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Performance Today homepage
Feb 28
Feb 27
Today's show features five world premieres. But only one of the works is actually new. Historians and musicologists are still discovering works by Felix Mendelssohn and Baroque composer Johann Friedrich Fasch. We'll hear modern-day premieres of their works. Plus one honest-to-goodness world premiere, a piano trio by Kenneth Frazelle from last year's Music@Menlo festival in California.
Feb 26
She's over 40 now, and her age was beginning to show. So Alice got a face lift recently. It took two years and about $160 million, but the results are smashing. Today we'll visit the newly-renovated Alice Tully Hall in New York City to hear last Sunday's grand re-opening concert. We'll hear from Hesperion XXI and the Juilliard Orchestra, under the direction of David Robertson.
Feb 25
Till Fellner
For a musician, hearing is everything. If Beethoven was alive now, he could attest to that. It's tempting to speculate whether modern medicine could have helped Beethoven overcome his deafness. Doctors were unable to help Austrian pianist Till Fellner, who suffered a temporary hearing problem in 2005. The malady, a bad case of tinnitus, got better on its own. On today's show, Fellner plays one of Beethoven's piano sonatas in Washington, D.C.
Feb 24
Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Carnival. Call it what you want, it's just one big party in many cities around the world. We'll celebrate the day by featuring performances of Briccialdi's "The Carnival of Venice" and Stravinsky's "Petrushka." Plus, we'll hear from Brazil's Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra, on tour in Florida.
Feb 23
We all hear with our ears, but there's a small minority of people who seem to hear with their eyes too. They see colors when they hear music. It's called synesthesia. Hour two of today's show is all about the phenomenon, featuring interviews with synesthetes and the scientists who have studied them, plus music by synesthetic composers.
Feb 21
Mozart
Chilly St. Paul, Minnesota, hosted a hot event last month, the International Chamber Orchestra Festival. The city's resident group, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, was joined by several other chamber orchestras for a month-long festival. We'll hear music from one of those concerts on today's show. The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment performs a Mozart divertimento and a sinfonia by C.P.E. Bach.
Feb 20
She's definitely not your aunt Ethel. Not stodgy, not conservative. Not set in her ways. She's actually a string quartet named ETHEL, whose members are dedicated to making exciting music that spans almost every genre. The members of ETHEL dropped by our studios recently for an interview and performance. We heard part one yesterday; today is part two.
Feb 19
Olympic Flag
The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition comes around once every four years, just like the Olympics. Contestants prepare every bit as much as their athlete counterparts. And the stakes are just as high. The competition takes place this spring, but today we'll be hearing from one of the qualifying rounds. Pianist Spencer Myer performs selections from Debussy's Preludes in New York City.
Feb 18
Mozart
Chilly St. Paul, Minnesota, hosted a hot event last month, the International Chamber Orchestra Festival. The city's resident group, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, was joined by several other chamber orchestras for a month-long festival. We'll hear music from one of those concerts on today's show. The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment performs a Mozart divertimento and a sinfonia by C.P.E. Bach.
Feb 17
piano
Arnold Schoenberg loved Brahms' first piano quartet, but hated how it was usually played. The pianist was always too loud, covering up the strings. He fixed the problem by rewriting the whole piece for symphony orchestra, and ditching the pesky piano altogether. We'll hear Schoenberg's arrangement today, played by Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Ivan Fischer conducts.
Feb 16
We all hear with our ears, but there's a small minority of people who seem to hear with their eyes too. They see colors when they hear music. It's called synesthesia. Hour one of today's show is all about the phenomenon, featuring interviews with synesthetes and the scientists who have studied them, plus music by synesthetic composers.
Feb 14
ALBAN GERHARDT
Cellist Alban Gerhardt was used to shutting out the audience. He always plays with earplugs, and used to perform with his eyes closed. But recently, he decided he needed to engage the audience a little more, to create a more emotionally honest performance. He's working on keeping his eyes open, although he still won't part with the earplugs. We'll hear Gerhardt today, performing the Dvorak Cello Concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Feb 13
Valentine hearts
Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. We'll celebrate a day early by featuring everything from a lovestruck, 17-year-old Shostakovich to the mature, heartbreaking love story between composer Peter Lieberson and his late wife, mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. Tune in for great performances from around the country, in honor of the day of love.
Feb 12
Abraham Lincoln
Today is the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln, a great man who inspired greatness in others. Today we'll take a look at some of the music that Lincoln inspired, from Aaron Copland's stirring "Lincoln Portrait" (featuring our own Fred Child as narrator) to tributes by Paul Hindemith and Robert Russell Bennett. We'll also feature a performance from New York City's Lincoln Center, named for the 16th president of the United States.
Feb 11
Ever since pianist Jonathan Biss was eight years old, he's been madly in love with Mozart's 22nd piano concerto. It was his favorite piece. He listened to it so often, his cassette tape of it broke. (Remember cassettes?) On today's show, Jonathan Biss performs Mozart's masterpiece with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at New York's Carnegie Hall.
Feb 10
Richard Wagner
If you sat through Richard Wagner's four-opera "Ring" cycle start to finish, it would take close to a day. It's tough to break that down into bite-sized portions, but there are a few "Ring" excerpts that make their way into the concert hall. On today's show, we'll hear orchestral excerpts from the final opera in the cycle, "Gotterdammerung," or "The Twilight of the Gods," featuring Simon Rattle and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.
Feb 9
ALBAN GERHARDT
Cellist Alban Gerhardt was used to shutting out the audience. He always plays with earplugs, and used to perform with his eyes closed. But recently, he decided he needed to engage the audience a little more, to create a more emotionally honest performance. He's working on keeping his eyes open, although he still won't part with the earplugs. We'll hear Gerhardt today, performing the Dvorak Cello Concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Feb 7
ALBAN GERHARDT
Feb 6
The Grammy awards are this Sunday, and today we'll continue our look at some of the nominees. We'll hear violinist Elmar Oliveira playing part of the Bloch Violin Concerto, from a recording that's up for best instrumental soloist. And we'll hear works by composers Meredith Monk and Jennifer Higdon, also up for Grammies. Tune in next week, too, when we'll have news about the winners.
Feb 5
Simone Dinnerstein
A couple of years ago, pianist Simone Dinnerstein was a struggling young artist, trying to break into the classical musical world. Today, she's one of the hottest tickets on the concert circuit. She recently dropped by our studios for an interview, and played a Bach suite. Plus, we'll hear from another young artist coping with sudden success: the first place winner of last week's Sphinx Competition, cellist Tony Rymer.
Feb 4
Faun
Ever wonder what Debussy's faun did all day? Debussy captured what his life was like from, say, noon to four. But the rest of the day is a mystery. Today we'll go to a concert in Copenhagen, Denmark, to hear Debussy's "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun." Plus, we'll feature performances by violinist Hilary Hahn and pianist Leif Ove Andsnes that are up for Grammy awards this Sunday.
Feb 3
Birthday Cake
Today is the 200th birthday of Felix Mendelssohn. Even after 200 years, new Mendelssohn works are still popping up, and we'll take you to a concert in New York City featuring several world premieres of his music. Plus, host Fred Child talks with pianist Wu Han and Mendelssohn biographer Larry Todd about the life and music of this great composer.
Feb 2
Felix Mendelssohn
Tomorrow is Felix Mendelssohn's 200th birthday, but his music is as fresh as ever. Today, we'll begin a two-day PT celebration marking the event. You'll hear performances of some of his greatest works. And today, host Fred Child chats with author and musical commentator Rob Kapilow about what makes the Mendelssohn octet so great.