JPR Classics

JPR Classics is a place to come for all things classical in the State of Jefferson.  We'll honor our rich classical heritage while looking to the future, showcasing inspired performances by the next generation of classical musicians. The classics live on JPR!

Featured Works for June – First Concert
(*Indicates June birthday)

June 1 F Ernest Bloch: Concerto Grosso No. 1

June 4 M Ottorino Respighi: Ancient Airs and Dances Suite No. 1
June 5 T Leonardo Leo: Concerto for Cello, Two Violins and Continuo
June 6 W Richard Wagner: Siegfried Idyll
June 7 T Joseph Haydn: Keyboard Concerto in D major
June 8 F Robert Schumann: Piano Sonata No. 2

Third Coast Percussion: Tiny Desk Concert

May 29, 2018

Back at the beginning of time, the human voice was the very first instrument. Probably close in second place were folks banging on stuff – in other words, percussionists. The quartet of gentlemen who form the Chicago-based Third Coast Percussion takes primordial pounding into a completely distinctive new league. To be sure, in this Tiny Desk performance, they'll play their sophisticated, modern marimbas and vibraphones, but be on the lookout for the subtleties of tuned cowbells and 3/4" galvanized steel pipes, like those found at the local hardware store.

'My Voice Should Be Heard': #MeToo And The Women Of Opera

May 28, 2018

The #MeToo movement has been a cultural reckoning across industries, from Hollywood to restaurants — but one of the oldest that's been affected is classical music. In March, James Levine, a longtime conductor of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, was fired for allegations of sexual misconduct. And now, centuries-old works from Carmen to Don Giovanni are being challenged for misogynistic plots and themes.

Don't call Thea Musgrave a "woman composer."

"When I'm composing, I'm a human being," she insists. "It's not a question of sexuality."

James Levine Accused Of Sexual Misconduct By 5 More Men

May 19, 2018

In a suit filed Friday by the Metropolitan Opera, five men have made newly public accusations against conductor and pianist James Levine, who was closely associated with the Met for four decades. In total, nine men have now come forward, either by name or anonymously, with accusations against Levine.

Remembering The Soprano Who Sang Like A Laser Beam

May 17, 2018

The myriad stories about Swedish soprano Birgit Nilsson usually fall into two groups: the ones about her enormous, laser-focused voice and those about her rapier-sharp wit.

A Vibraphone Workout With A Tinfoil Twist

May 16, 2018

Call it a percussionist's answer to Flight of the Bumblebee — with a twist. "Filigree," by composer Robert Honstein, is a rapid-fire workout for solo vibraphone. The instrument's bars, however, are partly covered in tinfoil, which adds a unique layer of color to the music.

Matt Marks, a young composer, musician and founding member of the contemporary music ensemble Alarm Will Sound, died suddenly Friday, May 11. The group made an announcement Saturday on Twitter, with no cause of death given. Marks was 38.

It's the Leonard Bernstein centennial this year and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has been celebrating.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

Aspiring orchestral musicians have long known that the road to a professional career is arduous and paved with risks. But new research from the U.K. shows that even attaining the brass ring of an orchestral job does not necessarily provide financial security. In fact, even with salaried, full-time employment, many British orchestral musicians are struggling to pay their bills.

In 1943, two 25 year olds — Jerome Robbins and Leonard Bernstein — were about to rock the ballet world. The dance they collaborated on was Fancy Free — about three sailors in a bar, trying to meet women before they ship out to World War II.

"It's such a wonderful little sweet picture of that time ..." says Christine Redpath, one of four ballet masters Robbins chose to stage his work. "It's playful, and they're just fun and innocent. They don't know what's going to happen when they go off to war."

Featured Works for May – First Concert
(*Indicates May birthday)

May 1 T William Lawes*: Royal Consort Sett No. 9
May 2 W Jacques Ibert: Concertino da Camera
May 3 T Ernest Bloch: Schelomo
May 4 F Joseph Haydn: Symphony No. 104

Arvo Pärt is one of the most popular, most performed living composers. He's beloved worldwide for his signature sound – a spacious, meditative music that tends to sound timeless.

But there's a lesser-known side to the 82-year-old Estonian's career. It's a story that can be traced in a new recording of Pärt's four Symphonies. The album is a musical journey spanning 45 years in fervently detailed performances by the NFM Wrocław Philharmonic, conducted by fellow Estonian Tõnu Kaljuste.

Cory Weaver

The WFMT Radio Network's American Opera Series returns to JPR's Classics & News Service on Saturday, May 12th following the conclusion of the Metropolitan Opera season.

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