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Features Archive

Past features from Performance Today


Cicely Parnas
Cicely Parnas

Meet Performance Today's Young Artist in Residence.

More >>

(December, 2011)


In studio with Anderson & Roe
In studio with Anderson & Roe

What has two heads, four arms, twenty fingers and more than four million hits on YouTube? The Anderson & Roe piano duo. They host Fred Child in the studio to play old (Mozart) and new (Michael Jackson) classics and talk about their signature music videos, now online sensations.

Anderson and Roe play Rachmaninoff and Piazzolla



Anderson and Roe play Mozart and Michael Jackson



(November, 2011)


In studio with Shai Wosner and Steven Copes
In studio with Shai Wosner and Steven Copes

Violinist Steven Copes is concertmaster of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Pianist Shai Wosner has a busy solo career. They join host Fred Child in the PT studio to discover not only the struggle, but the fun in Beethoven's Violin Sonata No. 4.

Shai Wosner and Steven Copes
(November, 2011)


Hilary Hahn and Charles Ives
Hilary Hahn and Charles Ives

Violinist Hilary Hahn has played some of the most difficult, virtuosic music ever written for her instrument, but when attempted to play the simple-sounding sonatas of American composer Charles Ives, she was stumped. After some diligent rehearsal and about a year of playing these sonatas in recitals, Hilary Hahn has recorded Ives' sonatas on a new CD. She talked with host Fred Child about what makes Ives so hard.

Hilary Hahn and Charles Ives
(October, 2011)


In Studio with Alessio Bax
In Studio with Alessio Bax

Piano competitions are practically the soap operas of classical music--new alliances, old grudges, a desire to stop at almost nothing to win. But pianist Alessio Bax had an entirely different experience. In fact, he met his wife at a piano competition. Bax joins host Fred Child in the studio to perform music by Brahms and Rachmaninoff and talk about what it's like to share an apartment with his toughest, kindest critic.

Part 1
Part 2
(October, 2011)


In studio with Johannes String Quartet
In studio with Johannes String Quartet

When the Johannes String Quartet began, all four musicians lived in Philadelphia. Since then, the musicians have scattered across the country but the quartet remains a constant in their lives. The quartet joined host Fred Child in the studio to play a tempermental quartet by Beethoven and talk about the importance of the musical temperments of each of the four voices in the ensemble.

In studio with Johannes String Quartet

The Johannes String Quartet also recorded an EXCLUSIVE web-only performance of a piece they commissioned. It's called Homunculus by Esa-Pekka Salonen.

Homunculus by Esa-Pekka Salonen
(October, 2011)


Charlie Albright
Charlie Albright

Meet Performance Today's Young Artist in Residence. Listen to Charlie Albright's in-studio interviews with host Fred Child and exclusive performances.

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The Art of Practice
The Art of Practice

We hear remarkable performances on PT, but so much of a musician's time is spent off-stage, doing something dramatically less glamorous: practicing. Professional musicians invited host Fred Child and producer Michael Raphael into their homes and music studios to lift the curtain on how they turn repetitive scales into beautiful melodies.

Jeffrey Kahane

Past Practicing Musicians:

Julia Bogorad-Kogan
David Grossman
Clancy Newman
Simone Dinnerstein
Manny Laureano
Jonathan Haas
Anthony McGill
Gil Shaham
Daniel Matsukawa
(October, 2011)


New Music from the SONiC Festival
New Music from the SONiC Festival

The phrase "Sounds Of a New Century" is neatly compacted into its name "SONiC", but the music at this festival is anything but easy-to-define. For nine October days in New York City, the SONiC Festival features music by a young generation of composers who are willfully ignoring distinctions between classical, jazz, pop, and rock. The festival opened with five world premieres at Carnegie Hall. We have each premiere performance in its entirety. George Manahan conducts the American Composers Orchestra.

Christopher Stark: ...and start west
Andreia Pinto-Correia: Elegia a Al-Mu'tamid
Alex Temple: Liebeslied (Mellissa Hughes, soprano and electronics)
Wang Lu: Flowing Water Study II
Kenji Bunch: The Devil's Box (Kenji Bunch, amplified viola)


Perlman opens up about polio
Perlman opens up about polio

Before he was "The Violinist Itzhak Perlman," he was a four-year old kid who lost use of his legs to polio. Perlman sits down with host Fred Child to talk about the disability and how he overcame perceptions of his disability to become one of the great classical musicians of our time. Perlman is currently working with Rotary International on the 'This Close' campaign to eradicate polio.

