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Jan 31
Tine Thing Helseth
Youth is wasted on the young, or so the saying goes. Meaning that some people think they could make better use of all that energy and enthusiasm and fearlessness than the ones who actually possess it. If you're one of those people, you're sure to change your mind today. We'll hear performances by a bunch of twenty-somethings who have youthful energy and mature musicianship bursting from every pore: two soloists from the Van Cliburn Piano Competition, Norwegian trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth (pictured), and the newest PT Young Artist-in-Residence, guitarist Jordan Dodson.
Jan 30
Valery Gergiev
There are workaholics, and then there's Valery Gergiev. Gergiev maintains an almost break-neck pace of conducting engagements all over the world, rarely taking a day off. One interviewer recently asked him why he works so hard. Gergiev replied, "At some point, I think, it's difficult to stop." In today's show, the man who doesn't know the meaning of down time leads the London Symphony in Brahms' Haydn Variations, from a concert last month in London.
Jan 29
Fingal's Cave
The locals call it Fingal's Cave, a glittering cavern in a lonely outcropping off the coast of Scotland, where wind and sky, land and sea all come crashing together. Felix Mendelssohn had heard about it, wanted to see it for himself. But he was a landlubber who was out of his element. He turned a particularly violent shade of green that day. Today, Gustavo Dudamel demonstrates his sea legs, leading the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the "Hebrides Overture," inspired by Mendelssohn's trip to Scotland in 1829.
Jan 28
Jordan Dodson
How many millions of kids have watched music videos and were absolutely sure that they were going to grow up to be rock guitarists? Probably just about every kid out there. Jordan Dodson was one of them. And like just about every other kid his age, he didn't grow up to be a rock-and-roller. But he did grow up to be a guitarist. And a fantastic one at that. Dodson switched from rock to classical when he was 16, and is now one of the top young guitarists of his generation. Jordan Dodson is our newest PT Young Artist-in-Residence, and joins host Fred Child in the PT studios all week.
Jan 26
Alisa Weilerstein and Inon Barnatan
The life of a concert artist can be a lonely one, not just socially, but artistically. That's why so many top soloists love playing chamber music as well. Two terrific young soloists recently joined host Fred Child for music and conversation, cellist Alisa Weilerstein and pianist Inon Barnatan. Weilerstein said this about Barnatan, "When you have a really great chamber musician, there's always just so much to bounce off of, to give back, and this is one of the most rewarding things about playing together." This weekend we'll hear their interview and excerpts from a Rachmaninoff cello sonata.
Jan 25
Alisa Weilerstein and Inon Barnatan
The life of a concert artist can be a lonely one, not just socially, but artistically. That's why so many top soloists love playing chamber music as well. Two terrific young soloists recently joined host Fred Child for music and conversation, cellist Alisa Weilerstein and pianist Inon Barnatan. Weilerstein said this about Barnatan, "When you have a really great chamber musician, there's always just so much to bounce off of, to give back, and this is one of the most rewarding things about playing together." Today we'll hear their interview and excerpts from a Rachmaninoff cello sonata.
Jan 24
sunrays
Much of the nation is locked in a deep freeze this week. Parts of the Northeast and Midwest are seeing record low temperatures, with wind chills far below zero. If you need a little warming up, tune in to the show today. We've got warm and engaging performances from the Sun Belt, including a sunny wind sextet from the Spoleto Festival in South Carolina, and a sultry tango from Savannah, Georgia.
Jan 23
Osvaldo Golijov
Today's show is a celebration of ambiguity, that delicious is-it-or-isn't-it uncertainty. In "ZZ's Dream," composer Osvaldo Golijov (pictured) asks the question, "Am I a man dreaming I'm a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming I'm a man?" We'll hear it from the Spoleto Festival. And from Dmitri Shostakovich, who could be maddeningly hard to pin down, we'll hear the final movement from his Fifth Symphony. Is it a celebration of the Stalinist regime, as the Soviets claimed? Or a subtly-encoded cry of opposition? And we'll hear from a man who makes his living being deliberately ambiguous. Bruce Adolphe has this week's Piano Puzzler.
