Support Performance Today with your Amazon.com purchases
Search Amazon.com:
Keywords:
  • News/Talk
  • Music
  • Entertainment
Performance Today homepage
Jan 31
glass
When PT host Fred Child recently asked Philip Glass what the experience of composing is all about, Glass had a quick answer. "It's about fear," he said jokingly. If that's true, then Glass has been living with fear for three quarters of a century. He turns 75 today. In today's show, we'll have a tribute to this iconic American composer and hear highlights from the world premiere of his Ninth Symphony.
Jan 30
Eugene Ysaye
Stories of obsession in today's show. A conductor who obsesses over every detail of every performance, who says there's no room for democracy in his musical world. A composer so obsessed with his unfaithful wife that he murdered her and her lover, and spent the rest of his life anguishing over what he had done. And finally, a slightly manic piece for solo violin by Eugene Ysaye (pictured), aptly titled "Obsession."
Jan 28
Birthday Cake
In January of 1987, a new arts show hit the public radio airwaves for the first time. It was called Performance Today. A number of talented hosts and staffers have worked on the show in the intervening years. But the thing that has stayed during that time has been the immediacy of the show. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma calls it the "I was there" feeling you get from Performance Today. Join us and help us celebrate 25 years of Performance Today.
Jan 27
Birthday Cake
In January of 1987, a new arts show hit the public radio airwaves for the first time. It was called Performance Today. A number of talented hosts and staffers have worked on the show in the intervening years. But the thing that has stayed during that time has been the immediacy of the show. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma calls it the "I was there" feeling you get from Performance Today. Yo-Yo Ma, guitarist Jason Vieaux, and the Parker Quartet all help us celebrate 25 years of Performance Today.
Jan 26
Elizabeth Zharoff
Love or death? It's a question that's posed at some point in most every dramatic opera. And unlike everyday life, opera heroines generally have to choose between the two. In today's show, PT Young Artist in Residence Elizabeth Zharoff addresses the question in the role of four different opera characters: Iolanthe, Juliet, Elvira, and Pamina.
Jan 25
Sergey Prokofiev
The young Sergei Prokofiev was fed up with critics who thought he could only write crunchy, avant-garde music. So he threw them a musical curve ball, his "Classical" symphony, written in a Haydnesque style. He called it "a challenge to make the geese angry." James Conlon leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic, in concert at Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles.
Jan 24
Elizabeth Zharoff
Young Artist in Residence Elizabeth Zharoff joins host Fred Child in the PT studios again today. She talks about the joys and challenges of singing opera. "There's so much you can find out about yourself when you're trying to become another person." In today's show, Zharoff assumes the role of Marguerite, singing excerpts from Charles Gounod's "Faust."
Jan 23
Elizabeth Zharoff
Soprano Elizabeth Zharoff can remember the exact moment she decided to become a professional musician. While she was singing in a high school competition, Zharoff saw and felt the audience lean forward anticipating her next note. Since then her star has continued to rise. Zharoff is now a master's candidate at the Curtis Institute of Music and she'll join host Fred Child all week long as Performance Today's Young Artist in Residence.
Jan 21
Felix Mendelssohn
The term child prodigy gets thrown around so often in the musical world that we sometimes forget just how remarkable youthful talent can be. Felix Mendelssohn was writing music that had emotional and spiritual and intellectual depth before he even started shaving. In today's show, Vadim Repin plays Mendelssohn's first violin concerto, the product of an unparalleled 13-year-old mind.
Jan 20
Felix Mendelssohn
The term child prodigy gets thrown around so often in the musical world that we sometimes forget just how remarkable youthful talent can be. Felix Mendelssohn was writing music that had emotional and spiritual and intellectual depth before he even started shaving. In today's show, Vadim Repin plays Mendelssohn's first violin concerto, the product of an unparalleled 13-year-old mind.
Jan 19
Prometheus brings Fire to Mankind
In Greek mythology, Prometheus took fire from the gods and gave it to mortals. We got warmth and light, knowledge and culture. But Zeus punished Prometheus by chaining him to a rock for all eternity, where a giant eagle pecked out his liver each day. In today's show, we'll hear excerpts from Beethoven's ballet, "The Creatures of Prometheus," from a concert in New York City.
Jan 18
Dmitri Shostakovich
A systematic assault on a mind is a hard thing to track. But photographs of Dmitri Shostakovich over the years do seem to tell a story. Into his late 20s, he kept a kind of impish Harry Potter youthfulness about him, including the owl glasses. But gradually, as the official scolding from Moscow turned into harassment and then to abuse and threats, Shostakovich changed. His face grew grim and strained. In today's show, a snapshot of the young Shostakovich, before fear became part of his daily life. We'll hear his Suite for Jazz Orchestra No. 1 from Los Angeles.
