During the holiday season, it’s fairly common to hear Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy from The Nutcracker. The instrument that plays the iconic solo in that piece is called the celesta, a keyboard instrument where the hammers strike orchestral bells. Nowadays, the celesta is a standard instrument to find in the symphony hall as well as pop and film music. It’s the instrument behind Hedwig’s Theme from Harry Potter as well as the introduction to Won’t You Be My Neighbor from Mr. Rodgers’ Neighborhood. When Tchaikovsky wrote for the celesta, however, it wasn’t a common instrument at all. In fact, he was one of the very first people ever to use it.
From the Central Coast to San Diego, from Santa Monica to Palm Springs, there are fascinating people creating incredible art and performances. KUSC will be covering those experiences on Arts Alive. And when you’re in the mood for a little more, like a longer version of an interview, more Arts Alive coverage is available online at kusc.org/artsalive.