Tom Huizenga http://wuis.org en A Visitor's Guide To Bach's 'St. Matthew Passion' http://wuis.org/post/visitors-guide-bachs-st-matthew-passion <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16318115">Johann Sebastian Bach</a> wrote his <em>St. Matthew Passion</em> for a single purpose — to present the Passion story in music at Good Friday vesper services.<p>Bach's <em>Passion</em> continues to move audiences nearly three centuries after it was first heard in St. Thomas's Church in Leipzig, Germany. Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:03:00 +0000 Tom Huizenga 23186 at http://wuis.org A Visitor's Guide To Bach's 'St. Matthew Passion' Alaskan Composer Wins Pulitzer For 'Become Ocean' http://wuis.org/post/alaskan-composer-wins-pulitzer-become-ocean <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/120995813/john-luther-adams" target="_blank">John Luther Adams</a>, whose music is inspired by — and sometimes <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAk527M-INA">performed in</a> — natural landscapes, has <a href="http://www.pulitzer.org/citation/2014-Music" target="_blank">won the Pulitzer Prize</a> for music for his symphonic work <em>Become Ocean<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGIEvUOf-JU"></a></em>. Mon, 14 Apr 2014 22:43:00 +0000 Tom Huizenga 23020 at http://wuis.org Alaskan Composer Wins Pulitzer For 'Become Ocean' First Listen: Valentina Lisitsa, 'Chasing Pianos' http://wuis.org/post/first-listen-valentina-lisitsa-chasing-pianos 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, <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptivecadence/2013/03/11/174018651/the-classical-pianist-with-55-million-youtube-hits" target="_blank">revived her stalled career</a> by uploading videos of <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vS_foc_NxI0" target="_blank">herself playing Chopin</a> to YouTube. After millions clicked, she landed a record deal. Mon, 31 Mar 2014 03:04:00 +0000 Tom Huizenga 21949 at http://wuis.org First Listen: Valentina Lisitsa, 'Chasing Pianos' Joseph Calleja: Tiny Desk Concert http://wuis.org/post/joseph-calleja-tiny-desk-concert 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. Mon, 24 Mar 2014 18:44:00 +0000 Tom Huizenga 21520 at http://wuis.org Joseph Calleja: Tiny Desk Concert Wig Out With The Big Bach Puzzler http://wuis.org/post/wig-out-big-bach-puzzler <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15031897/johann-sebastian-bach" target="_blank">Johann Sebastian Bach</a>, 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. Fri, 21 Mar 2014 15:44:00 +0000 Tom Huizenga 21344 at http://wuis.org Wig Out With The Big Bach Puzzler Pitch Perfect: 3 Must-Hear Vocal Albums http://wuis.org/post/pitch-perfect-3-must-hear-vocal-albums 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. Tue, 18 Mar 2014 12:54:00 +0000 Tom Huizenga 21098 at http://wuis.org Pitch Perfect: 3 Must-Hear Vocal Albums How Irish Are You? A St. Paddy's Day Puzzler http://wuis.org/post/how-irish-are-you-st-paddys-day-puzzler 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. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2014 NPR. Fri, 14 Mar 2014 12:03:00 +0000 Tom Huizenga 20844 at http://wuis.org How Irish Are You? A St. Paddy's Day Puzzler A Kid Named Carl Stirs Up The Bach Musical Dynasty http://wuis.org/post/kid-named-carl-stirs-bach-musical-dynasty 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, <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15031897/johann-sebastian-bach" target="_blank">Johann Sebastian</a> towers above all his relatives, but there's another important Bach we shouldn't forget — especially today, on the 300th anniversary of his birth.