Tonight, it’s German public broadcasting's A.R.D. Music Competition where rising young stars play with established groups. Competition winners are the soloists in famous concertos like Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto and Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto. Also on the program, the youthful Armida String Quartet play one of the Haydn String Quartets.
THE LIFE OF MUHAMMAD, a new three-part series presented by acclaimed journalist and author Rageh Omaar, will premiere on WILL-TV at 7 pm Wednesday, Aug. 28. The film charts the extraordinary story of a man who, in little more than 20 years, changed the world forever.
Taking a journey that is both historical and relevant today, Omaar documents Muhammad’s life from his humble beginnings in Mecca, to his struggles with accepting his prophetic role, his flight to Medina, the founding of the first Islamic constitution and his subsequent military and political successes and failures — and to his death and his legacy.
Filmed on location in Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem, Turkey, Syria, the U.S., the United Kingdom and Jordan, the series also draws on the expertise of some of the world’s leading academics and commentators on Islam, including Tariq Ramadan (academic and fellow of St. Anthony’s College, Oxford), Ziauddin Sardar (London-based scholar and writer specializing in Muslim thought), Tom Holland (British novelist and historian), HRH Princess Badiya El Hassan of the Jordanian Royal Family, Dr. Amira K Bennison (senior lecturer in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, Cambridge University), Sajjad Rizvi (associate professor of Islamic Intellectual History, Exeter University), Bishop Nazir-Ali (author of Islam: A Christian Perspective) and John L Esposito (professor of Religion and International Affairs and Islamic Studies, Georgetown University).
Along with the historical narrative, the film addresses Islam’s role in the world today and explores interpretations of Islamic attitudes toward money, charity, women, social equality, religious tolerance, war and conflict, providing a fascinating, timely and unique insight into the Islamic faith.
THE LIFE OF MUHAMMAD comprises three one-hour episodes, airing back to back on Aug. 28. The first, “The Seeker,” examines the world into which Muhammad was born, his marriage to his first wife, Khadijah, as well as his first revelations and the profound impact they had on his life and on the lives of those closest to him. “Holy Wars,” the second episode, focuses on key events in Muhammad’s life, including the Night Journey to Jerusalem, his departure from Mecca and the eight-year war with the Meccan tribes. The third and final episode, “Holy Peace,” analyzes events during his later life, including the introduction of the moral code known as Shari‘a and the concept of jihad.
In line with Islamic tradition, the program does not depict any images of Muhammad or feature any dramatic re-constructions of his life.
Rageh Omaar is a Somali-born journalist and author. A former BBC World Affairs correspondent, he currently works as a journalist/reporter for ITN UK, where he is the Middle Eastern correspondent, and also hosts his own monthly investigative documentaries called “The Rageh Omaar Report.”
The brilliant, passionate defense barrister Martha Costello, who lives by the "innocent until proven guilty" credo in her defense of the poor and downtrodden, is in the competition of her life. She's applied to be appointed Queen's Counsel – one of the most prestigious accomplishments in an English lawyer's career – a process known as "taking Silk." To be unswervingly principled is difficult enough; but Martha's rival, charming and ruthless Clive Reader, is also in competition for QC. And only one of them will succeed.
In three episodes of six high-stakes cases, Maxine Peake and Rupert Penry-Jones (Persuasion, The Thirty-Nine Steps) star in Peter Moffat's riveting legal drama about the political and personal intrigues, and the hard cases, facing top barristers in the criminal law courtrooms and chambers contemporary London.
Elvis Presley made television history when his Elvis, Aloha from Hawaii concert special was beamed via satellite to a global audience. Entertainment events presented live via satellite are common today, but in 1973, this was a first. Never before had one performer held the world’s attention in such a way. Presenting Elvis at the pinnacle of his superstardom in one of the most outstanding concert performances of his career, ELVIS, ALOHA FROM HAWAII airs at 9 pm Friday, Aug. 23, on WILL-TV during the 40th anniversary celebration of this milestone in music and television history.
The performance took place at the Honolulu International Center Arena in Honolulu, Hawaii, on January 14, 1973. At 12:30 a.m. Hawaiian time, the concert was beamed live to Australia, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, South Vietnam and other countries, and seen on a delayed basis in approximately 30 European countries later the same day. It attracted 37.8% of the viewers in Japan, 91.8% in the Philippines, 70% in Hong Kong, and 70-80% of the viewers in Korea.
An American TV audience would have to wait until April 4th, when an edited version of the concert, expanded with songs videotaped just after the live event, was presented on NBC. That broadcast attracted 51% of the television viewing audience and was NBC’s highest rated program of the year. In all, it was a global smash, seen in approximately 40 countries by close to 1.5 billion people — more people than saw man landing on the moon.
