JPR Classics

Classical music posts.

Songs We Love: Nicholas McCarthy, 'The Man I Love'

23 hours ago

Nicholas McCarthy was born without his right hand. Pursuing the piano would not exactly appear to be the most intuitive career choice. And yet that is exactly what the 26-year-old British pianist has done. His debut album, Solo, will be released next week.

McCarthy's "Aha!" piano moment came relatively late, at age 14, after he heard a friend play Beethoven's "Waldstein" Sonata. In a flash, he saw his future. He was determined to become a concert pianist.

A Young Afghan Pianist Plays For His Country's Future

Jan 26, 2016

February Featured Works - First Concert
(*Indicates February birthday)

Feb 1 M Veracini*: Sonata in A major
Feb 2 T Stravinsky: The Song of the Nightingale
Feb 3 W Albrechtsberger*: Trombone Concerto
Feb 4 T Still: Lyric Quartet
Feb 5 F Ippolitov-Ivanov: Caucasian Sketches

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released, but you can hear an excerpt below via YouTube.

January Featured Works - First Concert
(*Indicates January birthday)

Jan 1 F New Year’s from Vienna

Jan 4 M Suk*: Tale of a Winter’s Evening
Jan 5 T Medtner*: Skazki (Tales), Op. 42
Jan 6 W Herz*: Piano Concerto No. 1
Jan 7 T Hurlstone*: Four Characteristic Pieces
Jan 8 F Weinberger*: Polka & Fugue from Schwanda the Bagpiper

Pierre Boulez, the French composer and conductor whose career spanned from the avant-garde post-World War II era to the computer age, has died, according to the French culture ministry. He was 90. Boulez famously challenged his peers and his audience to rethink their ideas of sound and harmony.

Classical Music In 2015: The Year In Review

Jan 5, 2016

Although 2015 produced arguably fewer big headlines in classical music than its predecessors, there were still surprising stories.

The question of assimilation has been on my mind a lot lately. Living in this great country where individuality is embraced, our current obsession with assimilation for those choosing the U.S. as their new home seems like a strange paradox.

As a young girl, Maya Shankar was well on her way to a promising career as a classical violinist. The famed Itzhak Perlman had taken her on as his private student at The Juilliard School at the age of 14, and she was accepted to his prestigious summer program on Shelter Island. But not long after, she injured her finger while playing a difficult section of Paganini's Caprice no. 13. She tore a tendon in her hand, putting her musical career to an untimely end.

19-year-old violinist Ariel Horowitz, a DC native and currently a student of Itzhak Perlman, is taking the music world by storm. In July 2015, Ariel performed the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at Strathmore and Meyerhoff Theaters to rousing standing ovations.

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The Christmas hiatus continues for the Exchange, with replacement programming taking up our time slot. 

At 8 AM: A Christmas Carol: Start your Christmas morning with the wonderful Oregon Stage Works production of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, featuring Caroline Shaffer, Doug Rowe, Liisa Ivary, Kevin Kennerly, Bob McCracken, and  JPR's own Don Mathews, with original music by Todd Barton.                    
At 9 AM: A Celtic Christmas: Tomáseen Foley's A Celtic Christmas recreates the joy and innocence of a night before Christmas in a farmhouse in the remote parish of Teampall an Ghleanntain in the west of Ireland, when the neighbors gather around the fire to grace the long wintry night with the laughter of their stories, the joy of their music, and dances they always said they were much too old for. This special holiday show features Foley's charming tale "Parcel from America," plus music from guitarist William Coulter, fiddler Deby Benton Grojean, and piper Todd Denman, as well as songs from Moira Smiley.

The Exchange takes a hiatus for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, substituting alternate programming for our usual time slots. 

At 8 AM: Innovation Hub's Holiday Special: Innovation Hub is heading home for the holidays. In this 1-hour program, fascinating guests explore the science and invention behind family traditions we love – from dinner table debates to department store trips.  
At 9 AM: Living on Earth: Hope for the Holidays: This year's Living on Earth holiday show presents tales from Celtic traditions, an African-American parable, and other stories all centered on the theme of hope.

Kurt Masur, a former music director of the New York Philharmonic, died Saturday from complications from Parkinson's disease at a hospital in Greenwich, Conn. His death was announced by the New York Philharmonic.

Our 10 Favorite Classical Albums Of 2015

Dec 17, 2015

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Amid the ubiquitous din of annual chestnuts like "Jingle Bells" and "Let it Snow," you may be surprised to learn that people are actually writing new holiday songs. And as it turns out, some of them are pretty great.

A New Music Journey From The U.S. To Havana

Dec 10, 2015

When you think of Cuban music, contemporary classical most likely isn't the first — or possibly even fifth — genre that springs to mind. But a group of American composers and musicians couldn't resist an opportunity to travel to the island to present their own music and seek out their Cuban colleagues' work — and frankly, neither could I. We traveled together last month to the Havana Festival of Contemporary Music, for the event's 28th edition.

Jean Sibelius, born 150 years ago on Dec. 8, 1865, was the first Finnish composer to reach an international audience, but his popularity began at home. In the late 1890s, Finland was a part of the Russian empire and its people were striving for independence.

Cameron Carpenter plays the organ in a way you'll rarely hear in church. He travels with his instrument on a huge truck, and it takes a small team to set it up in concert halls around the world. A virtuoso composer and performer who plays everything from Bach to pop, not to mention the first organist ever to be Grammy-nominated for a solo album, Carpenter says his connection to the instrument goes back even further than his interest in music.

On December 7th at 10am, JPR's Classics & News Service is proud to kick off the Metropolitan Opera's 85th season of Saturday broadcasts with Puccini's La Boheme. This year, all broadcasts begin at 10am.

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