Classical Music

James Gilray's "The Pic-nic Orchestra" (1802)
Credit [London] : Pubd. April 23d 1802 by H. Humphrey St. James's Street, [1802] / https://collections.nlm.nih.gov/catalog/nlm:nlmuid-101455846-img

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.

Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, in an English-language performance from January 1, 2008. Vladimir Jurowski led the performance, with soprano Christine Schäfer as Gretel; mezzo-soprano Alice Coote as Hansel; mezzo-soprano Rosalind Plowright and baritone Alan Held as their parents, Gertrude and Peter; and the late tenor Philip Langridge as the wicked Witch. The opera has been part of the Met’s holiday repertoire for decades: on Christmas Day, 1931, Hänsel und Gretel (sung in German) became the first complete opera to be broadcast from the Metropolitan Opera.

Winning the 2011 Thelonious Monk Competition rocketed jazz pianist Kris Bowers to fame in jazz circles and earned him gigs with the likes of Marcus Miller, Jose Jones and even Kanye West.

While many of his colleagues fall prey to the temptation to focus on technique to the exclusion of expression, Bowers leverages his interest in film scoring to keep him emotionally connected. “Music is all about storytelling,” he said. “Your job is to connect emotion to sound.”

Bowers stopped by Studio A for a special performance and a chat with fellow jazz performer Michael Thurber about his musical journey, his new album and his work as a film score composer.


In Memoriam 2016

Dec 19, 2016

Music suffered heavy losses in 2016, a year like no other in recent memory. We bid unexpected farewells to the very brightest stars — David Bowie and Prince — but we also lost masters from every corner of the music world, from classical composers and jazz greats to world music superstars, soul singers, country giants, prog-rock pioneers and record producers. They left us with unforgettable sounds and compelling stories. Hear their music and explore their legacies here.

(Credits: Tom Huizenga, producer; Mark Mobley, editor; Brittany Mayes, designer)

In hundreds of cities across the U.S. –- and a few abroad, too –- tuba and euphonium players are gathering for an annual tradition: TubaChristmas. The mandate of the event is simple: Gather a group of tuba and euphonium players and play holiday songs. Its scope, however, is large: These gatherings can include hundreds of tuba players, and this weekend alone, there are more than 60 TubaChristmas events from Hattiesburg, Miss, to Las Cruces, N.M. to San Ramón, Costa Rica.

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.

Metropolitan Opera: Salome

Dec 12, 2016
Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

Richard Strauss’s Salome starring Patricia Racette in the title role of the Judean princess. Racette makes a Met role debut in this production, as do her co-stars Željko Lučić as Jochanaan (John the Baptist); Nancy Fabiola Herrera as Herodias, Salome’s mother; and Gerhard Siegel as the lecherous King Herod. Chinese tenor Kang Wang makes his network broadcast debut as Narraboth, the Captain of the Guard. German conductor Johannes Debus, Music Director of the Canadian Opera Company, makes his Met debut this season leading this revival.

 

 

Twenty-nine years ago, cellist Zuill Bailey experienced what he called his “first awakening” at Interlochen Center for the Arts.

“It was my first real adventure ..” he said. “I was surrounded by people who were like me, and it was the first time I felt a sense of community.”

Since that awakening, it is not enough for Bailey to simply perform: he’s now just as active off stage, carving time out of his busy solo schedule to serve as an artistic director, clinician and classical music advocate. “I’m enjoying so many aspects of life in music because of this torch, the cello,” he said.

Between rehearsals with the World Youth Symphony Orchestra this summer, Bailey joined Christopher Gruits in Classical IPR’s Studio A for a special performance and a discussion of his call to give back to his community.


Metropolitan Opera: L'Amour de Loin

Dec 5, 2016
Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

Susanna Mälkki conducts the cast which stars Eric Owens as Jaufré Rudel, a troubadour on a quest to find his perfect love, opposite Susanna Phillips as Clémence, the Countess of Tripoli, and Tamara Mumford as the Pilgrim who carries messages across the sea between them.

Listen LIVE on Classical IPR on Saturday, December 10 at 1pm ET.

The last time New York's Metropolitan Opera presented a work written by a woman was 113 years ago. It's a drought that lasted longer than the years between the Cubs' World Series victories. That situation has finally been rectified this week with the New York premiere of the opera L'Amour de Loin by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho.

