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Aug 31
Bruce Adolphe
Bruce Adolphe and the Piano Puzzler have been on a summer vacation for the last couple of weeks, leading to more than a few cases of Puzzler withdrawal in the PT community. Luckily, they're back in today's show. Play along with Fred and Bruce; see if you can guess the hidden tune and the mystery composer in this week's Piano Puzzler.
Aug 30
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. His style, though, 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 29
Aug 27
Aug 26
Aug 25
When Gustavo Dudamel and the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela made their BBC Proms debut in 2007, they blew the roof off the Royal Albert Hall in London with a program of Latin music. They came back to the Proms this year, a little more mature (they no longer call themselves a youth orchestra). But the SBSO can still pack a punch. We'll hear their sold-out performance of Mahler's Resurrection Symphony, from a concert three weeks ago in London.
Aug 24
Midori
Violinist Midori joined host Fred Child in our PT studios recently for an hour of music and conversation. She talked about the singular power of music by Bach ("so spiritual, so cleansing, so difficult") and about the many ways in which she is reaching out to young musicians and young listeners. Plus, Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, from a concert by the New York Philharmonic.
Aug 23
Mozart
Times were tough for Mozart in the summer of 1788. His financial life was a shambles, and he was reduced to writing a series of pitiful letters to a friend, pleading for money. But at the same time, he was also writing his final three symphonies, each of them a masterpiece. He churned them out over the course of two months that summer. We'll hear Mozart's Symphony Number 39, from a concert by James Levine and the Boston Symphony.
Aug 22
Aspen
PT has had a memorable week at the Aspen Music Festival in Aspen, Colorado. Today, host Fred Child wraps up his stay there with two on-stage perfchats, music and conversation with several Aspen artists. Edgar Meyer plays one of his own virtuoso pieces for the double bass. And 14-year-old Simone Porter, an Aspen student violinist, wows the crowd with music by Sarasate.
Aug 20
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 the Aspen Music Festival, Joshua Bell joins the Aspen Chamber Symphony to play the Violin Concerto by Felix Mendelssohn.
Aug 19
Alan Fletcher is the President and CEO of the Aspen Music Festival, more than a full-time job. But more than anything else, he says he considers himself to be a composer. A composer who just happens to have a great day job running America's biggest summer music festival. In today's show, we'll hear one of Fletcher's works, "Woman Holding a Balance," based on this painting by Vermeer.
Aug 18
Steven Osborne
Here at PT, we call them perfchats: music and conversation with some of the top artists in classical music. In today's show, the first in a series of perfchats from the Aspen Music Festival. Pianist Steven Osborne plays music by Ravel and Prokofiev, from a special event recorded at Aspen on Monday night. Plus, the art of busking at Aspen.
Aug 17
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 the Aspen Music Festival, Joshua Bell joins the Aspen Chamber Symphony to play the Violin Concerto by Felix Mendelssohn.
Aug 16
Aspen Music Festival
We tend to refer to it as simply the Aspen Festival or the Aspen Music Festival. But its full name is the Aspen Music Festival and School. Teaching and learning are a huge part of what goes on every summer in Aspen. Today, stories of learning from Aspen, including violinist Sarah Chang getting not only violin lessons, but driving lessons from her teacher, Dorothy DeLay. And cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han teach a master class to Aspen students.
Aug 15
Aspen
All week long, PT will be coming to you from the Aspen Music Festival in Aspen, Colorado. Host Fred Child is there. We'll be featuring interviews, special on-stage events, and great performances from America's biggest summer music festival. In today's show, a gondola ride up Aspen Mountain for an informal concert, and performances by Time for Three, guitarist Sharon Isbin, flutist Marina Piccinini, the Brasil Guitar Duo, and much more.
Aug 13
German pianist Alexander Schimpf won the Cleveland International Piano Competition last weekend in Cleveland. The win catapults him into a new arena, with a grand prize of $50,000 and two years of concerts. But he wasn't thinking about that when PT host Fred Child spoke with him shortly after his big win. Schimpf said he was thinking of his family back home in Germany. They listened to his gold-medal performance of Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto over the internet a week ago. You can hear it in today's show.
