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Performance Today homepage
Nov 29
Nov 28
Dvorak
When Antonin Dvorak lived in Bohemia, he wrote music that sounded Bohemian. And for the brief time he lived in America, he wrote American-sounding music, and encouraged American composers to do the same. Today we'll hear a performance of Dvorak's "New World" symphony featuring the Cleveland Orchestra, led by conductor Franz Welser-Most.
Nov 27
Thanksgiving turkey
Today's show features lots of great American music and performances, from Barber's Violin Concerto to the beloved American tune, "Shenandoah." Plus, we'll have a performance of Beethoven's Sixth Symphony, with its depictions of thankful celebrations. Whether you're busy fixing the turkey, or just relaxing with loved ones, make Performance Today part of your Thanksgiving holiday.
Nov 26
Strauss
Today marks the Performance Today debut of Houston's River Oaks Chamber Orchestra. Conductor JoAnn Falletta leads them in a recent performance of Richard Strauss' suite, "The Bourgeois Gentleman." Written for a play by Moliere, it's music about a commoner who aspires to join the nobility. Strauss manages to make fun of both along the way.
Nov 25
Robert Schumann
It may not be spring, at least in this hemisphere, but today you can get a taste of it. We'll feature a performance of Robert Schumann's "Spring" symphony from the Music Academy of the West. Normally depressed and anxious, Schumann wrote this sunny work at a time when he was blissfully, if only briefly, happy.
Nov 24
Igor Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky borrowed all of the tunes from his ballet, "Pulcinella," from Italian music of the eighteenth century. But he put his own musical fingerprints on it. It's a delightful mix of old and new. We'll go to New York to hear a performance of the "Pulcinella" Suite by the New York Philharmonic.
Nov 22
A wonderful young piano trio called Trio Con Brio Copenhagen stopped by our studios recently for a visit. They sat down for an interview with host Fred Child and performed some inspired chamber music by Ravel and Smetana. Plus, we'll hear Wagner's overture to "The Flying Dutchman" from this year's Aspen Music Festival.
Nov 21
Grieg
The first hour of our show features the music of Scandinavia. We'll hear music from Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, culminating in the monumental piano concerto by Edvard Grieg. Grieg hailed from the lovely town of Bergen, Norway, and we'll hear pianist Andre Watts perform Grieg's concerto with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra.
Nov 20
A wonderful young piano trio called Trio Con Brio Copenhagen stopped by our studios recently for a visit. They sat down for an interview with host Fred Child and performed some inspired chamber music by Ravel and Smetana. Plus, we'll hear Wagner's overture to "The Flying Dutchman" from this year's Aspen Music Festival.
Nov 19
Composer Alexander Borodin didn't quit his day job. He was a chemist, and his work led to some important inventions. In his spare time, he composed great music. Today we'll feature some great chemistry between the French National Orchestra and conductor Tugan Sokhiev, in a performance of Borodin's second symphony from Paris.
Nov 18
William Walton
William Walton wrote his first symphony while he was in a turbulent romantic relationship. His girlfriend jilted him, and Walton poured his anger and heartbreak into his first symphony. The symphony ends on a happy note, after Walton met a new love. We'll hear the final two movements of the symphony by the Philadelphia Orchestra and conductor Simon Rattle.
Nov 17
Los Romeros
Today's show features performers and composers with interesting family ties to one another. From brother and sister Gil and Orli Shaham, to father-in-law and son-in-law Antonin Dvorak and Josef Suk, to cousins (by marriage) Mozart and Weber, to the guitar-playing Romero family. It's all in the family, on Performance Today.
Nov 15
Los Romeros
Nov 14
Leonard Bernstein
The phone rang early on a Sunday morning. The conductor of the New York Philharmonic was sick, and the assistant conductor was asked to step in. Never mind that the assistant had a bad hangover, and there was no time to rehearse the orchestra. It was 65 years ago today that the young Leonard Bernstein's career was launched.
Nov 13
Pianist Angela Hewitt just got back from a 14-month all-Bach world tour. She travelled to 25 countries in that time, and performed for thousands. She took a little time off the tour to play concerts in London, including more Bach. Not one to rest for long, Hewitt is already back on the road again, playing an all-Beethoven concert in Italy.
Nov 12
Anton Bruckner
We know Anton Bruckner mostly as a composer of the large scale - enormous symphonies with lots of brass and lots of volume. You'll hear that in today's show, and you'll hear the intimate Bruckner as well. We'll feature part of a string quintet and the final two movements of his fourth symphony.
Nov 11
Vietnam Memorial
Composer James "Kimo" Williams went to Vietnam in 1970, and served there for a year. Like many vets, he had a hard time adjusting to life when he got home. He composed "Symphony for the Sons of Nam" as a way to help him deal with the war. Today's show features a performance of his symphony by the Chicago Sinfonietta.
Nov 10
Most people don't think of performing classical music as a life or death proposition. But pianist Jonathan Biss does. He talks about pouring blood, sweat and tears into his performances, in order to do justice to the composer and the music. Today we'll hear Biss performing Beethoven's second piano concerto with the Swedish Radio Symphony.
Nov 8
John Adams' opera, "Doctor Atomic," just received its New York debut at the Metropolitan Opera. It's the story of Dr. Robert Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Project, which led to the creation of the atom bomb. We'll feature music from the opera and interviews with Adams and baritone Gerald Finley, who portrays Oppenheimer in the Met production.
Nov 7
John Adams' opera, "Doctor Atomic," just received its New York debut at the Metropolitan Opera. It's the story of Dr. Robert Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Project, which led to the creation of the atom bomb. We'll feature music from the opera and interviews with Adams and baritone Gerald Finley, who portrays Oppenheimer in the Met production.
Nov 6
Ocean Sea Water
The sound of the wind across the water, the play of light on the waves, the shifting, undulating nature of a watery world. It's all there in Claude Debussy's "La Mer," his dramatic depiction of the sea. It's the ultimate in water music, and today we'll feature a performance of Debussy's masterpiece by the Radio France Philharmonic.
Nov 5
Last week, the National Endowment for the Arts honored four individuals with lifetime achievement awards. Soprano Leontyne Price, conductor James Levine, composer Carlisle Floyd and arts administrator Richard Gaddes were honored for their work in opera. We'll feature performances by Price and Levine and hear some of Floyd's music on today's show.
Nov 4
Flag
On today's show we'll feature performances from cities that John McCain and Barack Obama have called home. We'll have performances from Phoenix, Chicago, and the city where both have lived and worked lately - Washington, D.C. And to prove that Performance Today is as neutral as the Swiss, we'll feature a performance by the Zurich Chamber Orchestra.
Nov 3
Planets Moon Sun Outerspace
The ancients believed that the movement of the sun, moon, stars and planets was actually a form of music. They called it "musica universalis," or "music of the spheres." Today we'll prove them right by serving up some heavenly music about heavenly bodies - the stars, the moon and the planets.
Nov 1
When the Washington National Cathedral approached him to write a new work, Dominick Argento said no. He was grieving the death of his wife, and was done composing. They persisted, suggesting he write a memorial for his wife. The result was "Evensong - Of Love and Angels." Today we'll go to the premiere performance of Argento's loving tribute to his wife.