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Natalie Francis
Natalie Francis '22 (Music Desk Editor) is a Classics major still figuring out how to combine her passions for classical civilization, eco-criticism and musical performance. A California native, you will find her jamming out to an eclectic mix of Hadestown, Legally Blonde, Frozen II, Surf's Up, Dua Lipa, Ariana Grande and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Voices of Canceled Stanford Shows: Sarah Mergen ’19 on adapting Shakespeare and directing ‘HAL’

Sarah Mergen ‘19 is/was the director and playwright of TheaterLab’s “HAL" (2020). Adapted from Shakespeare’s “Henry IV Parts One & Two,” the futuristic multimedia show would have graced campus last Thursday through Saturday with the misadventures of the timeless rogue Falstaff and his royal mentee Hal.

Del Sol Quartet, Francisco Fullana enliven Bay Area with ‘socially distanced’ music

This piece marks the inaugural installment of a new Arts & Life column “Voices of Cancelled Stanford Shows" (VoCSS). With an acronym that calls to mind the Latin "vox" or voice and the style sheet language CSS, this column is a designated space for students, faculty and members of the greater Stanford community to speak to how the performing arts and the coronavirus pandemic have — and continue to — intersect in their lives.

Dynamic duo Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi combine folk music, racial justice in concert

The tambourine has the power to expose racial injustice and enact radical social change. Or so Italian percussionist Francesco Turrisi and critically-acclaimed folk artist Rhiannon Giddens argued before a packed crowd of more than 300 people at the Bechtel Conference Center this past Thursday. The two artist-activists came to Stanford under the auspices of the…

‘Little Women’ (2019) excels in the eyes of the artiste

Major spoilers for “Little Women” ahead. The recent cinematic release of Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women” (2019) is far from the first screen adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s beloved novel, but is closer than any thus far to realizing the thematic complexity of its titular “Little Women.” Since the book was first published in 1868 to…

Good 2010s Vibes (Part 3)

In the final installment of the Music Beat’s top ten albums of the 2010s listicle, Timothy Dai (‘23) reviews Lorde’s sophomore musical opus and Lana del Rey’s latest sad-core hits, Kamilah Arteaga (‘22) reflects on Tame Impala’s lyrical exploration of humanity and Volume 256 Executive Editor Holden Foreman (‘20) reviews the chart-topping queen Billie Eilish:

Good 2010s Vibes (Part 2)

In the second installment of the Music Beat’s top ten albums of the 2010s listicle, Timothy Dai ’23 reflects upon the emotional valences of SZA, Kamilah Arteaga ’22 considers the vulnerability of Tyler the Creator and Natalie Francis ’22 reviews the “Truth Hurts” flute-playing, twerk and rap queen Lizzo: No. 4 SZA’s “Ctrl” (2017)  It’s…

Passing by catastrophe: EP-style

To “pass by catastrophe,” according to urban legend, you must experience a major earthquake or other catastrophic event during your final exam warranting the university registrars to give everyone passing grades. But in the case of the Stanford band, "Pass By Catastrophe," the phrase means exploring making music together and dropping your first extended play (EP) on Oct. 4, amidst the Stanford grind.

In TAPS’ ‘Cabaret,’ even the orchestra is beautiful

NOTE: A previous version of this article inaccurately reported the identities of Cabaret ensemble members in “Maybe This Time” and “Entr’acte”. Commentary on the live sound design has also been amended. Come hear the music play in the 2019 Theater and Performance Studies (TAPS) Mainstage production of Kander and Ebb’s “Cabaret” (1966), choreographed and directed…

Making Lin-Manuel Miranda’s music soar in ‘In the Heights’

Aitan Grossman (‘19) became involved with Latinxs in Theater, the Asian-American Theatre Project and Blackstage’s production of Broadway breakout hit “In the Heights” (2008) thanks to a chance conversation over Thanksgiving dinner. When his friend, “In the Heights” producer Dan Holland (‘19), discussed his artistic vision for the show and the need for good music…

A masterful interplay of music and acting in ‘A Little Night Music’

Perpetual anticipation of actors becoming pianists, cellists and even orchestra players buzzed on campus this past weekend thanks to the Stanford Music Department’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music” (1973). Renowned for its complex meters, polyphony and high notes all performed in waltz time, the musical explores the rekindling of past love between…

Composers capture the spirit of ‘Gaieties 2018’

When you see “Gaieties” posters strewn about the campus or see zealous cast members crash dorm house meetings in animal onesies, you may not realize that Stanford students write all the music for the show. But for Ayoade Balogun (‘21), composer, and Lexi Kupperman (‘21), lyricist, “Gaieties 2018: Jane Stanford and the Chamber of Secrets”…
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