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Performance Today homepage
Jun 30
Saint-Saens
The world of popular culture is full of classical music references. The famous ad campaign, "beef - it's what's for dinner," featured music from Aaron Copland's ballet, "Rodeo." And the finale of Saint-Saens' (pictured) third symphony found its way into a movie about a talking pig, "Babe." On today's show, we'll hear the symphony in its entirety, played by Charles Dutoit and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, with organist Joanne Pearce Martin.
Jun 29
The Miro String Quartet and poet Matthea Harvey appeared together at this year's White Pine Festival in Stillwater, Minnesota as part of the Poetry Radio Project. The music was Philip Glass' String Quartet No. 5. Harvey's poem, interwoven with the music, brought out images of water and glass, and the remoteness of the natural world. On today's show, we'll hear this memorable performance of words and music.
Jun 27
Aspen Music Festival
The Aspen Music Festival is the country's largest summer festival. Aspen opened this week, and runs through late August, featuring many of the top performers in the world. As the festival continues, we'll be bringing you live performances throughout the summer. On today's show, we'll revisit past Aspen concerts by pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin, violinist Julia Fischer, and the Aspen Festival Orchestra.
Jun 26
Mitsuko Uchida is one of the finest pianists in the world, especially known for the emotional depth of her performances. She could be working non-stop, but chooses to play less than she could, to leave space for relaxation and time with friends. Perhaps, it's that search for balance in her life that allows her to achieve such depth and breadth of emotion in her music. Today, we'll hear her in a performance of Beethoven's third piano concerto, with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
Jun 25
Aspen Music Festival
The Aspen Music Festival is the country's largest summer festival. Aspen opens today, and runs through late August, featuring many of the top performers in the world. As the festival continues, we'll be bringing you live performances throughout the summer. On today's show, we'll revisit past Aspen concerts by pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin, violinist Julia Fischer, and the Aspen Festival Orchestra.
Jun 24
Leaving school can be a bit like leaving the womb. Getting out takes a lot of hard work. Nothing is safe or certain any more, but the possibilities are endless. This week, we're featuring some of the top university and conservatory students in their student recitals. Also, we'll hear from two training orchestras for young musicians: the European Union Baroque Orchestra and the National Orchestral Institute Orchestra (pictured).
Jun 23
All this week on Performance Today, we're featuring terrific performances by some of the top university and conservatory music students in the country. They're the next generation of classical musicians, and they've been studying and practicing for years for the big event, their senior recitals. On today's show, we'll feature students from the Oberlin Conservatory and the University of Texas at Austin.
Jun 22
Heimbach power plant
Most classical music concerts take place inside the concert hall, essentially a glorified box. Many of those boxes are rightly revered and cherished for their history, architecture, and acoustics. But today, we'll go outside the box. The first hour of today's show features performances from unusual locations, including a barge, a night club, and a former power plant (the Heimbach hydroelectric plant, pictured).
Jun 20
Sunday is Father's Day, and we're celebrating the day. Today's show features stories of fatherhood and the classical music world. We'll hear the new sitar concerto by Ravi Shankar (pictured), written for his daughter Anoushka. Pianist Lang Lang shares the stage with his dad, who plays the Chinese erhu. And we'll hear from father and son Jeffrey and Gabriel Kahane, on how music influenced their relationship.
Jun 19
Sunday is Father's Day, and we're celebrating a few days early. Today's show features stories of fatherhood and the classical music world. We'll hear the new sitar concerto by Ravi Shankar (pictured), written for his daughter Anoushka. Pianist Lang Lang shares the stage with his dad, who plays the Chinese erhu. And we'll hear from father and son Jeffrey and Gabriel Kahane, on how music influenced their relationship.
Jun 18
After we hear William Walton's musical evocation of this etching by Thomas Rowlandson, Fred Child sits down in our Maud Moon Weyerhaeuser Music Studio for a chat with pianist Rudolf Buchbinder. He's a lover of the live experience: Almost all of his recordings are from concerts. But he'll break with form by playing Schubert and Johann Strauss in the studio. Then we'll go to Amsterdam to hear him perform music from Brahms' Second Piano Concerto.
Jun 17
When violinist Pinchas Zukerman wanted to start a group of traveling chamber musicians, he called it, not so surprisingly, the Zukerman ChamberPlayers. Trading on the name brand recognition, the group is also making a name for itself artistically. On today's show, we'll hear them perform a Mozart string quintet in New York City.
Jun 16
Ludwig van Beethoven
Poet Laure-Anne Bosselaar hates Mozart, but loves Beethoven. She grew up without classical music in her life, and discovered him at age 17, hearing his fifth symphony for the first time. On today's show, Bosselaar reads her poem, "The Pleasures of Hating." Plus, we'll hear that famous fifth symphony of Beethoven's, performed by the Dallas Symphony and conductor Jaap van Zweden.
