Special Features Archive
2008 special features from Performance Today
Christmas with the Rose Ensemble
You may think you know every Christmas carol in the books by now, but listen to this performance and interview with the Rose Ensemble, a vocal and instrumental group, and you're sure to hear something new. Or old. Led by director Jordan Sramek, the Rose Ensemble specializes in early music. They recently joined Fred Child in our studios for holiday music of the Americas.
Mexican Baroque Christmas
Early American Christmas
(December 17, 2008)
Giving us Peace
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma has a new holiday CD for 2008: "Songs of Joy and Peace."
It's a set of collaborations with a wide range of classical players, but also with Dave Brubeck, James Taylor, and Alison Krauss.
Listen to Yo-Yo Ma talk about his new CD
(December 11, 2008)
A Family Affair
The Trio Con Brio Copenhagen joined us in the studio recently. Though the musicians are young, they've already racked up years of playing together: the violinist and cellist are sisters and the cellist and pianist are married. Those familial ties create a musical communication that seems to require no words.
Listen to their performance
(November 20, 2008)
In 2005 composer John Adams wrote a new opera called Doctor Atomic based on the story of Robert Oppenheimer, the physicist who created the atomic bomb. Doctor Atomic had its New York premiere this fall and the Metropolitan Opera will broadcast a live performance this weekend to movie theaters across the country. We talked with Adams and Gerald Finley, the baritone who has sung the role of Oppenheimer in every performance of Doctor Atomic, about this complicated man.
(November 7, 2008)
On Nov. 9, 1938, Nazi sympathizers burned nearly 1,000 synagogues and destroyed 7,000 Jewish businesses in Germany on a night that became known as 'the night of the broken glass,' or Kristallnacht. Violinist Daniel Hope's family lived in Berlin at the time. He talks about a special concert in Berlin he organized to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the event that launched the Holocaust.
Listen to the interview
(November 7, 2008)
A Latin Beat
Sir James Galway is one of our most celebrated classical flutists, but now he has taken on a new challenge. Galway has teamed up with Cuban jazz band Tiempo Libre and its leader Jorge Gomez for a new CD called O'Reilly Street that's a little classical, a little jazzy, a little Latin and lots of syncopated fun.
Galway and Gomez talk about their new CD
(September 26, 2008)
2008 MacArthur Fellows
Violinist Leila Josefowicz has been awarded a MacArthur Genius grant for expanding the instrument's repertoire and captivating audiences with her original programming. Brian Newhouse managed to talk with Leila as her phone was ringing off the hook with well-wishers.
Listen to Leila's reaction to the news
Music writer Alex Ross was also named a MacArthur Fellow for his writing in the New Yorker magazine that captures all aspects of the musical experience "with clarity, grace and wit."
Find out how Alex got the news
(September 23, 2008)
Academy of Ancient Music
When the Academy of Ancient Music first began in the 18th century, their idea of 'ancient' was music from the Baroque and Classical eras. The Academy of Ancient Music was revived 1973 and though the musician play instruments that are centuries old, the ensemble's spirited performances sound anything but ancient. Listen to an in-studio interview and performance hosted by Fred Child with the Academy of Ancient Music and concertmaster Pauline Nobes.
Mozart Concerto and Rondo
(September 19, 2008)
Two Of A Kind
In 1806 violinist Franz Clement premiered Beethoven's Violin Concerto, written especially for Clement. A year earlier, Clement wrote his own violin concerto. Violinist Rachel Barton Pine recently visited our studios and demonstrated that, while we used to assume Clement was ripping off the great master, actually many of Beethoven's musical ideas probably came from Clement.
Two Of A Kind
Find out more about these two concerti
(September 5, 2008)
Bringing New Music to Life
Pianist Jon Kimura Parker has enough to do already: He's an active orchestra soloist, teaches at Rice University and is an artistic advisor to the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival. But if that weren't enough, Kimura Parker also spend a lot of his time bringing life to new music through commissions. Listen to him play and talk about two pieces in which he had an active role in creating.
