Latest in Classical Music

Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

Puccini’s Turandot. Soprano Martina Serafin stars in the title role of the proud Chinese princess, opposite tenor Marcelo Álvarez as Calàf, the mystery prince who is determined to win her. Soprano Guanqun Yu makes her network broadcast debut as the courageous slave girl Liù, and bass-baritone Alexander Tsymbalyuk is Calàf’s father, Timur. Marco Armiliato conducts the performance, presented in the much-loved production by Franco Zeffirelli.

Listen LIVE on Classical IPR on Saturday, Matrch 24 at 1:00pm ET.

Sing Sing Correctional Facility is not the sort of place you'd expect to find a flourishing music community, but a workshop run by Carnegie Hall offers inmates the ability to learn in harmony. Twice a month, artists from New York City travel to Sing Sing and spend a day giving 30 inmates enrolled in the Musical Connections program formal training.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Thanks to listeners in Onekama, Northport, Higgins Lake, Traverse City and many other places for your requests this week.

1. Ron Nelson, Rocky Point Holiday; Jerry Junkin/Dallas Wind Symphony

2. Franz Schubert, Rosamunde overture; Herbert Blomstedt/San Francisco Symphony Orchestra

3. Leonard Bernstein, Symphonic Dances from West Side Story; Christian Lindberg/Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

4. John Field, Irish Dance; Míċeál O’Rourke

5. Samuel A. Ward, America the Beautiful; US Army Field Band and Soldiers’ Chorus

One of the most horrible events of the Vietnam War took place 50 years ago this week.

This might very well be the ultimate lullaby. Right at the start of the 2018 SXSW Music Festival, Max Richter's eight-hour composition Sleep was performed overnight to an audience tucked into 150 beds. They — the audience, not the tireless group of musicians who performed the piece — slept, dreamed and sometimes snored through this trance-inducing experience.

James Levine, the famed conductor who was fired earlier this week by New York's Metropolitan Opera following its internal investigation into allegations of sexually abusive conduct towards young artists, has responded by suing the Met and its General Manager Peter Gelb.

Here's a musical riddle that has kept people guessing for over a century.

English composer Edward Elgar's Variations on an Original Theme, ('Enigma') op. 36 is one of England's most beloved musical works. It's commonly known as the Enigma Variations.

"Cinema per archi" (or "Cinema for Strings") is a new album from the string players of the Academy of St. Cecilia. The album features music by three Academy Award-winning Italian film composers: Ennio Morricone, Nicola Piovani and Nino Rota.

Late Monday afternoon, New York's hallowed Metropolitan Opera announced that it had fired conductor James Levine — an artist who had a close affiliation with the opera house for more than four decades — after a months-long investigation into claims of "sexually abusive and harassing conduct."

Karen Almond/Metropolitan Opera

Christine Goerke sings the title role of Richard Strauss’s tragedy Elektra under the baton of future Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. The acclaimed American soprano stars as the revenge-obsessed princess of Greek myth, with soprano Elza van den Heever as Elektra’s sister, Chrysothemis, and mezzo-soprano Michaela Schuster making her network broadcast debut as the guilt-stricken matriarch, Klytämnestra. They are joined by bass Mikhail Petrenko as Orest and tenor Jay Hunter Morris as Aegisth, in Patrice Chéreau’s celebrated staging.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Thanks to listeners in Maple City, Petoskey, Cadillac, Ludington and many other places for your requests this week.

1. Gaetano Donizetti, Act II sextet from Lucia di Lammermoor; Placido Domingo, Cheryl Studer, Juan Pons et al.

2. Pablo de Sarasate, Spanish Dances nos. 7 & 8; Rachel Barton Pine & Samuel Sanders

3. Paul Dukas, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice; Andre Previn/Los Angeles Philharmonic

4. The Beatles, A Day in the Life; Nick Davies/Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

5. Greg McCallum, Hymn Quilt; performed by the composer

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Cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason isn't even 20 years old yet, and he's already been called "the hottest young classical musician on the planet" by Classic FM. Sheku (he goes by his first name) won the BBC Young Musician Award in 2016 and has just released his first album on Decca Classics, called "Inspiration."

