Amanda Sewell

Classical Music Host

Amanda Sewell is a musicologist who holds a Ph.D. in musicology from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. As a musicologist, Amanda researches the history, context, and style of music of many different periods and regions. Her research about music has appeared in textbooks, journals, and music encyclopedias, and she is a frequent presenter at academic music conferences all over the country. Amanda frequently contributes program notes for performances of classical music, including performances at the Interlochen Center for the Arts.

When not in the studio at Interlochen Public Radio, Amanda works as an academic editor and consultant. Amanda lives in Traverse City with her husband and two dogs.

Jack Mitchell

Tune in to Classical IPR on Friday, February 24 at 6 PM to celebrate the 90th birthday of American soprano Leontyne Price. Presented by the WFMT Radio Network, The Stradivarius of Singers: A Tribute to Leontyne Price is a tribute in music and words to Price's life and career.

 

French record label Harmonia Mundi brings a captivating new album of 18th-century music for harp and orchestra. La Harpe Reine (“The Queen’s Harp”) celebrates the harp’s renaissance in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. This renaissance was inspired by Marie Antoinette, who arrived at the French court with her harp in 1770. The result was a flurry of new compositions for harp.

 

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Thanks to listeners in Baldwin, Cadillac, Central Lake, Ann Arbor, and many other places for your requests this week.

1. Antonin Dvorak, Symphony no. 4, third movement; Neeme Järvi, Scottish National Orchestra

2. Victor Herbert, “Thine alone”; Beverly Sills

3. Johannes Brahms, Piano sonata no. 2, fourth movement; Marilyn Neeley

4. Andrew Lloyd Webber, “All I Ask of You” from Phantom of the Opera; Barry Wordsworth, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Julian Lloyd Webber

5. Carl Friedemann, Slavonic Rhapsody no. 2; I Salonisti

This Saturday, February 18, Grand Traverse Pipes and Drums will hold a concert and fundraiser. The event starts at 7 PM at the Elks Lodge in Traverse City.

Jack Fellows joined Classical IPR's Amanda Sewell to talk about the history of the Grand Traverse Pipes and Drums and to listen to recordings of the ensemble.

For more information about the Ceilidh (pronounced "kay-lee"), click here

 

Naxos brings a star-studded new recording of Leonard Bernstein’s first two symphonies. Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano join forces with conductor Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Leonard Bernstein: Symphonies 1 and 2.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Thanks to listeners from Cedar, St. Ignace, Farmington Hills, Crystal Lake, Honor, and many other places for your requests this week.

1. Ralph Vaughan Williams, Symphony No. 7 (Sinfonia Antarctica), first movement; Bernard Haitink/London Philharmonic/Sheila Armstrong

2. Casalina & Ferro, Non ti scordar di me; Mario Lanza

3. P.I. Tchaikovsky, Nutcracker: Overture and Waltz of the Flowers; Fritz Reiner/Chicago Symphony Orchestra

4. Craig Hella Johnson, Considering Matthew Shepard; Craig Hella Johnson/Conspirare

This Saturday, February 11, the Interlochen Arts Academy Band and the Creative Writing Department are collaborating in a unique exploration of the intersection between sounds, words and meaning.

 

The Academy of St Martin in the Fields has established a reputation as one of the world’s foremost chamber orchestras. Since their first performance at their namesake church in 1958, the ensemble has produced dozens of beloved albums, with highlights including Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and the soundtrack to the film Amadeus.

  Many remember comedy duo Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy for their visual gags. The soundtracks that accompanied Laurel and Hardy’s films were also critical to the duo’s success. Composed by Hal Roach’s in-house composer Leroy Shield, the scores feature both expected the lighthearted ditties as well as ballads and dance numbers reminiscent of the greats of classical music.

 

One of the nation’s leading string quartets, the Cypress String Quartet, is ready to hang up its bows. After a 20-year career, during which they were hailed by the New York Times as “tender and deeply expressive,” the ensemble played their farewell concert this past June--but they weren’t quite finished. In January 2017, the ensemble gave their fans a final gift: one last album.

 

Italian pianist Marco Vincenzi and the Dynamic label bring us a world-premiere album over 100 years in the making.

