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Nov 30
Andre Mathieu
Was he the most talented unknown composer of the 20th century? Some called him the Canadian Mozart. Andre Mathieu was an astonishing prodigy as a composer and pianist. He played his own compositions at Carnegie Hall when he was 11. He beat the young Leonard Bernstein in a composition competition when he was 13. But he was also deeply troubled. He withdrew from public life before his 20s, and died, already forgotten, at age 39 in 1968. We'll hear the Tucson Symphony in concert, playing a set of Ballet Scenes by Andre Mathieu. Plus, we'll wrap up our series with pianist Andras Schiff on Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier.
Nov 29
Apollo's Fire
The ancient Greeks were onto something when they assigned the god Apollo to two very important functions. One of his jobs was to carry the sun across the sky each day in his chariot. The other was to be the patron of music. The Cleveland Baroque Orchestra is better known as Apollo's Fire. They're with host Fred Child in the PT studios today, bringing light and music by Bach and Vivaldi. Plus, Day 3 of music and conversation with pianist Andras Schiff on Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier.
Nov 28
Rachel Podger
Violinist Rachel Podger was once told by her teacher that Baroque violin playing was only for those who can't play real violin. She didn't think much of that opinion. So she smiled and nodded at her teacher, and sneaked out and took Baroque violin lessons on the side. Podger has since become one of the great early music interpreters, and performs with London's Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in today's show. Podger is both soloist and conductor in a Haydn violin concerto. Plus, Day 2 of music and conversation with pianist Andras Schiff on Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier.
Nov 27
Andras Schiff
We all have our little morning rituals. Sometimes it's just habit. But when it's intentional, the way you start your day says a lot about you. For Pianist Andras Schiff, it's almost always the same. He spends an hour or so playing preludes and fugues from J.S. Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier. Schiff never tires of it. He says, "As long as I live and I am lucky to be in good health, I want to continue to explore the mysteries of this music." Today marks the start of a four-day series of music and conversation with Andras Schiff and PT host Fred Child, on Bach's vast and mysterious Well-Tempered Clavier.
Nov 26
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."
Nov 24
Marcel Tyberg
No one was able to save composer Marcel Tyberg from a sad death in the Nazi concentration camps in 1944. But a valiant effort over the last 70 years involving one of Tyberg's students, conductor JoAnn Falletta, and the Buffalo Philharmonic, was successful in saving much of his music. JoAnn Falletta joins host Fred Child today to tell the story of Marcel Tyberg and her trip to Croatia to conduct his Second Symphony in the tiny town where Tyberg composed it.
Nov 23
Franz Schubert
Ferdinand Schubert was a packrat, and thank goodness for that. Ferdinand was the brother of composer Franz Schubert. When Robert Schumann came to visit in 1839, Schumann was surprised to find stacks of music lying all around the apartment. Franz Schubert had died a decade earlier, and among the mess, Schumann discovered an unknown masterpiece. It's come to be called the "Great Symphony," Schubert's Symphony No. 9. We'll hear a concert in London. Sir Charles Mackerras conducts the Philharmonia Orchestra.
Nov 22
Thanksgiving turkey
On Thanksgiving Day, we'll feature music by great American composers Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein. Martin Frost, the virtuoso Swedish clarinetist, plays Copland's jazzy clarinet concerto. We'll hear Bernstein's overture to Candide, from a concert in Luxembourg. And Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony from the Tanglewood Music Festival, about 150 miles west of the site of the very first Thanksgiving feast in 1621.
Nov 21
Marcel Tyberg
No one was able to save composer Marcel Tyberg from a sad death in the Nazi concentration camps in 1944. But a valiant effort over the last 70 years involving one of Tyberg's students, conductor JoAnn Falletta, and the Buffalo Philharmonic, was successful in saving much of his music. JoAnn Falletta joins host Fred Child today to tell the story of Marcel Tyberg and her upcoming trip to Croatia to conduct his Second Symphony in the tiny town where Tyberg composed it.
Nov 20
Saint-Saens
Silicon Valley is a center for technological creativity and musical creativity. In today's show, we'll spend a full hour at one of the great American music festivals, the Music@Menlo Festival in Palo Alto and Menlo Park, California. Everything from early English music to a rollicking hendectet, a piece for 11 players. We'll hear 11 of Menlo's finest in Camille Saint-Saens' (pictured) "Carnival of the Animals."
Nov 19
Chen Yi
Chen Yi was a classical musician in China at the worst possible time, during the Cultural Revolution, when all Western art was banned. Chinese authorities searched her home, and took away all her family's classical recordings. Chen Yi herself was sent off to a labor camp. She held onto her music in her heart and her memory until the political climate changed. Chen Yi is now a successful composer living in the West. We'll hear one of her works, from a concert in St. Paul.
Nov 17
Eric Whitacre
Choral composer Eric Whitacre says, "I thought I was going to be a pop star. I never in my wildest dreams imagined I'd be a classical composer." Now at age 42, Whitacre has achieved the kind of star status he once dreamed of. But not in the pop world. He's a kind of rock star of contemporary choral composers. He has nearly 100,000 Facebook fans. Has his own choir, the Eric Whitacre Singers. Some young fans have even gotten Eric Whitacre tattoos. In today's show, Whitacre leads a choir of over 100 singers in one of his own works, "Sleep."
Nov 16
Alison Balsom
British trumpeter Alison Balsom likes to compare trumpet playing with dancing. It's the artistry that really matters. "You need this incredible physical strength," she says. "But you don't bother the audience with it. It's just something that's on the inside." In today's show, Balsom gives an energetic, unbothered performance of the Hummel Trumpet Concerto, from a concert in Lugano, Switzerland.
