Tom Huizenga

Tom Huizenga is a music producer, reporter and blogger for NPR Music.

He is a regular contributor of stories about classical music to NPR's news programs and co-hosts NPR's classical music blog Deceptive Cadence.

Joining NPR in 1999, Huizenga spent seven years as a producer, writer and editor for NPR's Peabody Award-winning daily classical music show Performance Today and for programs SymphonyCast and World of Opera.

He's produced live concerts, including a radio broadcast of Gershwin's Porgy & Bess from Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center and NPR's first classical music webcast from the Manhattan club (Le) Poisson Rouge, featuring the acclaimed Emerson String Quartet. He's also asked musicians to play in unlikely venues, such as cellist Alisa Weilerstein playing Bach at the Baltimore Aquarium. He's written and produced radio specials, like A Choral Christmas With Stile Antico, broadcast on stations around the country.

Huizenga's radio career began at the University of Michigan, where he hosted opera, jazz, free-form, and experimental radio programs at Ann Arbor's WCBN. As a student in the Ethnomusicology department, Huizenga studied and performed traditional court music from Indonesia. He also studied English Literature and voice, while writing for the university's newspaper.

Huizenga took his love of music and broadcasting to New Mexico, where he served as music director for NPR member station KRWG, in Las Cruces, and taught radio production at New Mexico State University.

Huizenga lives in Takoma Park, Md. and in his spare time writes about music for the Washington Post and overloads on concerts and movies.

Pages

Tiny Desk Concerts
9:45 am
Sat March 28, 2015

Anonymous 4 With Bruce Molsky: Tiny Desk Concert

Tiny Desk Concert with Anonymous 4 on March 4.
Emily Jan NPR

It was December 1990 — more than a year before the first Anonymous 4 album was released — when NPR invited four slightly shy women into our studio to sing 13th-century Christmas music. Back then, we already knew the manifold beauty of their sound, its purity and accuracy, was something unique.

Now, some 25 years and 21 albums later, the a cappella vocal quartet is calling it quits at the end of 2015. But not before one final visit to NPR.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
11:49 am
Thu March 26, 2015

The Sensuous Radical: Pierre Boulez at 90

French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez, photographed in Salzburg in 2011.
Martin Schalk Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 7:01 pm

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
7:42 am
Thu March 19, 2015

The Tallis Scholars' Luminous Way With Arvo Pärt

The Tallis Scholars sing the music of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt.
Eric Richmond

Arvo Pärt was saved by the bell. The Estonian composer, who turns 80 in September, hit a creative roadblock in 1968. After a hiatus of eight years he returned with a new sound inspired by the simple triad (a stack of three notes, an essential building block of Western music) and by bells. He called his new style tintinnabuli (from the Latin for bells).

Read more
Tiny Desk Concerts
4:31 am
Sat March 14, 2015

Matt Haimovitz & Christopher O'Riley: Tiny Desk Concert

Carlos Waters NPR

Whether it's warranted or not, classical music wonks are perennially worried about the next generation of fans.

It seems there's less need to fret when you hear cellist Matt Haimovitz and pianist Christopher O'Riley. Some 15 years ago, they were already chipping away at the barriers — both real and perceived — between classical and pop.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
7:03 am
Thu March 5, 2015

The Bachelors Of Opera

Latvian bass-baritone Egils Silins portrays The Flying Dutchman, one of opera's most disturbing bachelors, in Orange, France in 2013.
Boris Horvat AFP/Getty Images

The Bachelor, the reality TV show poised to close out another nail-biting season (which young woman will Chris Soules choose Monday?), has nothing on opera. Over the past 400 years, composers have placed onstage any number of hot-blooded Romeos, sensible gentlemen and conniving psychopaths all looking for the perfect mate.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
7:27 am
Wed February 25, 2015

Bryan Hymel's Hefty High Cs

Tenor Bryan Hymel sings shining high Cs in the Rossini aria "Asile héréditaire."
Dario Acosta Warner Classics

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 8:33 am

Pavarotti, roll over. There's a new king of the high Cs. His name is Bryan Hymel and he pops off no fewer than 10 of them in "Asile héréditaire," the Rossini aria that opens his new album Héroïque, released Tuesday.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
7:03 am
Tue February 17, 2015

Anderson & Roe's Personalized Bach

The new album by piano duo Anderson and Roe is devoted to J.S. Bach.
Ken Schles

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 6:04 am

Music lexicographer Theodore Baker, in his biographical dictionary of musicians, labeled J.S. Bach as the "supreme arbiter and lawgiver of music." And while Bach may have blanched had he read such a description, there is absolute power to much of his music.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
7:03 am
Tue February 10, 2015

The Knights, Steve Reich: 'Duet' For Two Violins And Strings

The Knights play a mix of Reich, Bach, Stravinsky and a couple of their own compositions on their new album.
The Knights

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 6:09 am

Even trailblazing composers like Steve Reich sometimes look to the distant past for inspiration. His 1993 Duet for two violins and strings is music in which minimalism reaches back to its ancient roots. These six minutes of mesmerizing sunshine recall both the rigorous counterpoint of J.S.