ELVIS, ALOHA FROM HAWAII features these performances:
• “See See Rider”
• “Burning Love”
• “You Gave Me a Mountain”
• “Steamroller Blues”
• “My Way”
• Medley (“Love Me Tender”/“Johnny B. Goode”/“It’s Over”/“Blue Suede Shoes”)
• “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”
• “I Can’t Stop Loving You”
• “Suspicious Minds”
• “Long Tall Sally”/“Whole Lotta Shakin’”
• “I’ll Remember You”
• “Hound Dog”
• “An American Trilogy”
• “Welcome to My World”
• “A Big Hunk o’ Love”
• “Can’t Help Falling in Love”
For more than 30 years, composer and pianist Marian McPartland brought jazz into the homes of public radio listeners through her interviews and duets with some of the greatest musicians in the world. She composed piano pieces that have entered the jazz repertoire and songs—with lyrics by such stars as Johnny Mercer, Sammy Cahn, and Peggy Lee—that are considered part of the Great American Songbook. The memorial program is hosted by McPartland's longtime friend, Murray Horowitz.
Jazz legend Marian McPartland, who hosted the eponymous Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz on NPR for three decades, died peacefully Tuesday night at her home on Long Island, N.Y. She was 95.
Shari Hutchinson, executive producer of Piano Jazz, said: “Marian was of course the brilliant artist and beloved icon of public radio. I was able to work closely with one of the strongest, most successful, vital, creative women of her time, someone who overcame every obstacle and who pushed through every glass ceiling. I am deeply saddened at her passing, and at the same time profoundly joyful she let me into her life.”
“Every week for 34 years, Marian seduced her guests and her audience with her tremendous wit, compassion and musicianship,” says Anya Grundmann, executive producer and editorial director of NPR Music. “Piano Jazz was a gateway to unforgettable intimate moments between musicians who were at the top of their field, cared deeply about their craft and embodied the history of this great American art form. Her legacy of programs is an American cultural treasure and a guiding light for public radio's continuing and expanding celebration of jazz and the artists who create it.”
Born Margaret Marian Turner in 1918 in Windsor, England, McPartland began to teach herself Chopin waltzes on the piano by ear when she was three years old. She later pursued classical training before joining a four-piano vaudeville act, traveling throughout Europe during World War II to entertain the Allied troops. It was on tour where she met and began to perform with her future husband, famed Chicago cornetist Jimmy McPartland.
In the U.S. after the war, McPartland formed her own trio and turned a two week stint at the renowned New York City nightclub Hickory House into an eight-year residency. The club became a gathering place for jazz colleagues such as Oscar Peterson, Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington. She later founded her own label, Halcyon Records; her compositions were recorded by the likes of Tony Bennett and Peggy Lee.
As the host of Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz, an NPR program pairing conversation and duet performances, she reached an audience of millions, connecting with jazz fans and the curious alike. She interviewed, laughed and played duets with practically every major jazz musician of the post-World War II era, from Dizzy Gillespie, Willie Nelson and Elvis Costello, to Tony Bennett, Dave Brubeck and Alicia Keys. McPartland hosted the program from its inception in 1979 until 2011.
In 2000, McPartland was named an NEA Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts; in 2004, she was awarded a Trustee’s Award Grammy for Lifetime Achievement; and in 2007, the Kennedy Center named McPartland a Living Jazz Legend. She has received honorary degrees from Hamilton, Union and Bates Colleges, Bowling Green University, and the University of South Carolina.
Also on the program:
J.S. BACH: Piano Concerto No. 5 in F Minor, BWV 1056; Inon Barnatan, piano; Harvey De Souza & Jennifer Gilbert, violins; Hsin-Yun Huang, viola; Joseph Johnson, cello; Marji Danilow, bass
Oliver KNUSSEN: Ophelia’s Last Dance, Op. 32 (2010 - Commissioned for Kirill Gerstein
by the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival) Kirill Gerstein, piano
RAVEL: String Quartet in F Major (1902-03; rev. 1910) Tokyo String Quartet
At 8 pm, stay tuned for Center Stage from Wolf Trap. On the program:
BEETHOVEN: String Quartet in G Major, Op. 18, No. 2; Jerusalem String Quartet
Dorival CAYMMI/Tiago COSTA: Só Louco Ahn Trio
Antonio LAURO: Vals criollo (Valse Venezolano No. 3); Robert Belinić, guitar
Paul DOOLEY: Dani’s Dance; Jean-Hee Lee, vln; Jeremy Crosmer, cello; Ayako Hattori, pno
Nelson AYRES: Paisagens Brasileiras (Brazilian Landscapes): Suite for Piano Trio; Ahn Trio
What is intelligence? How do we get it and can we increase it? Smarter Brains uncovers the latest research and reveals groundbreaking experiments that are redefining intelligence throughout our lifespan and especially our later years. Showing viewers the amazing science behind our intelligence — how it shapes our experience and enjoyment of the world around us, and how we can change and improve it, regardless of age. The program airs on WILL-TV at 1 pm Saturday, Aug. 17; 1 pm Monday, Aug. 19; and 9 pm Wednesday, Aug. 21.
