Classical Music

Interlochen Public Radio has the latest in classical music. You'll find recent local concerts, live performances from our very own Studio A, classical music for kids and so much more. 

Well, it's happened again. Vacations are over. Kids are returning to school. "And where," you're wondering, "did my summer go?"

You can get the same feeling in music sometimes. No matter how long a piece is, its end might sneak up on you. Try this mysterious little quiz filled with fantastical finales and enigmatic endings. Score high and take an extra week off from work. Score low and get back to the grind.

Bruce Hornsby's Modern Classical Moment

Aug 23, 2014

Bruce Hornsby cracked the music world three decades ago, making smooth, contemplative piano-pop with his band The Range. But if "The Way It Is" is how you remember him today, you've missed a lot.

Making some new acquaintances, and still in that getting-to-know-you phase?  Perhaps you're having some delightful people over but don't know yet if they'd dig your massive collection of rare acid jazz. We've found some eclectic, fun, modern-ish tunes to hang out in the background and be friendly, without hampering your scintillating dinner conversation (but if the socializing's not going so well, you can always talk about the music!).


  This edition of Radio Collage features excerpts from the 2014 Interlochen Arts Camp "Collage" show, along with performances recorded at a few of the other concerts that take place during the Camp.  There's music by Mendelssohn, Duke Ellington and Brahms, a bit of Shakespeare, and original works by students from the Singer/Songwriter and Creative Writing programs.

Now that the embattled Metropolitan Opera has surmounted most of its labor squabbles, it's time to take a break from reading about the rancorous negotiations. See how many of these nerdworthy Met questions you can answer. Score high and bellow out your best Wagnerian "Hojotoho!" Score low and start learning the "Simpleton's aria" from Boris Godunov.

  For this Radio Collage, we revisit performances from the recently completed Interlochen Arts Academy year.  There's lots of diversity, with music by Maurice Ravel, Sir Arthur Sullivan, and Dave Brubeck.  We'll also hear works by students from the Comparative Arts, Creative Writing and Singer-Songwriter programs.


A labor crisis threatening to shut down New York's Metropolitan Opera — the largest opera house in the world — appears to have been averted. Two of the major unions announced a tentative settlement this morning. While agreements with 10 additional unions need to be reached by Tuesday night, this represents a major turning point in a bitter dispute.

With this Tiny Desk Concert by the Grammy-winning Pacifica Quartet, we have the opportunity to explore the world of a single composer. With the arguable exception of Béla Bartók's six string quartets, it's generally accepted that the 15 by Dmitri Shostakovich are the strongest body of quartets since Beethoven.

Italian-American lyric soprano Licia Albanese, known for her deeply felt character portrayals, died Friday at her home in New York, her son, Joseph Gimma, told NPR Music Saturday. She was 105 years old.

Enso circles back!

Aug 16, 2014
Maureen Nelson, Richard Belcher, Melissa Reardon and John Marcus
Tim Burke

  The Enso String Quartet has returned to the Interlochen Adult Chamber Music Camp as guest artists-in-residence.  The ensemble’s name is derived from the Japanese Zen painting of the circle, which represents many things: perfection and imperfection, the moment of chaos that is creation, the emptiness of the void, the endless circle of life, and the fullness of the spirit. In addition to teaching during the  camp, Enso gives three recitals over the course of six days.  Still, they found time to drop by IPR's Studio A to perform excerpts from Five Pieces for String Quartet by Erwin Schulhoff.

Four guitars, one great sound!

Aug 14, 2014

  This summer, the Interlochen Arts Camp was once again filled with young artists, actors, writers, dancers, and, oh yes, musicians! Among them, a guitar quartet who paid a visit to IPR's Studio A.  Leonela Alejandro, Ria Modak, Grace Elmer and Luke Sunderland performed Kalimba by Jurg Kindle. For this performance, some of them put cloth under the strings near the guitar bridge to imitate the sound of the kalimba, also known as the "thumb piano".

Inspiration can come from unlikely places. For composer Robert Kyr, the silence of a desert monastery is key to the radiant music on his new disc of recent choral works performed by the vocal ensemble Conspirare and its director Craig Hella Johnson.

