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Anastasia Tsioulcas

Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter on NPR's Arts desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards and the myriad accusations of sexual misconduct against singer R. Kelly.

On happier days, Tsioulcas has celebrated the life of the late Aretha Franklin, traveled to Havana to profile musicians and dancers, revealed the hidden artistry of an Indian virtuoso who spent 60 years in her apartment and brought listeners into the creative process of composers Steve Reich and Terry Riley.

Tsioulcas was formerly a reporter and producer for NPR Music, where she covered breaking news in the music industry as well as a wide range of musical genres and artists. She has also produced episodes for NPR Music's much-lauded Tiny Desk concert series, and has hosted live concerts from venues like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and New York's (Le) Poisson Rouge. She also commissioned and produced several world premieres on behalf of NPR Music, including a live event that brought together 350 musicians to debut a new work together. As a video producer, she created high-profile video shorts for NPR Music, including performances by cellist Yo-Yo Ma in a Brooklyn theatrical props warehouse and pianist Yuja Wang in an icy-cold Steinway & Sons piano factory.

Tsioulcas has also reported from north and west Africa, south Asia, and across Europe for NPR and other outlets. Prior to joining NPR in 2011, she was widely published as a writer and critic on both classical and world music, and was the North America editor for Gramophone Magazine and the classical music columnist for Billboard.

Born in Boston and based in New York, Tsioulcas is a lapsed classical violinist and violist (shoutout to all the overlooked violists!). She graduated from Barnard College, Columbia University with a B.A. in comparative religion.

On Wednesday afternoon, Britney Spears' conservatorship case will be back in front of a judge at Los Angeles Superior Court. This is the first return to court after Spears herself spoke to the judge last month, pleading for her 13-year conservatorship to end.

You might not know the late Armenian musician and composer Jivan Gasparyan by name, or even by the name of his instrument. But you've almost certainly heard his duduk, shifting between keening wails and exuberant shouts, in movie soundtracks and scores ranging from The Last Temptation of Christ to Gladiator.

Updated July 2, 2021 at 6:49 PM ET

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge confirmed Friday that she will soon hear a petition filed by Bessemer Trust, a wealth management firm, to remove itself as a planned co-conservator of pop icon Britney Spears' financial dealings.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge signed an order Wednesday denying Britney Spears' request to have her father, Jamie Spears, removed from the financial aspects of her conservatorship.

Actor James Franco and two other men have agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit led by Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, former students of an acting school owned by Franco and one of the other men. Tither-Kaplan and Gaal, who filed their suit in Oct. 2020, claimed that they were sexually exploited and victims of fraud at the now-closed school, which was called Studio 4.

During a hearing on Wednesday at Los Angeles Superior Court, Britney Spears asked the judge to be released from the literal control of her father, through a conservatorship that has dictated her life for the past 13 years.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Pop star Britney Spears hasn't been in charge of her personal life or her finances for 13 years — that's how long she has been in a court-dictated legal arrangement called a conservatorship.

But on Wednesday, the artist will be speaking directly, albeit from a remote location, to a Los Angeles Superior Court judge about her situation. What exactly she intends to say in her appearance and what her goals might be are anyone's guess.

Two literary stars from Nigeria are having a very public feud right now, and their personal beefs are heavily overlaid with big questions about feminism, gender identity, cancel culture, social media and anti-LGBTQ violence.

On Tuesday, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced its newest class of National Heritage fellows: 9 individuals and groups who represent the richness and breadth of America's folk and traditional arts.

This year's class of fellows includes artists and creators from African-American, Mexican-American, Native, Filipino, Irish-American and Puerto Rican backgrounds, whose array of mediums span many kinds of music, ribbon and lace work, tap dance and filmmaking.

In a Twitter post, In The Heights co-creator Lin-Manuel Miranda publicly addressed criticisms of the film's casting that noted only light-skinned actors had roles as the musical's main Latinx characters.

Miranda apologized, writing Monday evening: "I hear that, without sufficient dark-skinned Afro-Latino representation, the world feels extractive of the community we wanted so much to represent with pride and joy. In trying to paint a mosaic of this community, we fell short. I'm truly sorry."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

This year's Pulitzer Prizes for arts and letters were announced today and went to a diverse group of voices. NPR's Anastasia Tsioulcas gives us a rundown.

Rahele Megosha, a high school senior from South Dakota, has been named the 2021 Poetry Out Loud national champion. The competition invites high school students to memorize and recite great poetry, both classic and modern.

One of the real vocalists behind the fake pop act Milli Vanilli has died. South Carolina-born singer John Davis was 66 years old and died Monday of COVID-19. His death was announced on Facebook by his daughter, Jasmin Davis.

Updated May 26, 2021 at 1:04 PM ET

On Wednesday, Howard University announced that it has named its newly reestablished College of Fine Arts after one of its most famous alumni: the late actor Chadwick Boseman. News of the school's naming broke in The Washington Post.

Influential choreographer and dancer Anna Halprin has died at age 100. Her art spanned high modernist works and collaborations with artists like John Cage to community-oriented projects that have helped guide people through serious illnesses. Her death was announced by her family; no other details were given.

Just last week, the internet thrilled to The Linda Lindas, screaming and crunching power chords in the middle of the stacks of the Los Angeles Public Library. "Racist, Sexist Boy" — written and performed by four tween and teen punks calling out anti-Asian American bias and misogyny — immediately became something of a 2021 anthem. ("Poser! Blockhead! Riffraff! Jerk face!")

Director Antoine Fuqua and actor Will Smith, who together are producing the upcoming 1860s-set film Emancipation, announced Monday that they are moving the film's production out of Georgia due to the state's newly enacted voting laws.

In a statement provided to NPR on Monday morning, Fuqua and Smith said:

Updated March 26, 2021 at 4:37 PM ET

Larry McMurtry, a prolific, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Oscar-winning screenwriter, has died at age 84. He was beloved for riveting and yet unsentimental depictions of the American West in books such as Lonesome Dove as well as for tales of family drama including Terms of Endearment.

It's almost time to raise the curtains again in New York City, says mayor Bill de Blasio. In a press conference Thursday morning, de Blasio said that he expects Broadway and off-Broadway shows to reopen by September, and that he plans to facilitate that target date. "Broadway needs to come back, and we will move heaven and earth to bring Broadway back," he said. New York City's theaters have been shut down for more than a year, since Mar. 12, 2020.

James Levine, the immensely accomplished conductor who wielded power and influence in the classical world, and whose singular tenure at the Metropolitan Opera ended in a flurry of accusations of sexual abuse, died on March 9 in Palm Springs, Calif. His physician of 17 years, Dr. Len Horovitz, confirmed his death to NPR, saying that Levine died of natural causes. He was 77 years old.

Singer, songwriter and percussionist Bunny Wailer, an icon of reggae music, died in Kingston, Jamaica, on Tuesday morning. He was 73 years old. Wailer was a founding member of The Wailers, alongside Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.

His death was reported initially by Jamaica's Observer newspaper, which said that he had been unwell since enduring a second stroke in July 2020.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Singer, songwriter, guitarist and accordionist Flory Jagoda worked hard to preserve the music and language she inherited from her Sephardic Jewish ancestors in her adopted American home. Named a National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2002, she died on Jan. 29 at age 97 in Alexandria, Va. at a long-term memory care facility, according to an obituary placed by her family.

It has been 13 years since singer Britney Spears, now 39, was placed under a legal conservatorship that removed her control over her own finances, career and well-being. In a hearing Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Judge Brenda Penny continued that arrangement — but overruled her father's objections to a third party, Bessemer Trust, having been established as co-conservator of her estate.

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