WUIS Classic

First Listen
10:04 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

First Listen: Valentina Lisitsa, 'Chasing Pianos'

Valentina Lisitsa's new Chasing Pianos features Michael Nyman's music for the Oscar-winning film The Piano.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 9:06 am

Music is an aural medium, but the two musicians represented on this album have careers defined, at least in part, by visuals. Valentina Lisitsa, the 44-year-old Ukrainian-born pianist, revived her stalled career by uploading videos of herself playing Chopin to YouTube. After millions clicked, she landed a record deal.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:01 am
Thu March 27, 2014

The Kronos Quartet: Still Daring After All These Years

The Kronos Quartet (from left): David Harrington, John Sherba, Sunny Yang and Hank Dutt.
Jay Blakesberg Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 11:18 am

Kronos Quartet is celebrating 40 years of playing music together — and to mark the occasion, they're playing a celebration concert at Carnegie Hall in New York tomorrow night. Since their founding, the San Francisco-based string quartet has become one of the most visible ensembles in classical music. The players have done it by championing new and underheard music, and by coming up with a business model that was unheard of for a chamber group four decades ago.

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Music
7:03 am
Wed March 26, 2014

A Field Recording Bonus Track: The Silk Road Swings

Sandeep Das, Shane Shanahan, Mark Suter and Joseph Gramley, percussionists in the Silk Road Ensemble, perform at ACME Studio in Brooklyn, New York, for a Field Recordings video shoot.
Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 2:52 pm

We had so much fun taping cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble's Field Recording, we couldn't stop at just one selection, so we recorded the group's four talented percussionists in a deep groove.

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Field Recordings
7:03 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Welcome To Yo-Yo's Playhouse

Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 2:13 pm

When you're lucky enough to have cellist Yo-Yo Ma and members of the Silk Road Ensemble, some of the world's premiere instrumentalists and composers, gather for an afternoon of offstage music making, you've got to think long and hard about where to put them. And we decided that the perfect match would be ACME Studio, a theatrical props warehouse in Brooklyn.

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Deceptive Cadence
7:58 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Kronos Quartet At 40: Songs We Love

Over four decades, the Kronos quartet (from left, John Sherba, Sunny Yang, Hank Dutt and David Harrington) has premiered more than 800 pieces.
Jay Blakesberg

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 5:12 pm

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Tiny Desk Concerts
1:44 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Joseph Calleja: Tiny Desk Concert

Joseph Calleja performed a Tiny Desk Concert November 26.
Abbey Oldham Abbey Oldham/NPR

Malta, the island nation 50 miles south of Sicily, may be small, but it's home to one of the biggest stars in opera, tenor Joseph Calleja. And like his country's name, which may originate in the Greek word for honey, Calleja's voice is a potent mix of Italianate passion and sweetness. Just listen to how he pulls the volume back to a slender golden ray of tone several times in Tosti's gorgeous "Ideale," and especially the word "disciogliea" in the Puccini aria that closes this performance.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:15 pm
Sun March 23, 2014

John Adams' Psychedelic Oratorio Gives Voice To 'The Other Mary'

Composer John Adams.
Margaretta Mitchell

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 9:36 am

For the millennium, in 2000 American composer John Adams completed a compelling, large-scale oratorio based on the nativity story called El Niño. Now he's composed a companion piece, The Gospel According to the Other Mary, a Passion oratorio mounted with his usual collaborator, the stage director and librettist Peter Sellars.

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Deceptive Cadence
10:44 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Wig Out With The Big Bach Puzzler

Match your wits against the granddaddy of composers in this big Bach puzzler.
Wikimedia Commons

Johann Sebastian Bach, with his big white wig, might stand as the "supreme arbiter and lawgiver of music," as musicologist Nicolas Slonimsky says. But the composer, organist, choirmaster and teacher could also be surprisingly witty and irreverent.

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Deceptive Cadence
11:25 am
Thu March 20, 2014

In The First Violins — At Least For One Night

Conductor Jeffrey Grogan led a motley — but very happy — assembly of professional, student and amateur musicians at the New Jersey Symphony's #OrchestraYou project in Newark, N.J. Saturday.
Fred Stucker Courtesy of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 7:24 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
1:37 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

For Opera Powerhouse Dolora Zajick, 'Singing Is Connected To The Body'

When hitting a high note, mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick says, "You have to have support. You have to have resonance. People have to understand what you're saying."
David Sauer Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 2:29 pm

Dolora Zajick discovered opera as a 22-year-old pre-med student. "That's when I discovered I had a voice," she tells Fresh Air host Terry Gross, "and I actually had a crack at a singing career. And I decided to take the chance."

