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.

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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