Support Performance Today with your Amazon.com purchases
Search Amazon.com:
Keywords:
  • News/Talk
  • Music
  • Entertainment
Performance Today homepage
Aug 31
Johann Sebastian Bach
The 2010 Proms in London had an all-Bach day this month. We'll hear two very different highlights: a sizzling performance of the Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 from conductor John Eliot Gardiner and the English Baroque Soloists, featuring some stellar trumpet work by Neil Brough. And the world premiere of a new piece inspired by Bach, "Latent Manifest" by Tarik O'Regan. O'Regan says he followed the "implications" of the "intimations" in the slow movement of the Solo Violin Sonata No. 3 by Bach. Andrew Litton leads the world premiere performance by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Aug 30
Jean Sibelius
April 21, 1915, Jean Sibelius wrote in his diary: "This morning I saw 16 swans. One of my greatest experiences! ...They circled over me, then disappeared in the solar haze like a gleaming silver ribbon...nature's mystery, and life's melancholy." That flight of swans inspired the expansive theme that returns over and over in the final section of the Symphony No. 5 by Sibelius. Conductor Thomas Dausgaard talks about the "sheer ecstasy" Sibelius felt that morning, and Dausgaard leads the Danish National Symphony Orchestra in Sibelius' Symphony No. 5, from a concert this month at the BBC Proms in London.
Aug 28
Johann Sebastian Bach
Two great young cellists are in the show today. Daniel Mueller-Schott plays a Saint-Saens concerto with the Luxembourg Philharmonic, and Joshua Roman plays the Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations at the Bellingham Festival in Washington. Plus, a pair of fascinating Bach transcriptions, from Bach day at the BBC Proms in London.
Aug 27
Conductors who lead the Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 by J.S. Bach generally aim for an amiable blend between the horns and the rest of the ensemble. And then...there's John Eliot Gardiner. When he led the English Baroque soloists at the 2010 Proms in London, he emphasized the difference between the elegant, aristocratic strings and the throaty, rustic sound of the natural horns. It made for a bracing performance -- combining courtly dignity and barnyard slapstick. That entertaining concert was last week at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
Aug 26
Garrick Ohlsson
Pianist Garrick Ohlsson says that whenever he announces a Chopin nocturne as an encore, there's always a collective swoon in the audience, "aaahhhhh." Ohlsson will make us swoon with two by Chopin: a nocturne and a scherzo, from a concert at the Rockport Chamber Music Festival in Massachusetts. Plus, you may have heard a number of Haydn symphonies (he wrote 104 of them). Today, we'll hear how it all began, when the Neuss Chamber Orchestra performs Haydn's Symphony No. 1.
Aug 25
Johann Sebastian Bach
Two great young cellists are in the show today. Daniel Mueller-Schott plays a Saint-Saens concerto with the Luxembourg Philharmonic, and Joshua Roman plays the Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations at the Bellingham Festival in Washington. Plus, a pair of fascinating Bach transcriptions, from Bach day at the BBC Proms in London.
Aug 24
Andre Mathieu
Most people have never heard of Canadian composer Andre Mathieu. Mathieu was a rising star in the 1930s and 1940s. But he led a troubled life, dropped out of the music scene, and died in obscurity in 1968. Some call him the Canadian Mozart, although his style is closer to Rachmaninoff, who called Mathieu a genius. On today's show, Alain Lefevre performs Mathieu's fourth piano concerto with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.
Aug 23
korngold
America was a haven for composers fleeing persecution in Europe just prior to World War II. In today's show, we feature several composers living in exile in the United States in the last century. A number of them went to work in the film industry in Hollywood, including Erich Korngold. Korngold, an Austrian Jew, was working on the music to the film "Robin Hood" when conditions at home deteriorated rapidly, making it impossible for him to return to Vienna. Korngold credits "Robin Hood" with saving his life. We'll hear Korngold's expansive and romantic violin concerto, in a performance by violinist Leonidas Kavakos at the BBC Proms two weeks ago in London.
Aug 21
Aspen Music Festival
The future of classical music is in good hands. Some of the stars of tomorrow are students at the Aspen Music Festival and School today. They gave standout performances all summer long. PT host Fred Child spent the last two weeks there, broadcasting from the studios of Aspen Public Radio. We wrap up our Aspen coverage this weekend with great performances, including violinist Gil Shaham playing a Mozart concerto. And we'll hear about the art of busking, performing as street musicians. We followed a few students around town as they earned some extra cash plying their trade on the streets of Aspen.
