cancer.

The new movie Joker is a psychological character study of a lonely, disturbed man who turns violent. Dark, chaotic, unconventional — all descriptions that would make sense for a movie about one of the most infamous and unpredictable villains in comic book history. But in fact, director Todd Phillips wanted this Joker, played by Joaquin Phoenix, to inspire empathy. To give this comic book character human depth, director Todd Phillips brought in a composer who could transform darkness into sensitive musicality.

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