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!

The first opera hit the stage over 400 years ago. More recently, the art form has been adapted to modern media: In the 1920s and '30s, operas were written to be performed on the radio, and in 1951, NBC commissioned Gian Carlo Menotti to compose Amahl And The Night Visitors for television.

First Listen: The Knights, 'Azul'

Mar 28, 2017

Why Azul, one of the finest cello concertos so far this century, had to wait more than 10 years to appear on an album is confounding. It was written in 2006 for one of classical music's most beloved performers, Yo-Yo Ma, by one of today's most popular composers, Osvaldo Golijov. Such are the perennial mysteries of the classical music recording industry.

Piotr Anderszewski might be one of the most revered pianists of his generation, but he's also one of the most impulsive.

In 1990, at age 21, the young Pole entered the prestigious Leeds International Piano Competition. He was nearly finished with his semi-final performance when he quit playing — just walked off the stage. He felt he wasn't good enough to continue. It was a gutsy move that actually helped launch his career.

In music, a coda is a passage that brings a musical composition to an end. This is the coda to a musical saga — the story of the Stradivarius violin that was stolen 37 years ago from my late father, violinist Roman Totenberg, and recovered in 2015.

That violin, made by Antonio Stradivari in 1734, was my father's "musical partner" for 38 years as he toured the world.

In Pursuit Of A More Diverse Night At The Opera

Mar 7, 2017

Symphony orchestras and opera companies across the country continually ask the same question: How do we attract a younger and more diverse audience?

Saturday night, I discovered something of an answer at the Washington National Opera's east coast premiere of Champion, a four-year-old opera by jazz trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard.

In 21 seasons of attending WNO performances, I've never witnessed a more diverse crowd.

How To Practice Effectively, According To Science

Mar 6, 2017

Practice is a physical activity, of course, but it's also hard mental work — if you're doing it right. A new video published by TED Ed gets down to the scientific nitty-gritty of what good practice looks like, and what it does to your brain. (Think axons and myelin, not "muscle memory" — muscles don't have "memory.")

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

Mar 1 W George Frideric Handel: Harp Concerto in B flat major
Mar 2 T Franz Joseph Haydn: Symphony No. 98
Mar 3 F Johannes Brahms: Alto Rhapsody

Mar 6 M Benjamin Britten: Simple Symphony
Mar 7 T Mily Balakirev: Tamara
Mar 8 W Lucie Vellère: String Quartet No. 3
Mar 9 T Samuel Barber*: Violin Concerto
Mar 10 F Pablo de Sarasate*: Concert Fantasy on Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette

The 15th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, which takes place every four years, begins later this spring in Fort Worth, Texas. For the past six weeks, judges have been traveling the world to hear potential competitors audition. One notable stop is Moscow — where the American pianist for whom the contest is named stunned the world 59 years ago, winning the International Tchaikovsky Competition at the height of the Cold War.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

A Philip Glass Moment That Could Last Forever

Jan 31, 2017

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

Feb 1 W Victor Herbert*: Five Pieces for Cello and Strings
Feb 2 T Ulysses Kay: Suite from The Quiet One
Feb 3 F Felix Mendelssohn*: Sonata in B flat major

Feb 6 M Gary Powell Nash: In Memoriam: Sojourner Truth
Feb 7 T Wilhelm Stenhammar*: String Quartet No. 6
Feb 8 W Béla Bartók: Piano Concerto No. 3
Feb 9 T George Frideric Handel: Suite from Water Music
Feb 10 F Jerry Goldsmith*: Fireworks

American composer Philip Glass turns 80 years old on January 31. To mark the occasion, we asked several of Glass' colleagues and collaborators to pick a piece of his music and write about it.

For nearly five decades, Daniel Barenboim has been making a case for the symphonies of Anton Bruckner. Tonight at Carnegie Hall, the conductor begins a complete cycle of Bruckner's nine numbered symphonies, leading the storied Staatskapelle Berlin.

The pipe organ dates back to ancient Greece. It has grown ever more complicated and ever more associated with Christianity.

But virtuoso organist Cameron Carpenter (@CameronOrganist) is on a mission to change the whole organ world, from its religious ties to archaic technology. Carpenter spoke with Here & Now‘s Robin Young ahead of his performance with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Classical composers have long had their patrons: Beethoven had Archduke Rudolph, John Cage had Betty Freeman. For contemporary opera composers, there's Beth Morrison. She and her production company have commissioned new works from some of the most innovative emerging composers today.

Georges Prêtre, the French conductor with a seven-decade career that included close associations with Maria Callas and many of the world's top orchestras, died Wednesday in France at age 92.

Beethoven began writing his third symphony, the “Eroica,” when he was inspired by Napoleon Bonaparte, then a hero of the French Revolution.

But by the time the symphony was finished, the composer dedicated it “to the memory of a great man,” even though Napoleon was still alive.

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