Kyr travels frequently to the Monastery of Christ in the Desert, in northern New Mexico, from his home in Eugene, Ore., where he teaches composition at the University of Oregon. Living among the monastery's Benedictine monks, Kyr hikes along the winding Chama River by day and composes music in a bare-walled room at night.

Last month, The New Yorker announced that it was teasing a new "freemium" version of its website (which launches this fall) with an alluring proposition. All of its most recent pieces, plus the full archives back to 2007 and some even older selections, are free for the rest of the summer.

So we took this opportunity to dig up some delicious classical music-minded pieces from the magazine's archives. They're perfect long reads for a lazy August afternoon.

Christopher Gruits, Executive Director of Interlochen Presents, stopped by Studio B this morning to chat about the upcoming 2014-2015 season. Highlights include: singer/songwriter Loudon Wainwright III, Aquila Theatre's Wuthering Heights,  Ailey II from the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, and the holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, from the Nebraska Theatre Caravan.

To hear the interview, featuring a track by singer/songwriter Wainwright (appearing at ICA in October), click "Listen," below.

Tickets go on sale soon - keep your eye on  

After the jump - more highlights of the upcoming season, including video from Ailey II and A Christmas Carol.

Jenie Altruda has found a happy balance between a professional life and an artsy upbringing here at Interlochen. After growing up surrounded by various artistes and theatre types, ICA gives her the opportunity to combine business expertise with a love of the arts.

We spent a terrific hour together listening to some of her favorite music.  This is a cool, eclectic mix, with everything from favorites you might know and love (Bach Cello Suite, anyone?) to pieces new to IPR that may become new favorites (Goat Rodeo! Giacchino! Duckworth!).

Jenie had so much great music that we couldn't fit it all into our hour together on-air.  Never fear! You can still hear it all - click, "Read more," to see a list and enjoy more than two hours of Jenie's choices. Listen to our full conversation and hear the music in context in the streaming link, below.

Sooner or later it had to happen — an all-classical Drum Fill Friday. This week's puzzler proves that the world of Beethoven, Stravinsky and Bartók can serve up beats as thunderous as any double drummer metal band.

What do you know about Beethoven? He wrote the Fifth Symphony (da da da dummmm ...) and he became deaf.

As Beethoven set about composing his Third Symphony, his hearing was failing and he felt certain his life was about to get worse. That it was born in a moment of despair may help explain why the finished work, for all its grandeur, is extremely odd — employing devices that are by turns aggressive and mundane, somber and practically danceable.

Think opera plots are tough to follow? Try wading through the complicated drama playing out offstage at the Metropolitan Opera. At its most basic, it's the story of management and labor unions fighting over a supposedly dwindling pot of money.

At the Metropolitan Opera, drama is usually onstage. But for the past several months, it's been in the newspapers.

Contract deadlines for 15 of the 16 unions at the Met in New York are set to expire at midnight tonight, and negotiations will likely go down to the wire. A lockout shutting down the world's largest opera house seems imminent.

Management wants concessions from the unions to offset dwindling ticket sales. Union employees think they're being asked to pay for unchecked spending.

Les Miserables is one of those "dream" shows for actors in musical theatre.  If you've never done it, you pray you'll be in it, and if you've been in it, you'll never forget it. This summer, Interlochen Arts Camp students had a chance to do the dream show with a dream team - Rick and Lynne Church.  Rick was the show's Musical Director and Conductor, and Lynne served as Vocal Coach for the young singers.  The delightful Churches have had fascinating careers (so far - more to come!) and brought all their expertise to the actors.  To us, they brought terrific music from Les Mis and music that Victor Hugo might have been listening to when he was writing his epic about the French Revolution. BONUS for those listening to the stream - Lynne shared a recording of her own performance in Pagliacci! (We've substituted Maria Callas on our Spotify playlist; click, "Read more." )

Composer John Luther Adams has been enjoying enormous success.

One hundred years ago today, the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia. The conflict drew in country after country and grew to an unprecedented scale. An estimated 9 million combatants lost their lives and more than 21 million were wounded in what came to be known as The Great War and, eventually, World War I.