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!

George Li's 'Sensible Route' To Piano Prominence

Feb 21, 2018

George Li is a young pianist on the rise. At age 10, he gave his first public concert and at 15, he won a silver medal at the revered Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Li recently released his debut album on a major label and has been fielding offers, performing with some of the world's great orchestras.

John Corigliano is one of America's most acclaimed composers. He's won a Pulitzer, an Oscar and five Grammys, and he's still hard at work, having turned 80 on Feb. 16.

By her own admission, composer Florence Price had two strikes against her.

"To begin with I have two handicaps – those of sex and race. I am a woman; and I have some Negro blood in my veins," is how she began a 1943 letter to Serge Koussevitzky, the revered conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She added later, "I would like to be judged on merit alone."

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

A Teenage Cellist Celebrates Bob Marley

Feb 6, 2018

Candide is a show with a classy pedigree. Voltaire wrote the 1759 novella. It became an operetta in 1956 with a libretto by Lillian Hellman, contributions from Dorothy Parker and Richard Wilbur, the noted poet — and some gorgeous music by Leonard Bernstein. The original production lasted just two months on Broadway, but the score is still a popular favorite — and the show has been revived many times over the years, with Stephen Sondheim, Hugh Wheeler, John Mauceri, and Bernstein himself adding material.

At first, there's just a drip: a gentle pulse from a marimba. Then a bewitching melody played on a set of tuned cowbells enters and the music comes into focus. The four musicians in the Chicago-based Third Coast Percussion let the piece unfold deliberately. They play as if they're a single, eight-armed organism.

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

Feb 1 T Francesco Maria Veracini*: Overture No. 2
Feb 2 F Adolphus Hailstork: Symphony No. 1

Feb 5 M Lodewijk Mortelmans*: Morning Mood
Feb 6 T R. Nathaniel Dett: Cinnamon Grove
Feb 7 W Alexander Borodin: String Quartet No. 2
Feb 8 T John T. Williams*: American Journey
Feb 9 F Isaac Albeniz: Iberia, Book IV

Barbara Hannigan: Tiny Desk Concert

Jan 26, 2018

In these days of wireless earbuds, streams and podcasts, the notion of people gathering to hear a lone classical singer (with a pianist) perform densely structured art songs in a foreign tongue seems almost laughably quaint.

This week New Orleans hosts a peppery performance that was almost lost to the past.

Conductor Paul Mauffray discovered a program for the 1894 show Tabasco: A Burlesque Opera while rifling through historic music in his hometown, which celebrates its 300th anniversary this year.

Review: Nils Frahm, 'All Melody'

Jan 23, 2018

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

Musician and composer Nils Frahm must feel like a chef who has finally assembled his dream kitchen. Frahm's new album, All Melody (due out Jan. 26), was crafted at Saal 3, a vintage studio space he was offered in an old East Berlin broadcast facility built in the 1950s.

In 1983, the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto tried a grand experiment. While the singers performed Elektra in German onstage, simultaneous translations in English were projected above the stage. These "supertitles," as they've come to be known, were quickly adopted at opera houses and are now an expected part of the opera-going experience.

Updated, Jan. 11, 4:00 p.m. ET: This article was updated to include new allegations of sexual assault made against Dutoit.

Daniil Trifonov: Tiny Desk Concert

Jan 12, 2018

When we invited Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov to play a Tiny Desk concert, we rolled out the big guns. In place of the trusty upright, we wedged a 7-foot grand piano behind Bob Boilen's desk in preparation for the artist who The Times of London called "without question the most astounding pianist of our age."

Meet An Audience Of Alley Cats And One Fine Fiddler

Jan 10, 2018

What the world needs now is another cat video. Seriously.

Jim McGuire

Britt Music & Arts Festival and Britt Orchestra Music Director Teddy Abrams announce the 2018 Britt Orchestra Season, which will run from July 25th through August 11th. The 2018 program draws inspiration from the Bernstein Centennial, a world-wide celebration of the 100th birthday of Leonard Bernstein, the composer, conductor, educator, musician, cultural ambassador, and humanitarian.

Today our colleague Robert Siegel is retiring after four decades at NPR. He's covered everything from peace movements in East and West Germany to the Republican revolution of the 104th Congress, the mentally ill homeless and the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan Province, China.

Over his 30-year tenure as host of All Things Considered, Robert has also chased one of his lifelong passions — classical music. He's interviewed dozens of today's most compelling musicians.

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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