New Music Comes Alive
(August 20, 2008)
Olympic Torch for Music
Twenty-six year-old Chinese pianist Lang Lang has become a rockstar in promoting classical music around the world and also something of an ambassador. In early August he carried the Olympic torch through his home country and he was a featured performer during the spectacular opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics. He spoke with Fred Child just days after that performance for an audience of billions.
Lang Lang at the Olympics
(August 11, 2008)
One day over a meal, the four siblings of the Ying Quartet came up with an idea for their next CD: Dim Sum. Based on the Chinese cuisine that involves a lot of sampling of little dishes, Dim Sum the CD offers a wide musical offering of pieces by contemporary Chinese composers. We caught up with the quartet at the Aspen Music Festival where they gave us a taste of Dim Sum and then some.
Mendelssohn and Chou Wen-Chung
Haydn and Lei-Leung
(August 8, 2008)
Aspen World Premiere
The Aspen Music Festival was recently the site of the world premiere of a new composition, Cello Sonata by Pierre Jalbert. American Public Media program Saint Paul Sunday commissioned the piece which was performed by cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han. We caught up with David, Wu Han and Pierre the morning after the premiere.
A Conversation Between Artists
(June 30, 2008)
Fire and Ice
The innovative string quartet Brooklyn Rider recently visited our studios to play a fascinating new concert program: Scandinavian Tangos. That may sound like an oxymoron, cold climates and a temperature-raising dance, but the combination creates sparks. The quartet will also play music by the Scandinavian musical titans, Edvard Grieg with guest soloist Heather Johnson, and a string quartet by Jean Silbelius.
Folksongs and Tangos
(July 24, 2008)
Wild At Heart
As a child Romanian pianist Mihaela Ursuleasa was a musical phenom. She took a giant leap of faith as a teenager and put on hold her performance career, moved to Austria and began studying the piano literature at the Vienna Conservatory. Mihaela says she went from playing on intuition to playing with insight. She joined Fred Child in the studio recently to play Chopin and Rachmaninoff--works that show her maturity but haven't tamed her wild streak.
Wild At Heart
(July 18, 2008)
Artists in Exile
Joseph Horowitz has written a new book about immigrant musicians coming to the U.S. It's called Artists in Exile. Horowitz talked with Fred Child recently about the difference between German and Russian composers who came to America, and about the strange but true story of conductor Leopold Stokowski, an American original.
Germans and Russians
(July 9, 2008)
From Deep Purple to Disguises
Jon Lord says he never aspired to be one type of musician--he aspires to be all types of musicians. Lord is keyboardist and founding member of the band Deep Purple whose hits included "Smoke on the Water" and "Hush." All the while Lord was performing in rock bands, he was also composing classical music. Listen to his interview with Fred Child about his newest works: a piano concerto titled "Boom of the Tingling Strings" and "Disguises," a piece for string orchestra.
Boom of the Tingling Strings
(June 26, 2008)
Cypress String Quartet
It's a lucky coincidence that this quartet is based in San Francisco, a place known for its cypress trees. Actually, the ensemble's name comes from a series of Dvorak quartets nicknamed "the Cypresses." The Cypress String Quartet talked with John Birge in our studio and played music of Mozart, Schulhoff, and Dvorak.
From the cello on up
Discovering texture in Dvorak
Watch a preview of the Cypress String Quartet's multi-media performance of "Inspired by America."
(June 3, 2008)
Music and Literature
Through their masterworks, great writers and great composers have inspired and enriched each other for centuries, as they do today. This week, Performance Today explores this perennial love affair with recent performances and insightful interviews from around the country and the world.
Visit the feature page
Pianist Rudolf Buchbinder
When Rudolf Buchbinder was a teenager he'd often accompany his piano teacher to the bars in Vienna where he stretched his musical repertoire past the standard classical canon. Listen as Buchbinder joins Fred Child in the studio for some music by Schubert and Strauss, plus a few highlights from after-hours gig as a teenager.
(May 30, 2008)
Chicago appoints Muti
After a four year search, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra has named Riccardo Muti as its music director. Right after the announcement was made, Fred Child spoke with Steve Lester, bass player for the orchestra and chairman of the Members Committee which selected Muti.
