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Sep 29
Emily Reese
Sep 28
Aaron Copland
By any measure, Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland is one of the great American works of art. But in 1944, Copland was paid 500 dollars for writing it. Not much for a future classic. But looking back, Copland said, "they needn't have worried about the amount. Five hundred dollars seemed like a lot to me in those days." On Friday's Performance Today, we'll hear the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra play 500 dollars worth of music by Aaron Copland.
Sep 27
Emily Reese
Sep 26
Carter Pann
Carter Pann's Mercury Concerto is a celebration of love and friendship. Friendship between composer Pann and flutist Christina Jennings, who premiered the piece. And love between Jennings and her husband, violist Matthew Dane. In today's show, we'll hear the world premiere of Pann's Mercury Concerto, a showcase for the flute, with a few shining moments for the viola as well.
Sep 25
Glenn Gould
Few of us are straight arrows, maintaining a predictable arc throughout our lives. We veer off course, careening at times, before coming to rest at the end of our days. Pianist Glenn Gould's 1955 recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations was the hallmark of a young man, shot from a tightly-strung bow. Insanely fast tempos, wild energy. You could almost call it reckless. But his trajectory changed over the years. His 1981 re-recording of the piece bears little resemblance to the earlier one. We'll sample both recordings today, on what would have been Gould's 80th birthday.
Sep 24
piano
The very first Van Cliburn International Piano Competition got underway exactly 50 years ago, on September 24, 1962, in Fort Worth, Texas. In today's show, we'll celebrate a half-century of spectacular music-making from deep in the heart of Texas. We'll hear from a number of past competitors, including Jeffrey Kahane, Olga Kern, Jon Nakamatsu, and the very first winner in 1962, Ralph Votapek.
Sep 22
The Emerson String Quartet
The Emerson String Quartet is one of the top quartets in the world. Part of the reason for their success has been their consistency. They haven't had a personnel change since 1979, the year cellist David Finckel joined the group. But David Finckel recently announced that at the end of this season, he will be leaving the quartet to pursue other projects. The Emersons have a busy season this year, ramping up to the big goodbye in the spring. In today's show, we'll hear from a concert they gave in Athens, Georgia.
Sep 21
Royal Albert Hall
All summer long, PT has been dropping in on concerts at the Proms, the big summer music festival in London. On Friday, our final visit of the 2012 season. Murray Perahia solos in the Piano Concerto Number 4 by Beethoven. And composer Eric Whitacre, a rock star in the world of choral music, directs the Eric Whitacre Singers and the BBC Singers in a surprising, surreal transformation of a Bach chorale.
Sep 20
Yo-Yo Ma
Two weeks ago, the Ravinia Festival in Chicago wrapped up its 2012 season. PT's own Fred Child was there, hosting the final concerts of the season. We'll hear highlights from a very special concert from Ravinia that featured cellist Yo-Yo Ma and a remarkable young ensemble from New York called the Knights. They played music by Thomas Ades and Robert Schumann.
Sep 19
The Emerson String Quartet
The Emerson String Quartet is one of the top quartets in the world. Part of the reason for their success has been their consistency. They haven't had a personnel change since 1979, the year cellist David Finckel joined the group. But David Finckel recently announced that at the end of this season, he will be leaving the quartet to pursue other projects. The Emersons have a busy season this year, ramping up to the big goodbye in the spring. In today's show, we'll hear from a concert they gave in Athens, Georgia.
Sep 18
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 at the Music Academy of the West in California. The always efficient Nicholas McGegan conducts.
Sep 17
Nico Muhly
Composer Nico Muhly had a mad, brilliant idea for a new piece this year. He looked at the world around him, at the way people and animals, even insects, moved around. And the more he thought about it, about the rhythm and grace and power involved in getting from point A to point B, the more he thought he could make music out of it. And he was right. Today, we'll hear the world premiere of Gait, by Nico Muhly, from a concert last month at the Proms in London.
Sep 15
Itzhak Perlman
Sep 14
Itzhak Perlman
Sep 13
Violinist Robert McDuffie
In an ideal world, music would be a pure meritocracy. The most talented musicians would be the most successful. But violinist Robert McDuffie says it's not just about talent anymore. McDuffie joins Fred Child in the studio to talk about orchestras in crisis, the future job market for young musicians and how he believes we should train them. Plus, we'll hear McDuffie perform Barber's Violin Concerto with the Atlanta Symphony.
