Latest in Classical Music

GAMEPLAY: God of War

Jul 11, 2020
By Source, Fair use: Wikipedia entry

  This week on GAMEPLAY, we’ll dive deep into the BAFTA-award winning soundtrack for 2018’s God of War!


Composer Bear McCreary’s epic, layered score for the visceral action title uses huge orchestral forces along with Nordic folk instruments and voices to bring vivid emotional life to the deities, giants, and beasts of Norse mythology.



Today's featured composer was Ennio Morricone. He will be remembered for being one of the most influential creators of music for modern cinema.  Morricone stated that he was able to hear his music in his mind, and therefore he composed not at the piano, but at his desk.  

1.     George Gershwin, Embraceable You, Katia and Marielle Labeque

2.     George M. Cohen, A Cohen Medley, George M. Cohen

3.     Hector Berlioz, La Marseillaise, Sylvia McNair, Richard Leach, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, David Zinman

Bassoonists in the 2000 World Youth Symphony Orchestra
Interlochen Center for the Arts

For many years, it's been a summertime tradition to come to the Interlochen campus on Saturday nights to hear performances of the World Youth Wind Symphony (WYWS).

This year, we're celebrating in a new way, with concerts on the radio!

Our third and final "Evening with the World Youth Wind Symphony" airs Saturday, July 11 at 8pm on Classical IPR.

Tune in or listen any time below.


Blue Shades
Frank Ticheli
John Whitwell
1997 High School Symphonic Band

Outdoors: Possum actors

Jul 10, 2020

Opossums may be ugly, but what they lack in grace and beauty, they make up for with their abilities to reproduce and with their acting skills, which are remarkable.

Well, their acting skills are remarkable but limited. They do a superb death scene.

Should danger threaten, an opossum really does “play possum.”

It wilts to the ground or goes limp,  falling over on its side, eyes unfocused, mouth agape with tongue hanging from between rows of fifty pointy little teeth. Copious drool.

Barrett Foa has portrayed the character of Eric Beale on "NCIS: Los Angeles" since 2009, but acting is just one item on a long list of his skills.

In addition to being a TV star, Foa is also a singer and a dancer who has appeared on Broadway hundreds of times.

Multi-instrumentalist Kevin LaRose is also an Interlochen Center for the Arts campus safety officer. 

Every Thursday at 3 a.m. during his rounds,  Kevin makes a video of himself playing a different instrument in a variety of locations on the Interlochen campus. 

Scroll down to see Kevin's video for the week.

Can you correctly identify (1) what instrument he's playing, and/or (2) where on the Interlochen campus he is?

Outdoors: Bird lighting

Jul 9, 2020

Many years ago, a lighting technician made a comment that stuck with me.

She said, “If we do our job right, nobody notices us. If we don’t — ooh, boy.”

And that is the reason for at least some of the anxiety that precedes the first tech rehearsal of any show.

How will the scenery look under the lights?  And the costumes?

Different materials reflect and refract light differently and under bad lighting, to quote my friend, “Ooh, boy.”

Any bird watcher will tell you the same thing.

This week on Classical IPR in Concert, the program features chamber music performed by faculty members of the 2019 Interlochen Arts Camp

Listen Friday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 12 p.m. or any time on demand below.

On Thursday, July 9, the nationally syndicated classical music program Performance Today will feature music recorded at Interlochen Center for the Arts.

Join Classical IPR during the 11 a.m. EST hour of the program to hear the Telegraph Quartet perform three divertimenti by Benjamin Britten. This recital took place in the Dendrinos Chapel and Recital Hall.

Michael Culler engineered the recording.

Outdoors: Petoskey stones

Jul 8, 2020

Visual artists always have been aware of geometric shapes. 

The Great Masters were all about geometry. 

Pablo Picasso captured  his world in shapes.  M. C. Escher combined shapes with his tessellating designs, and architect Buckminster Fuller demonstrated that tessellating triangles form a hexagon, which is a shape with great structural strength.

This structural strength is demonstrated by  a coral fossil we call a Petoskey stone. 

Outdoors: Baby skunks

Jul 7, 2020

When I think of Interlochen, I can’t help but thinking of lines. Morning line-up, lines for meals, lines for tickets, lines at the Melody Freeze.

The animal kingdom is filled with lines, too.

Take baby skunks. Skunk kits look just like adults, only cuter.

They develop musk glands when they are about eight days old, and they learn how to spray after a few weeks.

Kits stay in their nests for about the first three weeks of their lives, but when they do emerge, the stubby-legged infants  follow their mother in a single-file line.

Creative Commons CC0

 Repose airs every weeknight at 10 p.m. on Classical IPR, with new episodes every Saturday at 10 p.m. See this week's weeknight playlists below.


Monday Ep131901

Outdoors: Shakespearean flowers

Jul 6, 2020

The plays of Shakespeare are filled with references to herbs and flowers. 

“There’s fennel for you and columbines.  There’s a daisy. I would give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died.”

In "Hamlet," when Ophelia mentions flowers, Shakespeare was making statements that probably were quite obvious to his audiences.

