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!

Musical training doesn't just improve your ear for music — it also helps your ear for speech. That's the takeaway from an unusual new study published in The Journal of Neuroscience. Researchers found that kids who took music lessons for two years didn't just get better at playing the trombone or violin; they found that playing music also helped kids' brains process language.

For ballerina Misty Copeland, the role of the Firebird is a personally symbolic one. "It was one of the first really big principal roles I was ever given an opportunity to dance with American Ballet Theatre," she tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "It was a huge step for the African-American community."

Five New Classical Videos You Need To See To Believe

Sep 9, 2014

Glenn Gould In Rapture

Sep 4, 2014

What's going on here, I can only guess, but here's what you're about to see: In the video below, the great musician Glenn Gould, supreme interpreter of Bach, is sitting at his living room piano on a low, low chair, his nose close to the keys. He's at his Canadian country house in his bathrobe.

Great Expectations: A New Season Of New Music

Sep 3, 2014

Musicologist and pianist Charles Rosen once quipped: "The death of classical music is perhaps its oldest continuing tradition." But it's tough to see much gloom when faced with the diversity of premieres and provocative programming around the country in the 2014-2015 season.

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

A Surge Of Scarlatti Sonatas

Aug 28, 2014

Three centuries ago a man named Domenico Scarlatti churned out an enormous number of keyboard sonatas — more than 550. Pianists, harpsichordists and even accordionists still can't get enough these inventive, bite-sized pieces.

A clutch of Scarlatti albums have appeared this year and more are on the way. Albums from pianists Orion Weiss and Igor Kamez are due in the coming weeks. Here we offer a sampling of five recent releases.

Enigmatic Endings: A Farewell To Summer Quiz

Aug 26, 2014

Well, it's happened again. Vacations are over. Kids are returning to school. "And where," you're wondering, "did my summer go?"

You can get the same feeling in music sometimes. No matter how long a piece is, its end might sneak up on you. Try this mysterious little quiz filled with fantastical finales and enigmatic endings. Score high and take an extra week off from work. Score low and get back to the grind.

Bruce Hornsby's Modern Classical Moment

Aug 25, 2014

Bruce Hornsby cracked the music world three decades ago, making smooth, contemplative piano-pop with his band The Range. But if "The Way It Is" is how you remember him today, you've missed a lot.

Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh currently lives in New York, but he grew up in Damascus. Until recently, Azmeh traveled regularly back and forth to his homeland, before it became too dangerous.

In 2011, after protesters were killed in the streets in Syria, Azmeh stopped composing and started to question the role of his music. But after a year hiatus, he realized his music has a place that is important.

Masters And Disasters: The Met Opera Quiz

Aug 20, 2014

Now that the embattled Metropolitan Opera has surmounted most of its labor squabbles, it's time to take a break from reading about the rancorous negotiations. See how many of these nerdworthy Met questions you can answer. Score high and bellow out your best Wagnerian "Hojotoho!" Score low and start learning the "Simpleton's aria" from Boris Godunov.

There are many recordings of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. Do we need another? In the case of this new recording led by the young Greek conductor Teodor Currentzis, Fresh Air classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz says, "Absolutely."

Met Opera Tentatively Settles With 2 Major Unions

Aug 18, 2014

A labor crisis threatening to shut down New York's Metropolitan Opera — the largest opera house in the world — appears to have been averted. Two of the major unions announced a tentative settlement this morning. While agreements with 10 additional unions need to be reached by Tuesday night, this represents a major turning point in a bitter dispute.

Meet The Cast Of The Met Opera's Labor Drama

Aug 18, 2014

Think opera plots are tough to follow? Try wading through the complicated drama playing out offstage at the Metropolitan Opera. At its most basic, it's the story of management and labor unions fighting over a supposedly dwindling pot of money.

Centenarian Soprano Licia Albanese Dies

Aug 18, 2014

Italian-American lyric soprano Licia Albanese, known for her deeply felt character portrayals, died Friday at her home in New York, her son, Joseph Gimma, told NPR Music Saturday. She was 105 years old.

With a little more than a month before the MET opera season opens, management has set Sunday night as a new deadline for reaching an agreement. The company has been threatening to lock out its workers if they do not agree to concessions.  

Soul-Searching Music From A Serene Desert Monastery

Aug 14, 2014

Inspiration can come from unlikely places. For composer Robert Kyr, the silence of a desert monastery is key to the radiant music on his new disc of recent choral works performed by the vocal ensemble Conspirare and its director Craig Hella Johnson.

Kyr travels frequently to the Monastery of Christ in the Desert, in northern New Mexico, from his home in Eugene, Ore., where he teaches composition at the University of Oregon. Living among the monastery's Benedictine monks, Kyr hikes along the winding Chama River by day and composes music in a bare-walled room at night.

Read These While They're Still Free

Aug 12, 2014

Last month, The New Yorker announced that it was teasing a new "freemium" version of its website (which launches this fall) with an alluring proposition. All of its most recent pieces, plus the full archives back to 2007 and some even older selections, are free for the rest of the summer.

So we took this opportunity to dig up some delicious classical music-minded pieces from the magazine's archives. They're perfect long reads for a lazy August afternoon.

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