Jan 17
Rita Dove
Jan 16
Martin Luther King Jr
On this Martin Luther King Day, our show is devoted to a celebration of the life of Dr. King. Music was an important force in the civil rights movement, and important in the personal life of Dr. King as well. We'll hear highlights from the annual King Celebration concert in his home town of Atlanta last Thursday evening, including Yo-Yo Ma performing Dvorak's Cello Concerto with the Atlanta Symphony.

NOTE: Through our agreement with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, today's show featuring highlights from their concert "A King Celebration" is not available for web audio streaming.

Jan 14
Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms was experimenting. He was always attracted to the richer, darker sounds of certain instruments, the viola and the clarinet, for example. He wanted to highlight those warmer sounds in his Second Serenade for Orchestra. But what to do with all those pesky violins, with their bright, piercing sounds? Hear how Brahms solved his fiddle problem in this weekend's show. The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra plays his Second Serenade in New York.
Jan 13
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 all over 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.
Jan 12
The Knights
At a time when some venerable American orchestras are going under, there are interesting new groups springing up to take their place in the musical landscape. One such orchestra is called the Knights, located in New York City. They're young, talented, innovative, and driven by a sense of musical discovery. We'll hear the Knights in concert, playing Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony.
Jan 11
Flag
Every day on PT, we feature the best of the best of live performances from all around the world. Today is an exception, not in quality but in geography. Every performance in Wednesday's show took place right here in the U.S. From the lowlands of Florida to the Colorado Rockies, with a stopover in the PT studios in Minnesota for the Piano Puzzler, we're featuring the best of the best of the American music scene.
Jan 10
Joshua Bell and Jeremy Denk
Violinist Joshua Bell and pianist Jeremy Denk have been musical collaborators for years. Today, they released a new CD, an album of all French Impressionist pieces. PT host Fred Child talked with Bell and Denk about the new project, and the music that Bell describes as "elegant and fun and witty." And we'll hear a concert performance of one of the tracks on the CD, Cesar Franck's A Major Violin Sonata.
Jan 9
Chair
The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia is the most selective school in the country. Only 4% of applicants get in. And even then, it depends on what instrument you play. Curtis only accepts enough students to fill the chairs of a symphony orchestra. In today's show, we'll hear the occupants of those highly sought-after chairs, the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, in concert in Philadelphia.
Jan 7
Bruce Adolphe
We gave composer Bruce Adolphe a well-deserved holiday break last week, but this week it's back to business as usual. Bruce is back with a brand new Piano Puzzler. Every week, we get a listener on the phone to try to guess the hidden tune and the composer whose style Bruce is imitating. Tune in to see if you can guess what's going on in this week's Piano Puzzler.
Jan 6
Mozart
Efficiency experts would have loved Mozart. Some composers spend years, even decades, writing a single symphony. But in 1783, Mozart proved that it's possible to get the job done in just four days. We'll hear Mozart's weekend masterpiece, his Linz Symphony, from a concert by the always efficient, always conductorless Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in New York.
Jan 5
Leila Josefowicz
Violinist Leila Josefowicz is planning on cancelling a few performances in the spring. How does she know so far in advance that she won't be up to playing? It turns out it's for a very good reason. She's expecting her second child. In today's show, we'll hear Josefowicz in a recital that went on as planned. She plays the Schubert B Minor Rondo in St. Paul.
Jan 4
Bruce Adolphe
We gave composer Bruce Adolphe a well-deserved holiday break last week, but this week it's back to business as usual. Bruce is back with a brand new Piano Puzzler. Every week, we get a listener on the phone to try to guess the hidden tune and the composer whose style Bruce is imitating. Tune in to see if you can guess what's going on in this week's Piano Puzzler.
Jan 3
Debussy Claude
Claude Debussy once tried his hand at painting, but decided music had a much better way of depicting the glint of sunlight on water, the ever-changing undulations of the sea, and the smell of a salty mist shimmering in the air. In today's show, Esa-Pekka Salonen leads the New York Philharmonic in Debussy's masterpiece for the senses, "La Mer," or "The Sea."
Jan 2
Piano Keys
Pianist Mitsuko Uchida joins PT host Fred Child to talk about Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 24. She says "It is very dark, incredibly tragic," but the lilt in her voice conveys the beauty of that darkness. We'll hear her, in concert with the Cleveland Orchestra. Plus, concert performances by pianists Lang Lang and Yefim Bronfman in Vienna.