In Elizabethan times, fennel was the symbol of flattery, while columbines signified marital infidelity and ingratitude. Daisies were symbols of unhappy love. 

Embrace Everything: The World of Gustav Mahler

Jul 6, 2020

The Embrace Everything series is an exploration and celebration of the music of Gustav Mahler.

Throughout his life, Mahler insisted that music had to, literally, embrace everything. This makes his compositions unusually rich in what they offer both audience and musicians.

Each episode of the series explores a different Mahler symphony and includes interviews with leading conductors, music scholars and musicians. Additionally, Mahler’s own words and those of his contemporaries will be read by actors.

Hosted by WKAR's Jody Knol, Great Lakes Concerts is a weekly co-production of WKAR, WRCJ and Interlochen Public Radio.

Listen Mondays at 6 p.m. on Classical IPR.

This week's playlist

Wang Jie: "America the Beautiful"

Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra
Morihiko Nakahara, conductor
(Recorded in Michigan Theater on November 2, 2019)

Aaron Copland: Ballet suite, "Appalachian Spring"
Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra
Mark Gibson, conductor
(Recorded in Hill Auditorium on September 13, 2019)

GAMEPLAY: Atmospheres

Jul 4, 2020
By Source, Fair use: Wikipedia entry

  On this week’s episode: game music that sets a mood.


Though plenty of videogames are about pulse-pounding action thrills, there are also lots of games that are more atmospheric, reflective, even meditative, and music plays a major part in creating the atmosphere for your experience.


We’ll sail peacefully down majestic dunes, take our first steps up a mystical mountain, and even build a colony on the surface of Mars.

During this unusual summer, Classical IPR is proud to continue the tradition of presenting the World Youth Symphony Orchestra on Sunday evenings.

This week we share more performances from the Interlochen archives.

Tune in Sunday at 8 p.m., or listen below at any time.

On the Program:

Debussy: Nocturnes - Fêtes, WYSO (1981)

Nicolai: Merry Wives of Windsor - Overture, National High School Symphony Orchestra (1961)

Barber: Adagio for Strings, WYSO (2012)

Saint-Saëns: Symphony No. 3 "Organ", WYSO (2000)

Interlochen Center for the Arts

Since the 1940s, Hugh Downs has been known to most Americans as a television host on programs including "Tonight: Starring Jack Paar," "Today" and "20/20."

Downs, who died July 1 at the age of 99, was also a composer of classical music. He hosted the PBS classical music program "Live from Lincoln Center" during the 1990s.

All State Flutes, 1984
Interlochen Center for the Arts

For many years, it's been a summertime tradition to come to the Interlochen campus on Saturday nights to hear performances of the World Youth Wind Symphony (WYWS).

This year, we're celebrating in a new way, with concerts on the radio! Join us on the 4th of July for a rousing evening of band music from Interlochen!

Tune in Saturday, July 4 at 8pm or listen any time below. Happy 4th!


Northern Pines March
John Philip Sousa
Joseph E. Maddy
1956 National High School Band

Trumpeter Walter White was a little disappointed when the television show "Breaking Bad" starting becoming popular. 

White says that he used to be at the top of the Google searches for his name, or in second place after the longtime NAACP leader Walter Francis White.

Outdoors: Federation squirrels

Jul 3, 2020

The rodents that thrive in dry sandy fields at Interlochen are called thirteen-lined ground squirrels. At least, that’s what we call them now.

Around Independence Day, I like to recall their original common name: federation squirrels.

These grasslands creatures have thirteen stripes, alternating dark and light, that are interspersed with little dots that look rather like stars.

Outdoors: The river of the Saw Beaks

Jul 2, 2020

The Little Betsie River connects the two lakes at Interlochen. Then the Betsie River flows from Green Lake to Lake Michigan.

They were named for a duck: a merganser.

Early maps of Lake Michigan bear names given by the French. They called the Betsie "la Reviere du Bec-Scie," or "the River of the Saw Beaks."

The French called mergansers “saw beaks” because of the serrations on the ducks’ narrow  bills. These sawtooth edges aid the birds in capturing and holding onto the slippery fish that make up the bulk of their diet.

This week on Classical IPR in Concert, the program features chamber music performed by faculty members of the 2019 Interlochen Arts Camp

Listen Friday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 12 p.m. or any time on demand below.

Outdoors: Loons' breath control

Jul 1, 2020

At Interlochen, breath control is a big deal. 

Singers, wind players, actors and dancers all have to deal with the basic need to have enough breath to produce their art.

Our beloved loons have breath control under control.  These remarkable birds can dive and stay under water for about three minutes, maybe more. And that is while undergoing strenuous exercise!

You can watch them disappear beneath the surface, but it is anybody’s guess where they might resurface.

Interlochen Center for the Arts

After Mort Achter won a boxing competition at a sports camp in the summer of 1947, his parents were worried.

They told him he'd have to go to music camp at Interlochen the next summer. If he didn't like it, he could return to sports camp the following year.

Starting in 1948, Achter would spend every summer for over a decade at Interlochen's National Music Camp.