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Special Features Archive

Past special features from Performance Today


PT's Artists in Residence
PT's Artists in Residence
The nine men of Cantus will join host Fred Child for a special four-concert residency. They'll give PT listeners a behind the scenes glimpse at how the ensemble chooses their music and how they prepare it without a conductor. The singers will also perform wide-ranging repertoire, everything from classical music to folk music to even a pop song or two.
Giving Thanks

(November, 2010)

PT at Aspen
PT at Aspen
This summer PT broadcast live from the Aspen Music Festival and School, one of the biggest and most venerated summer music institutions. See and hear why this festival, at 8,000 feet, is at the highest caliber. See images and listen to additional audio.

(August, 2010)

PT at the Marlboro Music Festival
PT at the Marlboro Music Festival
In July Performance Today visited the legendary Marlboro Music Festival in Marlboro, Vermont. See images and listen to audio from host Fred Child's visit.

(July, 2010)

In studio with Midori and Robert McDonald
In studio with Midori and Robert McDonald
Most violinists would be thrilled with Midori's performance calendar, appearing as a soloist in the great concert halls of the world. But Midori wanted more. Listen to her conversation with Fred Child about her musical outreach programs to children around the world which, she says, train kids to not just be great musicians but great kids. Midori is joined by pianist Robert McDonald to play music by Brahms, Hindemith and Kreisler.
Midori plays music by Bach and Brahms
Midori plays music by Hindemith and Kreisler
(July 12, 2010)

Photo: #My Dear Spiering: I am sitting here in Munich and am rehearsing to the utmost of my strength on my Eighth Symphony. I miss you very much. The concertmaster is fair, but without any deeper understanding and has no influence on the orchestra. I hope that I shall see you here in September. I have received no news from America. As you know, due to my insisting, a good manager has been engaged, but to my displeasure he has suggested and arranged 65 concerts for the season. He maintains that without this increase in concerts he will not be able to insure a financial success. I asked for a small increase of my salary, on account of the added amount of work. My contract only calls for 45 concerts. My request however, was not granted by the committee, so I shall just have to abide by my contract. I have submitted my decision to the committee, but have heard nothing since then. I greet you heartily and thank your wife for her dear lines. I hope that I shall meet her this year. My wife also sends hearty greetings. Mahler
Letters from Mahler
The Schubert Club — a highly regarded performing arts organization in St. Paul, Minnesota — owns a rare trove of composer documents as part of its Gilman Ordway Manuscript Collection. The collection includes several letters written by Gustav Mahler to his newly-appointed New York Philharmonic concertmaster Theodore Spiering. Mahler had hired Spiering himself, and in the letters discusses programming, soloists, and musical needs, as well as his thoughts about numbers of concerts, salary, and musicians.
View full slideshow (12 total images)
(July, 2010)

In studio with Joyce Yang
In studio with Joyce Yang
Pianist Joyce Yang says Robert Schumann is a composer who follows his passions wherever they take him. One minute his music sounds like enjoying a gourmet dinner, she says, and the next minute he's eating a brownie. Listen to Fred's conversation with Yang about Schumann and her performance of Carnaval.
Schumann without boundaries
(June 10, 2010)

Cameron Carpenter, organist
Cameron Carpenter, organist
Cameron Carpenter is a young American organist who wows his audiences with every aspect of his performance, from his flashy technique to his custom-made costumes and sparkly shoes. He sat down with host Fred Child for music and conversation recently, on location in Mahtomedi, Minnesota.
Listen to the conversation
(June 2, 2010)

In-studio with the YL Choir
In-studio with the YL Choir
Warning: The male voices of the Finnish Ylioppilaskunnan Laulajat Choir (the YL Choir for short) might just rattle the rafters. Host Fred Child sits down with conductor Matti Hyokki on stage at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis to talk about the history of the choir and listen to them perform music.
Listen to the YL Choir
(May 13, 2010)

In studio with Shai Wosner
In studio with Shai Wosner
We've long appreciated the beautiful notes that composer Franz Schubert wrote nearly 200 years ago, but pianist Shai Wosner says we should pay more attention to the way Schubert composed silence. Wosner joins host Fred Child in the studio to play music by Schubert and talk about his brilliance.
Piano Sonata in A Major, D. 664
Moment Musical
(May 13, 2010)

In studio with Pekka Kuusisto
In studio with Pekka Kuusisto
Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto is trained as a classical musician, but he says as a performer living in the 21st Century, he has to be aware of all of the music influences around him. That's why you'll hear him also play jazz, folk music, even some experimental music for electric violin.
Listen to the conversation
(May 7, 2010)

In-studio with Anonymous 4
In-studio with Anonymous 4
The four female voices of Anonymous 4 join host Fred Child to take you into the world of the sisterhood of Las Huelgas, a convent for the nobility in nothern Spain in the 13th Century. When the sisters weren't fulfilling church duties, they wrote and sang music that shows suprising sophistication.
Listen to the music of Las Huelgas
(April 29, 2010)

