JPR Classics

JPR Classics is a place to come for all things classical in the State of Jefferson.  We'll honor our rich classical heritage while looking to the future, showcasing inspired performances by the next generation of classical musicians. The classics live on JPR!

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JPR Classics
2:11 am
Thu December 18, 2014

How Tchaikovsky's 'Nutcracker' Became A Holiday Tradition

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 9:31 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Here is a holiday tradition that seems as old as Christmas trees and mistletoe.

(SOUNDBITE OF PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY SONG, "NUTCRACKER OVERTURE")

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JPR Classics Special Series
9:38 am
Wed December 17, 2014

New Music from Bowling Green, Season 2: Sunday Evenings at 7pm

Brad Cresswell hosts Living American Composers: New Music from Bowling Green Sunday evenings at 7pm on the Classics & News Service

JPR's Classics & News Service presents the second season of a special classical series from WFMT called Living American Composers: New Music From Bowling Green, Sunday evenings at 7pm Beginning January 4th.

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JPR Classics
6:54 pm
Sun December 14, 2014

A Bicentennial For Boston's Handel And Haydn Society

Harry Christophers leads the Handel and Haydn Society, now celebrating its bicentennial.
James Doyle Handel and Haydn Society

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 12:14 pm

Boston's Handel and Haydn Society is one of the oldest continuously running performing arts organizations in the country. To celebrate its bicentennial this season, the group made a new recording of a holiday perennial, Handel's Messiah, which also happens to be one of the first works it staged nearly 200 years ago. Still, the Handel and Haydn Society is very different from what it was when it started.

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JPR Classics
7:03 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Best Classical Albums Of 2014

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Become Ocean by John Luther Adams is one of NPR Classical's favorite albums of 2014.
Cantaloupe

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 7:59 am

Most years, Tom Huizenga and I spend a lot of time after Thanksgiving and well into December battling over — or, more truthfully, having many friendly but spirited discussions about — which recordings should comprise our 10 favorites of the year. We each come up with a list of 10, and then we start hammering things out in some amount of exquisite music-nerd agony. Some albums we agree upon, some are our individual picks.

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JPR Classics
11:12 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Soprano Renee Fleming Releases A Christmas Album

Renee Fleming's new album is "Christmas in New York." (© Timothy White/Decca)

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 11:26 am

Famed soprano Renee Fleming has performed numerous times at the Metropolitan Opera, she sang the national anthem at the Super Bowl and she’s won several Grammy awards for her classical recordings. But until this year, Fleming had not made a holiday album.

Now she’s released “Christmas in New York,” where she collaborates with musicians including Wynton Marsalis, Chris Botti and Rufus Wainwright.

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JPR Classics
7:27 am
Mon December 8, 2014

In The Italian Alps, Stradivari's Trees Live On

Marcello Mazzucchi, a retired forest ranger, stands in the Fiemme Valley in the Italian Alps. Renaissance luthiers such as Antonio Stradivari came here to handpick trees that would be crafted into the world's finest instruments.
Graziano Panfili for NPR

Originally published on Sat December 6, 2014 8:51 am

Antonio Stradivari, the master violin maker whose instruments sell for millions of dollars today, has been dead for nearly three centuries. Only 650 of his instruments are estimated to survive.

But the forest where the luthier got his lumber is alive and well. And thanks to the surprising teamwork of modern instrument makers and forest rangers, Stradivari's trees are doing better than ever.

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JPR Classics
11:23 am
Thu December 4, 2014

Sharon Isbin, Guitarist Extraordinaire

Sharon Isbin has been called "the preeminent guitarist of our time." (J. Henry Fair/Shore Fire Media)

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 12:57 pm

Sharon Isbin has been called “the preeminent guitarist of our time,” and was voted “the best classical guitarist” by Guitar Player magazine.

She was one of the first woman musicians in a field where there are few. And she’s a guitarist in the classical world where few believed the instrument deserved a place.

After decades of pushing against those limitations, Isbin now has three Grammy Awards and numerous other awards under her belt, and has collaborated with many world class composers and musicians of various genres.

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JPR Classics
11:06 am
Thu December 4, 2014

Dublin Guitar Quartet: Tiny Desk Concert

Claire Eggers NPR

Originally published on Sat December 6, 2014 2:09 pm

Don't ask the members of the Dublin Guitar Quartet to play the time-honored classics of the Spanish repertoire. They might play traditional Spanish style classical guitars, but they're not your standard guitar ensemble. The Dubliners are strictly devoted to contemporary music. They've been commissioning new pieces and adapting others for both acoustic and electric guitars since 2002, when the group formed at the Dublin Conservatory of Music and Drama.

