JPR Classics

Ashland / Redding Theaters Included
9:20 am
Tue October 7, 2014

Met Opera HD Season Begins

Isabel Leonard as Rosina in Rossini's The Barber of Seville.
Credit Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

The 2014-15 season of opera performances, transmitted live in HD from the Metropolitan Opera stage, begins October 11th with Verdi’s masterful adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth, starring Željko Lučić’s in the title role and Anna Netrebko as his mad and murderous mate Lady Macbeth. Adrian Noble’s chilling production also features Joseph Calleja as the noble Macduff and René Pape as Banquo.

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JPR Classics
7:21 am
Mon October 6, 2014

The Maestro And The Liberator: Gustavo Dudamel's Cinematic Debut

Gustavo Dudamel, conductor of the LA Philharmonic since 2009, composed the score for the new Simón Bolívar biopic The Liberator.
Vern Evans Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri October 10, 2014 9:19 am

A film opened in the U.S. this weekend about the life of Simón Bolivar, the military leader who helped free much of Latin America from the Spanish Empire. Libertador, or The Liberator, tells that story with the help of rousing music by a first-time film-score composer: Gustavo Dudamel.

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JPR Classics
12:37 pm
Sun October 5, 2014

WATCH: Protesters Disrupt St. Louis Symphony With 'Requiem For Mike Brown'

Protesters unfurl banners during a performance of the St. Louis Symphony.
YouTube

Originally published on Sun October 5, 2014 2:59 pm

A Saturday performance of the St. Louis Symphony was disrupted by demonstrators protesting the killing of Michael Brown, the black, unarmed teenager who was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

"Justice for Mike Brown is justice for us all," protesters sang, before asking the audience, "Which side are you on, friend? Which side are you on?"

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JPR Classics
1:38 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Three Quick Lessons From The Violin Wunderkind Who Became A Master

"The key is to figure out what you're contributing," Joshua Bell says of playing chamber music.
Eric Kabik Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon September 29, 2014 3:30 pm

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JPR Classics
1:37 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Tuning Pianos In The Digital Age

Piano tuning courses are still taught at the North Bennet Street School in Boston. (Courtesy North Bennet Street School)

Originally published on Mon September 29, 2014 11:54 am

Does anyone tune pianos any more? And how?

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson went to the North Bennet Street School in Boston, Mass., which offers nine-month courses in piano technology.

He met Debbie Cyr, who tunes instruments and also instructs students at the school. It turns out that there is still a demand for piano tuning as many of those who practice the profession decide to retire.

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Live Session Archive
10:29 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Rimsky-Korsakov String Quartet Live Session

Eric Teel

The Rimsky-Korsakov String Quartet, based in Saint Petersburg, Russia, formed in 1939, is a monument to Russian musical history. The present members Mikhail Bondarev (violin), Ekaterina Belisova (violin), Alexei Popov (viola), Anton Andreev (cello) are graduates of the Saint Petersburg Conservatory who, by virtue of a shared background steeped in the grand tradition of Russian music making, achieve organic and convincing interpretations of a diverse repertoire of masterworks, Russian classics, and contemporary masters.

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JPR Classics
7:17 am
Mon September 29, 2014

An Inviting Apocalypse: John Luther Adams On 'Become Ocean'

John Luther Adams' Pulitzer Prize-winning piece is called Become Ocean; the recording of the work comes out Sept. 30.
Donald Lee Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun September 28, 2014 4:04 pm

This past April, composer John Luther Adams became the most recent winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his piece Become Ocean — a work commissioned by the Seattle Symphony, the recording of which comes out this Tuesday.

Adams says that he got the call with the good news in the middle of a afternoon power nap, during an exhausting teaching residency at Michigan Tech University.

"I heard the word and asked the person on the other end, 'You know, could I call you back?' " Adams remembers. "Talk about your wake-up call."

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JPR Classics
7:15 am
Mon September 29, 2014

The Atlanta Symphony Lockout Continues, Musicians Picket On Peachtree Street

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, with Music Director Robert Spano conducting.
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

Originally published on Mon September 29, 2014 5:46 am

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra was scheduled to open its 70th season this week, but musicians have been locked out of their workplace since September 7th, when their contract expired. The same thing happened just two years ago. Back then, negotiators reached a new agreement before opening night. This year, Atlanta classical music fans were not so lucky.

