NAIROBI, Kenya — As thick white smoke from a huge garbage dump billowed into the sky and the smell fell over the audience, the brass section took deep breaths, the woodwind players pursed their lips and the string performers gripped their bows. Brian Kepher, the 21-year-old conductor of the Ghetto Classics orchestra, lifted his baton, gave a slight nod and cued the teenagers to begin. Read more

BERN, SWITZERLAND — Patricia Kopatchinskaja would rather be known for the passion and virtuosity of her violin playing than for the fact that she often performs barefoot — or that sometimes she hums along with the orchestras while accompanying them on stage. Read more

LONDON — The scene: a crowded pub in the London district of Islington. Waitresses nudge through the crowd of about 100 people, carrying trays of hamburgers and cheesy fries, as patrons — East End hipsters, young professionals, students — saunter up to the bar to get more libations. Read more

BUDAPEST — Fans rushed the stage as the first chords of “You Shook Me All Night Long” rang out in the Laszlo Papp Budapest Sports Arena last October. Young women in tight miniskirts and boots whipped their hair at the musicians while denim-clad young men, their fists pumping the air, shouted out the lyrics to the 1980 hit by AC/DC. Read more

LONDON–For his fifth birthday, Offir Dagan’s parents took the electronic innards out of an old black-and-white television set and turned the wooden case into a puppet theater for their son.

Shlomo and Dorit Dagan didn’t realize it at the time, but their gift would put him on his career path — he now is 36 and a choreographer, performer and artistic director for professional dance training at the Bikurey Ha’Itim Art Center in Tel Aviv.

“I come from a huge family,” Mr. Dagan said, “and all my cousins had brothers and sisters, so I was bored when I was home by myself.” Read more