Classical Music

Interlochen Public Radio is your gateway to news and classical music from Interlochen Center for the Arts. Learn about new music, upcoming performances and more.

I love composer anniversaries because they afford us opportunities to look at musicians anew, and 2015 will mark the centenary of the death of Russian composer Alexander Scriabin. It's quite possible that you've never heard of Scriabin, but take comfort in the fact that even his biographer said, "No one was more famous during their lifetime, and few were more quickly ignored after death."

The Metropolitan Opera in New York is bracing for one of the more controversial productions in its history. Since its first performance more than 20 years ago, some critics have charged that composer John Adams' The Death of Klinghoffer is anti-Israel, and even anti-Semitic. But the opera's supporters dispute that. They argue that Klinghoffer is a dramatic masterpiece that deserves to make its Met debut on Monday.

We had a delightful visit from some of the cast and crew of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at the Old Town Playhouse in Traverse City, brightening up a gray and rainy day in Studio A.  The show opened in early October at the Old Town Playhouse, and runs through October 25th. According to the New York Times, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a high-spirited comedy that, "aims to vault over the lines of good taste." 

The cast, and director Perez, were quite pleased with that description, and recommend the show for audiences over 18, but they were kind enough to bring us material that was left us utterly tickled - and reasonably un-scandalized.
 


The Case Of The Stolen Stradivarius

Oct 12, 2014

Stradivarius violins are so important that they come with their own biographies. Several hundred of them survive today, and they're so prized, you can trace their lineages through the musicians who played them over the centuries.

The instruments have been valued at prices ranging from hundreds of thousands of dollars to several million. That kind of money attracts a lot of nonmusicians, like investors — and thieves.

For more than a century, the Royal Shakespeare Company in England has hired composers to write original music for its productions. That sheet music has sat in a vault for decades — until now.

The company has started releasing albums that combine music from its contemporary productions with much older works.

Bruce O'Neill, head of music for the Royal Shakespeare Company, describes the archive as "a bit like a bank vault."

At the St. Louis Symphony concert Saturday night, the intermission may have been the most memorable part of the performance. Demonstrators in the audience sang a "Requiem for Mike Brown," referencing the 18-year-old African-American shot to death by a Ferguson, Mo., police officer in August.

A film opened in the U.S. this weekend about the life of Simón Bolivar, the military leader who helped free much of Latin America from the Spanish Empire. Libertador, or The Liberator, tells that story with the help of rousing music by a first-time film-score composer: Gustavo Dudamel.

The Sept. 24 death of prominent conductor and musicologist Christopher Hogwood came just as the orchestra he founded in 1973, the Academy of Ancient Music, was set to take on some of his signature pieces: the Orchestral Suites Nos. 1-4 by J. S. Bach. Along with a new recording of the suites, the British ensemble is bringing them on the road.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra arrives at Carnegie Hall with a program that portrays choppy waters and changing tides, opening with Mendelssohn's Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage Overture followed by Debussy's La mer.

Hear a consummate master of early music, conductor and viola da gamba player Jordi Savall, lead his ensemble Le Concert des Nations in an exhilarating array of 17th- and 18th-century French music.

Hear the eminent pianist in a recital of sublime works spanning Classical-era elegance and introspective Romantic drama.

Every opera lover knows that Thomas Hampson can find his way around the major repertoire, be it Verdi, Puccini, Mozart, Wagner or Berg.

This past April, composer John Luther Adams became the most recent winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his piece Become Ocean — a work commissioned by the Seattle Symphony, the recording of which comes out this Tuesday.

Adams says that he got the call with the good news in the middle of a afternoon power nap, during an exhausting teaching residency at Michigan Tech University.

"I heard the word and asked the person on the other end, 'You know, could I call you back?' " Adams remembers. "Talk about your wake-up call."

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra was scheduled to open its 70th season this week, but musicians have been locked out of their workplace since September 7th, when their contract expired. The same thing happened just two years ago. Back then, negotiators reached a new agreement before opening night. This year, Atlanta classical music fans were not so lucky.

"What I Did this Summer"

Sep 26, 2014

  When many of us were younger, Fall meant back to school, and writing a theme about how we spent the summer.  This month on Radio Collage, we turn the tables:  it's the teachers who'll be "writing the theme", or in this case, performing. We'll hear music of Beethoven, Debussy and Mozart, along with lesser known composers like Bill Potts and Pierre-Max Duboix.  As an added treat, we'll be listening to some unusual arrangements and ensembles.


By now the Gustavo-Dudamel-as-wunderkind story is old news. Fans know he started playing violin at age 10, conducting at 12 and became music director of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra when he was just 18.

Yet Dudamel's stats can still be staggering. He told me recently he was 11 when he played his first Mahler symphony and 16 when he took the podium to conduct Mahler.

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.

Stream a performance by the stellar Berlin Philharmonic and conductor Simon Rattle in a program of Rachmaninov, Bruch and Stravinsky with dazzling violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter.

It's become a trope that artists aren't interested in being limited by genre — at least the really fascinating ones, that is. One of the most enjoyable current examples of this reach beyond stylistic divides is Almanac, the newest project from the string quartet Brooklyn Rider.

Even if you're not a fan of classical music, you have heard of Frédéric Chopin: His music has appeared in countless movies, TV shows and commercials, even video games. But it's almost certain you haven't heard the Polish composer performed the way Chad Lawson plays him.

Pages