Jay Ungar and Molly Mason visited IPR's Studio A today for an interview and performance. The two will perform tonight at Milliken Auditorium in Traverse City as part of the Dennos Museum Concert Series. 


 

Since 2007, the Boston-based Lorelei Ensemble has been reinventing women’s vocal music. The ensemble includes nine professional vocalists, united by a goal of advancing the women’s ensemble and expanding repertoire for female vocalists. The ensemble performs both as the full nine-voice unit and as smaller ensembles of selected members. Besides commissioning more than 50 new works since their formation, the ensemble has also reinvented classic Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque pieces.

The Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra and Chorus presented the holiday concert Messiah Plus One earlier this month. The concert included the Oratorio de Noël by Camille Saint-Saëns and the Prophecy and the Nativity from George Frederic Handel’s Messiah. Soloists included soprano Risa Renae Harman, mezzo-soprano Jamie Beth Platte, alto Martha Hart, tenor Tom Cilluffo, and baritone Jason Coffey. Messiah Plus One took place at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Petoskey.

Earlier this month, the Traverse Symphony Orchestra presented its annual Home for the Holidays concert. The TSO was joined by the NMC Grand Traverse Chorale and Children's Choir.

Thursday evening's Sounds of the Season concert at Interlochen will feature Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn's arrangement of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker. Since its album release in 1960, this piece has hardly ever been performed. Thursday's performance of Ellington and Strayhorn's Nutcracker Suite is the first time the piece  has been performed at Interlochen.

Classical IPR's guided tour of the Christmas portion of George Frederic Handel's Messiah features a 2006 recording of the piece by the Dunedin Consort. This recording presents Messiah as it would have sounded at its first performance in 1742. More information about the recording (including how to purchase it) is available here.

Brian Asawa, whom Opera Today has called “the most important countertenor in the world today,” passed away Monday at the age of 49. In 1991, he became the first countertenor to win the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Asawa specialized in 18th-century operas of Handel and Gluck as well as in 20th-century operas by Britten and Ligeti.

On April 18, 2016, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton won the Pulitzer Prize for drama. It is only the ninth musical to ever win in the drama category, joining previous winners such as South Pacific, A Chorus Line, and Rent.  

On Thursday, Maestro James Levine announced that he would be leaving his position as the Music Director of the Metropolitan Opera. Levine, 72, has served as Music Director at the Met since 1976. He has had numerous issues with his health lately, including multiple sclerosis as well as a spinal injury that forced him to miss two entire seasons. Levine has conducted over 2500 performances during his tenure, including the Met’s recent production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra.

Soprano Kathleen Battle, who was fired from the Metropolitan Opera in 1994, has been invited to return next season.  Battle’s diva-like behavior at the Met was as remarkable as her voice. She is said to have skipped rehearsals, been unprofessional at the rehearsals she attended, and, according to legend, she once phoned her agent from her limousine to ask him to ask the limo driver to adjust the air conditioning. 

 Nikolaus Harnoncourt, a conductor best known as one of the pioneers of historically informed performance, died Saturday at the age of 86. Harnoncourt served as a cellist with the Vienna Symphony from 1952 to 1969. In 1953, he and his wife, violinist Alice Hoffelner Harnoncourt, founded the Concentus Musicus Wien, an ensemble dedicated to performing Baroque music on period instruments and according to historically informed performance practice. 

The final episode of Downton Abbey is scheduled to air in the US on March 6. For six seasons, viewers have been captivated by the Crawley family and their staff, cheering on the devoted Bateses as they navigate yet another crisis, chuckling at Lord Grantham’s hesitation about listening to King George V’s address on the radio, or wondering if Lady Mary will ever find true happiness. 

 

To celebrate Downton in all its glory—from the Dowager Countess’s snappy one-liners to Mr. Carson’s skepticism about twentieth-century technology and attitudes—we’ve assembled a playlist of music inspired by the show. Some of the pieces are from John Lunn’s original score, and others were heard in the show itself. The rest of the music comes from the period and evokes what the characters would have sung, danced to, or listened to, either live or on the new-fangled phonograph that Lady Rose insisted on purchasing.

 

All you need to hear the playlist is a free Spotify account.

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