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Deceptive Cadence
10:21 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Bless You!

Sometimes, you just can't overcome nature.
iStock

We've all been there: You try (and try, and try) to hold back a sneeze, and nature prevails.

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Deceptive Cadence
7:54 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Pitch Perfect: 3 Must-Hear Vocal Albums

A late 15th-century icon of St. Sergius of Radonezh with the Saints of Rostov adorns the cover of a new album of Russian Orthodox Church music by the vocal ensemble Conspirare.
Harmonia Mundi

Originally published on Wed August 13, 2014 9:50 am

The human voice, the true original instrument, is still the most expressive and personal of all. It's one reason more than 42.5 million Americans sing in choirs, and why we seem to be hardwired to tell our stories through song. It also probably explains why I'm a vocal music junkie, eagerly pawing over the operas, recitals and choir albums that land on my desk and in my download folder.

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Music Videos
11:03 pm
Sun March 16, 2014

Timo Andres On Q2 Music's 'Spaces'

Timo Andres in his studio in Bed-Sty, Brooklyn.
Q2

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 10:58 am

Connecticut-born composer-pianist Timo Andres likens his music to "walking into an interesting apartment and seeing a few things next to each other that tell you something about a person." At once familiar and modern, forward-looking and reverent, Andres's music tells the story of a composer striving to reconcile a fascination with the past and composers ranging from Mozar

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First Listen
10:03 pm
Sun March 16, 2014

First Listen: The Bad Plus, 'The Rite Of Spring'

The Bad Plus' new album, The Rite of Spring, comes out March 25.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 9:40 am

This is a recording of a jazz trio playing the score to a 101-year-old ballet. It is not a "jazzing the classics" record or a "fantasia on the themes of" sort of project. It is a band translating one of the landmark works in music history to piano, bass and drum set, and doing it as literally as possible.

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Deceptive Cadence
7:03 am
Fri March 14, 2014

How Irish Are You? A St. Paddy's Day Puzzler

Hoist a pint for this St. Patrick's day. But first take this quiz!
iStock.com

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 12:33 pm

With St. Patrick's Day upon us, it's hard to escape the allure of the Emerald Isle, with its rolling heaths, swirling jigs, frothy beer and curious legends. While we can't afford to fly you to Dublin we can offer this humble St. Paddy's Day puzzler. Score high and be rewarded with the pot 'o gold at the end of the rainbow. Mess up and yours is a sad bowl of soggy Lucky Charms.

Deceptive Cadence
12:55 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Gerard Mortier, A Polarizing Impresario Who Transformed Opera

Belgian opera impresario Gerard Mortier in Germany in 2003. He died Saturday at age 70.
Volker Hartmann AFP/Getty Images

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Music News
7:40 am
Sun March 9, 2014

After A Bitter Struggle, DSO Brings 'Joy' To The People Again

Like many regional orchestras, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra has struggled financially. But after a lot of work, it's set itself on solid footing and become a bright spot in a struggling city.
Courtesy DSO

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 8:55 am

Detroit's Orchestra Hall is one of the best symphony concert halls in the country. The acoustics are top-notch. The theater itself is grand. Important music is made there by some of the country's most talented classical musicians.

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Deceptive Cadence
6:53 am
Sat March 8, 2014

A Kid Named Carl Stirs Up The Bach Musical Dynasty

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, captured around 1733, in a portrait by one of his relatives, Gottlieb Friedrich Bach.
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 10:31 am

When it comes to musical dynasties, it's tough to top the Bach family. From town fiddlers to court composers, the Bachs dominated German music for seven generations. Today, Johann Sebastian towers above all his relatives, but there's another important Bach we shouldn't forget — especially today, on the 300th anniversary of his birth.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:15 am
Fri March 7, 2014

The Soul Of The World's Most Expensive Violin

Anne Akiko Meyers, with her recently acquired Guarneri violin, at NPR's Studio 1.
Jim Tuttle NPR

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 10:39 am

The Vieuxtemps Guarneri is a violin that is older than the United States of America — 273 years old, to be exact. It recently became the most expensive violin in the world, selling for an estimated $16 million. Its new owner anonymously donated the historic instrument to violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, on loan for the rest of her life.

