Classical Music

Classic Ballet
9:03 am
Tue January 20, 2015

A Rare Bird: After 120 Years, Audiences Still Flock To 'Swan Lake'

Swan Lake is 120 years old and still popular. The Mariinsky Theatre's current tour of the ballet at BAM in New York City is nearly sold-out.
Valentin Baranovsky BAM

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 5:39 am

The version of Swan Lake most often performed today premiered at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, 120 years ago this month. The ballet had been staged before, but it wasn't a hit until choreographers Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov revised it.

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Music + Culture
10:23 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Classical Composer (And Satirist) P.D.Q. Bach Will Entertain In Ellensburg

Anything but delicate, Peter Schickele will turn 80 this year.
Credit Peter Schickele / http://www.schickele.com/index.htm

What’s your favorite P.D.Q. Bach bit? How about two sports announcers doing a play-by-play “broadcast” of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony? Or the “Fanfare for the Common Cold?” How about wondering what kind of person can create such comedy mayhem, and then turn around and compose a sublime string quartet?

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Music + Culture
9:54 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Do Billboard Magazine Lists Matter? Yes, If You’re Anne Akiko Meyers

Anne Akiko Meyers holding the Vieuxtemps Guarneri violin.
Credit Molina Visuals

She’s played in person at the Orcas Island and Seattle Chamber Music Society festivals, but it’s the audiences beyond the concert hall who put violinist Anne Akiko

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Music + Culture
8:57 am
Mon December 15, 2014

The Sound of Hanukkah

Isaac Azose, Seattle Sephardic music maestro, with NEA National Heritage Fellow Flory Jagoda, composer of “Ocho Kandelikas.”
Credit Gigi Yellen

Christmas carols, they’re not. But for Hanukkah, the music and storytelling on the NWPR special programs for that holiday have become public radio traditions, even as concert music for Hanukkah remains, in a way, a chestnut still on the tree.

Firmly fixed on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev (so its Gregorian calendar dates vary) Hanukkah shares the season of joy with classical-music-rich Christmas, but its traditional music remains closer to folk than to classical. Why?

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-Music For Special Occasions
1:35 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Music for Hanukkah

Classical Comedy
7:19 am
Thu December 11, 2014

"Classical Style" Proves Classical Music Can Be Funny, Too

Zankel Hall, where "The Classical Style" was performed.
Credit Jeff Goldberg / Esto

Share a good laugh when you read this New York Times review of a cheeky little piece of musical-insider comedy, “The Classical Style,” that played last week at Carnegie Hall. In heaven, Beethoven grumbles, Haydn complains, Mozart rages about the movie Amadeus and demands a cut of the box office. And, of course, Dominant is always followed around by Tonic, a joke for the music theorists in the audience.

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Music News
2:41 am
Sun November 16, 2014

'Twinkle' Sparks Fireworks As Fiddler Guts Violin Method

Shinichi Suzuki makes a rare visit to Britain in 1980 to demonstrate the method he developed for learning to play the violin.
Ian Tyas Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 2:37 pm

If you're a parent, the sound of a small child sawing away at the strains of the "Twinkle Variations" may be all too familiar.

It's Song One, of Book One, of the Suzuki method, a musical pedagogy developed by Shin'ichi Suzuki in the 1960s.

But lately there has been discord among music educators, a feud over methods and credentials and accusations of fraud.

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Saxophone Celebration
9:57 am
Thu November 6, 2014

A Bit Of The Best Saxophone You'll Ever Hear

Adolphe Sax, a Belgian musician and the inventor of the saxophone, was born 200 years ago Thursday.
Credit The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty Images

Thursday marks the 200th birthday of Adolphe Sax, inventor of the saxophone. And yes, that's his real name. A bit about him and his instrument, from NPR:

As a young man, Sax worked for his father, also an instrument maker. The younger Sax made improvements to the bass clarinet and invented a family of instruments called saxhorns before creating his eponymous "phone" in the early 1840s.

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You Don't Know Sax
8:46 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Are You A Saxpert? Find Out Here

Adolphe Sax's invention has found its way into many styles of music. Here, Clarence Clemons plays the tenor sax with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band in Lexington, Ky., in 1984.
Credit Lexington Herald-Leader / Getty Images

It's the 200th birthday of the saxophone's inventor, Adolphe Sax - really, that was his name. To celebrate, NPR invites you to try and identify some great sax solos. How well do you know your saxophone?

Find out with this interactive audio quiz.

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Shakespeare Music
7:33 am
Tue October 14, 2014

Royal Shakespeare Company Opens Its Music Vault

The Royal Shakespeare Company is releasing albums of the music commissioned for its productions of many of the plays. Pictured the first collected edition of William Shakespeare's works.
Credit Leon Neal / AFP/Getty Images

"Classics only become classics after a length of time. ... That's the beauty of it. And when people are listening to Michael Bruce's version in, say, a hundred years time, I wonder what they will think of that."

What’s the right music for a Shakespeare play? Depends on what century you’re in. In the 400 years since the plays were new, generations of composers have set their musical styles onto Shakespeare’s scripts.

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