File this one under: "when genre walls collapse, the fusions are wonderful." Among the sidenotes to dance-music archivists' interest in the minimalist sounds of New York's 1970s and '80s downtown cult figures such as Arthur Russell and Julius Eastman, is how it's brought the work of their colleagues, contemporaries and collaborators to light.

Amazon recently released the fourth season of its original series "Mozart in the Jungle." The show, which has won multiple Golden Globe and Emmy awards, depicts the lives of classical musicians in the fictional New York Symphony. 

Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. Albanian soprano Ermonela Jaho makes her network broadcast debut in the title role as the trusting Cio-Cio-San, opposite tenor Roberto Aronica as the faithless Lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton. Mezzo-soprano Maria Zifchak reprises the role of Cio-Cio-San’s maid and confidante Suzuki, and baritone Roberto Frontali is the American consul Sharpless. Maestro Marco Armiliato conducts the performance.

Listen LIVE on Classical IPR on Saturday, March 3 at 1:00pm ET.

J. Paul Getty Museum

Thanks to listeners in Cedar, Lansing, Gaylord, Traverse City, Cheboygan and many other places for your requests this week.

1. Gioachino Rossini, Overture to William Tell; Paul Paray/Detroit Symphony Orchestra

2. Claude Debussy, The Sunken Cathedral; Hélène Grimaud

3. Giacomo Puccini, La bohème (opening portion of Act II); Mirella Freni, Nicolai Gedda et al.

4. Antonin Dvorak, Romance for violin and orchestra; Seiji Ozawa/Boston Symphony Orchestra/Itzhak Perlman

5. Herman Hupfeld, As Time Goes By; José Carreras

The American pianist Lara Downes is well known for her interesting portraits of composers. Her latest album “For Lenny” celebrates Leonard Bernstein in his centennial year. Like most of Downes’s other albums, “For Lenny” features a number of piano miniatures that revolve around a central theme. The theme of this album is, of course, Leonard Bernstein.

George Li is a young pianist on the rise. At age 10, he gave his first public concert and at 15, he won a silver medal at the revered Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Li recently released his debut album on a major label and has been fielding offers, performing with some of the world's great orchestras.

Matthew Holler

Sybarite5 is one of the most innovative chamber ensembles active today. They are champions of new music by young American composers, and their programming choices are as eclectic as they are surprising.


Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

Puccini’s La Bohème, the most-performed opera in Met history. The acclaimed stars are soprano Sonya Yoncheva, who plays the fragile Mimì, and tenor Michael Fabiano, who sings the role of the poet Rodolfo. They are joined by soprano Susanna Phillips as the coquettish Musetta, with baritone Lucas Meachem as her lover Marcello. Marco Armiliato conducts the performance.

Listen LIVE on Classical IPR on Saturday, February 24 at 1:00pm ET.

John Corigliano is one of America's most acclaimed composers. He's won a Pulitzer, an Oscar and five Grammys, and he's still hard at work, having turned 80 on Feb. 16.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Thank you to listeners in McMillan, Petoskey, Higgins Lake, Alden, Traverse City and many other places for your requests this week.

1. Ennio Morricone, selections from The Mission; composer conducting the Rome Sinfonietta/Yo Yo Ma

2. Leroy Anderson, Blue Tango; Ensemble Vivant

3. Franz Liszt, Liebesträume no. 3; Lang Lang

4. Paul Cantelon, selections from The Other Boleyn Girl; original motion picture soundtrack

5. Johann Sebastian Bach, Toccata and Fugue in D minor; Canadian Brass

A new two-disc album from the American violinist Hilary Hahn features recordings from every album she has made for Deutsche Grammophon over the last 15 years. This new album, "Retrospectives," also includes previously unreleased live recordings of music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Tina Davidson and Max Richter.

UPDATE: all spots are now reserved! If you'd like to be on the waiting list, email