Special Features Archive
2009 special features from Performance Today
In-studio with Anonymous 4
The women of Anonymous 4 joined PT at the Church of St. Bernard in St. Paul for terrific performances of early English and American carols all written about the Christmas story of the Cherry Tree.
The Cherry Tree
(December 23, 2009)
In-studio with Turtle Island Quartet
They look like a classical quartet, they work as hard as a classical quartet, but they may sound different than any string quartet you've heard before. The Turtle Island Quartet joined Fred in the studio to perform and discuss violinist David Balakrishnan's new piece, Tree of Life. It's a fascinating blend of Beethoven, Indian classical, jazz and nearly every music in between.
Listen to Tree of Life
Each member of Turtle Island came to the quartet from an eclectic musical background. Click on their name to hear their story.
David Balakrishnan, violin
Mads Tolling, violin
Jeremy Kittel, viola
Mark Summer, cello
(December 4, 2009)
In-studio with Lang Lang, David Chan and Hai-Ye Ni
Pianist Lang Lang is a superstar soloist among classical musicians, but that hectic schedule often keeps him from performing chamber music. Until now. Listen to Lang Lang's in-studio chamber performance two other musical powerhouses: concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra David Chan and principal cellist with the Philadelphia Orchestra Hai-Ye Ni.
Tchaikovsky's Piano Trio
(November 20, 2009)
For information about purchasing a CD of the Oslo Chamber Choir please contact the Oslo Chamber Choir.
In studio with the Oslo Chamber Choir
The Oslo Chamber Choir joins host Fred Child in the studio during their American tour. The choir performs some lively traditional Norwegian folk songs as well some haunting arrangements of classical songs by Anton Bruckner, Edvard Grieg and Sergei Rachmaninoff. Those songs have a lingering melancholy which,the choir's conductor, Hakon Daniel Nystedt jokes "is our speciality."
PART I: Grieg and A Wedding March
PART II: Sheep herding songs and Rachmaninoff
(October 28, 2009)
PT listeners responded in droves to "New York Counterpoint," a modern classic by Steve Reich. We often read listener emails on the air, but this time we've shared them with the composer, too. Steve Reich joins Fred to comment on our listener comments, share his thoughts about the piece, and reflect on his own evolution as a composer.
Listen to the interview
(October 26, 2009)
Fleck-Meyer-Hussain Trio in Miami
Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer and Zakir Hussain are musical legends in their own right: on the banjo, on the double bass and on the tabla drum. They come from very different traditions, but these musicians have found some fascinating musical common ground as a trio. Fred Child joined them onstage for a live interview and performance in Miami, Florida. Their visit was hosted by Classical South Florida and made possible by the Rhythm Foundation.
Onstage in Miami
(October 23, 2009)
I'll Be Seeing You
In 2002 composer Paul Moravec wrote a piece inspired by a 1945 photograph of his parents. At the time, the young couple was not yet married and Vince, his father, was on leave from the Navy. They didn't know if they would ever see each other again. Moravec took a few notes from their favorite song, "I'll Be Seeing You", and created a new song inspired by that photograph.
Listen to Vince and Jan: 1945 by Paul Moravec
(October 8, 2009)
In-studio: Pierre-Laurent Aimard
Pierre-Laurent Aimard makes work fun. The pianist joins host Fred Child in the studio to talk about and perform etudes by Claude Debussy. Etudes are studies for the piano, but Aimard reveals their artistic and thoughtful character.
Listen to Aimard's performance
(September 28, 2009)
In Studio: Jorja Fleezanis and Karl Paulnack
A French essayist once said "to teach is to learn twice." Violinist Jorja Fleezanis and pianist Karl Paulnack have each enjoyed the spotlight as professional soloists, but both say teaching is now their calling. They join Fred Child in the studio for musical performances, plus reflections on what they have taught, and learned, in a lifetime of music.
Jorja Fleezanis and Karl Paulnack
(September 4, 2009)
Performance Today remembers music critic, writer and friend Michael Steinberg.
Listen to the Remembrance
Share your own memories of Michael Steinberg or his writings — read other tributes, see slideshows and listen to past interviews at Classical Minnesota Public Radio.
A new way to hear Glass
The critically acclaimed Miró Quartet performs Philip Glass's "String Quartet No. 5" at this year's White Pine Festival with 2009 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award-winner Matthea Harvey reading a new, 5-part poem inspired by and set to the Glass composition. As host of this performance, Fred Child talks with Matthea Harvey and John Largess of the Miró Quartet about their collaboration.
Hear the interview and the debut of the performance.
Read more about the Poetry Radio Project.
Steven Bryant says he practically grew up in the band room so it's only natural that he feels so at home composing for wind ensemble. His new piece, Ecstatic Waters, gives wind players a chance to show off their chops but also presents them with new challenges.
