Classical 101

Wikimedia Commons

Classical music gets a bad rap because people in the audience are expected to sit and listen to the performance.  Over the years, a few have managed to create this stuffy, stodgy aura about attending a concert that makes those who might give a performance a try shy away, thinking they have to wear fancy clothes, know the music inside out, and avoid clapping in the wrong spot.

BalletMet Columbus 2015

If you've ever seen me get up from a chair- never mind dance- you'll know why I seldom write about our friends at BalletMet.

Classical 101's Jennifer Hambrick talks with composer Maria Schneider about her work, which blurs the line between classical music and jazz, and her Grammy Award-winning "Winter Morning Walks."

image of a portrait of Mozart in which he wears a bright red coat

As spring springs and nature emerges fresh and fragrant, even Mozart can't resist a posy - or, in this case, two.

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich
Bill Keefrey

This evening on Symphony @ 7, for her 75th birthday, I'll have Symphony No. 4, "The Gardens" for Chorus, Children's Chorus and Orchestra by American composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich.

Aaron Sturgill

Nearly 300 musicians raised a plaintive call for peace this past weekend in Indianapolis in the form of an oratorio.

It was the culmination of composer Mohammed Fairouz, Maestro Eric Stark, the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir and Symphony Orchestra, the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, tenor Dann Coakwell, and the incredibly gifted baritone Michael Kelly. I think it may be my favorite piece of music in recent memory. It was nothing short of transcendent.

What does every betrothed woman want from her little brother on the eve of her wedding? A naughty poem, of course.


The end of April marks the end of National Poetry Month. Before the celebration of words and meter could come to a close, I sat down for a phone interview with none other than New York-based composer Mohammed Fairouz. 

You might recall my review of his newest album, Follow, Poet. It is a wonderfully balanced work with tracks dedicated to spoken work poetry and selected pieces of President John F. Kennedy's speech given at Amherst College on October 26th, 1963.

photograph of the members of the Emerson String Quartet, each wearing black, sitting down and holding his instrument
Lisa Mazzucco / Emerson String Quartet/publicity photo

When the Emerson String Quartet's cellist of 34 years, David Finckel, announced to his colleagues in 2011 that his decision to retire from the group, for the first time in more than three decades the quartet briefly faced an uncertain artistic future.

Danish composer Carl Nielsen listening to the rehersal of Saul og David in Gothenburg in 1928
Charles Carlsson / Wikimedia Commons

Growing up,  I was mentored by a next door neighbor who taught music in the public schools. She died a few weeks ago at 94.  I have been thinking of her while studying the symphonies of Danish composer Carl Nielsen (1865-1931).