Classical Music

The latest in Classical music from Interlochen Public Radio. You'll find concert recordings, live performances from our very own Studio A, Classical music for kids and so much more. 

"The greatest stories ask the biggest questions," budding animation artist Alex Sopp replied when I asked about the video she's created for "Sunset Boulevard," a song from First, the upcoming album by the new music sextet yMusic.

As a part of Interlochen Arts Academy’s ongoing partnership with the New York Philharmonic, four Philharmonic musicians, all Interlochen alumni, visited campus for a week of master classes, lessons and mock auditions. Two musicians, violinist Kuan Cheng Lu and bassoonist Roger Nye, visited IPR’s Studio A for exclusive performances and interviews.

Violinist Kuan Cheng Lu first heard the New York Philharmonic as an 18-year-old high school graduate in his native Taiwan. Lu was captivated not by classical masters on the program, but his own nation’s national anthem. Lu’s mother, noticing her son’s reaction, said, “I think you’re going to be in there some day.”

Just five years later, Lu’s mother’s prediction came true. Lu won a position in the Philharmonic’s violin section at 23 years of age, making him the first-ever Taiwanese musician to play with the Philharmonic. “The best part is meeting guest artists and playing with my colleagues,” he told IPR’s Kate Botello.

Lu’s Philharmonic colleague, bassoonist Roger Nye, first discovered his instrument as a child. “The bassoon really ‘chose’ me,” he said. Nye heard the bassoon on Bugs Bunny cartoons and fell in love with the instrument’s timbre and singing quality. Years later, Nye was able to study with the same man who played the music he so admired.

Nye stopped by Studio A to chat with Amanda Sewell about the collaboration between Interlochen Arts Academy and the New York Philharmonic, the art of reed-making and his favorite repertoire for bassoon.


Photo by Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

Bizet’s Carmen starring mezzo-soprano Clémentine Margaine in her network broadcast debut as the title character, a role she has sung to acclaim around the world. Tenor Roberto Aronica is the gypsy’s jealous lover, Don José, with soprano Maria Agresta as the devoted Micaëla and bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen as the swaggering toreador Escamillo. Asher Fisch conducts the performance.

Photo courtesy of Sarah Jarosz

 

Sarah Jarosz has come a long way from the Friday night bluegrass jams of her youth.

Jarosz has swapped her mandolin for a guitar and is now a Grammy-nominated artist. But before pursuing her career as a bluegrass musician, Jarosz enrolled at the New England Conservatory to study contemporary improvisation and learn about other styles of music.

Welcome to Episode 37 of Show Tunes with Kate Botello! Coming up: two types of princesses. We’ll hear Cinderella stories - then slap some Icy Hot on your teeth for tunes about beauty pageants! Speaking of princess, at Intermission our friend Julie Garnye will be here to talk about the Los Angeles theatre scene and her role as a Disney Queen! In Act Two, surprisingly good performances from actors who weren’t really known as singers before they landed a big role in a movie musical.

Click through for this week's playlist and a couple of bonus videos of divas in action!

 

The Academy of St Martin in the Fields has established a reputation as one of the world’s foremost chamber orchestras. Since their first performance at their namesake church in 1958, the ensemble has produced dozens of beloved albums, with highlights including Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and the soundtrack to the film Amadeus.

It's become a January tradition for NPR to look ahead to some of the most anticipated jazz albums of the year. Bassist Christian McBride, who hosts NPR's Jazz Night In America, and jazz critic Nate Chinen of NPR Member station WBGO join NPR's Audie Cornish to preview three albums coming out in 2017.

Read some of McBride's and Chinen's thoughts below, and hear more of their discussion — including a reflection on the relationship between musicians and critics — at the audio link.

Photo by Karen Almond

Verdi’s Rigoletto. Italian conductor Pier Giorgio Morandi makes his network broadcast debut leading baritone Željko Lučić in the title role opposite soprano Olga Peretyatko as Gilda and tenor Stephen Costello as the Duke. The broadcast also stars Oksana Volkova as Maddalena and Andrea Mastroni in his network broadcast debut as Sparafucile.

