Anastasia Tsioulcas

Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter for NPR Music. She covers breaking news in the music industry, as well as a wide range of musical genres and artists, for NPR's flagship news programs and NPR Music.

Tsioulcas is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics, and identity. She covers #MeToo and gender issues in the music industry, as well as the effects of US immigration and travel policy on musicians and other performers traveling to this country.

She has reported from the funeral of Aretha Franklin, profiled musicians and dancers in contemporary Cuba, and brought listeners into the creative process of composers Steve Reich and Terry Riley.

Tsioulcas also produces 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 has also commissioned and produced several world premieres on behalf of NPR Music, including a live event that brought together 350 musicians on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library.

As a video producer, she has 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 in Queens.

Tsioulcas has reported from across Europe, north and west Africa, south Asia, and Cuba 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, Tsioulcas was trained from an early age as a classical violinist and violist. She holds a B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University in comparative religion.

R&B singer R. Kelly pleaded not guilty in Brooklyn, New York on Friday morning to five federal criminal charges brought against him by prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York. Judge Steven L. Tiscione denied Kelly's request for bail.

Putting a definitive end to what had turned into a months-long saga, the producers of the Woodstock 50 festival announced on Wednesday afternoon that the three-day event that was supposed to take place in less than three weeks, on Aug. 16-18, has been canceled.

A guitar band from Mali called Tinariwen is famous worldwide. The group's fans and collaborators have included Robert Plant, Thom Yorke of Radiohead, Bono of U2 and Nels Cline of Wilco. The band has fought extremism in their home country of Mali, and been victims themselves.

One of New Orleans' iconic musicians has died. Art Neville — a founding member of both the Meters and the Neville Brothers, died Monday at age 81. His death was confirmed by his nephew Ivan Neville (the son of Art's brother, Aaron) and his manager of two decades, Kent Sorrell. According to Nola.com, he had been in declining health for years.

Embattled R&B singer R. Kelly pleaded not guilty in a Chicago courtroom Tuesday to 13 federal charges, including child pornography and obstruction of justice.

One of the most celebrated voices in modern South African music has died. Singer, dancer and activist Johnny Clegg, who co-founded two groundbreaking, racially mixed bands during the apartheid era, died Tuesday in Johannesburg at age 66. He had battled pancreatic cancer since 2015.

His death was announced by his manager and family spokesperson, Roddy Quin.

Clegg wrote his 1987 song "Asimbonanga" for Nelson Mandela. It became an anthem for South Africa's freedom fighters.

A previously underreported fire at a California amusement park in June 2008 — and allegations of an ensuing coverup — could potentially upend the future of the world's biggest record company.

Embattled R&B singer R. Kelly pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of sexual assault and abuse at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago on Thursday morning.

On Thursday, prosecutors in Cook County, Ill., filed 11 more felony charges of sexual assault and sexual abuse against R&B singer R. Kelly. They include four counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, two counts of criminal sexual assault by force, two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against an alleged victim between the ages of 13 and 16.

Singer Duncan Laurence from the Netherlands has emerged victorious at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. The finals were held Saturday night in Tel Aviv, Israel.

The 25-year-old Laurence won the international competition with a song called "Arcade," which he co-wrote. The song is a sweet, emotional ballad that stands in contrast to Israeli singer Netta's wacky "Toy," which won in 2018.

On Monday, the New York Supreme Court ruled that the former investors in the Woodstock 50 music festival, a company called Dentsu Aegis and its subsidiary, Amplifi Live, did not have the right to cancel the event, as Dentsu announced last month on April 29. The decision means that the Woodstock 50 promoters, led by Michael Lang — a co-founder of the original Woodstock in 1969 — have the right to continue to prepare to stage a festival in August, as originally planned.

Acrimony continues to grow between the promoters and the former investors of Woodstock 50. Whether the music festival, planned for this summer to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the original Woodstock, will even happen remains in question — but in the meantime, the event's main showrunner has lobbed serious claims against his onetime financial partners.

The longstanding and widely beloved Mexican band Café Tacvba was robbed of its instruments, consoles and gear on Thursday morning on a highway in Mexico.

Updated April 30 at 12:00 p.m. ET

Woodstock 50, a wide-ranging festival that many hoped would bring the spirit of 1969 to a new generation this August, has been canceled. Tim O'Hearn, the administrator for Schuyler County, N.Y., where the event was to take place, confirmed the cancellation to NPR; he said he had been contacted by Dentsu Aegis Network, which had been bankrolling the planned festival.

