* Due to the closure for elevator repair, the Downtown Library is not currently available to select as a request pickup point. Please select another location for new requests.

17th Annual Leeds International Piano Competition

Recently the NYT published For More Pianos, Last Note Is Thud in the Dump about the huge uptick in the disposal of pianos around the nation. No one, it seems, wants a piano anymore.

The 17th Leeds International Piano Competition is currently underway. Young pianists from around the world are competing for cash prizes and concert engagements. Amongst these young people are the classical pianist stars of tomorrow.

If you would like to listen to some of the competition it is being broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Four after September 10th.

Listen to some of the previous winners available from The Ann Arbor District Library and do your part to stop the horrible scourge of piano dumping!

Several selections are available from Murray Perahia, including the soundtrack from Immortal Beloved, Radu Lupu, Andras Schiff and Mitsuko Uchida.

Musical Memories


There are a plethora of new and highly anticipated biographies coming out this fall. Let's start with those in the music industry...

Waging heavy peace is an autobiography by Neil Young: he discusses his life and career from growing up in Canada to his time with Crosby, Stills, & Nash to his continued success as a solo artist.

Who I am: a memoir: Listed #10 in Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of all time, having written over 100 songs and rock operas with the Who and solo, as well as a being a noted literary writer, Pete Townshend gives the autobiography writing a go. With so much hush-hush about the contents prior to its release, it should be a fascinating read!

Cyndi Lauper a Memoir: Singer, songwriter, actress, Grammy award winner, and now book writer, the 80’s phenomenon talks about growing up in Queens and her rise to stardom.

Gershwins and me: A personal history in twelve songs: entertainer, Michael Feinstein renders the life of the legendary musical family the Gershwins here through stories of 12 of their songs. Feinstein was lucky to have mentored with Ira Gershwin, so you can expect some personal touches to the stories. A CD is included with the 12 songs performed by him.

In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death, & Duran Duran : If you know the 80s group, Duran Duran, then you know their heartthrob/ bass guitarist, John Taylor (what lovestruck fan doesn’t!) This is his autobiography of the time with the band, the parties, & the lush (and lusty) MTV videos that made them famous (Hungry like the Wolf comes to mind).

John Lennon Letters: Here is a lifetime of letters and other correspondence from the the legendary John Lennon collected here for the first time.

Kicking and Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul, and Rock and Roll: Sisters, Ann & Nancy Wilson, of the rock band Heart share their story of 3 decades of being on stage together.

Luck or Something Like it: a Memoir: Although most notable for his country songs, Kenny Rogers has more than 120 hit singles across musical genres. Here he relates the story of his poverty stricken childhood to his award winning musical career.

Make up to Breakup:My life in & out of Kiss: founding KISS drummer Peter “Catman” Criss gives the group its dues.

Mick Jagger: another legend of rock gets the bio treatment here by Philip Norman who is known for the definitive rock bio, Shout: the Beatles in their generation. Let’s see what he uncovers with this one.

Streets of Fire Bruce Springsteen in Photographs and Lyrics 1977-1979: A behind the scenes photographic collection of the Boss.

The Detroit Jazz Festival is this weekend: Aug 31st - Sept 3rd

Spend this Labor Day weekend at the FREE 33rd annual Detroit Jazz Festival. Chill out in Detroit's Hart Plaza with big names such as Sonny Rollins, Wynton Marsalis, Pat Metheny, Chick Corea, and many others. Also, learn about Detroit's jazz history and meet the artists in the jazz talk tent.

An inexpensive shuttle bus service traveling from Ypsilanti to the Hart Plaza area will be offered through Eastern Michigan University all weekend; more information can be found on WEMU's website.

Scott McKenzie, Summer of Love singer, has died

Scott McKenzie, forever tied to the unofficial anthem for San Francisco's 1967 Summer of Love, San Francisco (Be Sure to Where Some Flowers in Your Hair, died Saturday at his Los Angeles home.

His iconic song, written by John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas, was a big hit at the 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival, which is the subject of Monterey Pop (1968), the first filmed rock festival.

McKenzie, who had been in fragile health for quite some time with Guillaine-Barre Syndrome and a possible heart attack, died at home at age 73.