Read more
Field Recordings
7:03 am
Wed February 4, 2015

Joyce DiDonato Takes A Stand At Stonewall

Joyce DiDonato sings during a video shoot for NPR Music's Field Recordings series at the Stonewall Inn in New York City
NPR

Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 7:25 am

On June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York's Greenwich Village. A riot broke out, sparking successive nights of protest and, many say, the emergence of the modern gay rights movement.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
4:05 pm
Sat January 31, 2015

Bach, Brits And A Bodacious Boston Orchestra: New Classical Albums

Composer Andrew Norman's new album is called Play.
BMOP Sound

Originally published on Fri February 27, 2015 4:02 pm

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
7:03 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Fifty Years Of Steve Reich's 'It's Gonna Rain'

Steve Reich, with a phase-shifting pulse gate, photographed in New York in 1969.
Nonesuch

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 6:14 pm

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
7:03 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Soundtrack To The Outback: Remembering Peter Sculthorpe

On Australia Day, we salute composer Peter Sculthorpe.
Bridget Elliot Sono Luminus

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 8:16 am

They're celebrating Down Under. Today is Australia Day, a holiday marking the arrival of British ships at Sydney Harbour in 1788. A perfect day then to salute something truly Australian, something that speaks of national pride, austere landscapes and even the darker side of Australian history — the music of Peter Sculthorpe, who died last year at age 85.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
7:03 am
Wed January 21, 2015

John Luther Adams' Ode To Sundogs

John Luther Adams' new album, The Wind in High Places, evokes austere landscapes and mysterious light.
Kris Serafin

Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 10:19 am

The day composer John Luther Adams won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for his symphonic seascape Become Ocean, I tracked him down in Houghton, Mich., in the northernmost reaches of the Upper Peninsula. Over a crackly phone line, Adams — who turns 62 Friday — said he never thought much about a career with a capital C.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
2:41 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

What We Love And Hate About 'Mozart In The Jungle'

Gael García Bernal (right), Bernadette Peters and Malcolm McDowell star in the classical music comedy series Mozart in the Jungle.
Nicole Rivelli Amazon Studios

Pill popping, pot smoking, back-stabbing, bed hopping and tantrum throwing — now we're talking classical music! At least that's what the new Amazon series Mozart in the Jungle would have us believe is all in a day's work for orchestra musicians. The 10-part series is based on a tell-all book of the same name published a decade ago by oboist Blair Tindall.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
7:35 am
Fri January 9, 2015

Swan Songs: Classical Musicians We Lost In 2014

Conductor Claudio Abbado was one of the many great classical musicians we bid farewell to in 2014.
Getty Images

Farewells are never easy, especially when you're saying goodbye to a favorite musician. From conductors and composers to pianists, singers and critics, the classical music world lost many masterful musicians in 2014.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
11:24 am
Tue January 6, 2015

Getting Off To A Good Start: A New Year's Puzzler

Where do you start? That's a question composers ask when beginning a new piece.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 6:20 pm

It's another new year and with it comes more resolutions, decisions and responsibilities.

How do you get off to a good start? That's a question many composers ask themselves when writing a piece of music. Some dive right in — BAM! Others ease into a new composition gently. See if you can identify these opening measures of music. Score high and consider yourself good to go for 2015. Score low and think about starting all over again!

Deceptive Cadence
7:05 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Best Classical Albums Of 2014

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Become Ocean by John Luther Adams is one of NPR Classical's favorite albums of 2014.
Cantaloupe

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 9:59 am

Most years, Tom Huizenga and I spend a lot of time after Thanksgiving and well into December battling over — or, more truthfully, having many friendly but spirited discussions about — which recordings should comprise our 10 favorites of the year. We each come up with a list of 10, and then we start hammering things out in some amount of exquisite music-nerd agony. Some albums we agree upon, some are our individual picks.

Read more
Tiny Desk Concerts
12:27 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Dublin Guitar Quartet: Tiny Desk Concert

Claire Eggers NPR

Originally published on Sat December 6, 2014 4:09 pm

Don't ask the members of the Dublin Guitar Quartet to play the time-honored classics of the Spanish repertoire. They might play traditional Spanish style classical guitars, but they're not your standard guitar ensemble. The Dubliners are strictly devoted to contemporary music. They've been commissioning new pieces and adapting others for both acoustic and electric guitars since 2002, when the group formed at the Dublin Conservatory of Music and Drama.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
12:26 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

Guest DJ Jessye Norman: From Augusta To Valhalla

Soprano Jessye Norman leaves the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York on Thursday after taping the Late Show with David Letterman.
Ray Tamarra WireImage

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 10:39 am

Read more
Tiny Desk Concerts
3:15 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Roomful Of Teeth: Tiny Desk Concert

Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 4:15 pm

Mix a bit of yodeling with Tuvan throat singing, add in a pinch of Sardinian cantu a tenore, fold in compositions from cutting-edge composers and you have the vocal group Roomful of Teeth.

