Classical 101, book cover

Many years ago I had the good fortune to interview Kitty Carlisle Hart, then Chairman of the New York State Council on the Arts.


Every Saturday and Wednesday evening at 7, Classical 101 presents Fretworks for music of the classical guitar.  On the program this week, I'll have internationally renowned Chinese guitarist Xuefei Yang's performance of Francisco Tarrega's Variations on the Carnival of Venice.  This light-hearted showpiece by the great Spanish guitarist-composer explores the guitar's virtuosic potential for dazzling effects--not to mention testing the ability of the guitarist.

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

In February 1783, Mozart was a happy newlywed, an expectant father and a brilliant composer in the dawn of what he knew could be an illustrious career. In short, everything was going perfectly well for Mozart.

Well, almost everything. 


"Dr. Donald Harris is Professor Emeritus in the OSU School of Music, and an internationally recognized composer. He served as Dean of the College of the Arts from 1988-1997.  Dr. Harris was awarded the School of Music's Distinguished Service Award on two occasions, and his many contributions to the arts on campus, throughout the Central Ohio community, and on a national and international stage, have earned him the unique and enviable reputation as the consummate "Citizen of the Arts.'"

from a Memo to the OSU President's Cabinet, June 15, 2015:


Itzhak Perlman grew up with an autocratic style of teaching.  He termed it "fascist."  His teacher told him what to do and he did it.  You did not question your instructor's authority.  

Symphony No. 2 in D by Johannes Brahms arrived just a year after the long-awaited First Symphony of 1876.  After the 15 year struggle to complete that symphony, and the successful response with which it was greeted, the Second flowed out with relative ease and grace.

Pug reading a book
Provided photo

In celebration of National Dog Day, we wanted to share some of the four legged friends of WOSU staffers and volunteers.

Dog Day: Composers and Their Dogs

Aug 26, 2015

It’s easy to think of classical composers as lofty beings held in high esteem above the rest of society, but they were much more human than we tend to realize. To celebrate National Dog Day, here are some anecdotes we’ve collected about various composers and their undeniable best friends – their dogs.

Dog Day: How Classical Music Calms Anxious Dogs

Aug 25, 2015
Susan Wagner

Becoming a sustaining member of WOSU has never been easier - in fact, it’s so easy a dog could - and has - done it. At only twelve years old, Cuyler Burgett was one of WOSU’s youngest sustaining members and its only canine member. The late Cuyler was a handsome Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who loved to listen to classical music, especially Bach piano solos.

Opera Columbus image /

  Opera Columbus and Ballet Met collaborate on a new production of Lully's baroque spectacle, Armide at the Southern theater September 17, 18 and 20. The choreography is by Ballet Met's own Edwaard Liang. The title role is sung by Opera Columbus executive director and hot diva in residence, Peggy Kriha Dye.

Dog Day: Being a Musician With a Service Dog

Aug 24, 2015
Hannah Anderson


If you think getting an 80-pound harp onstage for a band concert would be a challenge, try doing it with vertigo. Hannah Anderson, a harp performance major at Vanderbilt University, knows the struggle all too well. Luckily Timmy, her balance service dog, is there to lend a paw.

Violinists Siwoo Kim and Alicia Hui and violist John Stulz perform in the Classical 101 studio in advance of the VIVO Music Festival
Thomas Bradley / WOSU

Musicians from Columbus' newest classical music offering - the VIVO Music Festival - joined Classical 101's Jennifer Hambrick live in the Classical 101 studios.

On the next Fretworks, Flutist James Galway and guitarist Kazuhita Yamashita will play a serenade by Domenico Cimarosa, the late 18th century composer who was considered Rossini's most distinguished predecessor in Italian opera.  The performance is from a fine 1986 release called "Italian Serenade" from RCA. 

Wikipedia-public domain image

Fenway Park! The Sox! My home turf. The park itself IS a national anthem.

Like at all ball games, Francis Scott Key's hard-to-sing-tome is pre game paramount. The Star Spangled Banner got a very special rendition recently; a beautiful young boy sang for the crowd, and had a few people crying, I'm sure. He is autistic, blind and incredibly talented.

image of a color portrait of Mozart wearing a bright red coat

I'm guessing it's rare these days that, on quitting their jobs, people receive a swift kick in the rump. But that was, in fact, how Mozart's employment at the court of the Archbishop of Salzburg came (no pun intended) to an end.

