Music + Culture


Eugene Symphony Scores A New Conductor

Apr 26, 2017
Brian Bull

After more than a year of searching, the Eugene Symphony has announced its new music director and conductor. The search committee reviewed 250 applications from 34 states and 44 nations, before choosing Francesco Lecce-Chong. 

Music for Springtime

Apr 5, 2017
Jenni Chaffin / Tumblr

The change in season comes with a change of musical taste, right? Spring certainly highlights some works in the minds of NWPR staff - so we asked the question: Which works make us think of spring?

Unlocking The Mind With Music

Mar 3, 2017
Staff at Pullman Regional Hospital


A program at Pullman Regional Hospital is using the power of music to tap deep into the memories of dementia patients. Music & Memory is a national program that brings digital music to elderly patients to help improve their quality of life.

John Keogh / Flickr

Why are dystopian novels back on best sellers lists? Recently, 1A discussed renewed interest in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, and wondered if this development was in response to legislative uncertainty and fears of an atypical administration?

Katherine Barner / Northwest Public Radio


Less than a week before their first performance, the Washington Idaho Symphony starts rehearsal for their 40th Annual Domey/Gillespie Young Artist Concert. The concert is a major event, but a professional symphony is too busy to spend more time rehearsing.

For the past 45 years, the Washington Idaho Symphony has brought music to eastern Washington and northern Idaho.

Out of Africa Copyright 1985 Universal Pictures, Shawshank Redemption Copyright 1994 Columbia Pictures , Arrival Copyright 2016 Paramount Pictures

Some classical pieces have become so famous for the film scenes in which they appear, it’s hard to think of them in any other context. NWPR staff open up about their favorite classical music moments in film and television.

Operations Manager Marie Glynn noted Wagner’s “The Ride of the Valkyries” in the helicopter scene of “Apocalypse Now” to be “harrowing and horrifyingly apt.” She said "it was stunning to be seated in a movie theater in 1979 and experience that.”

Jennifer Higdon: Candace diCarlo

With the New Year come new performers at Northwest music festivals! Many of the region’s chamber music festivals come to life this January and February for winter performances – mark your calendar and prepare for chamber music throughout the Northwest.  

Carols, Hymns and Songs - What You May Not Know

Dec 15, 2016
Marta Crowe / Wikimedia Commons

Holiday music provides a magical soundtrack to your favorite winter-time activities, but there may be more to your favorite Christmas melodies than you expect - how much do you really know about these beloved songs and carols?

Felix Mendelssohn wrote a cantata to celebrate the 400 year anniversary of the invention of the printing press. His student later combined the melody with words by Charles Wesley and it became the version of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” we know today.  

Holiday Programs 2016

Nov 23, 2016
Doug Pieper / flickr

The end of the year is a time to celebrate. Throughout the month of December, you’ll hear classic carols, hilarious stories, warm musical performances and thought-provoking holiday tales. Here are the special programs coming your way throughout December:

Joy To The World – A Holiday in Pink:  Pink Martini and All Things Considered host Ari Shapiro bring you an hour of multi-denominational, multi-cultural holiday spirit in the form of timeless classics and adventurous tunes. 7 PM, Saturday December 17, NPR and Classical Music Service.

Alby Headrick / Flickr

Spend your Thanksgiving with Northwest Public Radio! Here's a list of specials that will keep you company this season.

Sounds of the Season

Nov 14, 2016
Earl Blackaby / Tumblr

Throughout the year, Northwest Public Radio is supported by partners in the community – businesses and organizations that help provide programming for all listeners. Here’s a special seasonal spotlight on the arts groups that keep our communities vibrant with music and NWPR’s airwaves robust with the programs you love. Geographically from east to west, here are the “sounds of the season”:


Autumn's Colors Through The Northwest

Nov 14, 2016
Esther Wofford /

As fall comes to an end, we wanted to take a moment to appreciate the season's vibrant colors. Thanks to our listeners, we gathered photos that showcase the beauty of autumn in the Northwest.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Abraham Lincoln's words. Aaron Copland's Music. James Earl Jones's speaking voice. Seattle Symphony.

Northwest Public Radio will air Copland's "Lincoln Portrait" just before the start of All Things Considered and election day coverage today at 3:45 pm. 

This piece will inspire and bring reflection as the nation chooses its next president. Join us for Jones's reading of  "of the people, by the people, for the people..." well-known words startlingly fresh and relevant, no matter how many times you have heard the piece, or this recording of it, or the Gettysburg Address.

Think you're an expert on eerie music of days past? Want a fun challenge for Halloween?

Take NWPR's Halloween quiz to test your musical chops for this season. 

Northwest Public Television and Radio

Public radio is a duet between the station and listeners. You give your support and appreciation and together we create programs that enrich your mind and uplift your spirits. Become a member in this duet today! #supportNWPR

Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival

Symphony season is here once more, and soon, orchestral performances will be filling the region.  Below, you’ll find out what Northwest symphonies and ensembles have in mind to open their 2016/2017 seasons.

Yakima's Second Sunday Series begins the season with a performance from Trio Brilliante - the winners of the Seattle Ladies' Musical Club Frances Walton Competition. September 11, 2:00 pm, Englewood Christian Church. 

