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Performance Today homepage
Mar 31
Sunrise
There are a few graceful, bursting sunrises in music. One by Richard Strauss, which became the iconic soundtrack for the film "2001: A Space Odyssey." And there's one in the ballet "Daphnis and Chloe" by Maurice Ravel. On Monday's Performance Today, we'll hear a new musical sunrise by American composer John Mackey: "Aurora Awakes."
Mar 29
Johannes Brahms
We'll go to a concert in Munich to hear the Bavarian Radio Symphony play Johannes Brahms' "Variations on a Theme by Haydn." Except...the theme is not really by Haydn. The story and the music on this weekend's Performance Today.
Mar 28
The Beethoven Frieze
When the New York Philharmonic asked composer Mark Anthony Turnage to write a musical response to Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, he was scared stiff. But the music that Turnage came up with is anything but stiff; it's sly, witty, daring. We'll hear Turnage's piece, Frieze, on Friday's Performance Today.
Mar 27
Richard Strauss
The opening of Richard Strauss' "Also Sprach Zarathustra" is incredibly memorable. You can sing along with every bit of it: the trumpet, the timpani, the big dramatic chords. On Thursday's Performance Today, we'll hear the entirety of Strauss' most spine-chilling composition.
Mar 26
Richard Wagner
We're familiar with composer Richard Wagner in his later years; wealthy, discerning, respected. We don't hear as much about young Wagner, who was once in so much debt that he, his wife, and their dog had to climb through a muddy ditch to get away from the police. Coming up on Wednesday's Performance Today, the music that gave Wagner his big break and enabled him to move from muddy moocher to silk tie wearing composer.
Mar 25
Igor Stravinsky
In 1909, a Parisian ballet company wanted to create a new production inspired by the old Russian tale of the Firebird. Their first composer quit. Three more composers either failed or turned down the job. In desperation, they turned to their fifth choice: an unknown 27 year old named Igor Stravinsky. We'll hear the music that made Stravinsky's career on Tuesday's Performance Today.
Mar 24
Johannes Brahms
We'll go to a concert in Munich to hear the Bavarian Radio Symphony play Johannes Brahms' "Variations on a Theme by Haydn." Except...the theme is not really by Haydn. The story and the music on Monday's Performance Today.
Mar 22
Yuja Wang
On this weekend's Performance Today, we'll hear the intense piano virtuosity of Yuja Wang from a concert in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Plus a playful piano puzzler by Bruce Adolphe.
Mar 21
beethoven
On Friday's Performance Today, we'll hear pianist Anton Kuerti talk about the many moods of Beethoven. Plus we'll hear him play Beethoven's "Les adieux" sonata from a spring 2011 performance in our studios.
Mar 20
Gabriel Faure
On Thursday's Performance Today, we'll drop in on a concert at the Savannah Music Festival for a sprightly piano quartet by French composer Gabriel Faure.
Mar 19
Yuja Wang
On Wednesday's Performance Today we'll hear the intense piano virtuosity of Yuja Wang from a concert in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Plus a playful piano puzzler by Bruce Adolphe.
Mar 18
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
On Tuesday's Performance Today we'll celebrate Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's birthday by hearing his poignant, noble masterpiece: "Scheherazade." Plus we'll highlight three very different versions of his best-known piece, "Flight of the Bumblebee."
Mar 17
Four-leaf clover
On Monday's Performance Today, we'll go to a concert in Stockholm for the Italian Symphony by Felix Mendelssohn. And since Monday is a day for all things Irish, we'll also get a set of Irish tunes from the Ensemble Galilei.
Mar 15
sunrays
Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 is a half-hour long journey from darkness to light. Coming up on this weekend's Performance Today, we'll hear it performed by the Danish National Symphony Orchestra in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Mar 14
sunrays
Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 is a half-hour long journey from darkness to light. Coming up on Friday's Performance Today, we'll hear it performed by the Danish National Symphony Orchestra in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Mar 13
Saint-Saens
Camille Saint-Saens wrote the Carnival of the Animals for a private party; he'd hoped that would be the last time it was ever heard. Of course, that's not what happened. On Thursday's Performance Today we'll hear Saint-Saens' much-loved musical menagerie from a concert in Buffalo, New York.
Mar 12
David Maslanka
Contemporary composer David Maslanka begins every day by playing and singing Bach. On Wednesday's Performance Today we'll hear Maslanka's Wind Quintet No. 3, which features a direct musical quote from a Bach chorale.
Mar 11
Flames
On Tuesday's Performance Today, innovative pianist Jade Simmons joins Fred in the studio to discuss what it means to stay fiery as a musician.
Mar 10
Avi Avital
When he was five years old, Avi Avital's mother asked him which musical instrument he would like to play. The Avital family had an upstairs neighbor who practiced the mandolin; Avi didn't hesitate for a moment in choosing the same instrument. 30 years later, he's on top of the classical mandolin world. We'll hear Avi Avital in concert on Monday's Performance Today.
Mar 8
C.P.E. Bach
In honor of his 300th birthday, we'll celebrate the life and remarkably inventive music of composer Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach on this weekend's Performance Today.
Mar 7
C.P.E. Bach
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was born 300 years ago this week. On Friday's Performance Today we'll celebrate his life and his remarkably inventive music.
Mar 6
Leos Janacek
Composer Leos Janacek had a bad case of writer's block. One day, he heard the family maid suddenly burst into laughter; she had been reading a newspaper cartoon about a fox and her friends. On Thursday's Performance Today we'll hear music inspired by this laughter from the next room: the orchestral suite from Janacek's opera 'The Cunning Little Vixen'.
Mar 5
george gershwin
In 1932, George Gershwin took a vacation to Havana, Cuba. He came home with a set of bongos, a set of maracas, and inspiration for a new composition. On Wednesday's Performance Today we'll hear Gershwin's Cuban Overture, his souvenir from two "hysterical" weeks in Cuba.
Mar 4
Johann Sebastian Bach
Are three heads better than one? Bach wrote his Goldberg variations for a single pianist to play, but a trio of string players have worked out a clever reinvention. On Tuesday's Performance Today we'll hear that music from a concert in Angel Fire, New Mexico.
Mar 3
Jonathan Biss
Mar 1
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 this weekend's Performance Today we'll hear Le Tombeau de Couperin, a piece that Ravel wrote in memory of his friends Pierre and Pascal.