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The Empire State Building Goes Blue and Yellow to Welcome Swedish House Mafia

Empire State Building Welcomes Swedish DJ Trio With Blue and Yellow

When New Yorkers glance across the Manhattan skyline tonight they may notice an unfamiliar color scheme illuminating the Empire State Building: a radiant blue and yellow hue will gleam from the midtown monolith, a symbol of Sweden's flag. The unusual combo is a salute to electronic music trio Swedish House Mafia, who begin a five-show run tonight with a Hurricane Sandy benefit at Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan.

Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso, and Steve Angello are on the tail end of their massive international One Last Tour, a last hurrah for the Grammy-nominated group before its members diverge onto solo careers. So far they've touched down in world capitals from Johannesburg to Delhi, togged out in their trademark black leather jackets and whipping rock star-scale crowds into euphoric hysteria.

The New York invasion proceeds with a quadruple-header of sold-out stadium shows—Friday at hallowed Madison Square Garden, Saturday through Monday at Brooklyn's new state-of-the-art Barclays Center—before heading west.

SHM will head off into the sunset March 8th and 9th at Historic Park in Los Angeles where concert-goers will take part in the deejays's famed Masquerade Motel, a costume concert that has been a hallmark of their meteoric rise to stardom.

Nate Storey is an editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.

Photo © n8n photo / Alamy.

U.S. Pushes for 'Musical Passports'

UPDATE: Changes have been made below to the original post to clarify certain details about the import and export of musical instruments that were made using endangered species.

As individual musicians and orchestras make their plans now for the summer touring season, many face the distinct possibility are concerned that their rare and antique instruments may be confiscated when the musicians travel abroad or return to this country they cross international borders. That's because an international convention called CITES prohibits places restrictions on the import and export of musical instruments made from  endangered materials like ivory, sea-tortoise shell, and Brazilian rosewood, among others. Enter an unlikely musicians' friend: the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which announced today that it will propose issuing "musical passports" that would permit international transport of such instruments made before the prohibitions were enacted.

This would be a huge relief to musicians with such instruments as vintage guitars and violins, as well as ivory-keyed pianos, since they currently have to file lengthy and complicated import and export forms every time they travel, for each and every country visit. If the proposal passes (and a FWS spokesperson seemed optimistic at a press conference today), musicians will be able to get an actual passport for their instruments, complete with a physical description on one page and spaces for entry stamps on another. The musical passports would be valid for three years. The proposal is expected to be made at a CITES conference in Thailand on March 3.

This post was updated February 26, 2012.

Mark Orwoll is the International Editor of Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Twitter.

 

British Composer Thomas Adès Takes New York by Storm

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One of the most highly anticipated events of the New York cultural season—The Tempest by British composer Thomas Adès—blows onto the stage of the Metropolitan Opera this week.  The work, based on the Shakespeare play about betrayal, retribution, and the redeeming power of love, had its premiere in 2004 at London’s Royal Opera House and garnered for the 32-year-old Adès critical acclaim and popular success. Since then, the contemporary work has made a strong bid for a place in the operatic repertoire, and after productions in Germany and the American premiere by the Santa Fe OperaThe Tempest arrives in New York, in a staging by Robert Lepage.

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Railroad Revival Tour 2012

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The Railroad Revival tour is being resurrected for 2012, and this year Willie Nelson and Band of Horses are boarding the train. For the unfamiliar, the tour started last year when folk-rock Brits Mumford & Sons, along with L.A.’s Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and New York’s Old Crow Medicine, remembered that tour buses and private jets aren’t the only way to embark on a musical journey.

The three bands harnessed the magic of the U.S. rail system for an eight-day, 2,400-mile concert tour by train—from California to Louisiana. The tour was heralded The Railroad Revival, because it was intent on celebrating the—albeit seldom used—U.S. railway, and urging others to hop on board for their own travels. At each stop, the bands set up a stage, summoned fans to come watch, and delivered an all-out performance in the train station.

