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.

Hey there Kids Commuters! Welcome to Day Two of , “Back to School” week at Kids Commute! We hope your first day of school was great. Today’s back to school themed episode focuses on composition from a mini-ballet (also known as a balletto).

What do swordfighting and ballet have to do with each other? Many of the positions used in fencing are derived from ballet.  In the year 1623, composer Johann Heinrich Schmelzer wrote a balletto titled, Fechtschule, which is German for Fencing School. In today’s episode, we listen to the balletto and learn about its Johann Heinrich Schmelzer, who is not very well known, but wrote some good music.

KC 202
Balletto: Fencing School (Fechtschule)
Johann Heinrich Schmelzer
Musica Antiqua Koln/Reinhardt Goebel

Here's today's Kids Commute:

This Friday at 8 p.m., Classical IPR in Concert presents a recent recital given by pianist Sarah Cahill at Interlochen Center for the Arts. Each piece on the program was composed specifically for Cahill.

Welcome back to an all new season of Kids Commute from Interlochen Public Radio! Congratulations on starting a new school year! We’ve got you covered with a great year of fun music and events coming up - so stay with us! This week, we’re taking it easy with some back- to-school music help you get inspired. All of our music this week is about - you guessed it! - school.

Tom Brown’s School Days is a story about Tom Brown’s experiences at Rugby School (not the sport rugby) in Warwickshire (a public school for boys) in the 1800’s. The novel was originally written in 1857 by author Thomas Hughes and was made into a movie in 1940, and again in 1951 and 2005. In today’s episode, we listen to the Overture from the film score composed by Richard Addinsell for the 1951 version, and we learn a little bit about the composer, too.

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Tom Brown's School Days: Overture
Richard Addinsell
BBC Orchestra/Rumon Gamba

Here's today's Kids Commute:

Renee Fleming

Thanks to listeners in Leroy, Glen Arbor, Brutus, Rudyard and many other places for your requests this week. 

1. Rodgers & Hammerstein, selections from Oklahoma! Jerold Ottley/Columbia Symphony Orchestra/Mormon Tabernacle Choir

2. Giuseppe Verdi, Va, pensiero from Nabucco; Sir Georg Solti/Chicago Symphony Orchestra & Chorus

3. Lebo M., One by One; The Lion King original Broadway cast recording

4. Martin Luther, A Mighty Fortress is Our God; James Litton/American Boy Choir

When George Li, the 23-year-old American pianist, revealed his Tiny Desk setlist, one thought came to mind: How will these powerhouse showstoppers sound on an upright piano? The music he intended to play, by Franz Liszt and Vladimir Horowitz, was designed for a real, 7-foot concert grand piano – the kind they used to call "a symphony orchestra in a box."

Interlochen Center for the Arts

On this edition of The Interlochen Collection, it's music by Felix Mendelssohn. Listen to the entire episode below.

Episode playlist

Felix Mendelssohn, Hebrides Overture
World Youth Symphony Orchestra
Gunther Schuller, conductor
July 1985

The Thistle & Shamrock: ThistleRadio New

Aug 29, 2018

When the Celtic rhythms go quiet on your radio, you can always stream great songs and tunes through the night and day on ThistleRadio. Hear some of the recently added music from The Unwanted, Luka Bloom and Daygan.

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Renée Fleming is becoming America's go-to singer. The celebrated soprano, who has performed at a broad range of high-profile events off the opera stage, is scheduled to sing at Senator John McCain's memorial service this Saturday at Washington's National Cathedral.

Fleming is slated to sing the Irish standard "Danny Boy" — at McCain's request — alongside tributes to the late Senator by Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, and a homily by Bay Area Catholic leader Father Edward A. Reese.

A few weeks before the 2016 presidential election, composer Gabriel Kahane decided he needed to take a journey. On Nov. 9, 2016, the day after the votes were counted, Kahane boarded an Amtrak train in Penn Station in New York City. He left his smartphone behind. He unplugged from the Internet. And he spent the next two weeks riding across the country, talking to people.

"Syzygy" (pronounced "si-zeh-jee") is a noun that means "coming together for a common good." It is also the title of flutist Alexa Still's latest album.

