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 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.

color photo of Maren Montalbano and Melissa Dunphy
melissadunphy.com

A young Norse woman dresses up as a man, sails to the distant island where her ancestors are buried and demands that her dead father hand over a powerful sword as her birthright.

No, it’s not a role-playing game. It’s Philadelphia-based composer Melissa Dunphy’s Hervararkviða​, or The Incantation of Hervor, a set of three songs for mezzo-soprano, violin and harp whose texts tell a story as unusual as the sound-world Dunphy’s score creates for it.

black-an-white formal photo of Harriet Neff Murphy
Ronald Murphy

A piece of music written more than 70 years ago by an Ohio composer but only recently brought to light will finally be heard this Saturday and Tuesday evenings on Classical 101, as part of  Women of NoteThe American Sound’s celebration of women composers during Women’s History Month.

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.

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