Perlman opens up about polio
(October, 2011)

Shofar Concerto
Shofar Concerto

An important part of Rosh Hashanah is the sounding of the shofar, a horn often made from a ram's horn, meant to awaken the soul. In 2008 composer Meira Warshauer wrote a concerto for shofar and trombone called Tekeeyah, hoping the music could awaken the soul in all who heard it.

Listen to the concerto
(September, 2011)

Susan Graham Download
Free Download of Susan Graham recital!
Mezzo Soprano Susan Graham is one of the world's foremost opera and recital stars, a compelling and versatile singing actress. Enjoy the incredible Susan Graham in recital with Malcolm Martineau, Piano. Works by Chaubriet, Bizet, Franck, Fauré, and more!
Download the concert for free.


Thomas Hampson's 'Song of America'
Free Download of Thomas Hampson's 'Song of America' recital!
Thomas Hampson chose America's heartland - specifically Minnesota's bluff country - to kick off his Song of America tour. He gave a spectacular recital from three centuries of song at the Minnesota Beethoven Festival in Winona.
Download the concert for free.

Live from Berlin
Live from Berlin

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra performs Mahler's Symphony No. 5 from the Berlin Philharmonie. From the opening solo trumpet proclamation to the final symphonic flourish and a breadth of landscapes in between, watch the complete video footage from that evening.
Watch the video
(September, 2011)

Edgar Meyer, live from AspenEdgar Meyer, live from Aspen

The great double bass player Edgar Meyer joined host Fred Child onstage at the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado for a live performance and interview in front of the Aspen audience. Meyer played one of his own compositions called "Barnyard Disturbance", music that is a lot like the composer: a little funky, a little playful and seriously virtuosic.
Barnyard Disturbance
(August, 2011)

2010 Features
2009 Features
2008 Features
2007 Features
Copland RevisitedCopland Revisited
In April, 1939 Aaron Copland conducted musicians playing his incidental music in a dress rehearsal for a play. The play never opened and Copland worried his career in the theater "had been a flop." Ten years later, he arranged the music into a concert piece called Quiet City, which today is one of his best-loved works. But what ever happened to original incidental music? Saxophonist Christopher Brellochs recently came across Copland's unpublished score and sheds light on the original Quiet City.
Christopher Brellochs

(August, 2011)

In studio with Zoe Keating
In studio with Zoe Keating
Terrible stage fright briefly ended cellist Zoe Keating's classical music career. Then she decided to explore a different route. In merging technology and composition, Keating has created a cello orchestra that has taken her down new creative paths. She joins host Fred Child in the studio to play Beethoven and her own piece, Escape Artist.
Zoe Keating

(June, 2011)

In studio with Gabriel Kahane
In studio with Gabriel Kahane
When pianist, singer and composer Gabriel Kahane came by the PT studios, he was largely known as the son of classical pianist and conductor Jeffrey Kahane. Since then, his career has skyrocketed with commissions from Los Angeles Philharmonic and cellist Alisa Weilerstein, among others. Kahane joined host Fred Child in the studio to play two of his own compositions and talk about his favorite musician, his father Jeffrey.
Gabriel Kahane

(June, 2011)

In studio with Quartet New Generation
2012/02/02/20120202_qng_11.jpg In studio with Quartet New Generation
Many of us remember playing a plastic recorder in music class in elementary school. Now erase that memory of the flimsy, plastic instrument. The German ensemble Quartet New Generation plays a wide variety of wooden recorders that vary is size and sound. QNG recently joined host Fred Child in the studio to play new and old music built for this incredibly versatile instrument.
Quartet New Generation

(June, 2011)

Orchestra of St. Luke's
Orchestra of St. Luke's
New York's Orchestra of St. Luke's had never had its own home. That's all changed, with the opening of the new DiMenna Center for Classical Music in New York City, a space dedicated to rehearsing and recording and education. As part of the hall's inaugural, PT host Fred Child was there for a very special onstage event, music and conversation with conductor Ivan Fischer and the Orchestra of St. Luke's.
Part 1
Part 2