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Q+A: Grizzly Bear's Ed Droste Talks Travel

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Members of the band, from left: Ed Droste, Chris Bear, Chris Taylor and Daniel Rossen

Ed Droste—front man of the Brooklyn-based indie-rock band Grizzly Bear, whose long-awaited fourth album Shields comes out on September 18—reflects on some of his favorite destinations and findings from around the world.

Q: It’s been three years since the band’s last album, what can we expect from Shields?
A:
It’s charged, and sort of raw, energetic and exposed. I started out work shopping ideas in Todos Santos, Mexico with our drummer Chris Bear. We often go on little writing retreats together. We went there for a month and wrote ten songs, then the whole band reconvened in Marfa, Texas for a month to start recording.

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Stresa: Italy's Best Kept Musical Secret

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Just as most summer music festivals are winding down in the United States and abroad, the Stresa Festival at Lake Maggiore, set on the southern banks of the Italian Alps kicks into high gear.  The festival runs a fortnight, August 24-September 8, and although this year marks its 51st season, the Settimane Musicali di Stresa may still be one of the best-kept secrets in the music world. But not for long.

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Mozart Takes Wing at New York’s Lincoln Center

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Mostly Mozart, the 46-year-old summer festival at New York City’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, is in full swing and more vibrant than ever.  Significantly, this year’s edition marks the tenth anniversary season of French conductor Louis Langrée as music director who, along with Jane Moss, artistic director, has been responsible for revitalizing Mostly Mozart, in particular, its heartbeat, the festival orchestra. He's credited with raising its playing standards and adding inventive programming that features soloists, both established and debut artists, period instrument bands, and contemporary music ensembles.

Year to year, the mix may include dance, sound installations, film, video.  This year, Mostly Mozart takes up the theme of birds, “the originators of song and an inspiration for countless composers,” according to Moss, as a point of departure for a range of programming.  Indeed, in the age of twitter, birdsong may never sound as pure.  T+L spoke with Louis Langrée earlier in the season during a stopover in New York en route to Paris about Mostly Mozart, a conductor’s role, American audiences, and why the festival remains popular with travelers and New Yorkers alike.

Q: What are your thoughts on your 10th anniversary? 

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75 Years of Tanglewood In Your Ear

201208-b-leonard-bernstein-tanglewoodjpgAs part of its 75th anniversary season, Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra located in Western Massachusetts, is celebrating in grand and generous style by offering an extraordinary gift to listeners: the Tanglewood festival and the BSO is presenting 75 free digital streams of performances from a storied 75-year history and unique audio archive.  One stream is offered each day of the season (through September 2) at Tanglewood.org.  The daily gratis performance is available starting at 8 a.m. EST for 24 hours; after the stream has ended, listeners can purchase it as a download.  What’s more, you can listen at a desktop computer, through a home music system, or mobile device—all you need is internet access.

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Tech Thursday: App for New Music Recommendations

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I have a problem. When I find a song I really enjoy, I listen to it to death. I’m not even slightly exaggerating. Sometimes I’ll play it two or three times on a single 30-minute commute home. For serious. And then, of course, after a bit of time passes, I inevitably get bored with it and need to give it a rest until it feels like new again. As a result—and my friends can attest—I regularly post, both to my Facebook and Twitter accounts, pleading for my friends to send me new music suggestions.

So I was excited to hear about a new free app called MusicBunk (Android; iOS) Basically, it’s a simple way to get music recommendations from your friends, but without having to bother them. (Or have them send you a bunch of songs you already have.) Not to mention, if you're on the road, you might just not have the time to sit around and wait for responses. So it's a perfect way to time manage while traveling, without having to give up on that desire for new tunes.

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The Arts Invade Aix-en-Provence

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Few places are as evocative as Provence in the summer and among its many festivals, two claim special distinction: Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and Les Rencontres d’Arles Photographie.

The Aix-en-Provence Festival, which runs through the end of July, presents new opera productions of established repertoire, neglected works, and premieres—all within the span of a month.

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