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.

Welcome to Episode 20 of Show Tunes with Kate Botello - and Happy Halloween! We highlight the spooky and the kooky of Broadway and beyond. At Intermission: Worst show ever, or best show ever? When it comes to DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES, Natalie Douglas isn't quite sure.

Click through for this week's playlist!


Do you believe in ghosts? The age-old question pops up this time of year when Halloween looms — the answer for opera composers seems to be a resounding "yes." Many of them, from Mozart to Corigliano, have given ghosts a few choice moments on stage. Operatic apparitions arrive suddenly in the middle of the night, crash dinner parties or do their ghostly duty simply by playing tricks on the minds of the living.

Some critics may say that jazz is becoming irrelevant.

Bill Sears knows better. Sears is the Director of Jazz Studies at Interlochen Arts Academy and has spent over 30 years as an educator and performer, playing alongside some of the biggest names in jazz. Raised on the big band music of his parents’ youth, Sears began playing jazz in 1968 and hasn’t stopped since. 

Sears sat down with Studio A host Kate Botello to discuss the communal nature of jazz, its importance in American culture and his calling to share jazz with the next generation.

  

Welcome to Episode 28 of Show Tunes with Kate Botello! Coming up: foodies, take note. We’ve got a smorgasbord of food-related tunes coming your way. Then, some odes to the trials and joys of being alive. At Intermission, musical director Brian Nash stops by to tell us a story about a Broadway legend from one of his many fascinating gigs, and we’ll hear a cut from his album, Forever After.

Click through for this week's playlist and our featured video clip: Lauren Bacall goes wild!

What defines America? There's been a lot of talk about that this election season. Pianist Lara Downes has a musical answer in her upcoming album America Again. To be released Oct. 28, it's a smartly programmed, wide-ranging anthology of solo piano works by American composers past and present; male and female; straight and gay; rich and poor; white, black and Latino.

What do you think of when you consider the harp? Angels, chords and soft strumming? These are exactly the stereotypes that Joan Holland, instructor of harp at Interlochen Arts Academy, hopes to correct.

“I want people to realize we’re also capable of playing melodies and great rhythms,” she said.

Holland shares the harp’s versatility, her musical inspirations, and her love of teaching with host Nancy Deneen in this installment of Studio A.


String quintet Sybarite5 is atypical in many ways.

The classically trained musicians do not limit their repertoire to the traditional works of the masters, but also embrace new music, extended techniques and popular rock tunes. Sybarite5’s five-player format and openness to experimentation make them one of the most flexible and dynamic ensembles in today’s instrumental music scene.

Studio A’s Kate Botello sat down with the ensemble to discuss new music and how they’ve forged a unique path in a traditional field.


 

Few vocal ensembles can boast existence—much less relevance—more than 50 years after their founding. The King’s Singers can boast both.

Founded in 1964, the group is committed to keeping choral tradition alive and is recognized as one of the world’s premier vocal ensembles. Through popular tunes and traditional voicing, The King’s Singers balance 21st-century relevance with traditional artistry.

Studio A host Nancy Deneen sat down with the ensemble to discuss the group’s “maverick spirit” and how a choral ensemble can survive and thrive in today’s competitive music business.


In a season of relentless shouting, the best antidote might be singing. Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato's new album with conductor Maxim Emelyanychev and the ensemble Il Pomo d'Oro, In War & Peace: Harmony Through Music, uses Baroque arias to explore the pain and possibilities of these troubled times. A companion website invites anyone and everyone to answer the simple but loaded question, "In the midst of chaos, how do you find peace?"

Welcome to Episode 27 - the Season Three premiere of Show Tunes with Kate Botello! Tonight: neighbors, pesky and otherwise, and we’ll hear some songs about a hot button issue - the telephone. Then, a it’s a WICKED intermission! We’ll talk with the lovely Emily Koch, who just wrapped up her turn as Elphaba in the national tour of WICKED. In Act Two: feeling down? Need a boost to your self esteem? We’ve got you covered.

Click through for this week's playlist!

Need a moment to get away from it all? Here's your escape — a serene and bewitching video that calms the wearied mind.

Brian Eno. David Bowie. Kraftwerk. Radiohead. Aphex Twin. The National. These are just some of the contemporary artists and bands who have looked up to American composer Steve Reich.

Neville Marriner, the conductor and violinist who was something of an entrepreneur as well as the guiding spirit behind one of the most successful classical recordings of all time — the soundtrack to the 1984 smash movie Amadeus — died overnight at age 92 at his home in London. His death was announced by the chamber orchestra he founded, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.

Tomorrow, two final works from composer James Horner will reach American ears: a concert piece being released on CD, and his score for the remake of the Western adventure The Magnificent Seven. The composer died a little more than a year ago in a plane crash, after creating more than 100 film scores over nearly 40 years.

American composer Julia Wolfe has won one of the biggest windfalls in the arts world. She is one of this year's MacArthur Fellows, recipients of the so-called "genius grants" given to a wide range of talented figures from the arts, humanities, sciences and social services. The 2016 class of fellows was announced early Thursday morning.

Violence against women is no modern tragedy. Composer John Adams found that out when he saw an exhibition about the tales of the Arabian Nights — ancient stories in which Scheherazade tells her murderous husband a new tantalizing tale each night for 1001 nights, thus sparing her life a day at a time. The composer, writing in Scheherazade.2's booklet notes, says he was surprised by how many of the stories included women suffering brutality.

If there's one piece by Chopin that can truly be called "trippy," it's the Mazurka in A minor, Op. 17, No. 4 – especially in this spellbinding performance by pianist Pavel Kolesnikov. The young Russian has just released a new album of Chopin's Mazurkas, arranged not chronologically but by mood and texture, flowing like a mixtape.

Talk to nearly any classical music critic about heroes of the trade and one name usually comes up: Virgil Thomson. Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times advises: "Every practicing and aspiring critic today should read Thomson's exhilarating writings."

Tim Page is no longer afraid of death. That's the one positive takeaway for him after surviving a traumatic brain injury.

Last year, the University of Southern California music and journalism professor — who was also a child prodigy filmmaker, Pulitzer-winning critic, person with Asperger's and father of three — collapsed at a train station. He woke up in an ambulance speeding to the hospital. He's still recovering, still fumbling a bit with the jigsaw pieces of a life a now a little more puzzling, a little more amazing.

Just reading about the Japanese film Nagasaki: Memories Of My Son is enough to get you choked up. Directed last year by 84-year-old legend Yoji Yamada, it stars longtime actor Sayuri Yoshinaga as a mother whose son dies in the 1945 bombing of Nagasaki and visits her as a ghost until she herself passes on. It's a heavy, heartbreaking tale, for which veteran composer Ryuichi Sakamoto was tasked with creating appropriately poignant music. Making things even heavier, this would be Sakomoto's first score since recovering from throat cancer last year.

When you think of an orchestra, you're probably picturing refined woodwinds, brass, and strings. But one ensemble I recently met is made up mostly of kids who play instruments made out of literal trash. This is the Recycled Orchestra from Cateura, Paraguay, and their group is the subject of a new documentary film.

Derek Gripper was a musician with a problem. He'd been playing classical music since he was 6 years old — violin, then piano and finally guitar. He was poised for an international career as a classical guitarist. But he remembers going to the homeland of one of his favorite composers, Johann Sebastian Bach.

"It felt kind of strange," he says. "It felt strange to be in Germany playing Bach to them."

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