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JPR Classics
2:41 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

New Boston Symphony Music Director Andris Nelsons: 'It's Not A Job — It's Life'

"The music's kind of oozing out of not just his hands, but his whole body," Boston Symphony managing director Mark Volpe says of the orchestra's new music director, Andris Nelsons.
Marco Borggreve Boston Symphony Orchestra

Originally published on Fri September 26, 2014 5:23 pm

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JPR Classics
1:07 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Remembering Christopher Hogwood, An Evangelist For Early Music

The late conductor, keyboard player and scholar Christopher Hogwood.
Marco Borggreve Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 12:37 pm

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JPR Classics
7:27 am
Wed September 24, 2014

Everything You Wanted To Know About Classical Music (But Weren't Afraid To Ask)

Khatia Buniatishvili's new album, Motherland, is among those recommended during the Friday afternoon Twitter sessions.
Sony Classical

Originally published on Wed September 24, 2014 6:55 am

A few weeks ago, in an act of brazen thievery, your devoted NPR Classical hosts appropriated an idea from our colleague Bob Mondello, NPR's film critic. Each Friday he tweets movie suggestions for the weekend.

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JPR Classics
8:53 am
Mon September 22, 2014

For The Love Of Cello

(martin lester/Flickr)

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 1:12 pm

A study published this month in the Journal of Neuroscience looks at free music programs aimed at at-risk kids, and finds that studying music improves performance in the human brain.

Youth Radio’s Scott Lau went through a similar program.

He’s now a freshman at the University of Southern California studying the music business and the cello.

He sent us this audio postcard about how playing the cello changed him.

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JPR Classics
8:35 am
Mon September 22, 2014

First Listen: Brooklyn Rider, 'The Brooklyn Rider Almanac'

Brooklyn Rider's new album, The Brooklyn Rider Almanac, comes out Sept. 30.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed October 1, 2014 7:36 am

It's become a trope that artists aren't interested in being limited by genre — at least the really fascinating ones, that is. One of the most enjoyable current examples of this reach beyond stylistic divides is Almanac, the newest project from the string quartet Brooklyn Rider.

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JPR Classics
8:19 am
Mon September 22, 2014

First Listen: John Luther Adams, 'Become Ocean'

Cantaloupe

Originally published on Wed October 1, 2014 7:33 am

When John Luther Adams' sweeping orchestral piece Become Ocean was performed at Carnegie Hall for the first time in May, it was also the first time the composer had attended a concert there.

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JPR Classics
8:15 am
Mon September 22, 2014

A Pianist Hears Chopin From Inside His Instrument

Chad Lawson's new album is The Chopin Variations.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 8:23 am

Even if you're not a fan of classical music, you have heard of Frédéric Chopin: His music has appeared in countless movies, TV shows and commercials, even video games. But it's almost certain you haven't heard the Polish composer performed the way Chad Lawson plays him.

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JPR Classics
7:07 am
Fri September 19, 2014

If It's Not Scottish ... Classical Contributions Of The Scots

The Scottish bagpipes make a surprise appearance in a beloved piece by Peter Maxwell Davies.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 5:47 am

The votes are in. The people of Scotland have chosen to remain in the United Kingdom. To mark the historic occasion, a wee reminder of what the Scots have contributed to classical music is in order.

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JPR Classics
11:25 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Watch A Sweet Little Butterfly Nearly Crush A Woman's Hopes And Dreams

Flutist Yukie Ota kept her cool at the Carl Nielsen Flute Competition yesterday in Odense, Denmark.
Odense Symphony

Originally published on Sat September 20, 2014 8:16 am

Flutist Yukie Ota spoke with NPR's Scott Simon about her encounter with a too-friendly insect this week; hear their conversation at the audio link and read on to learn more.

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JPR Classics
1:58 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Kids, Pants, Booze, Music: Trouble In River City And Always

Robert Preston and Shirley Jones in the film version of The Music Man.
AP

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 9:07 am

Perhaps the most static conversation in American culture is the one about its constant decline. Today's music, today's actors, today's movies, today's media, today's food, today's habits, today's language — it's all going to hell, all of it, and it's taking us with it, no matter when today is.

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JPR Classics
1:55 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Iraq's Artists Defy Extremists With Bows, Brushes And A Low Profile

The Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra performs in Baghdad. The concert was promoted by word of mouth to avoid being targeted by bombs.
Graham Smith NPR

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 6:27 am

It's a hot night in Baghdad, and the national theater is packed with people who are here to see the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra.

They're fanning themselves with programs that show conductor Karim Wasfi, a striking man with thick eyebrows and a pointed beard, playing the cello. Tonight, he'll be conducting for the first time in more than a year.

Iraq has been in the headlines lately, with extremists taking over parts of the country, American airstrikes, the militias and the politics.

But the country was once a sophisticated center for learning and the arts.

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JPR Classics
9:10 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Listen To The Atlanta Symphony While It's Locked Out — Again

Robert Spano conducts members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, who are now locked out for the second time in two years after failed contract negotiations.
J.D. Scott Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 12:26 pm

Alas, it is déjà vu all over again for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. At midnight Saturday, the ASO musicians and management failed to meet the deadline to agree on a new contract after eight months of negotiations. That means the players, while still employees of the orchestra, are effectively locked out of the Woodruff Arts Center (the orchestra's home) and will not receive paychecks until a new agreement can be ratified.

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