JPR Classics

Classical music posts.

Robert Mann, a violinist and one of the founders of the Juilliard String Quartet, died on Monday at home in Manhattan. He was 97 years old.

When he was a youngster in Portland, Oregon, Mann dreamed of being a forest ranger. But destiny apparently had other plans for him: instead, he became a legendary musician.

French composer Georges Bizet was 17 when he wrote “Symphony in C” in 1855. It was discovered decades after the death of the composer.

Classical music columnist Fran Hoepfner (@franhoepfner) tells Here & Now‘s Robin Young how, in the youthful symphony, it’s as if Bizet “rides up on a skateboard and wants to show you a trick.”

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And I'm Rachel Martin with some historic music firsts on this first day of the new year.

(SOUNDBITE OF ATOS TRIO'S PERFORMANCE OF BEETHOVEN'S "PIANO TRIO IN E FLAT MAJOR, OP. 1, NO. 1")

Several years ago, Claire van Kampen was composing music for a London theater production. During a break, one of the singers asked her if she knew the story of Farinelli, the famous 18th century opera singer.

"'You'd really like the bit where he goes to Spain and sings to King Phillipe who has this bipolar disorder.' And then I started to think: Now that's an interesting story that I haven't heard about, seen."

Featured Works for January – First Concert
(*Indicates January birthday)

Jan 1 M New Year’s Day Live from Vienna
Jan 2 T Mily Balakirev*: Russia
Jan 3 W Johann Sebastian Bach: Cello Suite in C major
Jan 4 T Giovanni Battista Pergolesi*: Violin Concerto
Jan 5 F Henri Herz*: Piano Concerto No. 7

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

For the past few holidays just before New Year's, Emma Allen has introduced us to new drinks. There was the Sakura martini.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

EMMA ALLEN: There's this brined cherry blossom in the bottom.

Updated, Dec. 21, 10:45 p.m. ET and Dec. 22, 12:09 p.m.: The responses of various orchestras to the allegations were added to this article.

The Associated Press has reported allegations of sexual assault against the famed conductor Charles Dutoit made by four women, in incidents that span from 1985 to 2010 and that took place in five different U.S. cities.

NPR Music's Top 10 Classical Albums Of 2017

Dec 19, 2017

The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist established their community more than 20 years ago in Ann Arbor, Mich. where music is a daily part of the Catholic nuns' lives in the Motherhouse. With the holiday season looming, the sisters joined NPR's Scott Simon for an in-studio performance and discussion of their latest album, Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring: Christmas with The Dominican Sisters of Mary.

Updated, Dec. 8, 8:20 a.m. ET with a subsequent statement from James Levine and James Lestock.

New allegations of sexual assault have been made against James Levine, the music director emeritus of the Metropolitan Opera in New York and its conductor for over forty years. Levine was suspended from his position over the weekend, and now, with more allegations made public, repercussions for the lauded musician are continuing to pile up.

Vintage Nordic Folk Tunes, With Strings Attached

Dec 6, 2017

Classical music has never lived in a bubble. For centuries, it's always found common ground with folk music.

Enter, the Danish String Quartet.

Updated at 8:45 p.m. ET

James Levine, a legendary conductor at the Metropolitan Opera, has been accused of sexually abusing a teenager in Illinois for a period of several years in the 1980s.

The Healing Sound Of A Broken Orchestra

Dec 1, 2017

In a cheerful rehearsal room at Temple University, a few dozen professional musicians inspect the instruments that they'll be playing to debut an audacious piece of music by a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer.

The composition is called "Symphony For a Broken Orchestra" and, fittingly, these instruments are all broken.

Featured Works for December – First Concert
(*Indicates December birthday)

Dec 1 F Agathe Backer-Grøndahl*: Suite for Piano

Dec 4 M Antonín Dvorák: The Hero’s Song
Dec 5 T Víteslav Novák*: Eternal Longing
Dec 6 W Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony No. 38; “Prague”
Dec 7 T Johannes Brahms: Variations on a Theme by Handel
Dec 8 F Franz Xaver Dussek*: Sinfonia in B flat major

The Tree That Rocked The Music Industry

Nov 30, 2017

Chicago Symphony Orchestra cellist Dan Katz has two cellos. The better one — the one he prefers to play with the orchestra — is 200 years old and has rosewood tuning pegs. When the orchestra went on an 11-concert European tour in January, he purposefully left it home.

"I worry with that instrument about international travel now, because of those pegs," Katz said after rehearsing for a performance of Schubert's Ninth Symphony earlier this month.

John Adams might be called the "documentarian" among American composers. His works have traced the birth of the atomic bomb, President Nixon's trip to China and the 9-11 attacks. Now, Adams turns to the California Gold Rush.

Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

On Saturday, December 2nd, JPR's Classics & News Service will begin the Metropolitan Opera's 87th season of Saturday matinee broadacsts with Verdi's Requiem. All broadcasts begin at 10am except Wagner's Parsifal on February 17th which starts at 9am.

It is an important moment in the life of a symphony orchestra when a new conductor is selected — not just to lead the orchestra, but to create the programs, hire the artists and more. In short, to be the music director.

In Washington, D.C., the choice was made with astonishing harmony.

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