Aug 20
Aspen Music Festival
The future of classical music is in good hands. Some of the stars of tomorrow are students at the Aspen Music Festival and School today. They gave standout performances all summer long. PT host Fred Child spent the last two weeks there, broadcasting from the studios of Aspen Public Radio. We wrap up our Aspen coverage this weekend with great performances, including violinist Gil Shaham playing a Mozart concerto. And we'll hear about the art of busking, performing as street musicians. We followed a few students around town as they earned some extra cash plying their trade on the streets of Aspen.
Aug 19
beethoven
Pianist Paul Lewis says that when he plays Beethoven's Third Piano Concerto, he hears Beethoven's own identity emerging. He says he hears "a personality that's becoming more and more defiant. There's a sense of struggle...you feel this conflict." Lewis and the Halle Orchestra perform Beethoven's Third, in concert at the Proms in London. Plus, the swashbuckling Finnish Radio Symphony plays Hector Berlioz'"Le Corsaire Overture," inspired by a novel about pirate adventures.
Aug 18
Nicola Benedetti
A single lark swoops and flits, hovers and circles, all the while rising higher and higher over the English countryside. It's Ralph Vaughan Williams' much-loved work for violin and orchestra, "The Lark Ascending." We'll hear Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti in a performance at a London Proms concert a couple of weeks ago. Then we'll be the ones doing the ascending, riding the gondola to the top of the mountain at the Aspen Music Festival. We'll hear Dvorak's Carnival Overture, from a concert last summer at Aspen.
Aug 17
Johannes Brahms
They say it's not an empty nest until the kids get their junk out of the basement. Johannes Brahms was still living at home, still storing his stuff in the basement, at the age of 27. And he wasn't too happy about it. He said he had "as much privacy as a servant with his bed in the kitchen." When Brahms finally moved out, he was so happy he dedicated his next work to his new landlady. The Takacs Quartet and pianist Anton Nel perform that piece, a piano quartet, from a concert last month in Aspen. Plus, another 27-year-old makes his PT debut: American cellist Joshua Roman.
Aug 16
Of all the things that give musicians anxiety dreams, the master class has to be up there at the top. Out on stage alone, not only performing for an audience, but having a master teacher there to stop you and critique everything you're doing. And yet, it's a marvelous learning experience, both for the student and for the audience. Cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han give a master class on (what else?) cello and piano sonatas, at the Aspen Festival. Following that, we'll hear them perform a Beethoven cello sonata, from a concert at Aspen last month. Plus, violinist Julia Fischer gives a spectacular performance of a Bach solo violin partita in Aspen.
Aug 14
Donald Runnicles
England and Scotland haven't always been the best of friends. They're both part of Great Britain now, but there's still a bit of healthy rivalry between them. So when Scottish conductor Donald Runnicles brought his orchestra from Glasgow, the BBC Scottish Symphony, down to London to play at the Proms, he did quite a remarkable thing. He chose an all-English program. Effectively out-Englishing the English, one critic called it "the most purely English concert of this Prom season." We'll hear part of that concert, the final two movements of Edward Elgar's First Symphony.
Aug 13
Michael Gandolfi
On today's show, music inspired by the grand as well as the grotesque. We'll hear the finale from one of the grandest symphonies ever written, Mahler's Fifth. And our weekly 21st century work, Michael Gandolfi's "As Above," was inspired, at least in part, by water bugs. Plus, we'll hear about one of the most important folks at the Aspen Music Festival: veteran bus driver and classical music fan Dick Miller, who drives the musicians from venue to venue during the festival. PT continues its residency at Aspen all next week.
Aug 12
Kimbanguist Symphony Orchestra of Kinshasa
Today's show offers evidence of the many ways that music changes people's lives. We'll hear about the Kimbanguist Symphony Orchestra of Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The musicians in the orchestra are like other Congolese. They struggle with every aspect of daily life: food, shelter, medical care, raising families. And yet, they're immensely dedicated. And music is changing the lives of the dedicated young musicians of the Aspen Festival. We'll hear a couple of knockout performances from Aspen, and meet young Aspen conductor Case Scaglione.
Aug 11
Donald Runnicles
England and Scotland haven't always been the best of friends. They're both part of Great Britain now, but there's still a bit of healthy rivalry between them. So when Scottish conductor Donald Runnicles brought his orchestra from Glasgow, the BBC Scottish Symphony, down to London to play at the Proms, he did quite a remarkable thing. He chose an all-English program. Effectively out-Englishing the English, one critic called it "the most purely English concert of this Prom season." We'll hear part of that concert, the final two movements of Edward Elgar's First Symphony.