Jan 22
Glass Slipper
It's true what they say. A new pair of shoes and a posh frock really can change your life. Conductor Valery Gergiev recently packed up the members of the London Symphony Orchestra, spiffed them up, and whisked them off to a music festival in the south of France. They could only stay a short while, so what better piece to play than the ballet "Cinderella," by Sergei Prokofiev? We'll hear highlights from that magical evening in today's show.
Jan 21
Martin Luther King Jr
On the holiday named for Martin Luther King, Jr., we'll remember Dr. King's legacy with music. We'll feature conductor Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony in a very special concert in honor of Dr. King. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma was there, playing the Dvorak Cello Concerto. Plus, music written in honor of Dr. King by Duke Ellington, from a concert in Buffalo, New York.
Jan 19
Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms thought he was at the end. He was 58, convinced he was not only done with composing, but maybe even done with living. He put down his pen, got his affairs in order, said his goodbyes, and waited. But life sometimes does funny things just when you think you have it all figured out. Brahms met an amazing clarinetist, heard him play, and decided maybe there was some music left in him after all. Turns out, it was some of the most sublime music he ever wrote. We'll hear one of Brahms' autumnal works, his clarinet trio, from a concert at the Spoleto Festival.
Jan 18
J S Bach
If you've ever had a shiny, brand new car, you may have found yourself volunteering to drive a lot more than you used to. Take the kids to soccer practice? Sure. Go pick up a loaf of bread? Love to. Johann Sebastian Bach was in pretty much the same place in 1719. He had just gotten a shiny, brand new harpsichord, and desperately wanted to take it out for a spin. So he wrote a flashy harpsichord part into the piece he was working on, his Brandenburg Concerto No. 5. We'll hear Bach's shiny new set of wheels, from a concert in Germany.
Jan 17
Ukrainian pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk saw everything slip away in an instant, when a car crash led to a month-long coma. Gavrylyuk has fully recovered from that accident, and his playing is more powerful and poetic than ever. We'll hear him in concert in Miami. And another musician who has come back from a devastating injury: violinist Peter Oundjian lost full use of his left hand due to a repetitive stress disorder. So he took up conducting. In today's show, Oundjian leads the Toronto Symphony in excerpts from Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 4.
Jan 16
Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms thought he was at the end. He was 58, convinced he was not only done with composing, but maybe even done with living. He put down his pen, got his affairs in order, said his goodbyes, and waited. But life sometimes does funny things just when you think you have it all figured out. Brahms met an amazing clarinetist, heard him play, and decided maybe there was some music left in him after all. Turns out, it was some of the most sublime music he ever wrote. We'll hear one of Brahms' autumnal works, his clarinet trio, from a concert at the Spoleto Festival.
Jan 15
Krzysztof Urbanski
Part of conductor's job is to be a glorified traffic cop, to make sure the music doesn't come apart at the seams. But even more important than that, it's to be a leader and a unifier, to convey an artistic vision to the orchestra. If the first part of the job description seems better-suited to younger people, it's the second part that has historically swung the baton in favor of the senior generation. Krzysztof Urbanski is young conductor who seems to have both halves in good order. Today, he leads the Indianapolis Symphony in Bedrich Smetana's suite, "Ma Vlast."
Jan 14
Eldar Djangirov
Caprice, capricious, capriccio. A set of words all meaning whimsical, light-hearted, and free-spirited. As you'll find out today, that can encompass a lot of territory. Everything from the thoughtful, wandering improvisation on a Brahms Capriccio by the amazing jazz pianist Eldar Djangirov (pictured), to the sometimes ferocious yet ultimately playful Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra by Igor Stravinsky. Join us as we explore some of the many facets of the Capriccio in today's show.
