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Nelson Mandela was, quite famously, a fan of European classical music. His two favorite composers were George Frideric Handel and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, but he grew up exposed to the country’s rich tradition of vocal groups forging a unique form of sacred rhythm music.That changed while the former South African president and longtime democratic activist was imprisoned b…

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Mannheim Steamroller played to a packed house Sunday evening, bringing their slide show, some video clips, a couple of trinkets to sell, a few special effects and, above all, a musical program geared toward the season. It’s a concept that Chip Davis came up with back in the 1970s when he first formed the group, releasing records that sold mostly to audiophiles and graduall…

LOS ANGELES – “American Idol” winner Ruben Studdard concedes that his weight loss on “The Biggest Loser” was less than stellar, leading to this week’s elimination and marking the second time he was eliminated from the show for failing to lose enough weight.But off screen? The balladeer Velvet Teddy Bear – who joined the weight-loss reality show at 462 pounds – said he is d…

NEW YORK – Right now Bob Greenblatt is adding “live TV musicals” to his list of favorite things (right after brown paper packages tied up with string).“Sound of Music Live!”, the first live musical on network television in more than 50 years and a pet project of the NBC Entertainment chairman, proved to be a worthwhile gamble on Thursday night. The three-hour event, based …

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Friday morning’s Coffee Concert at Kleinhans Music Hall felt like an evening concert, there were so many people. Our hosts had decked the hall. Red ribbons were draped from the ceiling. The singers and musicians looked merry and bright.Ron Spigelman, the BPO’s former associate conductor, is in town this weekend to conduct “Classic Christmas.” The Buffalo Philharmonic Choru…

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Rock/PopPuscifer, “What Is...” (CD/DVD - Puscifer Entertainment). Maynard James Keenan is an enigma. Not exactly breaking news, this fact, but one that bears repeating. As singer and frontman with prog-metal legends Tool, Keenan comes across as a Peter Gabriel-esque performance artist with a dark streak that makes “Downward Spiral”-era Trent Reznor look like Howdy Doody. H…

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Since winning the Cleveland Quartet Competition in 2012, the Jasper String Quartet has been making a noise in the world. The New York Times called the group powerful, and Strad magazine said the musicians were “sonically delightful and expressively compelling.”The musicians are violinists J. Freivogel and Sae Chonabayashi, violist Sam Quintal, and cellist Rachel Henderson …

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Christmas is coming to Kleinhans Music Hall – for children, and for connoisseurs of classical music.The connoisseurs get their turn first, with “A Classical Christmas.” On the podium is Australian-born Ron Spigelman, the BPO’s former associate conductor. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music in London, England, Spigelman is currently music director of the Lake Placid Si…

It was a chilly November evening in 1999 when Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band brought their reunion tour to what was then known as HSBC Arena. The show, a sold-out, intense, lengthy and joyous affair, was received rapturously by the audience. Afterward, I wandered around to the rear of the building with my brother, both of us willing to brave the cold on the off ch…

Jennifer Knapp. 6:30 p.m. Dec. 15. Ninth Ward at Babeville, 341 Delaware Ave. www.babevillebuffalo.com. $15 advance, $18 day of show (box office, www.tickets.com).Victor Wooten with the Wooten Brothers. 8 p.m. Dec. 16. Tralf Music Hall, 622 Main St. 852-2860. www.tralfmusichall.com. $29 advance, $34 day of show (box office, www.ticketmaster.com).New Year’s Eve at Niagara F…

An offshoot of the fertile hip-hop breeding ground that is Odd Future, MellowHigh dropped its debut effort in October, and is already riding a substantial critical buzz provided by the likes of Pitchfork Media, whose critic praised the trio’s “blockbuster dystopian thriller(s)” and “huge, intimidating walls of sound.”Comprised of Odd Future rappers Domo Genesis and Hodgy B…

For 27 years, the faithful have gathered in Nietzsche’s (248 Allen St.) on the Thursday closest to the date of John Lennon’s murder, to celebrate the man’s life and work. Rather than simply mourn Lennon’s passing, these “Cold Turkey” events have long been more party than funeral, as a host of diverse area musicians interpret their favorites from Lennon’s vast catalog befor…

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PopBillie Joe & NorahForeverly[Warner Bros.]3 starsThis should be awful. Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day and folk-pop-jazz siren Norah Jones teaming to take on the Everly Brothers’ timeless “Songs Our Daddy Taught Us”? Sounds like a train wreck waiting to happen, mostly because one suspects Armstrong’s punk-pop snarl to be the wrong fit for the Everly’s sugary country ha…

Buffalo

Soul-jazz saxophonist Will Holton’s annual “Night of Stars” event is 8 p.m. Saturday in the Tralf Music Hall (622 Main St.). As he’s been doing for several years now, Holton will turn the spotlight toward some homegrown Buffalo talent. He’ll also be honoring youth empowerment activists in the area.In addition to Holton’s own performance, expect sets from the likes of soul/…

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Metal/ClassicalApocalyptica & the MDR Symphony Orchestra, “Wagner Reloaded” (BMG). The big question is this one, of course: If Richard Wagner was alive today, would he be “throwing goat” at a heavy metal gig? The members of Finland’s classical-metal ensemble Apocalyptica certainly seem to think that, yes indeed, Wagner would be a headbanger in 2013, the year of his 200th …