Support Performance Today with your Amazon.com purchases
Search Amazon.com:
Keywords:
  • News/Talk
  • Music
  • Entertainment
Performance Today homepage
Feb 28
Van Cliburn
The great American pianist Van Cliburn has died. He was 78 years old. On Thursday's Performance Today, we'll remember this legendary musician. We'll hear newsreel footage from his 1958 win at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. We'll hear from his friends. We'll hear from musicians he inspired. And we'll hear archival recordings of the man himself.
Feb 27
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 43, 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."
Feb 26
Johann Sebastian Bach
The music of J. S. Bach is wonderful in its original state, the way the old master wrote it. But it's so flexible, so adaptable and malleable, that musicians today just can't seem to leave it alone. And lucky for us that they don't. In today's show, recorder virtuoso Bolette Roed plays a Flute Partita by Bach. And members of the San Francisco Symphony play his Orchestral Suite No. 1, in concert in San Francisco.
Feb 25
Cellist Coleman Itzkoff
Coleman Itzkoff (pictured, at left) is the newest PT Young Artist-in-Residence. He's 20 and a cello student at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston. He comes from a long line of musicians, and in fact plays on a cello that belongs to his grandfather. Coleman will be with us in the PT studios all week. Today, he'll play a cello sonata by Beethoven.
Feb 23
Bruce Adolphe
Every week on our Piano Puzzler, composer Bruce Adolphe re-writes a familiar tune in the style of a classical composer. We get one of our listeners on the phone to try to guess the tune, and the composer Bruce is mimicking. Is it "Stand by Your Man" in the style of Tchaikovsky? Or maybe "Do Re Mi" in the style of Arnold Schoenberg? Play along, see if you can guess the tune and the composer in this week's Piano Puzzler.
Feb 22
Lincoln Center
Like a neutron star, New York's Lincoln Center is hot, bright, and densely packed. Eleven different arts organizations call it home, including the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Ballet, and the Juilliard School. There's more raw talent per square inch than just about any other place on earth. Today, we'll hear two stellar performances presented by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, works by Beethoven and Dvorak.
Feb 21
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.
Feb 20
Bruce Adolphe
Every week on our Piano Puzzler, composer Bruce Adolphe re-writes a familiar tune in the style of a classical composer. We get one of our listeners on the phone to try to guess the tune, and the composer Bruce is mimicking. Is it "Stand by Your Man" in the style of Tchaikovsky? Or maybe "Do Re Mi" in the style of Arnold Schoenberg? Play along, see if you can guess the tune and the composer in this week's Piano Puzzler.
Feb 19
Daniel Barenboim
Daniel Barenboim is a full-time pianist. And a full-time conductor. If you think that adds up to too much, Barenboim is quick to disagree. In fact, he wants to keep up the frenetic pace. He says, "I pray every day that I will not get comfortable in my old age." In today's show, we'll hear Barenboim the pianist and Barenboim the conductor, from concerts in Vienna and Essen, Germany.
Feb 18
Abraham Lincoln
Today on PT, special music in honor of a few of our Commanders-in-Chief. We'll hear a performance of Aaron Copland's "Lincoln Portrait" by the U.S. Marine Corps Band (also known as the President's Own). And Essential Voices USA performs a song cycle that incorporates words by George Washington, Woodrow Wilson, and our 44th and current president, Barack Obama.
Feb 16
Violin and Music
If it were a Hollywood movie from the 1940s, the plot would read something like, "Hero and heroine unjustly kept apart. Years pass. Hardship ensues. At long last, hero and heroine are reunited." Today's show isn't a Hollywood movie, but it does feature music by Erich Korngold, who wrote for Hollywood films in the 1940s. And we'll hear the story of a priceless Guarneri violin that got to play Korngold's Violin Concerto, after being kept away from it for a half century.
Feb 15
Emanuel Ax
Pianist Emanuel Ax is endearingly humble. He downplays his own abilities and goes out of his way to shine the spotlight on others. It's charming, but don't believe a word of it. Ax is a national treasure, one of the finest pianists around today. In today's show, he teams up with the Spanish National Orchestra and plays the "Emperor" concerto by Beethoven.
Feb 14
David Finckel and Wu Han
Cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han started out as musical colleagues. They fell in love with each other's playing. And it didn't take long before they fell in love with each other. Finckel describes their musical chemistry this way, "For us, it was like that right from the start. And I think that was one of the things that just sent up a signal to us that we were meant to be together somehow, in more ways than one." The husband-and-wife team of David Finckel and Wu Han are in the PT studios today, sharing music and conversation with host Fred Child.