<p>Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, C.P.E. Sat, 08 Mar 2014 12:53:00 +0000 Tom Huizenga 20432 at http://wuis.org A Kid Named Carl Stirs Up The Bach Musical Dynasty Robert Ashley, Opera's Misunderstood Innovator, Dies At 83 http://wuis.org/post/robert-ashley-operas-misunderstood-innovator-dies-83 <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQBpire6jhw</p> Tue, 04 Mar 2014 17:59:00 +0000 Tom Huizenga 20154 at http://wuis.org Robert Ashley, Opera's Misunderstood Innovator, Dies At 83 First Listen: Augustin Hadelich, 'Sibelius, Adès: Violin Concertos' http://wuis.org/post/first-listen-augustin-hadelich-sibelius-ad-s-violin-concertos Looking for a new violinist to fall in love with? Meet <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/278486464/augustin-hadelich" target="_blank">Augustin Hadelich</a>, the 29-year-old Italian-born son of German parents. Mon, 03 Mar 2014 04:03:00 +0000 Tom Huizenga 20046 at http://wuis.org First Listen: Augustin Hadelich, 'Sibelius, Adès: Violin Concertos' Classical Couples: Sweethearts Sharing The Stage http://wuis.org/post/classical-couples-sweethearts-sharing-stage <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhCgvPtVGyg</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Y6k6hniMKA</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsUYHnR0tmM</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlBf42zxT0Y</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enh5zIwmy2k</p> Tue, 11 Feb 2014 16:36:00 +0000 Tom Huizenga 18748 at http://wuis.org Classical Couples: Sweethearts Sharing The Stage New Music Shines at Classical Grammy Awards http://wuis.org/post/new-music-shines-classical-grammy-awards <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aJF5uoU7fI</p> Mon, 27 Jan 2014 16:10:00 +0000 Tom Huizenga 17732 at http://wuis.org New Music Shines at Classical Grammy Awards Inspiration Or Embarrassment? Lang Lang And Metallica Teaming Up At Grammys http://wuis.org/post/inspiration-or-embarrassment-lang-lang-and-metallica-teaming-grammys Odd musical mergers in the Grammy Awards telecast are nothing new — remember <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24MD-v0IgYA" target="_blank">Paul McCartney, Linkin Park and Jay-Z</a> singing "Yesterday?" Still, when thrash metal band <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15730259" target="_blank">Metallica</a> and classical pianist <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17022256" target="_blank">Lang Lang</a> take the stage together Sunday night, it may seem more like a head-scratcher than a clever match.<p>Or will it?<p>Metallica <a href="ht Fri, 24 Jan 2014 13:44:00 +0000 Tom Huizenga 17551 at http://wuis.org Inspiration Or Embarrassment? Lang Lang And Metallica Teaming Up At Grammys Note To 'Downton Abbey' Viewers: Nellie Melba Was A Big Deal http://wuis.org/post/note-downton-abbey-viewers-nellie-melba-was-big-deal <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEhr_3E3XEA</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpdvoMFSqKY</p> Fri, 17 Jan 2014 20:15:00 +0000 Tom Huizenga 17177 at http://wuis.org Note To 'Downton Abbey' Viewers: Nellie Melba Was A Big Deal Marilyn Horne: Opera's Agile Advocate Turns 80 http://wuis.org/post/marilyn-horne-operas-agile-advocate-turns-80 <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3yd7tJTHrM</p> Thu, 16 Jan 2014 13:02:00 +0000 Tom Huizenga 17052 at http://wuis.org Marilyn Horne: Opera's Agile Advocate Turns 80 Cachet And Cash For Rafał Blechacz, Named 2014 Gilmore Artist http://wuis.org/post/cachet-and-cash-rafa-blechacz-named-2014-gilmore-artist Polish pianist <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/16051607/rafal-blechacz" target="_blank">Rafał Blechacz</a>, who at age 20 swept all five top prizes at the 2005 International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, can now add another prestigious award to his collection. Early Wednesday, Blechacz was named the 2014 Gilmore Artist.<p>The Gilmore may not have quite the name recognition as the Chopin Competition, but it has a distinguished cachet of its own, plus a generous $300,000 cash award.<p>Actually, the Gilmore isn't a competition. Named for a Kalamazoo, Mich. Wed, 08 Jan 2014 05:02:00 +0000 Tom Huizenga 16489 at http://wuis.org Cachet And Cash For Rafał Blechacz, Named 2014 Gilmore Artist Van-Anh Vanessa Vo: Tiny Desk Concert http://wuis.org/post/van-anh-vanessa-vo-tiny-desk-concert Van-Anh Vanessa Vo is a veteran when it comes to taking risks, and it pays off in her compelling music. As a young girl in Vietnam, she knew she wanted to be a traditional musician, even though it was a world dominated by men. It was risky, then, when she pestered a master teacher for three years to give her lessons. He finally gave in, taking her on as an apprentice.