Art Kramer, director of the University of Illinois' Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology; Edward McAuley, Beckman faculty member and professor of kinesiology and community health; and Gillian Cooke, Beckman postdoctoral researcher, are featured in the program. Smarter Brains takes the same tested approach as The Brain Fitness Program series, using inspirational stories, interviews with experts and researchers, and CGI illustrations. The result is a compelling narrative that explains intelligence and shows how neuroscience and psychology research indicates that we can not only make ourselves smarter, we can use everyday techniques and skills to help keep ourselves smart, active and vibrant throughout our lives. The program features leading neuroscientists, psychologists and experts from around the world weighing in on this life-changing subject. Smarter Brains presents the latest research that is proving that you can — and should — teach an old dog new tricks.
Smarter Brains explores crystallized intelligence, the knowledge and skills accumulated over a lifetime and which tends to increase with age, and fluid intelligence, the ability to reason quickly and to think abstractly. Fluid intelligence is the key to mental flexibility in older life and is critical for remaining engaged and at the top of our game. Fluid intelligence was once thought to peak in our twenties and decline during late adulthood, but recent research reveals that it is malleable throughout our lives — a game changer for anyone over the age of 30.
Smarter Brains also focuses on how processing speed and memory meet to form intelligence in the brain and reveals why a computer can never be as intelligent as a human. Experts from the Human Brain Project in Lausanne, Switzerland, who are exploring the frontier of intelligence toward machines, ask how you make a brain smarter if you start from scratch. Interviews with scientists behind some of the most incredible artificial intelligence break down how these developments compare and contrast with the human brain.
The program also reveals how social interaction, exercise and challenge impact our intelligence and our aging. It has been shown that what is good for the heart is good for the brain. But the latest neuroscience goes even further, suggesting that exercise may do more to bolster thinking than thinking does, and that people who engage in social interaction display higher levels of cognitive performance than those in a control group. Emotional and powerful illustrations show viewers how employing these methods can transform their lives.
Smarter Brains closes with the keys to intelligence, showing how to bring these lessons into daily life, to change the trajectory of aging, to regain spark and mental flexibility, and to give us all smarter brains.
Dan Perrino, a longtime University of Illinois music professor, saxophonist and founder of the Medicare 7, 8 or 9 Dixieland jazz band, died almost exactly a year ago. He was loved and respected by students and friends far and wide for his work as a teacher, musician, mentor and more. On Thursday night at 8 pm, WILL-TV will air a special program about Dan and the band, and host Kevin Kelly will talk with a few of those who knew him well on the Tuesday edition of Live and Local.
Special: Edinburgh Festivals: 2012/Year of Creative Scotland
CHOPIN: Ballade No. 1 in G Minor; Three Waltzes, Op. 70; Waltz in A-Flat, Op. 42; and
LISZT: Tre Sonetti di Petrarca; Leif Ove Andsnes, piano
SCHUBERT: An die Musik; Luca Pisaroni, bass-baritone; Leif Ove Andsnes, piano
Richard CAUSTEN: Twenty-Seven Heavens (UK Premiere); European UnionYouth Orchestra, Gianandrea Noseda, conductor
MILHAUD: Quintet, La cheminée du Roi Renée; Les Vents Français
CHOPIN: Waltz in A-Flat Major, Op. 34, No. 1; Leif Ove Andsnes, piano
In 1963 when he made the trip from Champaign to Washington D.C., Bill Smith was 21. As an active member of the NAACP chapter at the University of Illinois, he says he remembers feeling awed and inspired by the sheer number of other people who were gathered at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Even as a high school student at Champaign Central, he says he was involved with bringing the blacks and whites together. But it was when he returned from the march that he says he was motivated to really become an agent for change.
Host Jim Meadows talks with Smith about his experience at 1963 March on Washington; his relationship with his long-time mentor, the Erma Bridgewater, and about the racial climate during the 1960s in east central Illinois.
We’re also joined by Sundiata Cha-Jua, an associate professor of history and African American studies at the U of I about the significance of the march in the context of the larger movement and about Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
Did you know someone who marched in a protest during the 1960’s? Did you? What was it like to be a part of one? We want to hear from you this hour on Focus!
Watch The March on WILL-TV at 8 pm Tuesday, Aug. 27. Get more information.