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Deceptive Cadence
11:59 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Robert Ashley, Opera's Misunderstood Innovator, Dies At 83

Robert Ashley's operas for television redefined the genre.
Joanne Savio Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 6:50 pm

Robert Ashley, a restlessly innovative American composer, died at his home in New York March 3 from complications of cirrhosis of the liver. NPR confirmed the composer's death through his wife and manager Mimi Johnson. Ashley was 83.

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First Listen
10:03 pm
Sun March 2, 2014

First Listen: Augustin Hadelich, 'Sibelius, Adès: Violin Concertos'

Violinist Augustin Hadelich pairs a classic concerto with a contemporary one on this new album.
Rosalie O'Connor

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 9:54 am

Looking for a new violinist to fall in love with? Meet Augustin Hadelich, the 29-year-old Italian-born son of German parents. On his new album, to be released March 11, he pairs two searching, seemingly disparate violin concertos — one classic and one contemporary.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:12 pm
Sun March 2, 2014

Philippe Jaroussky And The Impossibly High Male Voice

Philippe Jaroussky's new album is Farinelli: Porpora Arias.
Marc Ribes Erato/Warner Classics

Originally published on Sun March 2, 2014 6:09 pm

Philippe Jaroussky cuts a masculine figure on the cover of his new album, Farinelli: Porpora Arias, but you might do a double take upon hearing the music. The arias the French opera singer performs on this release were written in the 18th century for a castrato — a boy singer castrated to retain his high singing voice through adulthood.

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Music Articles
7:03 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Music Takes Center Stage In Oscar-Nominated Documentaries

Egyptian singer-songwriter Ramy Essam, in the heady early days at Tahrir Square in 2011.
Mark LeVine Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 9:06 am

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Music News
1:13 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

And The Oscar Goes To ... Mr. 'Star Wars' Or Arcade Fire?

William Butler of Arcade Fire: not the most typical contender for Best Original Score.
Jason Oxenham Getty Images

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Deceptive Cadence
3:00 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Gil Shaham And When The World 'Got Much Smaller, Much Faster'

Star violinist Gil Shaham, whose newest recording project surveys the wildly different violin concertos of the 1930s.
Luke Ratray Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 7:02 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
10:42 am
Wed February 19, 2014

We Love Him For More Than Twizzles: Charlie White Plays Violin, Too

Ice dancing champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White visit the set of the NBC TODAY Show in Sochi on February 18, 2014.
Scott Halleran Getty Images

It's no secret that gold-winning American ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White have become favorite faces in Sochi. But it turns out that the charming White has done his share of woodshedding along with his hard work on the ice.

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Field Recordings
7:28 am
Wed February 19, 2014

On A Chilly Factory Floor, Yuja Wang's Piano Sizzles

Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 9:16 am

Chinese-born pianist Yuja Wang isn't one to do anything in half measures. So when we invited her to record a performance in a room at the Steinway & Sons piano factory, she showed up in Queens that frigid morning with her A game.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:25 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Sex, Drugs And Wandering Batons: Classical Musicians (Finally) Get Some Screen Time

Gael Garcia Bernal stars in the pilot of Mozart in the Jungle as a hyper-charming young conductor on the rise.
Courtesy of Amazon

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 4:08 pm

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Music News
1:03 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Collecting Money For Songwriters, A 100-Year Tug Of War

ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento, member Katy Perry and president Paul Williams at the 2012 Annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards in Hollywood, Calif.
Frank Micelotta PictureGroup

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 5:06 pm

A hundred years ago, the Italian operatic composer Giacomo Puccini was having lunch in New York with Victor Herbert, the leading composer of operettas in this country. Then, the band in the restaurant began playing music from Herbert's current hit, Sweethearts. Puccini became outraged, according to songwriter Paul Williams, the current president of the performing-rights organization ASCAP.

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Deceptive Cadence
7:03 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Fiddler On The Slopes

Violinist-turned-Olympian Vanessa-Mae checks out her fellow skiers in Sochi, Russia on Feb. 10.
Clive Rose Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 4:08 pm

Classical music has managed to take center stage at sports events in the last few weeks. Soprano Renée Fleming sang the National Anthem at the Super Bowl two weekends ago.

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