(May, 2011)

My St. Matthew Passion
My St. Matthew Passion
In 1962, when film cinematographer Rob Hahn was 9 years old, he performed Bach's St. Matthew Passion at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Bernstein. He calls the experience life changing. Here Hahn talks about the man who wore a sweatshirt with Bach on the front and how this music continues to play a role in his life.
Rob Hahn

(April, 2011)

On stage with Alisa Weilerstein
On stage with Alisa Weilerstein
Cellist Alisa Weilerstein never holds back. Audiences love her because she performs with such unbridled passion, but neither does she hold back when talking about her love of music. Host Fred Child joins Weilerstein on stage at the Virginia Arts Festival for a conversation about Bach, growing up the child of professional musicians and her favorite teacher, "Radio Audience." She also plays music by Osvaldo Golijov and Bach.
Alisa Weilerstein

(April, 2011)

Beethoven Discovery
Beethoven Discovery
A major artifact that belonged to Beethoven has just been discovered: his favorite nightshirt. Sketched on the sleeve are music notes that are the key to performing an unpublished sonata. Listen as host Fred Child sees the nightshirt and pianist Stephen Hough plays this long lost musical gem.
Beethoven Discovery

(April, 2011)

Roberto Plano's Toy Piano
Roberto Plano's Toy Piano
Italian pianist Roberto Plano's first instrument was a tiny red and white toy piano. Plano taught himself to play, plunking out melodies with one finger. You can listen to the grown-up Plano on the March 25th show.
Plano on piano

(March, 2011)

In studio with Anton Kuerti
In studio with Anton Kuerti
Canadian pianist Anton Kuerti joins host Fred Child in the studio to play music of Beethoven, a composer whom Kuerti says he imagines watching him perform, saying, "play it better, play it better!" And he does.
In studio with Anton Kuerti

(March, 2011)

In studio with Imani Winds
In studio with Imani Winds
There are wind quintets and then there are the Imani Winds. These five musicians are passionate about commissioning new classical wind quintets, often from non-classical composers, and stretching the boundaries of what is classical music and where it can happen. The Imani Winds joined host Fred Child in the studio for three brand new pieces, each with a rich story behind him.
Listen to the conversation

(February, 2011)

An Opera Love Story
An Opera Love Story
Kimberly and Carmen Muni met as young opera singers starring in a summer production of Il Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo. Like the characters they played, Kim and Carmen came from different worlds--she was a Southern belle and he was from a first-generation Italian family. The Munis explained to producer Britta Conroy-Randall how opera became the glue that has stuck them together for over 30 years.
An Opera Love Story

(February, 2011)

A Cold Freezin' Night (for Doomed Lovers)
A Cold Freezin' Night (for Doomed Lovers)
They didn't know if they would make it, but they went anyways. Phyllis Rosenzweig Gertzis recalls one of the most memorable nights of her marriage, when she and her ailing husband ventured out in a snowstorm to go to the Metropolitan Opera. This story was produced by her granddaughter, Andrea Silenzi, a producer at KCUR in Kansas City. It was one of the winners of the 2010 Third Coast Audio Festival Short Docs.
A Cold Freezin' Night

(February, 2011)

In studio with Kirill Gerstein
In studio with Kirill Gerstein
Pianist Kirill Gerstein began his musical career as a jazz pianist, but after a couple summers at the Tanglewood Festival, he switched to classical music. Gerstein talks with host Fred Child about that choice and plays three classical pieces, one written exclusively for him.
Fred Child talks with Kirill Gerstein

(February, 2011)

Music for Theater
Music for Theater
Composer Adam Wernick didn't set out to write music for theatrical productions, but it soon found him. Listen to excerpts from Wernick's score for The Guthrie Theater's production of The Winter's Tale as Wernick describes the difference between writing incidental music for theater and concert music.
Music for Theater

(February, 2011)

WarnerNuzova
WarnerNuzova
American cellist Wendy Warner and Russian pianist Irina Nuzova are a study in contrasts, but they share one important interest: Russian music for cello and piano. Warner and Nuzova joined host Fred Child in the studio to discuss their very different but very personal connections to this music and to perform works by Scriabin, Miaskovsky and Rachmaninoff.
Watch WarnerNuzova perform Scriabin

(January, 2011)

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)

Transformations