Aug 10
Nicholas McGegan
All this week and next, host Fred Child will be at the Aspen Music Festival in Aspen Colorado. Performance Today will be coming to you from the studios of Aspen Public Radio. We'll have great performances from Aspen, and hear from the artists themselves what it's like to participate in the nation's largest classical music festival. Conductor Nicholas McGegan calls it "paradise." McGegan leads an A-list cast in a performance of a Vivaldi double violin concerto.
Aug 9
joshua bell
Violinist Joshua Bell remembers being a 15-year-old student at the Aspen Music Festival and School, and how it changed his life. He'll tell the story, and we'll hear Gil Shaham, Cho-Liang Lin, Ingrid Fliter, and others share their Aspen memories. And from this summer's Aspen Music Festival, Joshua Bell joins the Aspen Chamber Symphony to play the Violin Concerto by Felix Mendelssohn. Also from the 2010 Aspen Festival: David Finckel and Wu Han play Beethoven's Cello Sonata No. 2, Ingrid Fliter plays a pair of Chopin Waltzes, and flutist Marina Piccinini and the Brasil Guitar Duo play "Doce de Coco" by Brazilian composer Jacob do Bandolim.
Aug 7
Marlboro Music Festival
We spent the past week on Performance Today featuring the legendary Marlboro Music Festival in Marlboro, Vermont. Host Fred Child spent some time there recently. It's a rare "republic of equals," as its founder Rudolf Serkin called it, with young professionals and seasoned veterans playing side-by-side. This weekend, we'll hear about the magic of Marlboro from the people who make it their home for seven weeks each summer. Plus, Bruce Adolphe drops by for another Piano Puzzler.
Aug 6
Mitsuko Uchida
Mitsuko Uchida's phrasing at the piano is lilting and expressive. Her speaking voice can take on similar musical qualities -- swooping melodies, delicate pauses, sudden passionate crescendos, bursts of evocative laughter. Uchida is one of two Artistic Directors at Marlboro Music in Vermont, along with fellow pianist Richard Goode. They'll reflect on the essence of Marlboro, and how their experiences there have changed them. And cellist Peter Wiley takes us inside his rehearsal process this summer at Marlboro, deconstructing and rebuilding the Brahms C-Major Piano Trio. We'll hear the results from a concert three weeks ago, and a pair of chamber pieces for winds by Beethoven and Strauss, all from Marlboro Music in Vermont.
Aug 5
Sivan Magen
At Marlboro Music in Vermont, every chamber music ensemble brings together top-notch young professional musicians with living legends. Their intense rehearsals continue for weeks at a time, and young players arriving for their first summers at Marlboro can feel intimidated at the prospect. Today, musicians young and old will talk about their wide-eyed awe at arriving at Marlboro for the first time, and how the Marlboro process helped bring out their own creativity and confidence. And we'll hear an all-star septet in concert at Marlboro two weeks ago: harpist Sivan Magen leads a performance of the Introduction and Allegro by Maurice Ravel. Plus, Hilary Hahn plays Beethoven's Violin Concerto at the Proms, and the Cleveland Orchestra plays Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade at Severance Hall.
Aug 4
We're continuing our week-long look at the Marlboro Music Festival in Marlboro, Vermont. Co-artistic director Mitsuko Uchida sums up the magic of the place: "Time passes very slowly in Marlboro, and at the same time very fast. You blink, and seven weeks are gone. But it seems as if you had eternity in your hands." We'll hear a couple of standout Marlboro performances today. Plus, the New York Philharmonic, at home and on the road in Hanoi.
Aug 3
Richard Goode
The serious and the silly from Marlboro Music, in Vermont. We'll hear an astonishing 2007 performance that exemplifies the Marlboro practice of teaming young professionals with chamber music veterans: the then 17-year-old violin phenom Benjamin Beilman with an ensemble that includes venerable violist Samuel Rhodes, and pianist Richard Goode, co-Artistic Director of Marlboro Music. We'll hear their performance of the f-minor Piano Quintet, by Brahms. With so much intense rehearsal and performance every summer at Marlboro, there are some long-standing traditions for blowing off steam: elaborate pranks, and throwing wadded-up napkins in the dining hall. Half a dozen musicians from this year's festival weigh in on the joy (and the distraction) of Marlboro's napkin balls and pranks.
Aug 2
Marlboro Music Festival
All this week on Performance Today, we'll be visiting the legendary Marlboro Music Festival in Marlboro, Vermont. Host Fred Child spent some time there recently. It's a rare "republic of equals," as its founder Rudolf Serkin called it, with young professionals and seasoned veterans playing side-by-side. As the week unfolds, we'll hear about the magic of Marlboro from the people who make it their home for seven weeks each summer.