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!

Jazz great Wynton Marsalis, a virtuoso trumpet player and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, has written — wait for it — a violin concerto.

As the daughter of the late virtuoso violinist Roman Totenberg, I was intrigued and wanted to know more. So I spent an hour with Marsalis — and the violinist he wrote his concerto with and for. (More on that later.)

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

Nov 1 T Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: Suite from Mlada
Nov 2 W John Foulds*: Music-Pictures Group III
Nov 3 T George Frideric Handel: Suite in A major
Nov 4 F Hector Berlioz: Royal Hunt and Storm from “Les Troyens”

A Listener's Guide To The Ghosts That Haunt Opera

Oct 31, 2016

Do you believe in ghosts? The age-old question pops up this time of year when Halloween looms — the answer for opera composers seems to be a resounding "yes." Many of them, from Mozart to Corigliano, have given ghosts a few choice moments on stage. Operatic apparitions arrive suddenly in the middle of the night, crash dinner parties or do their ghostly duty simply by playing tricks on the minds of the living.

Eric Teel

The Danish String Quartet is at the core of the classical music world. On a daily basis they delve deeply into works by great masters such as Beethoven and Mozart, but also the occasional folk gig. Over the years they've been fortunate to study in many different places in master classes with renowned teachers and have had opportunities to perform in major concert halls across the world.

The Metropolitan Opera mourns the death of Peter Allen, their radio announcer for 29 years. Peter became the host of the Metropolitan Opera Saturday Afternoon Radio Broadcasts on January 4, 1975, succeeding Milton Cross, who had been the series’ announcer since its inception in 1931. With his deep knowledge and love of opera, Peter was the enlivening host for our broadcasts until his retirement in 2004. In addition, he was a beloved colleague and friend to all the members of the company who had the pleasure of knowing and working with him.

Steve Reich At 80: The Phases Of A Lifetime In Music

Oct 12, 2016

Brian Eno. David Bowie. Kraftwerk. Radiohead. Aphex Twin. The National. These are just some of the contemporary artists and bands who have looked up to American composer Steve Reich.

First Listen: John Adams, 'Scheherazade.2'

Sep 27, 2016

Violence against women is no modern tragedy. Composer John Adams found that out when he saw an exhibition about the tales of the Arabian Nights — ancient stories in which Scheherazade tells her murderous husband a new tantalizing tale each night for 1001 nights, thus sparing her life a day at a time. The composer, writing in Scheherazade.2's booklet notes, says he was surprised by how many of the stories included women suffering brutality.

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

Oct 3 M Franz Schubert: Rondo in A major
Oct 4 T Johannes Brahms: Variations on a Theme by Haydn
Oct 5 W Domenico Cimarosa: Concerto for Two Flutes
Oct 6 T Karol Szymanovski*: Violin Concerto No. 2
Oct 7 F Franz Liszt: Réminiscences de Don Juan

Talk to nearly any classical music critic about heroes of the trade and one name usually comes up: Virgil Thomson. Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times advises: "Every practicing and aspiring critic today should read Thomson's exhilarating writings."

From Trash To Triumph: The Recycled Orchestra

Sep 15, 2016

When you think of an orchestra, you're probably picturing refined woodwinds, brass, and strings. But one ensemble I recently met is made up mostly of kids who play instruments made out of literal trash. This is the Recycled Orchestra from Cateura, Paraguay, and their group is the subject of a new documentary film.

First Listen: Pretty Yende, 'A Journey'

Sep 9, 2016

As a 16-year-old, Pretty Yende was sitting with her parents in their rural South African home watching TV when a British Airways ad came on. As the sweet music swelled and voices intertwined, Yende was mesmerized. The only problem: She had no idea what to call the beautiful music she'd just heard.

Beginning Sunday evening, October 2nd, JPR's Classics & News Service will begin airing the new season of weekly programs called Concerts from the Library of Congress.

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

Sep 1 T Johann Pachelbel*: Chaconne in F minor
Sep 2 F Alphons Diepenbrock*: Lydian Nights

Interested in Steve Jobs, Georgia O'Keefe or Alice in Wonderland? They are all explored in new music in the upcoming American concert season.

Tracing The People's Republic Of Beethoven

Aug 25, 2016

Imagine you're a teenager in Beijing in the 1960s and '70s, during the Cultural Revolution. Everything that's deemed Western and bourgeois is banned — so listening to a 78 rpm recording of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, powerfully transformative as it might be, is off limits.

Songs We Love: The Westerlies, 'Saro'

Aug 18, 2016

Many stylistic winds blow through the repertoire of The Westerlies. The unconventional brass quartet from New York (Riley Mulherkar and Zubin Hensler, trumpets; Andy Clausen and Willem de Koch, trombones) embraces jazz, classical, new music and dance — and in this case, puts a new spin on an old British ballad.

Yesterday in New York, something very big happened outside Lincoln Center: One thousand people gathered to sing a new piece by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang. Entitled the public domain, it was a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Mostly Mozart festival.

Anna Netrebko's Mournful 'Mamma Morta'

Aug 12, 2016

"They killed my mother in the doorway." How's that for an opening line?

We're talking opera — specifically, the aria "La mamma morta" from Umberto Giordano's 1896 French Revolution thriller Andrea Chénier. The soprano is Anna Netrebko.

Rachel Barton Pine: Tiny Desk Concert

Aug 10, 2016

The music of Johann Sebastian Bach is essential, like air and water, for many classical musicians. Pianist András Schiff starts every day with Bach — sometimes before breakfast. "It's like taking care of your inner hygiene. There's something very pure about it," he says.

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