Classical Music

Interlochen Public Radio is your gateway to news and classical music from Interlochen Center for the Arts. Learn about new music, upcoming performances and more.

Holidays at Interlochen

Dec 24, 2013

RADIO COLLAGE:  The Interlochen Arts Academy Band and Choir presented a holiday concert on December 19, 2013.  Kate Botello hosts this gorgeous winter holiday event.

The relationship between a teacher and a student can be transformative. It's a particularly important relationship in classical music. A teacher is part mentor, part manager — even a parental figure.

Since 1973, the four-man vocal chamber group The Hilliard Ensemble has been breathing new life into the sounds of the Renaissance. Now that they've reached their 40-year anniversary, the members have decided to call it a day. Fresh off the new album Il Cor Tristo, the Hilliards will spend 2014 celebrating their long tenure with one last world tour. Then, a year from now, it's all over.

For 160 years, the pianos made by Steinway & Sons have been considered the finest in the world. So when hedge fund billionaire John Paulson recently bought the company, it struck fear in the hearts of musicians: Would the famously handcrafted pianos be changed, for the sake of efficiency? Paulson, who owns several Steinways himself, says nothing will change.

Renee Fleming On 'Song Travels'

Dec 13, 2013

Grammy-winning soprano Renée Fleming is a regular at the world's top opera houses and concert halls around the globe. Her awards include a Fulbright Lifetime Achievement medal and the National Medal of Arts.

Detroit Symphony Orchestra

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra has a balanced budget for the first time in years. The DSO has struggled recently, with $6 million dollar deficits, one of the largest budget deficits of any orchestra in the nation. A musician's strike in 2011 that was also tough on morale.

It’s been six years since the last time the DSO has been in the black. It has also built a growing fan base, at a time when symphonies are struggling with an aging audience.

The year may have suffered a couple of black eyes in the form of shuttered opera companies and orchestras in labor disputes, but as far as recordings go, don't let anyone tell you classical music is dying — the music and musicians are thriving.

Happy Holidays! We asked IPR staffers to share their favorite holiday music with listeners this season. If you're in the Seasonal Mood, try out this playlist of tunes we love. Play the music from your computer anytime. All you need is a free Spotify account.

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Our friends in the public radio system are some of the most open-minded listeners we know. Each month, our Heavy Rotation series brings you free downloads of what our fellow programmers and producers are experiencing on repeat.

Throughout this week, we at NPR Music are taking a look at the year in music with our friend Audie Cornish, host of All Things Considered. I joined her to bring a closer ear to two very impressive classical albums and an international rarity that's been brought back to life. (I also provided Audie with a primer on pronouncing my last name. I hope you all pay close attention.)

Baritone Carlton Ford - Live in IPR's Studio A

Dec 6, 2013

Alumnus Carlton Ford returned to Interlochen Arts Academy to work with voice students, and he also paid a visit to IPR to sing works by Grieg, Ravel and Tosti.


This wound up being a spectacular year for elaborate, lavishly packaged reissues. Given all the fabulous classical box sets that appeared this year, you'd think we were in some kind of boom era for music served up on compact discs. (2013? More like 1993.)

Celebrate the Season with Classical IPR!

Printer friendly: Complete Holiday Programming Schedule

Saturday, January 4 3pm

  • New Year’s Day from Vienna * A Saturday rebroadcast of the annual New Year’s concert with the Vienna Philharmonic led by Daniel Barenboim.

Whether you're sitting in the bath (or you wish you were), entertaining friends, or perhaps looking to relax after the baby has finally stopped crying -- Interlochen Public Radio's Kate Botello has the perfect Classical playlist for you. Play the music from your computer anytime. All you need is a free Spotify account.

We asked a listener with a new baby what she most wanted from classical music. Her response? "I want something that's the opposite of the baby crying." We hope this fits the bill.

We had quite a crowd in Studio A this morning! Northwestern Michigan College Choir Director Jeffrey Cobb brought 32 stalwart members of the new vocal ensemble, Canticum Novum, to IPR's Studio A. Canticum Novum, along with the NMC Chamber Choir, will appear in, "Sounds of the Seasons - Holiday Songs for Brass and Voices," in Miliken Auditorium Friday, December 6th.  Listen for a sneak preview of the concert - Mendelssohn and a calypso carol.


Lynne Tobin,  Director of the Traverse City Civic Ensembles, spent an early morning hour in Studio B co-hosting an early hour with Kate Botello. Lynne brought great music with her, including highlights from the upcoming holiday concert season. She even brought us a double-header Kids' Commute!


Sergei Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 3 — "Rach 3," as fans fondly call it — is one of the most famously difficult pieces of music there is. The sheet music goes on and on, with notes so dense the pages start to look like modern art. The piece is so challenging that some noted pianists have declined to perform it — but Yuja Wang has recorded it for her newest album.

The man who painted the Mona Lisa, and was the first to sketch out the helicopter and the submarine, also dabbled in music. So here's the question: What musical instrument did Leonardo da Vinci design?

With the holidays upon us, our friends at member station WQXR invited me along with Washington Post chief classical critic Anne Midgette and Sony Masterworks producer Steven Epstein, the winner of 17 Grammy Awards, to sit down with host Naomi Lewin for a Conducting Business podcast on the topic.

All too often, as school districts are forced to cut spending, programs like music get the ax.

And that sorry fact robs students of the chance to learn music, to make music, and leaves one to wonder: Where are the musicians of the future going to come from?

One Ann Arbor Elementary School is teaming up with the University of Michigan School of Music for a unique approach to teaching music...and they are turning to Venezuela for inspiration.

It's called El Sistema.

The program originated in Venezuela, and the idea was to teach disadvantaged children, to help them discoverer the power of music.

I spoke with Professor John Ellis with the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance, where among other things, he is Director of Community and Preparatory Programs - and Horacio Contreras Espionoza, he is a UofM grad student studying cello, and he is an El Sistema teacher at Mitchell Elementary School in Ann Arbor.

Radio Collage, Nov. 23, 2013

Nov 26, 2013

In this first episode of Radio Collage, we hear everything from Shakespeare to Blue Rondo a la Turk, performed by students at the Interlochen Arts Academy.


An extended ovation greeted conductor James Levine last May when he returned to performing after a two-year absence. In 2011, he resigned as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and cancelled his performances at the Metropolitan Opera. He'd been plagued by health problems, injuries and operations, and it was painful for him to move. Many of his admirers, even he himself, feared he might never conduct again.

Interlochen Arts Academy Instructor of Film and Screenwriting drops by Studio B to guest host Morning Classical with Kate Botello! Lesley shared some of her favorite film music with listeners.  Click to listen.


As JFK Died In Dallas, Music Was Born In Boston

Nov 26, 2013

Fifty years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, it's still shocking to hear Boston Symphony Orchestra Music Director Erich Leinsdorf announce the horrific news to a stunned audience.

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