Listen LIVE on Classical IPR on Saturday, February 4 at 1pm ET.

  Many remember comedy duo Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy for their visual gags. The soundtracks that accompanied Laurel and Hardy’s films were also critical to the duo’s success. Composed by Hal Roach’s in-house composer Leroy Shield, the scores feature both expected the lighthearted ditties as well as ballads and dance numbers reminiscent of the greats of classical music.

Welcome to Episode 36 of Show Tunes with Kate Botello! Coming up: when rock stars make musical theatre, the shows tend to either be soaring successes or massive flops. We’ll hear from both. At Intermission, why actors won’t say the FORBIDDEN WORD - and other superstitions for theatre types. In Act Two, we’ll hear from some hugely successful, long-running shows, both of which are kind of surprising.

Click through for this week's playlist!


American composer Philip Glass turns 80 years old on January 31. To mark the occasion, we asked several of Glass' colleagues and collaborators to pick a piece of his music and write about it.

Pianist Jeffrey Biegel
I.U.M.A. Management

Pianist Jeffrey Biegel - the first ever pianist chosen to record on the Steinway & Sons label - is in town  to perform a concert with the Traverse Symphony Orchestra - a new work, the “Concerto for Simply Grand Piano and Orchestra,” by Peter Schickele, otherwise known as PDQ Bach. He dropped by Studio A to give us a taste of the concerto - and to help us get the jokes!

A Philip Glass Moment That Could Last Forever

Jan 25, 2017
Photo courtesy Jake Shimabukuro, jakeshimabukuro.com

A few years ago, a video titled “Asian guy shreds on ukulele” was uploaded to YouTube. The video showed an unnamed man playing a virtuosic cover of George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” on the ukulele.

Today, Jake Shimabukuro’s fans know his name and his vast repertoire, which ranges from Schubert to flamenco to Queen. Shimabukuro started learning ukulele from Roy Sakuma at age 6. Since then, he has transformed into a captivating performer who appreciates space and silence as much as speed.

Shimabukuro joined Kate Botello in Studio A to give our listeners an introduction to the ukulele and a sampling of some of his most-shared hits.


Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia starring soprano Pretty Yende as the feisty Rosina, tenor Dmitry Korchak as the love-struck Count Almaviva, and baritone Peter Mattei in the title role of the barber Figaro.  Maurizio Benini conducts the performance which also stars Maurizio Muraro as Dr. Bartolo and Mikhail Petrenko as Don Basilio.

Listen LIVE on Classical IPR on Saturday, January 28 at 1pm ET.

 

One of the nation’s leading string quartets, the Cypress String Quartet, is ready to hang up its bows. After a 20-year career, during which they were hailed by the New York Times as “tender and deeply expressive,” the ensemble played their farewell concert this past June--but they weren’t quite finished. In January 2017, the ensemble gave their fans a final gift: one last album.

Welcome to Episode 35 of Show Tunes with Kate Botello! Coming up: musical matchmaking and upcoming openings. At Intermission, a stern but hilarious lesson in social media etiquette from Nate Patten and Cam Collins, hosts of the theatre podcast, #BookedIt. In Act Two - ever been so moved you called your loved one’s name in song? These people have.

 

Click through for this week's playlist!

 


Last year, Brazil lost one of its most famous musicians: Naná Vasconcelos, who put an instrument called the berimbau on the world's musical map. It's a kind of bow with a gourd attached, and it is the inspiration for a new album, MeiaMeia: New Music for Berimbau, by the group Arcomusical.

For nearly five decades, Daniel Barenboim has been making a case for the symphonies of Anton Bruckner. Tonight at Carnegie Hall, the conductor begins a complete cycle of Bruckner's nine numbered symphonies, leading the storied Staatskapelle Berlin.

Most Broadway musicals that close after 16 performances barely prompt memories, let alone documentaries. But in 1981, the Stephen Sondheim/George Furth opus, Merrily We Roll Along, rolled along so bizarrely, it became the stuff of Broadway legend, worthy of a 2017 post-mortem. Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened is a theatrically captivating documentary in which a director looks sideways at a musical that goes backwards.

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