Have you ever wondered what your favorite NWPR host does with their free time? They’re pretty secretive about their personal lives, but a few have opened up about their preferred pastimes – and the answers may surprise you.

University of Washington Press

Thank you for your interest in the Walking Washington History Tour project! All the free books and cities have been assigned BUT you can still participate!

Take a tour of a town listed in the book, write about it, take photos, create video, graphics, crayon drawings, etc...and send your account to Northwest Public Radio! We will pick the best pieces to publish on our website and share with our audience. Towns are: Vancouver, Olympia, Tacoma, Seattle, Everett, Bellingham, Bellevue, Walla Walla, Yakima, Spokane.

Flickr user "cmh2315fl"

Northwest Public Radio wants you to take a hike! No, wait, come back. Not like that. We actually want you to go for a walk. We've got ten copies of Judy Bentley's Walking Washington's History, and we're looking for volunteers to take one of the ten walks described in the book. Walk the route, write about it, and we'll share your account on our website. It's a great opportunity to share your love of history with an audience who appreciates it just as much. 

The ten walks are:

Vancouver - Closed

Olympia - Closed

Walla Walla - Closed

Fernando Valenzuela / Flickr

  In this episode, we chat with Victoria-based composer Stephen Brown about his work Takakkaw Falls. Traditional Celtic tunes, Canadian folk music and the Rocky Mountains make this suite for cello and piano what it is and the piece incorporates the themes of life, loss and love. 

Paula Gray / Tumblr

A $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts will support the commission of a new symphonic poem in homage to Mount Rainier and its melting glaciers. The composer: Daniel Ott, a native son of Puyallup, is now based at New York’s Juilliard School and Fordham University.

The work for chorus and orchestra premieres May 17, 2017, in the Tacoma Symphony’s “Mountain and Sea” concert. The grant is part of the NEA’s “Imagine Your Parks,” a celebration of the centennial of the National Parks Service and the 50th anniversary of the NEA.

Thepismire / Flickr

It’s that time again – the Northwest spotlights chamber music with summer festivals throughout the region, and provides the perfect scenery for classical music performances.

The Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival brings together another international cast of performers for this summer. 30 events across the valley include intimate winery performances, specially commissioned works and outreach concerts for teens and children. June 2 – 25

Yakima Trombonist Takes Final Bow After 45 Years

May 26, 2016
Gary Miller

Trombonist Roger Finch performed in his final concert with the Yakima Symphony Orchestra (YSO) earlier this month after 45 years. He played highlights from Berlioz’ Romeo and Juliet and Bernstein’s West Side Story in the Capitol Theatre.


“We kicked its butt,” he said with a laugh.


The concert opened with an extensive standing ovation from the audience and symphony musicians as Finch walked onstage to take his seat. He wasn’t expecting such recognition.


Marie Glynn / NWPR

In this episode, Greg Yasinitsky discusses his work Nighthawk in Flight - an exploration of the line between the genres of classical and jazz called "third stream."  The Washington State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble performs alongside jazz quartet Nighthawk, an ensemble in which Yasinitsky plays saxophone.

Listen below to this rhythmic and melodic melding of genres or download at Soundcloud

Through The Eyes Of A Bird Watcher

May 9, 2016
Earl Blackaby

From winding rivers to lush greenery, it’s no wonder the Northwest is one of the most beautiful regions in the world. However, just below the pointed tops of evergreens lies another world to notice – the life of native birds.

David Glenn

Welcome to De-Composing: The Breakdown of Compositions - Northwest Public Radio's look into music of the region and how it was created.

In this episode, David Glenn chats about his work Sculpture Garden for Piano Quintet.

Its roots lie deep in the Northwest - a Walla Walla composer with a commission from the Walla Walla Chamber Music Festival writing about Whitman College and the colorful works of art that can be seen throughout campus from many northwest artists.

John Massey Wright / Folger Shakespeare Library

This April marks the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. Northwest Public Radio is paying tribute to the Bard through music inspired by his sonnets, comedies and tragedies. The works of William Shakespeare have crept into music in major and minor: they spawned overtures, ballets, operas, incidental music and many other classical works.

Through much of history, composers depended on patrons for financial support or incentive to write the music we enjoy today. Browse through the slideshow above to see some of the best-known patrons - and remember that today, YOU are the most important patron of the arts, when you support Northwest Public Radio.

For Women's History Month 2016, Northwest Public Radio celebrated with a three hour special devoted to women in classical music history hosted by your weekday afternoon host, Gigi Yellen.

In case you missed it or you'd like to listen again, here it is.




NWPR’s “Celebrate Women in Classical Music” PLAYLIST

May Aufderheide - Dusty Rag                     
Virginia Eskin, piano
Northeastern 9003

Celebrating The Emerald Isle

Mar 8, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

The rich tradition of Irish music is celebrated every Saturday afternoon on The Thistle and Shamrock (2-3 PM, NPR & Classical music service). This St. Patrick’s Day, find out how Celtic traditions have found their way into classical music and film scores with these special programs: