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

color photo of Lancaster Chorale performing
LancasterChorale Facebook page

There's nothing average about your average symphonic concert — the excitement as the musicians warm up onstage, the anticipation as the principal oboist tunes the other players, the astonishing moment when the conductor steps out and the orchestra unleashes wave after powerful wave of sound.

When LancasterChorale performs its Symphony of Voices concerts this weekend, you’ll experience all of the rich sounds, dazzling textures and powerful emotions of an orchestra concert sung by a full choir of professional singers.

a few lines of shape note music
Bill Smith/Creative Commons/Flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/byzantiumbooks/32773311793/in/photolist-34Ydj3-T7rmQE-RW4MMT-58v5mx-eciDGJ

A noted French author once said the accent of one's birthplace persists in the mind and heart as much as in speech.

The same holds true for musical works, and for two musical works, in particular — English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis and the American work it inspired, Thomas Canning’s Fantasy on a Hymn Tune.

The National Archives UK / Wikimedia Commons

While you've been putting the finishing touches on your Halloween costume, we've been working on special music for the holiday! The American Sound, Sunday Baroque and Essential Classics will feature spooktacular programming leading up to Oct. 31.

Black Violin / blackviolin.net

I know you're all about classical. But I’m guessing that you might be at least a little bit funky, too.

Good thing, then, there’s Black Violin — the classically trained violin-viola duo who blend classical and hip-hop music to create a sound that’s equal parts Bach and backbeat.

color photo of Susan Van Pelt Petry dancing
Susan Van Pelt Petry

"We are born and we die, and in between we wear clothes."

That's dancer, choreographer and Ohio State University dance professor Susan Van Pelt Petry's whimsical summary of the role of fabric in the lives of women the world over.

"Fabric is literally part of our lives," Van Pelt Petry said. "It’s the fabric of our lives."

For that reason, fabric is the inspiration for Van Pelt Petry’s new dance theater piece The Linen Closet, an exploration of women’s work and roles over time through dance and spoken texts. Fabric is also the headliner of The Linen Closet and Other Collections, Van Pelt Petry’s first full-length solo dance performance in nearly 20 years.

color photo of Eric Whitacre leading his Live Virtual Choir
ericwhitacre.com

"In 1991, I had maybe the most profound and transformative experience in my life."

That’s how Eric Whitacre began his February 2013 TED Talk about how his choral work Cloudburst and his history-making Virtual Choir project came about.

color photo of people sitting in a dark movie theater watching a bright white blank screen
Kenneth Lu / Flickr

Ah, the summer blockbuster. It’s a great American tradition—all those stars, all that action, all that popcorn.

But why deal with larger-than-life price tags and sticky movie-theater floors when you can stay home and take your ears to the movies on The American Sound?  

color photo of local composer Richard Jordan Smoot sitting at the piano
Joy Kollmer / richardsmoot.com

It’s always exciting when a project comes to fruition. And when that project has both local and international ties, it becomes especially cool.

This week The American Sound is proud to feature Seize the Day, the brand-new album of music by Columbus composer Richard Jordan Smoot, with performances by the Carpe Diem String Quartet, international clarinet soloist Richard Stoltzman and other artists.

An eagle bone whistle. A sacred rattle. A singing turtle. A “love flute.”

These are just a few of the ancient Native American instruments showcased in Anthem for the Ancestors, a new work for string quartet, Native American instruments, narrator and multimedia visual effects composed by Carpe Diem String Quartet violinist Charles Wetherbee and Native American performer and composer Leon Joseph Littlebird.

color photo of a banquet scene form the opera JFK by David T. Little and Royce Vavrek
Marty Sohl / Fort Worth Opera

It would be difficult to name an individual who occupies a more exalted place in the American collective memory than John F. Kennedy. The former U.S. president has been idolized as an American war hero, a pedigreed New Englander, a dashing family man and an architect of progressive social ideals.

But instead of holding to this larger-than-life image of Kennedy, David T. Little and Royce Vavrek, composer and librettist, respectively, for their opera JFK, wanted to portray the human side of Jack and Jackie.

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