Aug 12
Aaron Copland
"My career in the theatre has been a flop," wrote Aaron Copland. It was 1939, and a stage version of a play called Quiet City had closed before it even opened. Copland had written incidental music for the show. He later reworked some of it for an orchestral arrangement. Saxophonist Christopher Brellochs obtained a copy of the unpublished manuscript for Quiet City. Brellochs joins host Fred Child to talk about the piece. And we'll hear his arrangement of Copland's original version.
Aug 11
German pianist Alexander Schimpf won the Cleveland International Piano Competition last Saturday night in Cleveland. The win catapults him into a new arena, with a grand prize of $50,000 and two years of concerts. But he wasn't thinking about that when PT host Fred Child spoke with him shortly after his big win. Schimpf said he was thinking of his family back home in Germany. They listened to his gold-medal performance of Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto over the internet on Saturday. You can hear it in today's show.
Aug 10
Igor Stravinsky
It was an unusually hot day in Paris, May 29th, 1913. But the heat of the late-day sun was nothing compared to the inferno going on inside the Theatre des Champs-Elysees. It was an event that would change music forever: the premiere of Igor Stravinsky's ballet, the Rite of Spring. On today's show, music writer Alex Ross tells the story of that riotous premiere. And Jaap van Zweden leads a performance by the Dallas Symphony.
Aug 9
Salome
In nine minutes of ravishing music by Richard Strauss, Salome sheds her inhibitions along with her clothes in a dance for her step-father, King Herod. The scene from Strauss' opera Salome shocked audiences when it premiered in 1905. In today's show, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra plays Strauss' infamous Dance of the Seven Veils, in a concert from the BBC Proms in London.
Aug 8
Paul Hindemith
In 1938, composer Paul Hindemith fled Nazi Germany and later came to the U.S. One of his first projects here was to write a ballet based on themes by Carl Maria von Weber. Weber's tunes were charming but insubstantial. But Hindemith took that music of limited possibilities and turned it into something spectacular. His Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes by Weber is in today's show, in a performance by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Aug 6
Jean-Yves Thibaudet is about to turn 50, and is getting philosophical. In today's show, Thibaudet shares his thoughts on being an overnight sensation vs. building a career more slowly. And he plays the sensational Liszt Piano Concerto No. 1 in Dallas.
Aug 5
The Netherlands conjures up images of windmills, page-boy haircuts, and wooden shoes. But despite its small size, it's a big player on the classical music scene. In today's show, the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra plays Dvorak's 8th Symphony at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. And Dutch conductor Jaap van Zweden leads the Dallas Symphony in Beethoven's 7th, from a concert in Dallas.
Aug 4
Havergal Brian
It was the hottest ticket of the 2011 BBC Proms, the July performance of William Havergal Brian's Symphony No. 1, the Gothic Symphony. A massive work that calls for 1000 musicians and spans about three hours, it hadn't been performed in Britain in over a generation. The only place you can hear it outside the U.K. is right here on PT. We'll have highlights in today's show.
Aug 3
With apologies to great Spanish composers, the fact is that many of the best Spanish-sounding works in classical music were written by the French. In today's show, we'll hear two of the best: Claude Debussy's Iberia and Maurice Ravel's Alborada del Gracioso, from a recent concert at the Proms in London. It's Spanish music by French composers, played by a British orchestra.
Aug 2
Robert Schumann
Robert Schumann had a budding career as a concert pianist, until he injured his right hand from too much practicing. In today's show, the piece that might have been Schumann's undoing, his Toccata in C Major. Most pianists shy away from it because of its difficulty. Host Fred Child demonstrates what makes this piece so arduous, and we'll hear a performance by Evgeny Kissin from Verbier, Switzerland.
Aug 1
Ludwig van Beethoven
Beethoven at 45 was a confirmed bachelor. Hard to know how much was by choice, and how much by circumstance. Turns out, he did have his eye on someone. Beethoven didn't say who she was, but left behind a set of love songs to his "Distant Beloved." We'll hear them, from a concert in distant Sydney, Australia. Plus, Beethoven's Triple Concerto from the Proms in London.