Listen to Ecstatic Waters
(June 26, 2009)
In-Studio: Helen Callus
Helen Callus has set out on a mission: to increase the appreciation of the viola and to introduce audiences to the amazing repertoire written just for this instrument. Helen joins host Fred Child in the studio with her viola and accompanist Tim Lovelace for conversation and beatiful performances from this too often overlooked instrument.
In-studio with Helen Callus
(June 10, 2009)
The Pushcart Prize winning poet G.C. Waldrep is out with a new book titled "Archicembalo." Waldrep trained as a counter-tenor and conductor before turning to poetry. In his new book, he sets out to re-imagine how we hear poems and hopes that his poetry will have the same impact on readers that symphonies have on concertgoers. Read more about G.C. Waldrep.
Waldrep's "album" of poetry
Read more about the Poetry Radio Project.
(June 10, 2009)
End of an Era
After 60 years playing the clarinet in the New York Philharmonic, Stanley Drucker will take his final bow at Avery Fisher Hall. Drucker spoke with guest host Bill Morelock about the beginning of his career, the highlights in New York and what's next.
Stanley Drucker, retiring principal clarinetist
(June 8, 2009)
Growing up in Washington, D.C. in the 1970s, cellist Zuill Bailey was surrounded by strong cello influences, including the great Msitislav Rostropovich. Bailey joins Fred in the studio to talk about how that environment and Bach made him the fine musician he is today.
I play Bach every morning
More Bach by Zuill
(June 2, 2009)
Daedalus In Studio
Watch an exclusive video of the Daedalus String Quartet play Song Without Borders by Steve Heitzeg, recorded in studio on Performance Today.
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, 2009)
Dorian Wind Quintet
At a summer music festival nearly 50 years ago, a group of friends decided to make their wind quintet more permanent. Although the roster has changed over the years, the Dorian Wind Quintet's commitment to great music-making is unwavering. They joined Fred Child in the studio recently for conversation and performance.
Reicha and Variations
(May 26, 2009)
Janacek's Intimate Letters
When composer Leos Janacek was 76 years old, he wrote over 700 love letters in a sudden spark of passion—except that the recipient was 38 years younger and married. As far as we know the relationship was only platonic, but she did inspire Janacek to write one of his most thrilling pieces, a string quartet called "Intimate Letters" just months before his death. Violinist Eugene Drucker talks with Fred about this incredible time at the end of Janacek's life.
(May 19, 2009)
It's been 48 years since Luciano Pavarotti's debut opera performance as Rodolfo in La Boheme at the Teatro Reggio Emilia. To mark the occasion, we hear from poet Tony Hoagland. His poem, "Honda Pavarotti" explores what happens when the high art of opera meets what he calls the "dirty old experience" of life.
(April 28, 2009)
Mr. Tambourine Man
When composer John Corigliano was looking for words to his new song cycle instead of turning to a familiar poet like Dylan Thomas, he turned to a familiar songwriter: Bob Dylan. Listen to Corigliano and soprano Hila Plitman describe how he fit Dylan's famous words to Corigliano's music.
Mr. Tambourine Man
(April 22, 2009)
2009 Pulitzer Prize
Steve Reich has been awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for music for his composition Double Sextet, played by eighth blackbird and Oberlin College Contemporary Music Ensemble. Fred Child talked to the composer right after Reich received the news.
Reich wins the Pulitzer
(April 21, 2009)
Before he was sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp, Marcel Tyberg gave all of his musical scores to one of his piano students. More than fifty years after Tyberg died in the Holocaust, that young piano student gave the music to conductor JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. They recently presented the world premiere of Tyberg's Symphony No. 3, finally giving voice to a composer who never heard his masterpiece performed.
Interview with JoAnn Falletta
(April 17, 2009)
Roberto Plano, piano
Italian pianist Roberto Plano could live in a bustling city like Milan or Rome where he has easy access to airports and concert halls that are a necessary part of a performing career. But, unlike most professional musicians, Plano has instead chosen the quiet serenity of a small Italian village. However there is nothing in his playing that is quiet or timid. Listen to Roberto Plano's in-studio performance and interview with Fred Child
Difficult and transcendental etude
Music inspired by Dante
(April 16, 2009)
Is instrument piercing a valid new form of self-expression for young musicians? Or a kind of musical desecration? Fred Child talks with members of Brooklyn Rider, guitarist Sharon Isbin and violinist Rachel Barton Pine about their connection to this controversial trend.
Self-expression or musical desecration?
(April 1, 2009)
A Tribute to Bill Holm
On Tuesday, April 14th Performance Today's Fred Child will host a tribute to Bill Holm, the poet, essayist and lover of music who died this past February. From Robert Bly to Holm's beloved Bach, the evening will feature stories and music from artists who were friends with, or inspired by Bill Holm.
Find out more about the show
Discover more about Bill Holm
Seven Last Words: Music and Poetry for Good Friday
In 1785 Josef Haydn wrote a chamber work based on what the Bible says were the seven last words spoken by Christ on the cross. That music has been used in Good Friday religious services ever since. In 2005, a Minnesota church asked poet Michael Dennis Browne to prepare poetry readings to accompany Haydn's music. Instead, he wrote his own poems. Browne came to our studio to read his collection.