Sep 12
Arnold Schoenberg
We often associate Arnold Schoenberg with crunchy, angular, atonal music. Music that's more for the head than the heart. But Schoenberg had a heart, after all. A heart with a surprising soft spot for the music of Johann Strauss, Jr., the Waltz King. In today's show, a loving arrangement of Strauss' Emperor Waltz, by Arnold Schoenberg. Plus, transformations of music by Arcangelo Corelli and the British rock band Radiohead.
Sep 11
Aspen
The Aspen Music Festival and School in Aspen, Colorado, is many things. A terrific training ground for young musicians. A popular venue for classical all-star concerts. A place of inordinate natural beauty, nestled in the Colorado Rockies. But above all, Aspen is a place to follow one's dreams. As a young violinist, Mei-Ann Chen dreamed of being a conductor. In today's show, she leads a group with big dreams of their own, the all-student Aspen Philharmonic, in the Symphony No. 2 by Brahms.
Sep 10
Hector Berlioz
No doubt about it: opening night of Hector Berlioz's opera Benvenuto Cellini was a spectacular disaster. Berlioz sarcastically wrote that the audience "hissed with admirable energy and unanimity." Part of the problem was the conductor, who ignored Berlioz's directions. The composer reworked the overture, renamed it and led the re-premiere himself. This time, Berlioz sent a note to the first conductor: "THAT is how the music goes." We'll hear the Roman Carnival Overture the way Berlioz intended it, on Monday's Performance Today.
Sep 8
Aaron Copland
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.
Sep 7
Benjamin Grosvenor
Benjamin Grosvenor was born in 1992 in a town just outside London. Everyone assumed that he would follow family tradition and play the piano. No one expected that he would perform in front of thousands at the BBC Proms in London. On Performance Today, we'll hear Grosvenor's second star turn at the Proms with a concerto by Camille Saint-Saens. And Brian Newhouse will preview the famous Last Night of the Proms concert he's hosting this weekend.
Sep 6
Andrew Staupe
Conventional wisdom says that only those who start intense musical training at a very young age will succeed. But Andrew Staupe got a relatively late start on the piano. He didn't start working on it seriously until he was a teen-ager. Staupe knew he had to make up for lost time. He says, "I really super-charged myself. And I thought, I have to learn fast and learn a lot." We'll meet this fine young American pianist today in the PT studios. Music and conversation with Andrew Staupe.
Sep 5
John Cage
American composer John Cage cut a deep swath through the musical landscape in the last century. To modernists, he was a pioneer, a revolutionary thinker. To traditionalists, he was a madman who wrote baffling music. John Cage was born 100 years ago today. We'll celebrate his centennial with a sample of some of his music, and hear how this philosopher of sound influenced those who came after him.
Sep 4
Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms wasn't exactly known for writing great xylophone parts. Or any xylophone parts, for that matter. But Arnold Schoenberg apparently thought that was just what Brahms needed. He orchestrated a Brahms piano quartet, and included a juicy part for the xylophone in the last movement. And he threw out the piano part entirely. Just a couple of the "improvements" in a wild, sometimes wacky, and ultimately very satisfying makeover by Arnold Schoenberg. We'll hear it, from a concert in New York.
Sep 3
sunrays
Technically, it doesn't happen for another couple of weeks. But for most of us, this day marks the unofficial end of summer. After today, the picnic baskets, sunscreen, and beach towels can go back in the closet. Time to start hunting for socks and scarves and anything made of flannel. We'll celebrate Labor Day today with a couple of portraits of autumn by Antonio Vivaldi and Astor Piazzolla. And an ode to the American worker, Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man."
Sep 1
scotland
Historically, the residents of Great Britain haven't always gotten along. Scotland and England, in particular, have a long and bloody history together. But never mind all that. There was a very friendly Scottish invasion in London recently. Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti, Scottish conductor Donald Runnicles, and the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland gave a concert at the Proms. We'll hear highlights, including Benedetti playing Max Bruch's Scottish Fantasy.