All of the music on the album is by the Venezuelan composer Efraín Amaya. Still says, “The very first time I encountered the music of Efraín Amaya, I fell in love with the soaring melodies, the raw energy, the emotion, and the stories."

In 2017, the Interlochen Arts Academy Jazz Ensemble celebrated The First Lady of Song in a concert called “A Centennial Birthday Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald.” The Jazz Ensemble was joined for this concert by two special guests, Gary Motley and Carmen Bradford.

Join Classical IPR this Friday night at 8 p.m. for a presentation of this recent concert.


Thanks to listeners in Pierport, Cadillac, Alden, Ludington and many other places for your requests this week.

1. Ennio Morricone, Gabriel’s Oboe from The Mission; Strings of St Cecilia & Paolo Pollastri

2. Leonard Bernstein, Symphonic Dances from West Side Story; composer conducting the New York Philharmonic

3. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Agnus Dei from Coronation Mass; Trevor Pinnock/English Concert

4. Claude Debussy, La fille aux cheveux de lin (The girl with the  flaxen hair); Alexis Weissenberg

Jamie Bernstein can't call her childhood a typical one. On any given weekend, she might find Lauren Bacall, Isaac Stern, Richard Avedon, Mike Nichols, Stephen Sondheim, Lillian Hellman or Sidney Lumet hanging out at her house. Jamie's father was Leonard Bernstein.

There has never been an American dynamo remotely like Leonard Bernstein. The composer, conductor, pianist, creator of musicals, educator, political maven and raconteur seemed to spin on his axis faster than any normal human being.

On this edition of The Interlochen Collection, we look at the career of clarinetist David Shifrin. Listen to the entire episode below.

Episode playlist

Claude Debussy, Premiere Rhapsodie
Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra
David Shifrin, clarinet
Thor Johnson, conductor
Spring 1967

Carl Nielsen, Clarinet Concerto
University Orchestra
David Shifrin, clarinet
Nicholas Harsanyi, conductor
August 1967

The Pentatone label has just released an album of new choral works by Gordon Getty. James Gaffigan conducts the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Netherlands Radio Choir.

"Beauty Come Dancing" features Getty's settings of poems by Lord Byron, John Keats, Sara Teasdale and many others. Getty also set three of his original poems. A new arrangement of the traditional "Shenandoah" rounds out the album.

Updated at 7:15 p.m. ET

When he joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1970, Bob Watt was the first African American hornist to play with a major American orchestra. He retired from this post in 2008 and has just released his first solo album, "I Play French Horn."

This Friday at 8 p.m., join Classical IPR for a recent performance given by the Brentano String Quartet at Interlochen Center for the Arts. 

The quartet performed Ludwig van Beethoven's String Quartet in C minor (op. 18, no. 4) and the String Quartet no. 12 in D-flat major by Dmitri Shostakovich. 

Friday's program also includes music from studio albums the Brentano Quartet has released.  Franz Joseph Haydn's String Quartet in B-flat major (op. 71, no. 1) and Beethoven's String Quartet no. 15 round out the broadcast.

Thanks to listeners in Lake City, Prudenville, Crystal Lake, Levering and many other places for your requests this week.

1. Aaron Copland, Lincoln Portrait; Lewis Buckley/United States Coast Guard Band/Walter Cronkite

2. Arne Running, Sinfonia Festiva; Kazufumi Yamashita/ Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra

3. Heitor Villa-Lobos, Bachianas Brasilieras no. 5; Sir Jeffrey Tate/English Chamber Orchestra/Kiri Te Kanawa

4. Antonin Dvorak, Symphonic Variations; Marin Alsop/Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

5. Niccolo Paganini, Caprice no. 24; David Garrett

At Classical IPR, we're frequently asked for classical versions of songs by the Beatles. Below is a (not at all exhaustive) list of some albums with links for more information.

John Rutter, Beatles Concerto 

Symphonic Sergeant Pepper

Yo-Yo Ma opened his recent Tiny Desk concert with the gently rolling "Prelude" from J. S. Bach's Unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 1. It's music Ma has lived with nearly all of his life.

"Believe it or not, this was the very first piece of music I started on the cello when I was four years old," he told the crowd, tightly squeezed between the office furniture on NPR's fourth floor.