Feb 13
Violin and Music
If it were a Hollywood movie from the 1940s, the plot would read something like, "Hero and heroine unjustly kept apart. Years pass. Hardship ensues. At long last, hero and heroine are reunited." Today's show isn't a Hollywood movie, but it does feature music by Erich Korngold, who wrote for Hollywood films in the 1940s. And we'll hear the story of a priceless Guarneri violin that got to play Korngold's Violin Concerto, after being kept away from it for a half century.
Feb 12
Gustavo Dudamel
Putting conductor Gustavo Dudamel in front of the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela is a bit like throwing a lit match onto a powder keg. The results are almost always explosive. But it's a superbly controlled burn. Dudamel and the SBSO gave a fiery concert of Latin American music at Carnegie Hall in New York recently. We'll hear highlights in today's show, including Carlos Chavez'"Sinfonia India."
Feb 11
Snow Globe Paris
So you took that great trip to Europe or to Hawaii or to the ski slopes. And now you're left with a faded T-shirt or a shake-up snow globe that doesn't even begin to capture the sights and the sounds of your dream vacation. Photos can help you remember what everything looked like. But what about the sounds you heard, the foreign languages, the street noises, the music? We'll hear from two composers who solved that problem. Today's show is all about musical souvenirs: Tchaikovsky's "Capriccio Italien," written during a trip to Rome, and Gershwin's "An American in Paris," inspired by his trip to the City of Light.
Feb 9
Leonidas Kavakos
The Greek name Leonidas means "brave as a lion." Violinist Leonidas Kavakos lives up to his name in a bold performance of Karol Szymanowski's Violin Concerto No. 2, from a concert at Carnegie Hall in New York. But Kavakos shows his tender side too in the concerto's many folk melodies. We'll hear Leonidas Kavakos' thoughts on what makes this concerto so difficult, and his performance with Yannick Nezet-Seguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Feb 8
Marlboro Music Festival
Every summer, an amazing musical gathering takes place in Vermont. Christopher Serkin, board member of Marlboro Music, sums it up this way. He says, "It's like summer camp, but for geniuses." Serkin's grandfather, pianist Rudolf Serkin, founded Marlboro in 1951. Every summer since then, young professionals and seasoned music veterans have gathered for seven weeks of glorious music-making. Today we'll have highlights from Marlboro, including a string quintet by Felix Mendelssohn.
Feb 7
Quartet San Francisco
Maybe one of the biggest disservices we do to music is to put it in a box, to focus on categories and genres and differences. The genre-bending Quartet San Francisco is wildly eclectic, making it their business to break down musical walls. Violinist Matthew Szemela says, "It's not a different language. It's different dialects of the same language." Quartet San Francisco joins PT host Fred Child in the studio today for conversation and music by Dave Brubeck, Chick Corea, and the rock band Jefferson Airplane.
Feb 6
Leonidas Kavakos
The Greek name Leonidas means "brave as a lion." Violinist Leonidas Kavakos lives up to his name in a bold performance of Karol Szymanowski's Violin Concerto No. 2, from a concert at Carnegie Hall in New York. But Kavakos shows his tender side too in the concerto's many folk melodies. We'll hear Leonidas Kavakos' thoughts on what makes this concerto so difficult, and his performance with Yannick Nezet-Seguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Feb 5
Simone Dinnerstein
Like many watershed moments, the one that happened to pianist Simone Dinnerstein was painful and life-altering. She calls it her "nightmare performance," one where she suffered a serious memory lapse. It caused her to re-evaluate everything about how she plays, how she practices, how she learns music. In today's show, Dinnerstein shares how she got back on track after that, and plays a Beethoven Piano Concerto in Copenhagen.
Feb 4
Starry Night
The nighttime has so many different moods, from passion to loneliness to the delicious tiredness you feel at the end of a long day. Whatever your favorite picture of the darkness, join us for today's show. We'll hear a thunderous performance of Sergei Rachmaninoff's "Variations on a Theme by Paganini," featuring pianist Stephen Hough, the quiet watchfulness of Dvorak's "Silent Woods" for cello and orchestra, and the warm and gentle embrace of "Nights in Bohemia," by Antonio de los Rios.
Feb 2
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.
Feb 1
Jordan Dodson
Jordan Dodson, the newest PT Young Artist-in-Residence, wraps up his residency with us today. This week, he's played everything from J.S. Bach to bossa nova to contemporary American music, all with remarkable technique and depth of feeling. Tune in today for Jordan's last day in the PT studios. He'll talk about his plans for the future, and he'll play a Grand Duo for Violin and Guitar by Mauro Giuliani, along with violinist Nadir Khashimov.