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JPR Classics
7:22 am
Wed December 3, 2014

Lyricist Adolph Green's Influence Remains 100 Years After His Birth

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 11:48 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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JPR Classics
8:45 am
Sat November 29, 2014

A Musical Tribute For A Waiter Who Spoke Out Against Racism

Justin Hopkins sings during a tribute show for Booker Wright, who worked in a whites-only restaurant in the Mississippi Delta.
Brandall Atkinson Courtesy of Southern Foodways Alliance

Originally published on Sat November 29, 2014 9:05 am

Editor's note: This story contains racial slurs.

A new musical work pays tribute to an unlikely and little-known civil rights activist: Booker T. Wright. You won't find his name in history textbooks. But his story is a testament to the everyday experiences of blacks in the Jim Crow South.

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JPR Classics
8:11 am
Thu November 27, 2014

Mendelssohn And Other Classic Composers Offer Musical Thanks

Originally published on Thu November 27, 2014 12:50 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

There are lots of ways to say thank you today that don't include turkey or cranberry sauce. For example, there is music.

(SOUNDBITE OF FELIX MENDELSSOHN ORATORIO, "ELIJAH")

CHORUS: (Singing in German).

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JPR Classics
10:44 am
Wed November 26, 2014

Stabat Mater: Young Composers Explore An Ancient Text

The British choral group called The Sixteen have taken on new settings of the ancient Stabat Mater text.
Molina Visuals The Sixteen

Originally published on Thu November 27, 2014 6:10 am

The words of the Stabat Mater come from an ancient Latin text describing Mary weeping at the cross over her son, Jesus. While the Catholic poem has been set to music by many — from Vivaldi to Arvo Pärt — three contemporary composers have put their own spin on the old verses.

Alissa Firsova was born in Moscow, but has lived in England since she was 4.

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Saturday Morning Opera
9:56 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Metropolitan Opera's 84th Season Debuts December 6th

Anna Netrebko and Željko Lucic in Verdi's Macbeth, scheduled for February 7th.

On December 6th at 10am, JPR's Classics & News Service is proud to kick off the Metropolitan Opera's 84th season of Saturday broadcasts with Rossini's Il Barbiere Di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville). This year, all broadcasts begin at 10am except Die Meistersinger on December 13th, which starts at 9am.

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JPR Classics
7:27 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Reviving 'Allegro': Even Rodgers And Hammerstein Had Flops

A commentary on the American dream, Allegro tells the story of Joe Taylor Jr., a small-town doctor who moves to Chicago.
Rodgers & Hammerstein

Originally published on Mon November 24, 2014 11:42 am

Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II may have been one of the most successful writing teams in Broadway history — think of Oklahoma! and The Sound of Music, just to name a couple of their hits.

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JPR Classics
7:25 am
Mon November 24, 2014

For The Season, Trio Mediaeval Spans Centuries

Trio Mediaeval is (from left) Berit Opheim, Anna Maria Friman and Linn Andrea Fulgseth.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun November 23, 2014 10:26 am

For all those who just can't bear to hear "Jingle Bell Rock" or any of the other Yuletide earworms that will invade shopping malls and radio waves in the coming months, Norway's Trio Mediaeval has some new old music for the holiday season.

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JPR Classics
2:54 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

'Only The Truth' Gets At Reality Through Legend

Gabriela Ortiz is the composer of Unicamente la verdad.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 4:22 pm

Gilberto Reyes is a musician who grew up to Mexican parents in Southern Texas. He says as a kid he was not afraid of El Cucuy, or the boogeyman. He was more concerned about Camelia La Tejana, or Camelia of Texas.

"I remember when I was a kid listening to the songs, thinking, 'Wow. Una bandida,' " Reyes says. "This incredible woman with power to make men do whatever she wants at her will, you know."

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JPR Classics
10:09 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Musicians' Brains Really Do Work Differently — In A Good Way

Brains have a "full-body" workout when their owners play music.
TED-Ed

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 9:20 am

"Did you know that every time musicians pick up their instruments, there are fireworks going off all over their brain?"

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JPR Classics
7:40 am
Thu November 20, 2014

A Flurry Of Premieres For American Orchestras

This weekend Leonard Slatkin leads the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in several premieres, webcast live.
Detroit Symphony Orchestra

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 5:03 am

How about some good — even great — news from American orchestras? Today and tomorrow, four of the country's biggest ensembles are playing world premieres by prominent composers.

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JPR Classics
3:42 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Joyful Opera Performed In Nazi Concentration Camp Revived In Chicago

Ela Stein Weissberger joins the cast of Brundibár for a final song.
Cheryl Corley

Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 4:53 pm

Brundibár, a children's opera that premiered during World War II, became both a symbol of hope and resistance and a Nazi propaganda tool. Now, Petite Opera, a small company in suburban Chicago, is reprising the opera, originally performed by Jewish children held in a concentration camp in occupied Czechoslovakia.

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