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 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.

  The Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra recently presented a concert called Sol Español. The music included pieces by three Spanish composers as well as American composer Gwyneth Walker’s settings of text by the Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral. The concert featured guest appearances by the Grand Rapids Guitar Quartet and soprano Amy Cross, and the music was conducted by Libor Ondras.

Photo courtesy

 Chris Brubeck and the rest of the Brubeck Brothers Quartet will perform this Saturday night in Traverse City. In addition to being a bassist, a bass trombonist and a jazz composer, Brubeck is also a classical composer. Just last week, the Lexington Philharmonic and Canadian Brass gave the premiere performance of Brubeck's "No Borders."

 Military wind bands were very popular in Britain in the early part of the twentieth century. Sir Edward Elgar and his contemporaries wrote quite a bit of music for this type of ensemble. A new release from Somm Recordings called Elgar and His Peers: The Art of the Military Band celebrates this repertoire.


Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes has released an album featuring solo piano music of the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. Sibelius composed fewer than 20 works for the piano, and his orchestral music is far better known.


Metropolitan Museum of Art

Thanks to listeners in Shelby, Petoskey, Cheboygan, Traverse City, Northport and many other places for your requests this week.

1. Robert Cray, arr. Armed Forces Medley; Cpt. Douglas Monroe/United States Air Force Band of the Golden West

2. Mikis Theodorakis, Ode to Zeus; John Williams/Boston Pops & Tanglewood Festival Chorus

3. Stanley Myers, Cavatina from The Deer Hunter; Jason Vieaux

4. Stephen Paulus, Symphony for Strings (third and fourth movements); Yoel Levi/Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

photo courtesy Matt Thomas

Baroque on Beaver is held every summer on Beaver Island. The multi-day festival includes many different types of classical music, from Mozart and Beethoven to Gershwin to world premieres by living American composers. 

 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, which began when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. A new album produced by Rachel Currea is a musical celebration of the the many contributions of Martin Luther.


photo: Maud Cuney Hare (Wikimedia Commons)

Thanks to listeners in Millersburg, Indian River, Pellston, Custer, Lake Leelanau and many other places for your requests this week. 

1. Arvo Pärt, Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten; Angele Dubeau/La Pieta

2. Dmitri Shostakovich, Piano concerto no. 2 (first movement); Paul Freeman/ RTV Symphony Orchestra/Joshua Pierce

3. Camille Saint-Saens, Danse macabre; James DePreist/Oregon Symphony

4. Felix Mendelssohn, Hebrides Overture; Bernard Haitink/Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

5. Traditional, the Star-Spangled Banner; Van Cliburn

Simon Powis

The Juilliard String Quartet was founded in 1946 and remains one of the leading string quartets in the world. They recently visited IPR's Studio A and talked about the legacy of the quartet and what it's like to carry that legacy into the 21st century. They played movements from string quartets by Haydn and Beethoven.  Hear the entire performance and conversation below.

National Gallery of Art

Thanks to listeners in Wolverine, Clare, Sault Ste. Marie, Boyne City, Maple City, and many other places for your requests this week.

1. Alan Hovhaness, Symphony no. 2 “Mysterious Mountain” (second movement); Gerard Schwarz/Royal Liverpool Philharmonic

2. Conni Ellisor, Blackberry Winter (third movement); Nashville Chamber Orchestra

3. Aaron Copland, Variations on Simple Gifts (from Appalachian Spring); John Williams/Boston Pops Orchestra

4. George Frederic Handel, Music for the Royal Fireworks (overture); Jean Lamon/Tafelmusik

A new album from Sony Classical presents all three piano trios of Johannes Brahms. Pianist Emanuel Ax and cellist Yo-Yo Ma have already won multiple Grammy Awards for their previous Brahms recordings. Here they join violinist Leonidas Kavakos in their first recorded collaboration as a trio.


Anne Bara

This Sunday afternoon, Encore Winds is presenting a concert called The Spirit of the Land. The concert will feature clarinetist Anne Bara in the Concertino by Carl Maria von Weber. Anne Bara visited Studio A to play some music and discuss the upcoming concert. She was joined by her colleagues from the NEO Trio, pianist and harpist Jason McKinney and flutist Sam Clark.

National Gallery of Art

Thanks to listeners in Suttons Bay, Platte Lake, Harbor Springs, Mesick, and many other places for your requests this week.

