Support Performance Today with your Amazon.com purchases
Search Amazon.com:
Keywords:
  • News/Talk
  • Music
  • Entertainment
Performance Today homepage
Feb 29
Rossini
Gioachino Rossini was born on this day in 1792, which makes today his 53rd birthday. If the math doesn't quite work out, it's because Rossini was born on Leap Day, a day that happens only once every four years. We'll pay tribute to the man with the elusive birthday, including a spectacular performance of Rossini arias by tenor Juan Diego Florez.
Feb 28
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
Management theory experts call it centralized management. Political historians might unflatteringly call it a dictatorship. Musicians simply use the word conductor. There are advantages to having a centralized authority figure, but the members of the always conductorless Orpheus Chamber Orchestra like to look at the flip side. They're empowered to make more musical decisions themselves. Everyone is an equal. And they all have to know the music inside and out. We'll hear the decentralized Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in Beethoven's Second Symphony.
Feb 27
Schermerhorn Symphony Center
Carl Nielsen wrote his fourth symphony amidst the horror and destruction of the First World War. But he believed so fervently in the power to survive, that he gave his symphony the title "Inextinguishable." We'll hear a performance by the inextinguishable Nashville Symphony. Their concert hall was nearly destroyed in a devastating flood that hit Nashville in 2010. This concert took place right after Schermerhorn Symphony Center reopened, after eight months of repairs.
Feb 25
Oscar Statue
The Academy Awards are happening this Sunday evening. We'll take a look at some of this year's Oscar nominees for best film score, including music by John Williams, who now has 47 nominations. He's up for two different films this year. And we'll hear from this year's frontrunner, Ludovic Bource's score for "The Artist."
Feb 24
Oscar Statue
The Academy Awards are happening this Sunday evening. We'll take a look at some of this year's Oscar nominees for best film score, including music by John Williams, who now has 47 nominations. He's up for two different films this year. And we'll hear from this year's frontrunner, Ludovic Bource's score for "The Artist."
Feb 23
Bergen Wind Quintet
Air is the energy that fuels wind instruments. And sharing that air with trusted colleagues, learning what makes them tick on a musical level, is what inspires the people who play them. Gro Sandvik, flutist with the Bergen Woodwind Quintet, says, "What we inhale is the inspiration for what is going to happen when we exhale." Today and tomorrow, the members of the Bergen Woodwind Quintet draw inspiration from each other, joining host Fred Child in the PT studio.
Feb 22
Gustavo Dudamel
Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic just got back from a whirlwind, 10-day concert tour to Venezuela, Dudamel's home country. By all accounts, the tour was a big success. In today's show, we'll hear a recording they made before their tour, a concert performance of Brahms' Second Symphony at Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles.
Feb 21
Mark O'Connor
The Roma people (also known as Gypsies) have long lived on the fringes of Eastern European society. But even though they themselves have been marginalized, their influence on classical music has not. In today's show, we'll hear Haydn's "Gypsy Rondo" Trio and the world premiere of Mark O'Connor's "March of the Gypsy Fiddler."
Feb 20
Abraham Lincoln
Today on PT, special music in honor of a few of our 44 Commanders-in-Chief. Leonard Bernstein wrote a fanfare in honor of the Inauguration of JFK in 1961. John Knowles Paine wrote a Solemn March for Abraham Lincoln's funeral. Plus, we'll hear music by the man who can arguably be called the country's Composer-in-Chief, Aaron Copland.
Feb 18
Lynn Harrell
Rising stars and established veterans are in this weekend's show. Cellist Lynn Harrell has been one of the top cellists in the world for decades. We'll hear him in concert with the Buffalo Philharmonic. And we'll hear from one of our favorite young pianists, Roberto Plano, performing as part of the Gilmore Rising Stars Recital Series.
Feb 17
Lynn Harrell
Rising stars and established veterans are in today's show. Cellist Lynn Harrell has been one of the top cellists in the world for decades. We'll hear him in concert with the Buffalo Philharmonic. And we'll hear from one of our favorite young pianists, Roberto Plano, performing as part of the Gilmore Rising Stars Recital Series.
Feb 16
Aaron Dworkin
As much as we strive to be a color-blind society, the fact is, we're not. And there are few places where the color divide is as prominent as in classical music. Violinist and educator Aaron Dworkin joins us today to talk about his experience growing up as a classical musician and a person of color. And he talks about the Sphinx Organization he founded to promote diversity in classical music.
Feb 15
Gabriel Cabezas
Last weekend, the 2012 Sphinx Competition was held in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The competition is held every year, and is open to young African-American and Latino string players. We'll hear from this year's winner, 18-year-old cellist Gabriel Cabezas. He played the Elgar Cello Concerto in his winning performance on Sunday.
Feb 14
Valentine hearts
If music be the food of love, then we'll play on. We'll hear stories of love and passion in today's show, and the music that goes with them. In "Vince and Jan: 1945," a son looks back to World War II and the roots of his parents' long love affair. And the Los Angeles Philharmonic plays music from the familiar story of a young love that didn't survive, "Romeo and Juliet."
Feb 13
Scheherazade
Faced with a choice between life and death on her wedding night, Scheherazade spun a set of fabulous tales (1001 of them, to be exact). They kept her husband intrigued and kept his sword at bay. Composer Hector Berlioz used musical story-telling to capture the romantic attentions of a woman he loved. Two sets of urgent, life-altering tall tales are in today's show, Carl Nielsen's "Aladdin Suite" and Berlioz'"Symphonie Fantastique."
Feb 11
Bruce Adolphe
Feb 10
Johannes Brahms
The last applause Johannes Brahms ever heard was for his Fourth Symphony. He was dying of cancer. But he went to hear Hans Richter conduct the Vienna Philharmonic. The performance received a big ovation. We'll never know if the echo of that applause was in Brahms' ears when he died a month later. In today's show, Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic earn a big ovation for their performance of Brahms' Fourth Symphony.

NOTE: Through our agreement with the Mozart Week Festival, Hour 2 of today's show is not available for web audio streaming.

Feb 9
sunrays
"It was the best of times. It was the worst of times." Those opening lines from Dickens'"A Tale of Two Cities" are burned into almost everyone's consciousness. But what about the rest of the book? Who can quote that? In today's show, we'll have another great opening line, the sunrise from "Also Sprach Zarathustra." Everyone knows it from the film "2001: A Space Odyssey." Plus the part no one remembers, the rest of the half-hour tone poem by Richard Strauss.
Feb 8
Stephen Hough
Feb 7
Gustavo Dudamel
George Gershwin's "An American in Paris" is just the sort of piece that conductor Gustavo Dudamel shines at. It's jazzy, energetic, exuberant, and passionate, just like Dudamel himself. Last fall, Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic opened their season with an all-Gershwin concert, including his wide-eyed look at Paris in the 1920s. We'll hear highlights in today's show.

NOTE: Through our agreement with the Mozart Week Festival, Hour 2 of today's show is not available for web audio streaming

Feb 6
Michael Tilson Thomas
Last fall, the San Francisco Symphony was preparing for a concert in honor of its 100th birthday. Music director Michael Tilson Thomas searched for just the right piece to show off the talents of the orchestra. What better work, thought Tilson Thomas, than Benjamin Britten's "Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra," which showcases each instrument of the orchestra. We'll hear it, from that gala concert last September.
Feb 4
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 turned 75 this past week. 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.
Feb 3
Alexander Melnikov
When piloting an airplane, safety has to be the number one consideration. Everything else takes a back seat. But safety isn't always the first thing on the mind of pianist (and private pilot) Alexander Melnikov. He says that, while he always has a Plan B when he's flying, that's tough to do on the concert stage. Melnikov takes some well-considered risks today, playing Schubert's "Wanderer Fantasy" in the PT studios.
Feb 2
Renee Fleming
If young men view death as an enemy to be conquered, then perhaps it's true that old men welcome it as a friend. That was the case with Richard Strauss, who imagined death and the afterlife in music when he was 26, with "Death and Transfiguration." The 84-year-old Strauss drew a warmer, richer, more bittersweet picture of death in his "Four Last Songs." Renee Fleming sings two, in concert in London.
Feb 1
Lang Lang
When they met in 1999, pianist Lang Lang and conductor Christoph Eschenbach both fell victim to mistaken first impressions. Eschenbach thought Lang Lang, then 16, was nothing more than another kid with unrealistic ambitions. Lang Lang thought Eschenbach looked just like the actor Yul Brynner. They got past those awkward first moments, recognized the immense talent in each other, and have since forged a close friendship. They collaborate on a Mozart concerto in today's show.