Painting of a dog at a piano
Wikimedia Commons

Classical 101 celebrates our favorite furry friends during National Dog Day on Wednesday, August 26. Join the fun!  We’ll have 13 hours dedicated to honoring classical music’s canine companions.

Sculpture Of composer Jean Sibelius
Christian Cordova / Flickr

This is the 150th anniversary year of the birth of Finland's greatest composer, so I bet we'll be hearing a lot of Jean Sibelius's music in the coming months leading up to his actual birth date of December 8, 1865. 

color photo of eleven string players rehearsing in a classroom
Ted Ou-Yang / VIVO Music Festival

They're cris-crossing the globe in world-class string quartets. They're getting snapped up by major orchestras. They're performing with legendary artists at the world's most prestigious music festivals. And they're innovating the classical music world of the future.

Decca / Gert Mothes

In the ongoing discussion of what information should be included when introducing classical music on the radio, there are multiple opinions...everywhere from barebones to exhaustive.  Some believe giving keys for pieces of music are important, while others say it's unnecessary.  Opus numbers?  Not unless there is some significance.  The problem is, who decides what's significant and what isn't?  To whom?

color photogaph of quartet Sensa Misura performing at Alice Tully Hall
Quartet Senza Misura

"It's a really strange mind-melding experience to do it," says cellist Jay Campbell of performing contemporary composer Georg Friedrich Haas' String Quartet No. 3, "In iij. Noct."

color photograph of two violiists and a violist standing up in an art gallery and playing their instruments
VIVO Music Festival

Santa Fe has one. So do New York City, Charleston, Marlboro and now – Columbus.

Summer chamber music festivals have taken root and thrived in some of America's most notable cities, and this summer Columbus joins that list when the VIVO Music Festival launches in the Cap City later this month.

Gershwin's Summertime has the feel of a lazy August afternoon.  It might feel a bit more relaxed when performed by Vân-Ánh Vanessa Võ on the đàn bâù, a traditional Vietnamese instrument.

Los Angeles Guitar Quartet
Courtesy of the artist

The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet will perform Johann Sebastian Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 on the next Fretworks

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

In a previous episode of The Mozart Minute, Mozart had to defend himself when the legal guardian of his love interest, Constanze Weber, accused him of having dishonorable intentions toward Constanze.

That episode resulted in Mozart’s having to sign a written agreement that he intended to marry Constanze within three years’ time, or else would pay Constanze three hundred gulden per year.


Beethoven's Symphony No. 8 in F, Op. 93 was first performed in public in February of 1814 in Vienna.  It didn't create quite the splash his sublime and exuberant Seventh  did only a few months earlier, or than his huge, visionary Ninth would ten years later.  This evening on Symphony @ 7, you can hear what has been called the wittiest of Beethoven's 9 symphonies.

  There have been a lot of new operas premiered over the last several years. This follows a drought that was broken by John Adams and Nixon in China.  It's a shock to realize that was thirty years ago; Adams has gone on to more success on the lyric stage. As has John Corigliano, Phillip Glass, Ricky Ian Gordon,  John Harbison and Charles Wourinen. Jake Heggie is the American-composer-darling of the-world, with Dead Man Walking and Moby-Dick.

The Metropolitan Opera /

This season, the Metropolitan Opera will produce Rossini’s Otello without blackface—the use of dark makeup for a white actor, commonly known as a low point in theatre history—for the first time since 1891.

Okay. Let me repeat that: the Metropolitan Opera has been using blackface until now, and the world is finally taking notice. It may be time to talk a little about race and politics in opera, folks.

There are many tried and true music jokes.  I will not tell any viola jokes, because they get picked on all the time.  Ditto for the bassoons.  How about this one?

How many sopranos does it take to change a light bulb?

 Roman Totenberg
Wikimedia Commons

It sounds like the plot of an indie film: A stolen priceless violin, silenced for more than three decades, has been found and restored to the family of its owner, according to The New York Times.

Jorge Royan / Wikipedia

This week on Fretworks, I'll have some music for the mandolin and for the lute, as well as  classical guitar.  For good measure, there is also a piece for flute and guitar.

20th century Italian composer Franco Margola wrote mainly symphonies and chamber music but in 1982 composed his Grand Sonata for Mandolin and Guitar.  We'll hear a performance from renowned mandolin player Ugo Orlandi, accompanied by guitarist Alessandro Bono in a 1998 recording from Nuovo Era.