(May 5, 2008)
John Brown, the opera
Conflict over slavery, the Pottwatomie massacre, the raid on Harper's Ferry... historic events that create a dramatic setting for a new opera. Listen to composer/librettist Kirke Mechem describe his new opera, John Brown, which will premiere at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City the first weekend of May.
(May 2, 2008)
German pianist Lars Vogt calls Robert Schumann's Piano Concerto the most important of all the great Romantic concertos. He recently performed it with the Minnesota Orchestra but before the concert Brian Newhouse joined him on stage to discuss what makes this concerto great.
(May 1, 2008)
Farewell Beaux Arts
This fall the Beaux Arts Trio said farewell in an unforgettable last American concert at Tanglewood in Massachussetts. Throughout their final concert tour, the trio sent us audio blogs from each city and PT host Fred Child emceed an exclusive live webcast of the concert. Now the Beaux Arts Trio have graciously given Performance Today permission to share that moving last concert as a free download.
Listen to the concert or download the free podcast on our Beaux Arts Trio feature.
Gao Hong has been a working professional musician since she was 12 years old, playing the Chinese pipa, a traditional instrument similar to a lute. She joined Fred in the studio with Shubhendra Rao on sitar and Biplab Bhattacharya on tabla just days before her Carnegie debut where she played traditional Chinese pipa songs alongside some cross-cultural musical collaborations.
(April 28, 2008)
The Rest Is Noise
Named by the New York Times as one of the ten best books of 2007, Alex Ross's The Rest Is Noise shows us the cultural context and backstory of some of the most important pieces of music written in the 20th Century and the composers who wrote them. Listen to Ross read excerpts from the most talked about musical book of the year.
(April 28, 2008)
Lutenist and composer Ronn MacFarlane talks to Fred Child about MacFarlane's new CD and his transition from playing old music to writing new music.
(April 18, 2008)
Paul Galbraith plays his classical guitar in an unusual manner - more in the position of a cello than a guitar - and what he creates is some marvelous music. He drops by our Maud Moon Weyerhaeuser Studio in St. Paul for a two-part conversation that features music by Mozart, Lennox Berkeley and Bach.
(April 11, 2008)
Our April 1st special feature
An innovative concert hall in Copenhagen has a colorful kid-friendly environment. Fred Child has an audio tour of the new "Koncerthalle I Lego," with 80% of its construction from oversize Lego blocks. Violinist Hilary Hahn and pianist Lang Lang talk about their experience at Lego Hall.
(April 1, 2008)
In studio with Lang Lang
Listen to Fred Child's conversation with Lang Lang as the pianist recalls his recent performance at the Grammy awards with Herbie Hancock and talks about some of the other artists with whom he will be collaborating. Some of their names may surprise you.
(March 25, 2008)
Pianist Imogen Cooper joins Brian Newhouse in the studio to talk about her first public performance of Bach's music. In the second half of the interview, Cooper explores the ever-shifting moods of Franz Schubert
(March 7, 2008)
John Schaefer in Pyongyang
The New York Philharmonic made a historic trip to North Korea this week for the first ever performance by an American orchestra in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The orchestra was accompanied by a large number of international journalists, including John Schaefer from station WNYC in New York City. Fred Child spoke with John in his room at the Yanggakdo International Hotel in Pyongyang right after the concert about his impressions of the music and of this landmark event.
(February 26, 2008)
Violinist Jennifer Frautschi is making her mark on the concert stage with an incredibly wide range of repertoire. She and pianist John Blacklow joined Fred in the studio for conversation and performance.
(February 14, 2008)
Turtle Island String Quartet
The Turtle Island String Quartet is never one to play it safe. On their newest and Grammy nominated CD, A Love Supreme, the group tackles jazz saxophonist John Coltrane's landmark composition, A Love Supreme. Hear them transform the jazz combo into a string quartet in our studios.
(February 7, 2008)
Christopher Theofanidis's composition Muse was recently premiered by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. He talks about the music, it's connection to Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 and a new concerto project with violinist Sarah Chang.
(January 29, 2008)