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!

Why Can't Artist Bios Be Better?

Sep 21, 2015

Over in London, the Independent's arts editor, David Lister, recently published a scathing commentary about the paucity of valuable or even interesting information in artist biographies. He wrote it in a fury after paying £4 to obtain the program for a Proms concert he attended, featuring the excellent German violinist Julia Fischer.

Mystical, monk-like, reclusive — those are a few words often used to describe Arvo Pärt. His music gets labeled as timeless, spiritual and meditative. The Estonian composer, born 80 years ago today, is perhaps all of these things ... and maybe none of them.

Review: Yo-Yo Ma & Kathryn Stott, 'Songs From The Arc Of Life'

Sep 10, 2015

When it comes to artistic partnerships, there's a lot to be said for the fireworks of musicians joining together for the first time. But there's another kind of collaboration that can yield profound pleasure: a recording with two artists who know each other deeply, in a relationship that has unfolded over years or even decades.

Honk And Purr: The Big Bassoon Puzzler

Sep 9, 2015

Even Judith LeClair, principal bassoonist in the New York Philharmonic, says there are issues with her instrument. "A lot of people call it an oboe," she once told CNN. "It's not as recognized as a flute or a trumpet." And it certainly doesn't sound like those, either.

Piano Twang: Steven Mayer Plays 'Le Banjo'

Sep 8, 2015

New Orleans can proudly be called the birthplace of jazz, but the city has also been a cradle for classical music. Opera was heard there as early as 1796. And just a few decades later, in 1829, the city produced America's first musical superstar — Louis Moreau Gottschalk.

It may be the most famous song in the world — but you probably don't know it by the name it was originally called. "Happy Birthday to You," that little ditty that floats above cakes and candles the world over, was written by Mildred and Patty Hill, two sisters from Louisville, Ky.

The sisters wrote the song in the 1890s for Patty's kindergarten students — and they'd intended it to be sung in classrooms, as "Good Morning To All."

Trouble Sleeping? A Composer Wants To Help

Sep 3, 2015

British composer Max Richter spent about two years writing and recording a piece of music which, if it's successful, few people will hear in full. It's a composition called Sleep and it runs eight hours long — the perfect length for a good night's rest. The full version of the piece will be released as a digital album Friday.

Itzhak Perlman: Charting A Charismatic Career

Aug 31, 2015

The well-established soundscape at Burning Man is an audio layer cake of dubstep and techno. More than 60,000 people will gather in the Nevada desert next week for the annual arts festival — and many of them will spend their nights at post-apocalyptic raves, spinning fiery hula hoops and passing ChapStick around the dance floor.

"Eat, sleep, rave, repeat. Eat, sleep, rave, repeat," was the refrain of one song played all over the playa last year.

During the Britt Classical Festival, JPR hosted special pre-concert conversations in the Performance Garden with Britt soloists, guests, and orchestral members.

On Saturday, August 16th 2015 (closing night of the classical festival), JPR's Don Matthews spoke with Britt Principal Percussionist Tony Edwards.  Edwards had major roles to play in the 2015 season repertoire, and he'll talk about his early days of leaning percussion, and his work on a movie set!

During the Britt Classical Festival, JPR hosted special pre-concert conversations in the Performance Garden with Britt soloists, guests, and orchestral members.

On Friday, August 14th 2015, JPR's Geoffrey Riley talked with the incredible visiting violin soloist James Ehnes about the history of his violin, his musical upbringing, and everything in between.  We'd like to thank Britt for their work collecting the video for this series.

During the Britt Classical Festival, JPR hosted special pre-concert conversations in the Performance Garden with Britt soloists, guests, and orchestral members.

On Saturday, August 8th 2015, JPR's Eric Teel talked with bassoonist Harrison Hollingsworth and clarinetist Johnny Teyssier from The Sixth Floor Trio about their work in various ensembles, and their partnership with Britt Music Director Teddy Abrams.

'Summertime' In Hanoi

Aug 24, 2015

Summer might be winding down, but you couldn't tell by the steamy temperatures, not only in much of the U.S. but also in Hanoi, where Vietnamese performer and composer Vân-Ánh Vanessa Võ grew up — and where it should top out around 92 degrees today.

A beautiful ballerina and a handsome prince are at the heart of the world's most famous ballets. Sleeping Beauty. Swan Lake. The Nutcracker, of course.

And at training grounds for future dancers, plenty of girls hope to someday wear the prima ballerina's tutu.

But it's become a challenge to find the boys who will one day form the other half of the pas de deux.

'Cooties And Stuff'

The list of its faculty and students is a who's who of 20th-century music: Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, John Adams, Augusta Read Thomas.

An anxious, awkward teenager, social media, suicide. These are the themes at play in a new musical at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. The production has garnered praise from both the New York Times ("sweet, sad and quite moving") and the Washington Post (which said it "radiates charm and wit)." They're not the only ones buzzing about it — this play about human behavior in the digital age will head to New York's Second Stage Theater next spring.