Jun 15
William Shakespeare's play about two young, star-crossed lovers has provided the inspiration for some great music. On today's show, we'll hear the lush romanticism of Tchaikovsky's "Romeo and Juliet" overture, and Prokofiev's ballet suites, with their combination of power and intimacy. Vladimir Spivakov leads the National Philharmonic of Russia, in concert at the Worcester Music Festival.
Jun 13
Franz Schubert's "Death and the Maiden" began its life as a song. Schubert later turned that song into a string quartet, and Gustav Mahler subsequently arranged it for string orchestra. On today's show, violinist Joshua Bell joins the violin section of the UBS Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra, and leads them in a performance of Schubert's "Death and the Maiden," from California's Festival del Sole.
Jun 12
On today's show, we wrap up our coverage of the 2009 Van Cliburn Piano Competition. We'll feature silver medalist Yeol Eum Son (pictured) performing Chopin's second piano concerto in the final round of the competition. Plus, our weekly 21st century music segment features two Van Cliburn performances, by gold medalist Haochen Zhang, and by finalist and audience favorite Mariangela Vacatello.
Jun 11
Franz Schubert's "Death and the Maiden" began its life as a song. Schubert later turned that song into a string quartet, and Gustav Mahler subsequently arranged it for string orchestra. On today's show, violinist Joshua Bell joins the violin section of the UBS Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra, and leads them in a performance of Schubert's "Death and the Maiden," from California's Festival del Sole.
Jun 10
This past Sunday, the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition concluded with a rare tie for first place. On Monday's show, we featured one of the gold medalists, Nobuyuki Tsujii of Japan. On today's show, we'll hear the other, Chinese pianist Haochen Zhang. The youngest competitor in the field, Zhang gave a mature, electrifying performance of Prokofiev's second piano concerto.
Jun 9
Gil Shaham
A Chinese folk tale became music in the hands of composers Chen Gang and He Zhanhao. And violinist Gil Shaham decided that he wanted to share this beautiful piece with the world. He's joined by Lan Shui and the Singapore Symphony for the "Butterfly Lovers" Violin Concerto.
Jun 8
Last night in Fort Worth, Texas, the Van Cliburn Piano Competition came to an end. The result? An unexpected tie for first place. Our own Fred Child was there, hosting the awards ceremony. On today's show, we'll hear from Fred in Texas, feature conversations with the winners, and catch one of the winning concerto performances, featuring co-winner Nobuyuki Tsujii of Japan.
Jun 6
Osvaldo Golijov
Composer Osvaldo Golijov's search for beauty in life and in his music is on-going. He likens it to "the laughter of the universe." On today's show, we'll hear the beauty of the color blue in Golijov's new work, "Azul." Cellist Yo-Yo Ma is among the soloists in this performance with Jeffrey Kahane and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Plus, we'll hear from one of the finalists at the Van Cliburn Competition, Bulgarian Evgeni Bozhanov.
Jun 5
Classical Guitar
The Van Cliburn Piano Competition has been going on in Texas for the last two weeks. In the shadow of that big event, the Parkening International Guitar Competition was held last week in Malibu, California. On today's show, we'll hear the gold medal performance by Italian guitarist Emanuele Buono. Plus, we'll hear more from the final round of Van Cliburn, with the winner to be featured on Monday's show.
Jun 4
Hilary Hahn
Violinist Hilary Hahn has been on the concert stage since she was 12 years old. Now a seasoned pro, she's still only 29. She continues to grow as a soloist, offering ever richer performances. On today's show, she appears with the Cleveland Orchestra in Dvorak's violin concerto. Plus, we'll feature another performance from one of the Van Cliburn Competition finalists, South Korean pianist Yeol Eum Son.
Jun 3
The six remaining Van Cliburn Competition contestants are giving their final performances this week. Today, we'll hear Italian pianist Mariangela Vacatello in her semi-final round performance, playing music by Schumann and Scriabin. Our guest blogger, Gregory Allen, says of Vacatello, "She has insight, sensitivity, imagination, good taste, and - rarely found in competitions - a sense of integrity and humility about her role as an artist."
Jun 2
Osvaldo Golijov
Composer Osvaldo Golijov's search for beauty in life and in his music is on-going. He likens it to "the laughter of the universe." On today's show, we'll hear the beauty of the color blue in Golijov's new work, "Azul." Cellist Yo-Yo Ma is among the soloists in this performance with Jeffrey Kahane and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Plus, we'll hear from one of the finalists at the Van Cliburn Competition, Bulgarian Evgeni Bozhanov.
Jun 1
scotland
Felix Mendelssohn was 20 years old, and on holiday in Scotland. Visiting a ruined castle, he wrote, "Everything around is broken and mouldering, and the bright sky shines in. I believe that today I've found the beginning of my Scottish Symphony." From the shards of that ruined place, Mendelssohn created a work of great wholeness and beauty. Today, we'll go to a concert in Berlin to hear the German Symphony Orchestra perform it.