Christmas is coming, and soon TV screens everywhere will light up with that 1946 holiday classic, It's a Wonderful Life. But the same story is coming a little early to the stage of the Houston Grand Opera. That's right: An operatic version of George Bailey's struggle with life and death opens this Friday.

Librettist Gene Scheer admits that adapting such a beloved movie has sometimes felt like a fool's errand. "It's almost secular scripture, this piece," he says. "Everyone knows all the lines."

Metropolitan Opera: Manon Lescaut

Nov 29, 2016
Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

Puccini’s breakthrough opera Manon Lescaut, starring Anna Netrebko, who adds the tragic title character to her wide-ranging Met repertory this season. Marcelo Álvarez also makes a Met role debut this season, as Manon’s obsessed lover, des Grieux. They are joined by Christopher Maltman as Manon’s brother Lescaut and Brindley Sherratt as Geronte, her wealthy older lover. Marco Armiliato conducts the Met Orchestra and Chorus.

Listen LIVE on Classical IPR on Saturday, December 3 at 1pm ET.

Welcome to Episode 31 of Show Tunes with Kate Botello! Coming up - tunes for TV! And - speaking of TV, if you missed the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade broadcast, never fear! We’ll highlight the Broadway shows featured this year. At Intermission, we’ll talk with director Donna Drake. She’ll tell us the story of how she came to be one of the original cast members of A CHORUS LINE. In Act Two, we’ll answer last week’s trivia question and give you a new one to peruse.

Click through for this week's playlist!


 

 

Chris Thile is living his childhood dream. At the age of two he asked for a mandolin; by age five, he was taking lessons; as a teenager, he mastered every song on Bela Fleck and the Flecktones’ album.

Thile and banjoist Fleck performed together for the first time at a bluegrass festival when Thile was 14. Since that day, the duo has collaborated countless times, culminating with a weeklong duo tour this summer. “It’s remarkably comfortable for us to play together,” Fleck said.

The duo stopped by Studio A this summer to chat with host Aaron Selbig about their unlikely paths to stardom and the unique “musical dialect” that connects them.

 

 


Classical music observers say we're living in a golden age of string quartets. It's hard to disagree when you hear the vibrant young players in New York's Attacca Quartet.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

 

Richard Goode knows Ludwig van Beethoven better than most living people.

Heralded as “one of today’s leading interpreters of classical and romantic music,” pianist Richard Goode is one of only a handful of pianists to complete the project of recording all 32 of Beethoven’s piano sonatas. “You get to know them almost as people,” Goode said of the sonatas. Through the sonatas, Goode has also gotten a glimpse into Beethoven himself.

Goode joined IPR in Studio A for a discussion about what Beethoven means to the musical world—and to him personally.

 


Welcome to Episode 30 of Show Tunes with Kate Botello! Coming up: three early hits for legendary combo Lerner and Loewe. Then, we’ll hear from shows running right now. At Intermission, a tribute to the late, great, Elaine Stritch. In Act Two, we’ll hear some new renditions of evergreen songs from THE WIZARD OF OZ.

Click through for this week's playlist!


Joyce DiDonato is one of the most acclaimed opera singers of her generation; this year, she won the Grammy for Best Classical Vocal Solo. Her latest album, In War and Peace: Harmony Through Music, is a collection of baroque arias from the 17th and 18th centuries divided into two sections — one addressing war, the other, peace.

The Italian pianist and composer Ludovico Einaudi brought in a full band for a stunning live performance. He has a giant global following — and for good reason, as demonstrated by this rendition of his piece "Petricor."

SET LIST

  • "Petricor"

Photo: Larry Hirshowitz/KCRW. Watch Ludovico Einaudi's full Morning Becomes Eclectic set at KCRW.com.

Calling themselves "an accidental brass quartet," the members of The Westerlies, like the prevailing winds, blew east to New York from their hometown of Seattle, where they were childhood friends.

Jazz great Wynton Marsalis, a virtuoso trumpet player and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, has written — wait for it — a violin concerto.

As the daughter of the late virtuoso violinist Roman Totenberg, I was intrigued and wanted to know more. So I spent an hour with Marsalis — and the violinist he wrote his concerto with and for. (More on that later.)

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