Read and listen to "Seven Last Voices."
(April 10, 2009)
Guitarist Sharon Isbin is a living legend among classical guitarists and for her there is a thread that runs through the tapestry of almost all classical guitar music: folk music. Isbin recently sat down to talk with Fred Child about her new album, Journey to the New World, that traces the evolution of folk music from English lute tunes to songs that Joan Baez made popular in the 1960s to contemporary folk tunes composed by violinist Mark O'Connor.
Isbin's Folk Inspiration
(March 30, 2009)
Live @ Nietzsche's: Cellist Matt Haimovitz
Cellist Matt Haimovitz is making a point of playing classical music not just in concert halls, but in pubs and bars. His goal is to bring classical music to audiences you might never hear it otherwise. We caught up with Matt after a concert at a club called Nietzsche's in Buffalo, New York.
Why play here?
(March 27, 2009)
Remembering Marian Anderson
Seventy years ago this spring contralto Marian Anderson performed a historic concert at the Lincoln Memorial after she was denied performing at Constitution Hall because she was black. Fred recently talked with Bruce Adolphe, who has composed a new opera about Anderson, and her nephew, conductor James DePreist, about this remarkable woman.
DePreist recalls Constitution Hall
Adolphe on Anderson's favorite critic, her cat
(March 18, 2009)
Conductor and Poet
James DePreist was a on a State Department visit to Thailand when he decided that music—one of the great passions of his life—would become his career. DePreist went on to conduct many of the major orchestras in the United States and the world, but in the last few years, he has discovered another great passion: writing poetry. Listen to his interview about the confluence of music and poetry.
Conductor and Poet
(March 12, 2009)
Beautiful Trio: Harp, Viola and Flute
While this group has only three musicians, the sounds those three can make together sound like so many more instruments. Harpist Yolanda Kondonassis, violist Cynthia Phelps and flutist Joshua Smith join Fred Child in the studio to play music inspired by nature composed by Toru Takemitsu and Claude Debussy.
What sets this trio apart?
From France to Japan
(February 27, 2009)
A Great Time to Be A Composer
Composer Ken Frazelle says with the confluence and intermingling of genres of music he can't think of a better time in history to be a composer. In 2008 the Music@Menlo Festival commissioned him to write a new piano trio. Listen to the entire piano trio played by pianists Jeffrey Kahane, violinist Joseph Swenson and cellist David Finckel.
Listen to Piano Trio (2008)
(February 27, 2009)
The music in Jane Hirshfield's language
The February 16th issue of the The New Yorker magazine published a poem inspired by the music by Gustav Mahler. Poet Jane Hirshfield was at Carnegie Hall, and after having just been on stage herself, she found herself listening to Mahler's Symphony No. 5 and seeing the performance with new eyes. She read "French Horn" and talked with Fred Child about the experience.
(February 23, 2009)
When Haydn established the string quartet 250 years ago, he probably never would have seen ETHEL coming, but he would be thrilled to know they exist. Listen to the live, in-studio performance of ETHEL, the string quartet that writes most of their own music and draws upon all musical styles, from classical to funk to "Navajo death metal."
What's a String Quartet?
What would Beethoven Think?
(February 19, 2009)
Lincoln and Lilacs
When Abraham Lincoln died in 1865, Walt Whitman wrote a poem in his memory called "When
Lilacs Last in Dooryard Bloom'd" 80 years later, after the death of another president, Franklin
Delano Roosevelt, Paul Hindemith set Whitman's poem to music. Elizabeth Alexander, a professor
at Yale University and President Obama's inaugural poet discusses the music of Whitman's poem,
the poet's relationship with Lincoln, and what artists have to offer in times of great national tragedy.
You can find out more about Walt Whitman and Elizabeth Alexander at the Poetry Foundation.
Alexander on Lincoln
(February 12, 2009)
Amelia Piano Trio
Why must I be a teenager in love? That's what Dmitri Shostakovich said when he was 18, but rather than crooning he wrote a piano trio. Listen as the Amelia Piano Trio joins Fred Child in the studio to play Shostakovich's very romantic teenage composition as well heartbreaking music by Chopin.
Amelia Piano Trio
(February 11, 2009)
Bach vs. Bach
Pianist Hélène Grimaud has been a major talent in the classical music world for the last twenty years, and yet for all of her solo performances with orchestras, solo recitals and 10 recordings, she has never performed the music of J.S. Bach. Until now. Listen to Fred Child's conversation with Grimaud about her newest album featuring the music of Bach alongside transcriptions of his music by other famous composers.
(February 5, 2009)
In 2005 Simone Dinnerstein's career was launched into orbit with her debut recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations. Dinnerstein joins Fred in the studio to play Bach's French Suite No. 5 and a new work by Philip Lasser inspired by Bach. She'll also talk about how celebrity has changed her as a musician and as a mother.
(February 5, 2009)