Music + Culture


They're celebrating Down Under. Today is Australia Day, a holiday marking the arrival of British ships at Sydney Harbour in 1788. A perfect day then to salute something truly Australian, something that speaks of national pride, austere landscapes and even the darker side of Australian history — the music of Peter Sculthorpe, who died last year at age 85.

Jeremy Kramer / Cincinnati Magazine

For more than 20 years, Sunday Baroque has explored the worlds of Vivaldi, Handel, Bach, and more. You can hear it on NWPR Sundays (of course) from 10 a.m to noon. It started at a station in Fairfield, Connecticut, grew to be carried nationwide, and in 2005 it went independent - parting ways with NPR to distribute and produce the show on its own.

Seattle Seahawks /

Seattle was home to what many are calling NFL history last Sunday when the Seahawks beat the Green Bay Packers 28-22 and secured their place in Super Bowl XLIX. Fans and news agencies alike bombarded social media with live updates, reactions, and the best of Photoshop. Even we got into the action:

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.

Pill popping, pot smoking, back-stabbing, bed hopping and tantrum throwing — now we're talking classical music! At least that's what the new Amazon series Mozart in the Jungle would have us believe is all in a day's work for orchestra musicians. The 10-part series is based on a tell-all book of the same name published a decade ago by oboist Blair Tindall.

Farewells are never easy, especially when you're saying goodbye to a favorite musician. From conductors and composers to pianists, singers and critics, the classical music world lost many masterful musicians in 2014.

Peter Schickele /

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?

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

The Sound of Hanukkah

Dec 15, 2014
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?