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Performance Today homepage
Mar 31
Menahem Pressler
Pianist Menahem Pressler has been called a "national treasure" for his flawless and sensitive playing. But there are other reasons to admire him, too. At age 88, he radiates youthful joy and love, both in conversation and in his playing. Today, we'll get a chance to hear both. Pressler recently joined PT host Fred Child for an interview in our studios. And we'll hear his recent performance of a Mozart concerto in Sweden.
Mar 30
The Emerson String Quartet
Cellist David Finckel has been a member of the Emerson Quartet since 1979. Last month, he said he's leaving the quartet at the end of next season. Before he goes, we'll hear a great performance on today's show from the Emersons, with David Finckel, playing Dvorak's American Quartet, in concert at the Savannah Music Festival.
Mar 29
Menahem Pressler
Pianist Menahem Pressler has been called a "national treasure" for his flawless and sensitive playing. But there are other reasons to admire him, too. At age 88, he radiates youthful joy and love, both in conversation and in his playing. Today, we'll get a chance to hear both. Pressler recently joined PT host Fred Child for an interview in our studios. And we'll hear his recent performance of a Mozart concerto in Sweden.
Mar 28
Savannah, GA
The 2012 Savannah Music Festival is underway in one of this country's most beautiful cities - Savannah, Georgia. PT host Fred Child will be there this weekend, hosting several live on-stage events with some of the festival's all-star guests. In today's show, we'll revisit a couple of great Savannah performances from past festivals, including mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile and the Assad Brothers Guitar Duo.
Mar 27
Gustavo Dudamel
If Gustavo Dudamel was running on fumes the night he and the Los Angeles Philharmonic played Beethoven's Seventh Symphony in London, no one could tell. He and the L.A. Phil had stayed up late the night before, celebrating his 30th birthday. And they went on to deliver a dynamite performance of the Beethoven. One critic called it "electrifying, impossible not to be swept away." We'll hear that post-birthday performance from London in today's show.
Mar 26
Leonard Bernstein
Can a European orchestra get its groove on? Leonard Bernstein's Symphonic Dances from West Side Story can sometimes pose a difficult challenge to ensembles not used to the Latin rhythms of his song "Mambo," or the swing rhythms of "Cool." But the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra does a pretty darn good job. Today we'll hear them capture the grit, swing and groove of the Symphonic Dances from West Side Story on Performance Today.
Mar 24
Yosemite California
Composer Aaron Copland was a city slicker from Brooklyn, New York. And yet he instinctively knew how to capture the sound of the great open spaces of the American West. Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony play highlights from Copland's cowboy ballet, Billy the Kid, in a special gala concert in honor of the orchestra's 100th anniversary.
Mar 23
Imogen Cooper
Pianist Imogen Cooper calls Beethoven's "Tempest" Sonata "a deeply disturbing work." From the enigmatic opening bars where Beethoven draws us into a mysterious world, to the ambiguous ending, he takes us through a whole range of conflicting emotions. Cooper confesses that playing this piece sometimes leaves her feeling shaken. Today she joins host Fred Child in the PT studios for conversation and a performance of Beethoven's "Tempest" Sonata.
Mar 22
Schermerhorn Symphony Center
In today's show, a performance from Music City - Nashville, Tennessee. Pianist Kirill Gerstein plays a Rachmaninoff concerto with the Nashville Symphony. And the story of trombonist Jeremy Wilson, who's resigning his chair in the Vienna Philharmonic to return to his roots in Tennessee. He'll teach at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. We'll hear the Vienna Philharmonic in Beethoven's "Eroica" Symphony.
Mar 21
Yosemite California
Composer Aaron Copland was a city slicker from Brooklyn, New York. And yet he instinctively knew how to capture the sound of the great open spaces of the American West. Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony play highlights from Copland's cowboy ballet, Billy the Kid, in a special gala concert in honor of the orchestra's 100th anniversary.
Mar 20
Danill Trifonov
There are those who can point to one moment in their lives and say, "That was it. That was when everything changed forever." It's likely pianist Daniil Trifonov would point to June 30, 2011, as the day he knew things would never be the same. That was the day he won the International Tchaikovsky Competition, and went from being an unknown 20-year-old music student to being a star. Trifonov plays Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto in today's show.
Mar 19
The Parker Quartet
Here at PT, we get to say "we knew them when." Two years ago, the members of the Parker Quartet were PT Artists in Residence. And they've gone on to do great things since then. They're getting rave reviews. They won a Grammy award last year. And their playing has only gotten better and better. The Parker Quartet joins host Fred Child for music and conversation, today and tomorrow in the PT studio.
Mar 17
Zoltan Kodaly
Nostalgia is a sweet but dangerous thing. Too much sugar and it loses its authenticity. Too much vinegar and it's more painful than satisfying. When he was past 50, Zoltan Kodaly resurrected a favorite childhood memory, hearing the local Gypsy musicians in his home town of Galanta. He came up with just the right blend of sugar and spice, of energy and reflection, in his Dances of Galanta. We'll hear it, from a concert in Paris.
Mar 16
Shamrock
Last month, we aired "Summer," from Vivaldi's "Four Seasons," in a wildly inventive new interpretation by violinist Pekka Kuusisto and the Irish Chamber Orchestra. Bows digging into strings, foot stomping, over-the-top energy, even a little singing from the orchestra. Listeners loved it and demanded more. Today, in honor of St. Patrick's Day, we'll hear all four of the seasons, from that same concert by Kuusisto and the band from Ireland.
Mar 15
Jean Sibelius
There's a word in the Finnish language called "sisu." It's hard to translate, but it means a sort of grim determination, having the strength to face adversity head-on without giving up. People who know the Finnish culture say that one word, sisu, pretty much sums it all up. In today's show, music by a Finn with a whole lot of sisu, Jean Sibelius. We'll hear his dark, brooding tone poem Tapiola, about the mysterious forests in the far north of Finland.
Mar 14
Zoltan Kodaly
Nostalgia is a sweet but dangerous thing. Too much sugar and it loses its authenticity. Too much vinegar and it's more painful than satisfying. When he was past 50, Zoltan Kodaly resurrected a favorite childhood memory, hearing the local Gypsy musicians in his home town of Galanta. He came up with just the right blend of sugar and spice, of energy and reflection, in his Dances of Galanta. We'll hear it, from a concert in Paris.
Mar 13
Clara Schumann
In 1839, Clara Schuman agonized over whether she should continue writing music. She wrote in her diary, "I once thought that I possessed creative talent, but I have given up this idea; a woman must not desire to compose." Thankfully, attitudes have changed since then. In today's show, we'll hear Three Romances by the creative and talented Clara Schumann. Plus, one of the busiest conductors around, JoAnn Falletta leading the Buffalo Philharmonic in Mozart's Prague Symphony. And a Renaissance charmer by Piffaro called "Goddesses."
Mar 12
Simon Rattle
Two weeks ago, 250 musicians were assembled on stage at Carnegie Hall in New York. Not to mention an off-stage military band, horns on the 3rd balcony, and bells in the light boxes. The glorious sounds of Gustav Mahler's Resurrection Symphony filled up every nook and cranny in the hall. We'll have highlights in today's show, from that Carnegie Hall concert by Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic.
Mar 10
leif ove andsnes 02
Three weeks ago, Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes gave a solo recital at Carnegie Hall in New York. PT's Fred Child was there, hosting the live APM special. In case you missed it, we'll be rebroadcasting highlights from Andsnes' spectacular performance on today's show, works by Haydn, Debussy, and Rachmaninoff.
Mar 9
susanna phillips
Mar 8
leif ove andsnes 02
Three weeks ago, Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes gave a solo recital at Carnegie Hall in New York. PT's Fred Child was there, hosting the live APM special. In case you missed it, we'll be rebroadcasting highlights from Andsnes' spectacular performance on today's show, works by Haydn, Debussy, and Rachmaninoff.
Mar 7
Firebird
The legend of the firebird comes down to us from many different cultures. The details differ, but the essence of the story is the same. This magical bird is immortal, dying in fire and being reborn in the ashes of its former self. In 1910, the then-unknown Igor Stravinsky ensured his own immortality, writing music for the new ballet, "The Firebird." We'll hear a performance of the complete ballet from Germany, Alan Gilbert leading the Berlin Philharmonic.
Mar 6
christian zacharias_
Times are tough, but that's not why Christian Zacharias can often be found wearing two hats, as pianist and conductor. It's not about tightening his belt. It's about loosening the lines of communication between soloist and orchestra. In today's show, Zacharias plays and conducts what he describes as "big-scale chamber music," Chopin's Second Piano Concerto, with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
Mar 5
Map
Camille Saint-Saens hated the cold, damp, raw Paris winters. So every year, he packed his valise and headed off to another exotic locale. His Piano Concerto No. 5 came out of a winter trip to Egypt. German Max Bruch was more of a homebody. Rather than going all the way to Scotland, he lifted a handful of Scottish tunes from a library book in Munich, and wove them into his Scottish Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra. In today's show, two examples of the art of travel, in performances by pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and violinist Julia Fischer.
Mar 3
piano
Edvard Grieg wrote one of the best opening lines in all of classical music in his Piano Concerto in A Minor. And like the best pickup lines, we fall for it every time. It has us intrigued, wanting to know more. We'll hear those dramatic, crashing chords that draw us in, and the rest of the musical conversation, from a concert in Montreal.
Mar 2
Frankenstein's Monster
Like Dr. Frankenstein, Paul Hindemith took a few used parts from a long-dead composer and electrified them into something huge and powerful. The unwitting donor? That would be Carl Maria von Weber. His charming little tunes and marches served as the raw material for today's monster with a heart of gold, Hindemith's "Symphonic Metamorphoses on Themes by Carl Maria von Weber." We'll hear it from a concert in Los Angeles.
Mar 1
Sergei Rachmaninoff
In today's show, two composers who looked back to earlier forms and came up with startlingly different interpretations. Sergei Rachmaninoff (pictured) took a complicated little violin melody by Paganini and turned it into a triumphant Romantic barnburner for piano and orchestra. And Maurice Ravel saw the unraveling of European society in the form of the Viennese waltz. We'll hear Rachmaninoff's "Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini" and Maurice Ravel's "La Valse."