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Performance Today homepage
Feb 28
Oscar Statue
The Academy Awards are coming up this weekend. On Friday's Performance Today, we'll hear music by Oscar-nominated composer (and five-time Oscar winner) John Williams, in anticipation of Hollywood's big night.
Feb 27
Xavier Foley
The 2014 Sphinx Competition took place last week in Detroit. On Thursday's Performance Today we'll hear the winning performance, plus we'll speak with the winner of this year's competition: 19-year-old bass soloist Xavier Foley.
Feb 26
Maurice Ravel
Composer Maurice Ravel was a dear friend of the Gaudin family. When World War One began, the brothers Pascal and Pierre Gaudin proudly signed up for the French army. On the day the brothers arrived at the front, they were both killed by a single German shell. On Wednesday's Performance Today we'll hear Le tombeau de Couperin, a piece that Ravel wrote in memory of his friends Pierre and Pascal.
Feb 25
Isle of the Dead
The Isle of the Dead is a painting of a dark, forbidding island. After viewing it, Sergei Rachmaninoff was inspired to write a symphonic poem; a musical depiction of the journey of a newly departed soul. On Tuesday's Performance Today, we'll hear the Los Angeles Philharmonic perform Rachmaninoff's Isle of the Dead in concert in Los Angeles.
Feb 24
Daniel Barenboim West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
In 1999, conductor Daniel Barenboim and his good friend, author Edward Said, decided to found an orchestra made of up both Israeli and Arab musicians: the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. On Monday's Performance Today we'll hear Barenboim conducting the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in concert in Ramallah.
Feb 22
Samuel Barber
On this weekend's Performance Today, we'll hear a great American band play a great American symphony. Plus Bruce Adolphe joins us for this week's Piano Puzzler.
Feb 21
Joshua Smith
Joshua Smith is the principal flutist of the Cleveland Orchestra. In recent years, he and a few friends have been playing classical concerts at a local bar with astonishing results. On Friday's Performance Today, Smith talks about playing Beethoven and more at the Happy Dog in Cleveland.
Feb 20
Bill Eddins
On Thursday's Performance Today conductor, pianist and candid commentator Bill Eddins joins host Fred Child in the studio to take listeners on a tour of his favorite pieces of classical music. He talks about the unappreciated humor in Beethoven's symphonies, the sly keyboard prowess of Alicia de Larrocha, and reveals what he calls "the sexiest piece of classical music ever written."
Feb 19
Samuel Barber
On Wednesday's Performance Today, we'll hear a great American band play a great American symphony. Plus Bruce Adolphe joins us for this week's Piano Puzzler.
Feb 18
Inon Barnatan
On Tuesday's Performance Today, pianist Inon Barnatan joins Fred Child at Steinway Hall in New York. They'll talk about the art of using the middle pedal on the piano, and Barnatan will play a flighty piece by Felix Mendelssohn.
Feb 17
Nikolaus Harnoncourt
When he was young, Nikolaus Harnoncourt played the cello. But he often found himself questioning why the music was performed a certain way. Since he always had his own opinion, Harnoncourt decided to become a conductor. On Monday's Performance Today we'll hear him conducting the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in Mozart's Symphony No. 40.
Feb 15
Randall Thompson
On this weekend's Performance Today, we'll go to a concert in Cardiff, Wales, to hear a rarely-played American gem: the jazzy Symphony No. 2 by composer Randall Thompson. Plus composer Bruce Adolphe joins us with this week's musical game, our Piano Puzzler.
Feb 14
Robert and Clara Schumann
On Friday's Performance Today we're celebrating Valentine's Day with music and love. We'll hear a pianist in concert last month making a public declaration of love, and a quartet by Robert Schumann featuring a private, secret code of love.
Feb 13
Dmitri Shostakovich
Conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin believes that the Symphony No. 5 by Dmitri Shostakovich is both a cry and a confession; it is music that has always spoken to the most intimate part of his soul. On Thursday's Performance Today, we'll hear Nezet-Seguin lead the Philadelphia Orchestra in a concert performance of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5 at Carnegie Hall.
Feb 12
Randall Thompson
On Wednesday's Performance Today, we'll go to a concert in Cardiff, Wales, to hear a rarely-played American gem: the jazzy Symphony No. 2 by composer Randall Thompson. Plus composer Bruce Adolphe joins us with this week's musical game, our Piano Puzzler.
Feb 11
Alexander Gavrylyuk
When he was 17 years old, pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk was in a terrible car accident: part of his skull was crushed and he was in a coma. Now he's fully recovered and back on the concert scene, and on Tuesday's Performance Today we'll hear from a recent concert he gave in Fort Lauderdale.
Feb 10
Richard Goode
American pianist Richard Goode is thoughtful, precise, and introverted, with a smart and goofy sense of humor: all of which makes him perfect for music by Mozart. On Monday's Performance Today, Goode joins Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a performance Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20.
Feb 8
Batiment des Forces motrices
On this weekend's Performance Today, composer Bruce Adolphe joins us with this week's Piano Puzzler. Plus we'll go to Geneva for a concert from a remarkable venue, located in the middle of the river that runs through the city.
Feb 7
Dmitri Shostakovich
On the day of the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Games we'll hear from several musicians taking part in the grand opening in Sochi, including pianist Denis Matsuev, violist Yuri Bashmet, and conductor Valery Gergiev. Plus, an Olympic theme by Dmitri Shostakovich. Music for and about the Olympics, on Friday's Performance Today.
Feb 6
Clara Schumann
When she was a teenager, Clara Wieck loved to write music. A day before her 21st birthday, Clara Wieck married a man who was a composer himself - Robert Schumann. She wrote a few more pieces in her 30s, but for the most part she gave up composition. Coming up on Thursday's Performance Today, a concert performance of the Piano Concerto that young Clara wrote before she was Clara Schumann.
Feb 5
Orion Weiss
What is a composition? Recently, pianist Orion Weiss listened very carefully to a recording of a piano improvisation that Keith Jarrett performed in 1984. He then wrote it down note for note, with the intent of performing it himself. On Wednesday's Performance Today we'll hear Weiss playing Keith Jarrett's improvisation/composition in concert in Seattle.
Feb 4
Arvo Part
As a young composer Arvo Part wrote complex, aggressively modern music. Eventually he began to feel despair over that style of writing, so he stopped composing and spent several years listening to medieval music. He returned to composition a changed man, and his subsequent music had a completely different sound. On Tuesday's Performance Today we'll hear Fratres, one of the first pieces Arvo Part wrote after his musical conversion.
Feb 3
george gershwin
In 1928 George Gershwin sent a postcard to some friends. On the back were the words "Very Parisienne," a few notes of music, and "An American in Paris." Coming up on Monday's Performance Today, we'll hear the Los Angeles Philharmonic perform Gershwin's musical postcard in concert in Los Angeles.
Feb 1
Gustavo Dudamel
When Gustavo Dudamel conducts, it's like his body is inhabited by the music; his physical expression of the music often has a energizing effect on the orchestra and the audience. Coming up on this weekend's Performance Today, Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic play Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in London.