In studio with Barthold Kuijken
In studio with Barthold Kuijken
It's not that the Baroque flute fell out of fashion, says flutist Barthold Kuijken. It just adapted to fit the new needs of a large orchestra. Kuijken joins Fred Child in the studio to play the Baroque music that he feels people now need to hear. Flutist Emmanuel Davis also performs.
Listen to their performance
(April 22, 2010)

2009 Features
2008 Features
2007 Features
Eric Whitacre, composer
Eric Whitacre, composer
One of the most popular American choral composers today stopped by the PT studios recently to talk about what it means to be a famous composer, what vowels are perfect for choirs to sing and to listen to the music that has charted the path of his career.
Listen to the conversation
Watch the Virtual Choir perform Whitacre's Lux Aurumque
(April 16, 2010)

In-studio with Ravi and Anoushka Shankar
In-studio with Ravi and Anoushka Shankar
Ravi Shankar turned 90 years old this year. In 2005, Ravi and Anoushka Shankar joined Fred Child in NPR's Studio 4A to talk about the Guru's remarkable life in music. Ravi gave an introduction to Indian music for Western listeners and Anoushka played some Indian music on sitar.
Listen to their conversation
(April 7, 2010)

Daniel Hope's Next Big Adventure
Daniel Hope's Next Big Adventure
The days are gone when classical musicians are confined to the concert hall. Lots of artists play in non-standard concert spaces these days. Hear how violinist Daniel Hope is going beyond even that, and is currently in training for his latest project, a private concert at a most unusual venue. Fred Child is on location in California to bring us the details.
Listen
(April 1, 2010)

In-studio with Murray Perahia
In-studio with Murray Perahia
How many kids from the Bronx grow up to be made an honorary Knight Commander of the British Empire? About as many kids that become pianists with legendary international careers. Just one. Pianist Murray Perahia joins Fred Child in NPR's Studio 4A to talk about Bach, Chopin and what Chopin learned from Bach.
Listen to the conversation
(March 29, 2010)

In-studio with Adam Neiman
In-studio with Adam Neiman
Pianist and composer Adam Neiman is one of the more creative musicians performing right now. Neiman joined Fred from NPR's studio 4A in Washington DC to talk about performing on and writing music for piano.
Listen to their conversation
(March 15, 2010)

Celebrating Chopin
Celebrating Chopin
Performance Today presents a one-hour special hosted by Brian Newhouse, featuring Grammy award winning pianist Garrick Ohlsson performing from a little village near Warsaw, Poland - the birthplace of Frederic Chopin. The concert was given, and our broadcast distributed nationally, on March 1, the exact anniversary of Chopin's birth 200 years ago. Ohlsson plays the recital on Chopin's own 1848 Pleyel piano.
Listen to the entire program

Download individual audio (right click and save)
Polonaise in A major, Op. 40 No. 1 (3:59)
Polonaise in C minor, Op. 40 No. 2 (6:00)
Ballade No. 3 in Ab major, Op.47 (7:42)
Scherzo in E major, Op. 54 (11:21)
Mazurka in C sharp minor, Op. 50 No. 3 (4:43)
Waltz in E flat major, op. 18 (5:26)
Polonaise in A flat major, Op. 53 (6:32)
(March 2, 2010)

Conversation with Rob Kapilow
What Makes Chopin Great?
As celebrate the 200th anniversary of Chopin's birth this year, PT commentator Rob Kapilow asks, "What makes him great?" and finds the answer in Chopin's Mazurka Op. 17, No. 4.
Listen to their conversation
(March 1, 2010)

Handel's Messiah
Handel's Messiah
View the original draft of Handel's score for The Messiah, as well as other famous original scores, at the the British Library Board website.
(March, 2010)

In-studio with Hilary Hahn and Orion Weiss
In-studio with Hilary Hahn and Orion Weiss
Violinist Hilary Hahn is one of the great soloists of our time, but it turns out she plays quite well with others, too. Hahn joined Fred in the studios of WQXR in New York to talk about musical collaborations on her new CD Bach: Violin and Voice and performed Hungarian folk songs with friend and pianist Orion Weiss.
Listen to their conversation
(February 18, 2010)

Philip Glass
Get to Know Philip Glass
Hear extended portions of Fred Child's conversation with Philip Glass and violinist Maria Bachmann, from a recent concert with the composer, Trio Solisti, and the Glass Chamber Players at Caspary Auditorium on the campus of Manhattan's Rockefeller University.
Violin Sonata's beginning and evolution
From Symphony to Sextet
Glass Sextet and the Art of Hearing
Schubert and Glass share a birthday
On the edge of listening
Glass on his own voice and others'
The generation that started music over
My music is theatre music
(January 28, 2010)

Karim Al-Zand
Visions from Another World
Canadian-American composer Karim Al-Zand has written a fantastical piece based on a set of drawings by 19th century French caricaturist and cartoonist J.J. Grandville. It's called "Visions from Another World," and each movement is based on a different Grandville drawing. Our January 7th show features the world premiere of the piece. See Grandville's original drawings.
(January, 2010)