<p>Vo also takes risks in blending East with West in her music. She lends a trippy sound to Frenchman Erik Satie's Gnossienne No. 3, performed on the <em>dan Bau</em>, the traditional Vietnamese monocord. Sat, 04 Jan 2014 13:03:00 +0000 Tom Huizenga 16279 at http://wuis.org Van-Anh Vanessa Vo: Tiny Desk Concert High Notes And Clams: The Best And Worst Of Classical 2013 http://wuis.org/post/high-notes-and-clams-best-and-worst-classical-2013 "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." That could be the annual mantra for the classical music world. It has been predicted to crumble for decades, just as optimists continue to point to positive trends. This year is no different. Despite two ugly black eyes — the death of the New York City Opera and the continuing, bitter stalemate between the Minnesota Orchestra's (locked out) musicians and management — terrific music is being made by marvelous artists. Here we offer a short list of the best and worst of 2013. Tue, 31 Dec 2013 21:39:00 +0000 Tom Huizenga 16050 at http://wuis.org High Notes And Clams: The Best And Worst Of Classical 2013 Kronos Quartet: Tiny Desk Concert http://wuis.org/post/kronos-quartet-tiny-desk-concert Sunny Yang joined <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/14983141/kronos-quartet">Kronos Quartet</a> in June 2013. Now, just five months later, the cellist she says she's learned quite a few new works — not just a handful, but about 70 pieces.<p>That degree of dedication to contemporary composers, coupled with an insane concert schedule, has propelled Kronos Quartet forward over the past four decades. Mon, 25 Nov 2013 19:03:00 +0000 Tom Huizenga 13732 at http://wuis.org Kronos Quartet: Tiny Desk Concert The Sound of Struggle Tempered With Terror: Penderecki At 80 http://wuis.org/post/sound-struggle-tempered-terror-penderecki-80 There's a beguiling photo of <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/91634817/krzysztof-penderecki" target="_blank">Krzysztof Penderecki</a>, who turns 80 today, inside the brochure of this week's Warsaw <a href="http://www.beethoven.org.pl/en/innefestiwale/thekrzysztofpendereckifestival2013" target="_blank">music festival</a> that bears his name. Sat, 23 Nov 2013 13:03:00 +0000 Tom Huizenga 13638 at http://wuis.org The Sound of Struggle Tempered With Terror: Penderecki At 80 Carnegie Hall Live With The San Francisco Symphony http://wuis.org/post/san-francisco-symphony-live-carnegie-hall Last March, when the San Francisco Symphony was slated for an East Coast tour, including a stop at Carnegie Hall, the musicians went on strike. Fortunately, the labor dispute was settled in 18 days — a blink of an eye compared to the recent drawn-out disruptions in Minnesota and Detroit. Fri, 08 Nov 2013 15:25:00 +0000 Tom Huizenga 12618 at http://wuis.org Carnegie Hall Live With The San Francisco Symphony Bach Unwigged: The Man Behind The Music http://wuis.org/post/bach-unwigged-man-behind-music <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15031897/johann-sebastian-bach" target="_blank">Johann Sebastian Bach</a> has been a central figure in the life of British conductor <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15327825/john-eliot-gardiner" target="_blank">John Eliot Gardiner</a> since he was a youngster. On his way to bed, he couldn't help glancing up at the famous 18th-century portrait of Bach that hung in the first floor landing of the old mill house in Dorset, England where Gardiner was born. Tue, 29 Oct 2013 18:28:00 +0000 Tom Huizenga 11927 at http://wuis.org Bach Unwigged: The Man Behind The Music Soothing The Savage Beat: When Electronic Artists Conjure Classical http://wuis.org/post/soothing-savage-beat-when-electronic-artists-conjure-classical <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOaFxEpjbFE</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzf8eC_Tqm0</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lg99baQKNl8</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIuSLczfn6U</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdbEmCTEwkY</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5BkZsXmJIQ</p> Thu, 24 Oct 2013 12:03:00 +0000 Tom Huizenga 11598 at http://wuis.org Soothing The Savage Beat: When Electronic Artists Conjure Classical A Debt Ceiling Playlist: 5 Songs To Push Your Mind To The Brink