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!

One of the most horrible events of the Vietnam War took place 50 years ago this week.

Making Musical Connections At Sing Sing Prison

Mar 20, 2018

Sing Sing Correctional Facility is not the sort of place you'd expect to find a flourishing music community, but a workshop run by Carnegie Hall offers inmates the ability to learn in harmony. Twice a month, artists from New York City travel to Sing Sing and spend a day giving 30 inmates enrolled in the Musical Connections program formal training.

James Levine, the famed conductor who was fired earlier this week by New York's Metropolitan Opera following its internal investigation into allegations of sexually abusive conduct towards young artists, has responded by suing the Met and its General Manager Peter Gelb.

Elgar's 'Enigma' Still Keeps Music Detectives Busy

Mar 15, 2018

Here's a musical riddle that has kept people guessing for over a century.

English composer Edward Elgar's Variations on an Original Theme, ('Enigma') op. 36 is one of England's most beloved musical works. It's commonly known as the Enigma Variations.

Metropolitan Opera Fires James Levine For Sexual Misconduct

Mar 13, 2018

Late Monday afternoon, New York's hallowed Metropolitan Opera announced that it had fired conductor James Levine — an artist who had a close affiliation with the opera house for more than four decades — after a months-long investigation into claims of "sexually abusive and harassing conduct."

On Friday, the Boston Symphony Orchestra announced that an independent investigation into a sexual assault claim made against conductor Charles Dutoit by one of its former interns has found the woman's claim credible.

The accusation that triggered the BSO investigation came from a woman named Fiona Allan, who at the time of the alleged assault in 1997 was working as an intern at the orchestra's summer home at Tanglewood in Lenox, Mass., when Dutoit was appearing with the symphony as a guest conductor.

On Friday morning the Boston Globe published details of allegations of sexual abuse by 74-year-old conductor and pianist James Levine, as well as chronicling "cult-like" behavior that the leading musician allegedly cultivated amongst his devotees while he was teaching at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) in Ohio between 1965 and 1972.

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

Mar 1 T George Frideric Handel: Harp Concerto in B flat major
Mar 2 F Augusta Holmès: Andromeda

Mar 5 M Arthur Foote*: Suite for Strings
Mar 6 T Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov*: Suite from “Tsar Saltan”
Mar 7 W Germaine Tailleferre: Concerto for Flute & Piano
Mar 8 T Alan Hovhaness*: Symphony No. 1
Mar 9 F Josef Myslivecek*: Cello Concerto in C major

Lots of kids dream of growing up to be rock stars. Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood was no different — though his interest was less in the glory and more in the intricacies of craft.

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.

Pages