1. Steven Warbeck, end credits from Shakespeare in Love; original motion picture soundtrack

2. Martin Luther, A Mighty Fortress is Our God; National Philharmonic Orchestra/Ambrosian Singers/Charles Gerhard/Leontyne Price

3. Brodzsky & Webster, I’ll Walk with God; Mario Lanza

4. John Williams, Leaving Home from Superman; original motion picture soundtrack.

5. Hector Berlioz, Roman Carnival Overture; Erich Kunzel/Cincinnati Pops

Angela Lickiss Aleo

Oboist Angela Lickiss Aleo has written a book of oboe etudes that will be published later this year. The book focuses on techniques for music of the 20th and 21st centuries.


Pianist Evgeny Kissin has just released a long-awaited solo album. “Evgeny Kissin: Beethoven” is the pianist’s first solo album in over ten years. It is also his first album dedicated entirely to the solo piano works of Ludwig van Beethoven.


J. Paul Getty Museum

Thanks to listeners in Williamsburg, Petoskey, Buckley, Traverse City and many other places for your requests this week.

1. Alan Hovhaness, Symphony no. 2 “Mysterious Mountain” (third movement); Gerard Schwarz/Royal Liverpool Philharmonic

2. Charles-Marie Widor, Symphony no. 5, Toccata; E. Power Biggs

3. Antonin Dvorak, Symphony no. 6 (first movement); Marin Alsop/Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

4. Baerwald & Gilbert, “Come What May”; Moulin Rouge! original motion picture soundtrack

 Giacomo Puccini is best known for his many operas, including Madama Butterfly, La boheme, Tosca and Turandot. Classical IPR’s Featured New Release shows a previously unknown musical side of Puccini: his work as an organist. The album is called Giacomo Puccini: Organ Works.


 Earlier this year, the Interlochen Arts Academy Jazz Ensemble celebrated The First Lady of Song in a concert called “A Centennial Birthday Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald.” The Jazz Ensemble was joined for this concert by two special guests, Gary Motley and Carmen Bradford. Join Classical IPR this Friday night at 8 p.m. for a special presentation of this recent concert.

New York Public Library via Wikimedia Commons

Thanks to listeners in Interlochen, St. Ignace, Novi Sad (Serbia), Northport, Manistee, Norman (OK) and many other places for your requests this week.

1. Alexander Borodin, In the Steppes of Central Asia; Neeme Jarvi/Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra

2. Schonberg & Boublil, “The Ceremony” from Miss Saigon; original London cast recording

3. Ralph Vaughan Williams, Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis; Sir John Barbirolli/Sinfonia of London

4. Gioachino Rossini, The Thieving Magpie overture; Yoel Levi/Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

Grand Rapids Guitar Quartet

  Brian Morris is a professor and director of guitar studies at Grand Rapids Community College. He’s also a member of the Grand Rapids Guitar Quartet, and that ensemble will be performing this Saturday with the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra.

David Finlayson / Teresa Berg

Brothers Anthony and Demarre McGill both have successful careers as orchestral musicians. Anthony McGill is the principal clarinetist with the New York Philharmonic, and Demarre McGill is the principal flutist with the Seattle Symphony.


The McGill brothers, along with pianist Michael McHale, have released a new album on the Chicago-based label Cedille. The album is called "Portraits," and it features several world premieres. It’s also the first album the brothers have recorded together.


Classical IPR’s Featured New Release includes three world premiere recordings and a guest appearance by an Academy Award-winning actor. The McGill/McHale Trio’s new album on the Cedille label is called Portraits.


J. Paul Getty Museum

Thanks to listeners in Traverse City, Northport, Ann Arbor, Alanson, Luther, and many other places for your requests this week.

1. Leonard Bernstein, West Side Story suite; David Zinman/Philharmonia Orchestra/Joshua Bell

2. Ion Ivanovici, Waves of the Danube Waltz; Felix Slatkin/Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra

3. Gioacchino Rossini, Overture to Semiramide; JoAnn Falletta/Buffalo Philharmonic

4. Gaetano Donizetti, Una furtiva lagrima from The Elixir of Love; Lawrence Brownlee

Bellini Opera Company

The Bellini Opera Company will perform at City Opera House in Traverse City tomorrow night at 7 p.m. They are presenting a tribute to the legendary tenor Enrico Caruso as part of the Sixth Annual Traverse City Wine and Opera Festival.

Cory Weaver for San Francisco Opera

This Saturday at 1 p.m., Classical IPR presents a recent production of Giacomo Puccini's "Madama Butterfly" from San Francisco Opera.

The production stars Lianna Haroutounian, Vincenzo Costanzo, Zanda Svede and Julie Adams, and Yves Abel conducts. Read more about the production here. An English translation of the libretto is available here