http://wuis.org/post/debt-ceiling-playlist-5-songs-push-your-mind-brink <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0wOV-w1ObI</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukGCYNrBlP4</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpsfTdB4TCI</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJAHpd88OdQ</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2xV8cBnGu4</p> Thu, 17 Oct 2013 16:12:00 +0000 Tom Huizenga 11128 at http://wuis.org A Debt Ceiling Playlist: 5 Songs To Push Your Mind To The Brink Verdi's Operas: A Vigorous Soundtrack To Human Nature http://wuis.org/post/verdis-operas-vigorous-soundtrack-human-nature Two hundred years ago today, in a small northern Italian village, a couple named Verdi — tavern owners by trade — welcomed the birth of a baby boy who would later change the face of opera forever. Thu, 10 Oct 2013 06:54:00 +0000 Tom Huizenga 10630 at http://wuis.org Verdi's Operas: A Vigorous Soundtrack To Human Nature Act Like You Know: Giuseppe Verdi http://wuis.org/post/act-you-know-giuseppe-verdi It's that time of year again when freshly steamed curtains are rising on opera stages across the country, introducing another new season of performances. And this time, one composer will be popping up more than usual — <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/16927552/giuseppe-verdi" target="_blank">Giuseppe Verdi</a>.<p>He might have been born 200 years ago (Oct. 10, 1813), but Verdi's box office brawn has never flagged. Wed, 09 Oct 2013 17:03:00 +0000 Tom Huizenga 10590 at http://wuis.org Act Like You Know: Giuseppe Verdi Guest DJ Angela Meade: Hitting The Big Time With Help From Verdi http://wuis.org/post/guest-dj-angela-meade-hitting-big-time-help-verdi Most opera singers work their way to the big league by singing bit parts in regional opera houses. Not soprano Angela Meade. She landed on top instantly with her professional debut in the lead soprano role of <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/16927552/giuseppe-verdi" target="_blank">Giuseppe Verdi</a>'s <em>Ernani</em> at New York's Metropolitan Opera in 2008.<p>It was a dream come true. The star soprano took ill and the understudy, Meade, was suddenly shoved into the spotlight. Mon, 07 Oct 2013 12:03:00 +0000 Tom Huizenga 10429 at http://wuis.org Guest DJ Angela Meade: Hitting The Big Time With Help From Verdi Lawrence Brownlee: Tiny Desk Concert http://wuis.org/post/lawrence-brownlee-tiny-desk-concert These days, Lawrence Brownlee spends most of his time on the stages of the world's great opera houses. That's where you'll find him singing Rossini and Donizetti. His supple, strong, high-flying voice can negotiate the tightest hairpin turns with grace and elegance; that, and his ability to command the stage as an actor, has won Brownlee the praise of critics worldwide.<p>But as much as he excels at opera, there's a special place in Brownlee's heart for African-American spirituals. Sat, 05 Oct 2013 10:20:00 +0000 Tom Huizenga 10346 at http://wuis.org Lawrence Brownlee: Tiny Desk Concert The Pianist Who Plays 'The Rascal And The Sparrow' http://wuis.org/post/pianist-who-plays-rascal-and-sparrow How do you make a piano sing? Italian-born pianist Antonio Pompa-Baldi tackles the question on his new album, <em>The Rascal and the Sparrow</em>, a tribute to <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/89529197/francis-poulenc" target="_blank">Francis Poulenc</a> and <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/106547755/edith-piaf" target="_blank">Edith Piaf</a>, two titans of French song who each died 50 years ago. Pompa-Baldi shared his thoughts on the project in this email chat with NPR Music's Tom Huizenga.<p><strong>A classical composer and a singer of popular songs. Wed, 25 Sep 2013 16:22:00 +0000 Tom Huizenga 9638 at http://wuis.org The Pianist Who Plays 'The Rascal And The Sparrow' Banjos, Bartók And La Belle Époque: New Classical Albums http://wuis.org/post/banjos-bart-k-and-la-belle-poque-new-classical-albums People ask why I thrive on classical music, and I tell them it's all about discovery. The possibilities for finding incredible music, both old and new, are endless as the oceans. Tue, 10 Sep 2013 15:29:33 +0000 Tom Huizenga 8640 at http://wuis.org Banjos, Bartók And La Belle Époque: New Classical Albums