The singer Kate Smith's recording of "God Bless America" has been a cherished part of sports tradition in the U.S. for decades. But in the aftermath of a discovery that the singer also recorded at least two songs with racist content in the 1930s, two major American sports teams, baseball's New York Yankees and ice hockey's Philadelphia Flyers, have announced that they will stop playing Smith's rendition of the Irving Berlin patriotic classic. On Sunday, the Flyers also took down a statue of Smith that had stood in front of their stadium since 1987.

On Thursday, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office charged 29-year-old Eric Ronald Holder Jr. with killing Nipsey Hussle, born Ermias Asghedom, on March 31.

Updated at 5:35 p.m. ET

On Tuesday afternoon, the LAPD announced that it has arrested Eric Holder, a 29-year-old Los Angeles man whom authorities have identified as the suspect in the Sunday killing of rapper and entrepreneur Nipsey Hussle on Sunday afternoon.

The suspect was first arrested by police in the city of Bellflower in Los Angeles County, the LAPD confirmed to NPR.

On Tuesday, a New York State Supreme Court judge dismissed most of conductor James Levine's claims in a defamation suit the former music director of the Metropolitan Opera filed against his former employer and its general manager, Peter Gelb.

Dick Dale, the surf rock pioneer who took reverb to new levels, died on Saturday night. He was 81. The guitarist's health had declined over the past 20 years due to a number of illnesses, including diabetes, kidney disease and rectal cancer. The news was confirmed to NPR by Dusty Watson, a drummer who worked and toured with Dale between 1995 and 2006, who says he spoke with Dale's wife, Lana Dale. No cause was given.

Updated March 7 at 11:21 a.m. ET

R&B star R. Kelly was taken into custody on Wednesday for failure to pay more than $160,000 in child support to his ex-wife and their three children.

Kelly was detained by the Cook County sheriff in Illinois and transported to the county jail on Wednesday evening, sheriff's department spokesperson Sophia Ansari told NPR.

The 52-year-old singer will remain in custody, Ansari added, until he pays what he owes — $161,633. His next court date in the matter is set for March 13.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

R&B star R. Kelly is defending himself. He's given his first interview since being charged on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault. He spoke with Gayle King of CBS News. NPR's Anastasia Tsioulcas was watching, and she's on the line. Good morning.

Updated on March 15 at 1 p.m. ET

The two-part documentary Leaving Neverland, which began airing on HBO on Sunday night, tells the story of two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who accuse Michael Jackson of having sexually abused them for years, beginning when they were respectively about seven and 10 years old.

Updated at 6:32 p.m. ET

R&B star R. Kelly has been released from jail after posting the required bail of $100,000 — 10 percent of the bond. He entered a not-guilty plea Monday in response to being charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

The singer was indicted last Friday in Cook County, Ill. Three of the alleged victims were under age 17 at the time of the alleged incidents, which prosecutors say span 1998 to 2010.

Updated at 2:36 p.m. ET Saturday

R&B star R. Kelly was arrested on Friday evening after having been indicted on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in Cook County, Ill. On Saturday afternoon, a judge set bond at $1 million.

A police spokesman confirmed Friday night that Kelly was under arrest and in police custody; Kelly turned himself in at Chicago's 1st District-Central police station.

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.

Updated at 4:46 p.m ET

A judiciary source in Paris confirmed to NPR's Eleanor Beardsley on Tuesday that Chris Brown has been detained, along with two other unnamed individuals, on charges of "aggravated rape" and multiple narcotics offenses, and that they currently remain in police custody.

According to a report by Billboard magazine on Friday afternoon, R. Kelly has been dropped by RCA Records. The move comes in the wake of a documentary series called Surviving R. Kelly that aired on Lifetime and cataloged more than 25 years of accusations of sexual and physical abuse made against Kelly by a number of women, including seven who were interviewed on camera.

Updated Aug. 5 at 5:15 p.m. ET

R. Kelly is no stranger to unsettling allegations.

The R&B superstar born Robert Kelly ushered in 2019 dogged by a slew of damaging headlines — prompted by TV's Surviving R. Kelly. But the roots of the broad case laid out in the six-part Lifetime docuseries, filled as it is with claims of abuse and statutory rape, date back about a quarter century at least.

Public pressure is mounting against R. Kelly in the wake of the Lifetime network's six-part TV docuseries Surviving R. Kelly, which premiered last week. On Wednesday, protesters gathered outside his Chicago studio — and, on Twitter, pop star Lady Gaga apologized for a collaboration with Kelly.

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