Jan 12
Ice Cream with Jalapenos
To many in the audience sitting in the Champs-Elysees Theater in Paris, what unfolded before them was ghastly, unthinkable, an affront to the senses. Like finding that someone laced your ice cream with jalapeno peppers. Noses wrinkled, ears prickled, and eventually, fists started flying. It was the premiere of the most revolutionary piece of music of the 20th century, Igor Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring." This year marks the centennial of the ballet. We'll revisit that day in Paris 100 years ago, and the riot that ensued. And we'll hear a peaceful performance from New York City.
Jan 11
Kevin Puts
How often have you listened to a piece of music and thought, "What on earth was the composer thinking when he/she wrote that?" Usually that reaction is reserved for something we don't like. But American composer Kevin Puts took on the question in a serious, thoughtful way. He started with the first movement of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, and wondered what inspired him to write it. The result is an engaging new piece, "Inspiring Beethoven." We'll hear it from a concert in North Carolina.
Jan 10
Peruvian Textile Worker
American composer Gabriela Lena Frank paid tribute to her Peruvian heritage when she wrote a new chamber piece in 2010. It's called "Hilos," which means "Threads." The title is a reference to the beautiful woven textiles from the Andean region. But the idea of threads also refers to the common language of music, and how different musical styles can be woven together into a common fabric. Gabriela Lena Frank and the Alias Chamber Ensemble join host Fred Child in the PT studios today for a performance of "Hilos."
Jan 9
Ice Cream with Jalapenos
To many in the audience sitting in the Champs-Elysees Theater in Paris, what unfolded before them was ghastly, unthinkable, an affront to the senses. Like finding that someone laced your ice cream with jalapeno peppers. Noses wrinkled, ears prickled, and eventually, fists started flying. It was the premiere of the most revolutionary piece of music of the 20th century, Igor Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring." This year marks the centennial of the ballet. We'll revisit that day in Paris 100 years ago, and the riot that ensued. And we'll hear a peaceful performance from New York City.
Jan 8
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, we'll hear the part no one remembers. Gustavo Dudamel leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the complete half-hour tone poem by Richard Strauss.
Jan 7
Simon Rattle
Conductor Simon Rattle joins us to introduce the Symphony No. 2 by Johannes Brahms. Rattle says "this is a work where real unalloyed joy comes out, and that, in all of Brahms' output, is fairly rare." Rattle also weighs in on Brahms' gruff, very German sense of humor. And we'll go to a concert in Berlin, with Rattle conducting the Berlin Philharmonic in the complete symphony.
Jan 5
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 tease the geese." David Robertson leads the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in Prokofiev's First Symphony, in concert at the iconic Opera House in Sydney, Australia.
Jan 4
Orion Weiss Anna Polonsky
Would you rather be married to someone who does exactly what you do for a living? Someone who knows every little inside joke, every nuance and intricacy of your profession? Or would you rather be with someone who does something completely different, who can open up a new world to you? In 2010, Orion Weiss and Anna Polonsky decided that a two-piano household was a good thing, and they got married. In today's show, Polonsky and Weiss share how they balance music and marriage, and they play the Poulenc Concerto for Two Pianos in Buffalo.
Jan 3
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 tease the geese." David Robertson leads the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in Prokofiev's First Symphony, in concert at the iconic Opera House in Sydney, Australia.
Jan 2
Johann Sebastian Bach
He was an obscure dead composer, but Mozart loved his work. He even arranged some of the old guy's keyboard pieces for string quartet. In today's show, the Orion String Quartet performs some of those curious Mozart arrangements. And that nearly-forgotten composer? That would be Johann Sebastian Bach.
Jan 1
Fireworks
It just wouldn't be New Year's Day without some Strauss from Vienna. Today, we get the whole Strauss family. Franz Welser-Most conducts the Vienna Philharmonic in works by Eduard, Josef, and Johann, Jr., from the annual New Year's Day concert in Vienna. Plus, we'll look ahead to several important milestones we'll be celebrating in 2013. Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner both turn 200 this year.