Nov 15
Weill Hall
Thirteen years may seem like a long engagement, but who's counting? We're delighted to report that the happy couple is finally in their new home. The Santa Rosa Symphony and Sonoma State University in California agreed to be partners in 1999, building a new concert hall that they would share jointly. This fall, Weill Hall was finally finished, and the orchestra has taken up residence in its new home. We'll hear highlights from a concert just a week after the hall opened, the Santa Rosa Symphony playing music by Mozart and Mahler.
Nov 14
Eric Whitacre
Choral composer Eric Whitacre says, "I thought I was going to be a pop star. I never in my wildest dreams imagined I'd be a classical composer." Now at age 42, Whitacre has achieved the kind of star status he once dreamed of. But not in the pop world. He's a kind of rock star of contemporary choral composers. He has nearly 100,000 Facebook fans. Has his own choir, the Eric Whitacre Singers. Some young fans have even gotten Eric Whitacre tattoos. In today's show, Whitacre leads a choir of over 100 singers in one of his own works, "Sleep."
Nov 13
Martha Argerich
The life of a concert pianist is often lonely and nomadic. Jetting from city to city, never putting down roots in one place for very long. Superstar pianist Martha Argerich combats the loneliness by staging a month-long music festival in Lugano, Switzerland, giving performances with all her closest friends and colleagues. We'll hear her in concert at the Martha Argerich Project in Lugano, playing a Beethoven concerto. And we'll hear a lament for the ultimate lonely nomad, the shepherd. Paula Robison and friends play a flute trio based on a poem called "The Shepherd's Lament."
Nov 12
Flag
Samuel Barber was more than an American composer. He was an American soldier and veteran as well. Barber served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. Today, in honor of Veterans Day, we'll hear a march Barber wrote during his time in service to his country. Plus, Lee Hoiby's moving "Last Letter Home," based on a letter by PFC Jessie Givens, who died in Iraq in 2003.
Nov 10
Flag
Samuel Barber was more than an American composer. He was an American soldier and veteran as well. Barber served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. Today, in honor of Veterans Day, we'll hear a march Barber wrote during his time in service to his country. Plus, Lee Hoiby's moving "Last Letter Home," based on a letter by PFC Jessie Givens, who died in Iraq in 2003.
Nov 9
Gil Shaham
A few years ago, violinist Gil Shaham was introduced to a piece he'd never heard before. As his friend played the piece for Shaham, his friend burst into tears. The piece is based on an old story about two star-crossed lovers. After their tragic death, they're reincarnated, and reunited as butterflies. On Friday's Performance Today, Gil Shaham talks about his moving discovery of the Butterfly Lovers Concerto, a piece written in 1959 by two Chinese composers.
Nov 8
David Grossman from the New York Philharmonic
Nov 7
joann falletta
Like a seasoned antique hunter with a nose for overlooked gems, conductor JoAnn Falletta has a real knack for bringing hidden treasures to light. In today's show, Falletta leads the Buffalo Philharmonic in Franz Schreker's "Prelude to a Drama." Schreker is largely forgotten today, but was an important opera composer in the early 20th century. Schreker's "Prelude to a Drama" comes from his opera "The Marked Ones."
Nov 6
Fleck Meyer Hussain Trio
When you think of three instruments that just naturally belong together, it's not likely your first thought would be banjo, string bass, and tabla (Indian drums). Banjoist Bela Fleck, bassist Edgar Meyer, and tabla player Zakir Hussain come from very different musical backgrounds, but they've formed a unique and compelling trio that is capturing the attention of music lovers. PT's Fred Child hosted a live event recently in Miami, featuring interviews and performances by Fleck, Meyer, and Hussain. We'll hear highlights on today's show.
Nov 5
Brentano String Quartet
There's a new movie opening this weekend. It's called "A Late Quartet," the story of a string quartet that's been together for 25 years. The movie does a good job portraying the very close, and sometimes very messy, relationships that develop when a quartet plays together for 25 years. Jealousy, passion, conflict, boredom. In the final scene, we see them on stage playing Beethoven's Op. 131 quartet. You can hear some of the beautiful intimacy and beautiful messiness of the human condition in Beethoven's music. The film's stars, including Christopher Walken and Philip Seymour Hoffman, do a passable job of pretending to play instruments. Today, we'll hear the real musicians who recorded soundtrack of "A Late Quartet," the Brentano Quartet.
Nov 3
Classical Guitar
Perhaps no other instrument has as many facets as the guitar. It's part of nearly every culture and sub-culture in the world. John Dearman, one of the members of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, says that's the key to its success. He says, "The way to make classical guitar work is to exploit the diversity." John Dearman and the other members of the LAGQ will be in the PT studios today, following their own advice, exploiting the diversity of the guitar. We'll hear them in everything from 17th century Spain to modern-day jazz.
Nov 2
Olga Kern
When he was a teenager in the early 1920s, Dmitri Shostakovich played piano in movie theaters for silent films. A few years later, he wrote a Piano Concerto that in places almost sounds like music he might have riffed for a Charlie Chaplin comedy. It's the rollicking, jazz-inflected Piano Concerto No. 1 by Shostakovich. We'll hear a powerhouse performance by Olga Kern (pictured) and the Nashville Symphony.
Nov 1
Hurricane Sandy
Times were desperate in the Soviet Union in 1944. World War II was raging. Millions died from injuries, disease, and starvation. And somehow, in spite of that (or perhaps because of it), Sergei Prokofiev managed to write a symphony that he dedicated "to the nobility of the human spirit." He later confessed that it surprised even him. He said, "I can't say I chose the music. It was born deep inside me, matured within me, and clamored for expression." Today, as much of the country struggles to recover from Hurricane Sandy, we'll hear Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic in a performance of Prokofiev's Fifth Symphony, from a concert earlier this year.