The American Sound

Saturdays at 6 p.m. on Classical 101. Rebroadcast Tuesdays at 7pm on Classical 101.

The American Sound showcases a variety of the most beautiful, inspiring classical music with an American accent.

Each week we’ll explore masterworks by great American composers past and present like Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Barber, and contemporaries Eric Whitacre, Michael Daugherty and John Adams.

Plus, we’ll go back to our American roots with George Gershwin’s jazz-inspired music, performances by America’s bluegrass greats and more. Think Bernstein with the Boston Symphony or Bach on a banjo!

Ways to Connect

black-and-white photo of Leonard Bernstein pointing with his foot to notes on an oversized score of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony
CBS / alexanderstreet.com

For more than a decade, Leonard Bernstein brought young people to classical music through his televised Young People's Concerts with the New York Philharmonic. But before that series, Bernstein was a fixture on the major network TV series Omnibus.

black-and-white photo of Leonard Bernstein standing in front of a blackboard with staff lines on it
leonardbernstein.com

There's Leonard Bernstein, the composer of all that splashy, jazzy music for West Side Story. There’s Leonard Bernstein, the showy — some might say flamboyant — conductor of the New York Philharmonic and other top-flight orchestras.

And then there’s Leonard Bernstein, the generous mentor of aspiring conductors who today occupy the prestigious podiums where Bernstein himself once stood.

color photo of William Bolcom sitting in a theater and looking over a musical score
Peter Smith / williambolcom.com

He was pivotal in reviving the American musical genre of ragtime. He has composed music in a range of styles that all but erases the lines between art music and popular music.

And he has taught and mentored some of the foremost composers in America today — including some working right here in Central Ohio.

Columbus is becoming a hotbed of new music activity, and flutist Lindsey Goodman is right in the thick of it.

At 100 years old this year, Upper Arlington is a vibrant community of historic homes, impressive schools and enticing shops and restaurants.

As part of the city's centennial celebration, the Upper Arlington High School Orchestra is performing the world premiere of a new musical work commissioned for the student orchestra, honoring Upper Arlington's past and celebrating its present and envisioned future.

color photo of matthew Burtner looking at a large score
matthewburtner.com

Composer and sound artist Matthew Burtner says he understands the sound of snow.

“Growing up in Alaska, the sound of snow is what really got me into computer music,” said Burtner —professor of composition and computer technologies and chair of the McIntire Department of Music at the University of Virginia — in a recent phone interview. “I just understand the sound of snow really well, and I’ve used it in my music for a long time.”

Two poets and a composer walk into a radio studio. Nope, not the setup for a silly joke — but instead for an intriguing conversation among local artists about creating art.

Monday afternoon Columbus composer Jacob Reed and Thomas Worthington High School student poet Nat Hickman joined me in the Classical 101 studios for a conversation about writing poetry and music inspired by poetry.

color photo of the facade of the Ohio Statehouse
Jim Bowen / Flickr

The alarming escalation of school shootings in recent years has left our nation grieving for innocent lives lost and desperate to bring the bloodshed to an end. A student-led group of Ohio musicians is aiming to help end school shootings — not with political rhetoric, not from the bully pulpit, but instead with a day full of beautiful music.

color photo of composer Caroline Shaw
Kait Moreno / carolineshaw.com

During Women’s History Month, I continue my conversation with one of today’s most acclaimed women composers, Pulitzer Prize-winner Caroline Shaw.

In part 2 of my October 2017 interview with Shaw, we talk about some of the most significant influences — musical and otherwise — on her music, the state of new music today, why music by women composers remains underrepresented on concert programs and how to begin changing that tradition.

color photo of composer Caroline Shaw
Kait Moreno / carolineshaw.com

As the saying goes, everything has a price. Had the entry fee for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize competition in music been more than $50, Caroline Shaw might not have become the youngest person ever to win that coveted award.

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