Read more
All Songs Considered
7:03 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Sax Ed: The NPR Music Saxophone Quiz

Adolphe Sax's invention has found its way into many styles of music. Here, Clarence Clemons plays the tenor sax with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band in Lexington, Ky., in 1984.
Lexington Herald-Leader Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 10:04 am

In November 1814, Col. Andrew Jackson marched on Pensacola, taking the Florida city away from Britain and Spain, while the Congress of Vienna was busy drawing new boundaries after the Napoleonic Wars. And 200 years ago today, in a little 10th-century town south of Brussels, Adolphe Sax was born.

Sax learned instrument-building from his father and soon was inventing new instruments of his own, including the one that bears his name. He patented the saxophone in 1846.

Read more
All Songs Considered
7:03 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Ghosts In The Music: A Spooky Songs Quiz

Ghosts, both friendly and fiendish, make appearances in a wide range of songs.
iStockphoto.com

Where would Halloween be without ghosts — those wispy spirits either friendly or fiendish in disposition? They've haunted our consciousness for ages, thanks to appearances in visual art, literature, film and music. And now they've overrun this puzzler. From country and classical to rock and jazz, ghosts glide through these songs. Some are nice, others nefarious. Score high and allow yourself to be treated today. Score low and consider yourself tricked.

Tiny Desk Concerts
7:03 am
Sat October 25, 2014

Danish String Quartet: Tiny Desk Concert

NPR Starff

An abundance of facial hair is not restricted to the sensitive male indie-rocker set. Three of the four players in the Danish String Quartet could easily pass for hipster Brooklyn beard farmers. "We are simply your friendly neighborhood string quartet with above average amounts of beard," the group's website says.

Yet what's really important about the ensemble is how they play — and judging from this performance behind Bob Boilen's desk, these Nordic lads possess warmth, wit, a beautiful tone and technical prowess second to none.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
11:58 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Great Danes: Three Symphonic Albums By Danish Composers

A 1931 portrait of Danish composer Carl Nielsen by Sigurd Swane. Nielsen's symphonies are still undervalued.
Alfredo Dagli Orti The Art Arc

Denmark may be small — smaller than West Virginia — but its musical impact is disproportionately big. Since the late 19th century, some of the best symphonists have hailed from the Scandinavian country, and though they may not be household names in the U.S., their works have influence far beyond their homeland.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
3:33 am
Sun October 19, 2014

After 200 Years, A Schubert Song Still Resonates

Scottish-American soprano Mary Garden (1874-1967) portrayed Goethe's character Gretchen, known as Marguerite in Charles Gounod's opera Faust.
Bettmann/CORBIS

Originally published on Mon November 3, 2014 6:32 pm

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
8:32 am
Wed September 24, 2014

Everything You Wanted To Know About Classical Music (But Weren't Afraid To Ask)

Khatia Buniatishvili's new album, Motherland, is among those recommended during the Friday afternoon Twitter sessions.
Sony Classical

Originally published on Wed September 24, 2014 8:55 am

A few weeks ago, in an act of brazen thievery, your devoted NPR Classical hosts appropriated an idea from our colleague Bob Mondello, NPR's film critic. Each Friday he tweets movie suggestions for the weekend.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
7:47 am
Fri September 19, 2014

If It's Not Scottish ... Classical Contributions Of The Scots

The Scottish bagpipes make a surprise appearance in a beloved piece by Peter Maxwell Davies.
iStockphoto

The votes are in. The people of Scotland have chosen to remain in the United Kingdom. To mark the historic occasion, a wee reminder of what the Scots have contributed to classical music is in order.

Read more
All Songs Considered
12:01 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Gotta Know Mexico: A Mexican Music Puzzler

Couples dance in Vera Cruz, Mexico with government buildings decorated for Independence Day celebrations.
Mockford & Bonetti Getty Iimages

Today is Mexican Independence Day. On Sept. 16, 1810, the Grito de Dolores ("Cry of Dolores") was delivered in the town of Dolores near the city of Guanajuato, marking the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence that ended Spanish rule.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
2:26 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Listen To The Atlanta Symphony While It's Locked Out — Again

Robert Spano conducts members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, who are now locked out for the second time in two years after failed contract negotiations.
J.D. Scott Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

Alas, it is déjà vu all over again for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. At midnight Saturday, the ASO musicians and management failed to meet the deadline to agree on a new contract after eight months of negotiations. That means the players, while still employees of the orchestra, are effectively locked out of the Woodruff Arts Center (the orchestra's home) and will not receive paychecks until a new agreement can be ratified.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
3:38 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Enduringly Dramatic Italian Soprano Magda Olivero Dies At 104

Magda Olivero performing Francis Poulenc's one-woman opera La voix humaine at San Francisco Opera in 1979.
Ron Scherl Redferns/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 6:53 pm

Read more

Pages