Good Listening for Teens: Chasing the Bear

If you're heading out on an end-of-summer car trip, here's a good book on CD to take along: Chasing the Bear by Robert B. Parker. Written for age 12 and up, the story introduces readers to young private investigator Spenser, star of Parker's bestselling adult novels, at age 14. Speaking to his girlfriend Susan, Spenser reflects on his youth and teen years and how he helped his best friend, Jeannie, when she was abducted by her dangerous dad. This story is memorable because of the humorous parts and the overall suspense of the narrative.

Marvin Hamlisch, award-winning composer extraordinaire, has died

Marvin Hamlisch, who gave us so much wonderful, toe-tapping music, died yesterday in Los Angeles.

Hamlisch composed, arranged, and conducted music for some of the most popular movies and plays to hit the silver screen and Broadway respectively. In 1974, he became the first person to win three Oscars in one night -- Best Score for the Robert Redford / Barbra Streisand hit, The Way We Were; Best Song for The Way We Were from that movie; Best Adaptation (of Scott Joplin's rags) in the Robert Redford / Paul Newman hit, The Sting. That year, his winning song, The Way We Were, also won his second of two Golden Globes.

His music for Chorus Line won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1976.

He also nabbed four Emmys, four Grammys, and a Tony.

His musical genius was discovered early. He was the youngest student (age seven) to be admitted to the Julliard School of Music.

Mr. Hamlisch, who was 68, died after a brief illness.

The Safety Dance, Time After Time, Etc.

Have you read Ready Player One yet? If you haven’t yet, you should! For everyone finished with the book, did you catch yourself humming those 80’s hits or wanting to rewatch any sweet 80’s flicks? Immerse yourself in the OASIS easter egg hunt with the help of your trusty library!

Here are lists of the Movies, Music, Anime, TV Shows, and Books referenced by Parzival and his friends.

Amazon Bestseller: Reason to Breathe

Currently #7 on the Amazon Best Sellers in Teen Books is Reason to Breathe (The Breathing Series #1), by Rebecca Donovan The Amazon description calls the novel "an electrifying page turner from start to finish, a unique tale of life-changing love, unspeakable cruelty, and one girl’s fragile grasp of hope." The novel incorporates a number of musical references. "I inserted descriptions of music throughout the entire book," the author writes on her webpage. "At times, it was a specific band and/or song, other times it was just a genre." Donovan's "unofficial soundtrack" for Reason to Breathe includes the song Only by the musical group Nine Inch Nails.

Bob Babbitt, Funk Brothers bassist, has died

Bob Babbitt rockin' bass player for the Funk Brothers, THE studio band for Motown's heaviest hitters, died Monday In Nashville, TN.

Babbitt moved to Detroit in the 1950s while still in his teens. Then from 1959 until Motown relocated to Los Angeles in 1972, the Funk Brothers backed up every megawatt performer from Stevie Wonder to the Temptations to Marvin Gaye to Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, to name just a few.

A 2002 documentary, Standing in the Shadows of Motown brought the Funk Brothers out of obscurity, especially after the group received a Lifetime Achievement award at the 2004 Grammys.

In 2008, the Funk Brothers packed the house at a concert which was part of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival.

Mr. Babbitt, who was 74, died of an inoperable brain tumor.

Kitty Wells, country music's first woman superstar, has died

Kitty Wells, country music's acknowledged first female superstar, died yesterday at her Tennessee home.

Her leap to stardom with the much-loved standard, It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels, almost didn't happen. She had been singing and perform since 1936, a year before she married her husband of more than 70 years, Johnnie Wright. In 1952, she was on the verge of retiring to become a fulltime wife and mother. But she agreed to record Honky Tonk Angels to collect the union-scale fee.

Angels became an instant hit, despite being initially banned by NBC radio and the Grand Ole Opry (too racy). Not only did the recording top the country charts for six weeks, it also made it onto the pop Top 40, forcing Nashville to rethink its belief that women country singers would not be money makers.

Ms. Wells was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1976. Fifteen years later, she became the third country western performer (after Hank Williams and Roy Acuff) to receive a lifetime achievement award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Ms. Wells, who was 92, died of complications from a stroke. Her survivors include two children, eight grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and five great-great-grandchildren.

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