classical

Music + Culture
10:53 am
Tue July 2, 2013

In Search Of The Great American Symphony

Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony have been consistent champions of American music of all shapes and sizes. Are there — or will there be — American symphonies that stand with those of Mozart and Beethoven, Mahler and Shostakovich?
Bill Swerbenski San Francisco Symphony

Critics and fans love a good debate over the great American novel or great American movie. But what about the great American symphony?

Is there one? If not, why? If so, which symphonies are good candidates for the title? (Check out our Spotify list for some contenders.) And in the land of the melting pot, what does it mean for a symphony to be "American" in the first place?

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Music + Culture
11:36 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Why Tchaikovsky's Bells And Cannons Sound Every July 4

The Boston Pops rehearses for its Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular on July 3, 2012, at the Charles River Esplanade.
Paul Marotta Getty Images

Originally published on Sat June 29, 2013 12:44 pm

The Fourth of July is just around the corner, and on the big day, Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture will be heard from coast to coast, complete with fireworks and cannons. But how did a Russian composition, depicting the rout of Napoleon's Army, end up as the unofficial soundtrack for our most quintessentially American holiday?

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Music + Culture
8:58 am
Fri June 28, 2013

The Wunder Years: Sloppy Johann

Pablo Helguera

Got an idea for a classical cartoon or a reaction to this one? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Pablo Helguera is a New York-based artist working with sculpture, drawing, photography and performance. His new book is Helguera's Artunes. You can see more of his work at Artworld Salon and on his own site.

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Music + Culture
7:33 pm
Sun June 2, 2013

First Listen: 19 Year Old Conrad Tao, 'Voyages'

Conrad Tao's new album, Voyages, comes out June 11.
Lauren Farmer Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 2:44 pm

Audio for this feature is no longer available.

Not everyone gets to celebrate his or her 19th birthday the way Conrad Tao will: On June 11, he'll release a major-label debut album and curate the first day of his own three-day new music festival in Brooklyn. But if any musician is primed for such a workload at this age, Tao might just be the one.

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Janos Starker
2:09 pm
Sun April 28, 2013

Janos Starker, A Master Of The Cello, Dies At 88

Hungarian-born American cellist Janos Starker died Sunday at 88. Starker's career included more than 165 recordings, as well as decades of teaching.
Erich Auerbach Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 7:24 am

Cellist Janos Starker has died at 88, ending a life and career that saw him renowned for his skills as a soloist, his prodigious work with orchestras, and his commitment to teaching. Starker was born in Budapest in 1924; his path to becoming an international star included surviving life in a Nazi labor camp.

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Music + Culture
2:19 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Movies about Classical Music

April is Public Radio Music Month, an excellent opportunity for us to consider

the intersection of classical music (and musicians) and motion pictures.  Too

often, filmmakers have offered a distorted view of that world, but there have

been notable, memorable exceptions over the years.  Here are some that stand

out in my mind.

"Amadeus" (1984).  Yes, Tom Hulce plays Mozart pretty broadly, and Peter

Shaffer's Oscar-winning screenplay treats Salieri pretty unfairly, but this

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Music + Culture
5:22 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Breaking: Pope Francis I Loves Opera

The newly elected Pope Francis (formerly known as opera lover and Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio) appears on the balcony of St Peter's Basilica on March 13, 2013 in Vatican City.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 7:38 am

Here's a quick side note to today's big news ...

Immediately after the announcement of the papal election result and the name the new pope had chosen, Brian Williams of NBC News asked New York's Cardinal Edward Egan about the new pontiff, Francis.

"Your Eminence?" Williams said.

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Music + Culture
3:17 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Musical Treasures in Central Washington

Nic Caoille, Music Director of the Wenatchee Valley Symphony

 Nic Caoille  is the Music Director of the Wenatchee Valley Symphony and Director of Orchestras at Central Washington University.  I had the pleasure of working with him in October 2011 as host of that evening's  Wenatchee Valley Symphony concert.

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Music + Culture
12:07 pm
Sun March 3, 2013

At 100, Composer Margaret Bonds Remains A Great Exception

Margaret Bonds in 1956. Born in Chicago in 1913, Bonds became one of the first African-American female composers to gain recognition in the United States.
Carl Van Vechten Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Sun March 3, 2013 1:35 pm

Margaret Bonds, who died in 1972, is perhaps near the top of the very short list of African-American female composers. Thanks to her partnerships with Langston Hughes and soprano Leontyne Price and others, she's remembered in some circles as an important figure in American composition. But, mostly, she's been forgotten.

"It's amazing that people don't know who she was, although she was quite well known in her time," says Louise Toppin, an opera singer and a voice professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Music + Culture
12:25 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

Marches Madness: John Philip Sousa's 'Washington Post'

Circa 1910: A program advertising John Philip Sousa and his band.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

It's Marches Madness! Throughout this month, we're posting some of our favorite marches — from the concert hall, opera stage and parade ground. Got one we should hear? Played any yourself? Let us know in the comments section.

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