Classical 101

Classical 101 is the only classical music station in Central Ohio. The Classical 101 hosts provide insight into classical music news from Columbus and around the world. 

We also present a series of podcasts as well as archived audio from musicians who perform live in our studio

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.

Cincinnati World Piano Competition Facebook page

The Cincinnati World Piano Competition is closing its doors after 60 years. It was recently announced that they were unable to raise the $300,000 needed to keep it going.

Founded in 1956 by Gloria G. Ackerman, the annual event became the longest-running piano competition in the country and an important opportunity to further the development of outstanding young pianists.

black-and-white photo of President John F. Kennedy
White House Press Office / Wikimedia Commons

Like many Americans who were alive on Nov. 22, 1963, noted historian Michael J. Hogan remembers vividly the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Wikimedia Commons

The Ordering of Moses is an oratorio by Robert Nathaniel Dett, written in 1932. The text, "from scripture and folklore," is a retelling of Moses leading his people out of captivity and into the promised land.

Certainly for Dett, an African-Canadian, the biblical parable resonated, and fed the drama and passion heard in the oratorio.

color photo of Vireo performers in Alcatraz cell block
David Soderland / operavireo.org

It’s an opera about a woman imprisoned by psychological demons. It was filmed at Alcatraz. And, if all that isn't cool enough, later this month you’ll be able to watch it in 15-minute episodes on your mobile device, computer or TV.

Moritz Nähr / Wikimedia Commons

Symphony No. 3 by Gustav Mahler is one of the longest symphonies in the standard repertoire. There may be a few longer ones out there, but this "hymn to life, love and nature" is special. It's a musical journey that can last up to one hour and 45 minutes uninterrupted, but it is a trek well worth taking — especially if you enjoy big, late-Romantic orchestral music.

operacolumbus.org

The Metropolitan Opera broadcasts take a summer break, and I step in to bring you grand opera, both favorites and the unexpected. Opera and More returns to Classical 101 at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 20, followed by every Saturday afternoon through the fall.

ProMusica Chamber Orchestra

ProMusica Chamber Orchestra closes its season this weekend with what they hope becomes a long-running tradition—music director David Danzmayr and creative partner and principal guest artist Vadim Gluzman on stage together.

Sim Canetty-Clarke / ravishankaroperaproject.org

Last September, I wrote about the opera by Indian musician Ravi Shankar that was left unfinished when he died at the age of 92 in 2012 and about its recent completion. Sukanya premieres in England in a series of performances beginning tonight and leading up to a London performance at the Southbank Centre on May 19.

requiemformymother.com

Veteran Hollywood composer Stephen Edwards has seen a lot of drama, death and destruction on the silver screen but, until his mother passed away, he had experienced very little of it in his own life.

“I was kind of left not knowing what to do with myself,” Edwards said in a recent phone interview. "It was a feeling of helplessness, like I couldn’t do anything to bring her back, and I couldn’t do anything to help her."

For professional musicians, the instrument on which they play is more than just a tool of the trade. It can also be a muse, a partner and a voice.

Min Kym started playing the violin at age 6 and won her first competition at 11. Now, the former child prodigy is the author of a new book: Gone: A Girl, A Violin, A Life Unstrung, in which she shares her story of finding her perfect partner — only to have it stolen away.

Carnegie Hall Archives / Wikimedia Commons

This Sunday is the birthday of the most popular of all Russian composers, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (May 7, 1840). And on today's date in 1891, he made his Carnegie Hall debut during his only visit to America, appearing at the grand opening of what would become one of the most famous concert halls in the world.

I'm not sure how much he had to practice to get there (to paraphrase the old joke), since he was already one of the world's most famous composers when he was invited to participate in this event.

Photoplayers Studio / Wikimedia Commons

Most people know the ditty about the toreador not spitting on the floor. 

Carmen, filled with tunes long made popular, has a foolproof story—sultry gypsy seduces clueless corporal and dumps him for a bullfighter. Wouldn't you? Unhappy corporal follows Carmen and the toreador to the bullring and stabs her to death while the crowd cheers on the the bull—the animal, I mean. Curtain. Applause.

But there's a lot more to it than that.

Recently I had the opportunity to observe music therapy classes at Columbus' Bridgeway Academy. Joining me for the visit were WOSU intern Sean Flynn and digital producer Emily Thompson.

In honor of National Autism Awareness Month, we created a series of posts and videos highlighting the work being done at Bridgeway, showing the positive effects music has on the lives and development of kids on the autism spectrum. This post is the last of three.

Socialization is an important goal for kids on the autism spectrum. The kind of connection to others that does not come naturally to them can be helped along, by music.

Recently I had the opportunity to observe music therapy classes at Columbus' Bridgeway Academy. Joining me for the visit were WOSU intern Sean Flynn and digital producer Emily Thompson.

In honor of National Autism Awareness Month, we created a series of posts and videos highlighting the work being done at Bridgeway, showing the positive effects music has on the lives and development of kids on the autism spectrum. This post is the second of three.

Here, we meet 12-year-old Tatum, who started at Bridgeway as a 3-year-old in 2008. Music therapists Tanya Corso and Liz Woolley encourage a young man who is already gifted musically and has perfect pitch to keep playing.

balletmet.org

"Too much of a good thing is wonderful," Mae West once said.

Can one city have too many performances of symphony, opera, ballet, theater and chamber music?

Absolutely not.

April has always been a busy month for the local arts calendar, but this month may be record-setting in the variety, quantity and sheer quality of local offerings. And it's just the beginning of what's to come this spring.

Paul Sherwood / Wikimedia Commons

Here's a doozy: Bill Murray is going classical.

The actor and comedian who never ceases to surprise has, according to the New York Times, teamed up with cellist  Jan Vogler, who has performed as a guest artist with the New York Philharmonic, and a group of chamber musicians for a projected album and touring show. Murray will sing Gershwin and Bernstein and recite Mark Twain, Walt Whitman and Ernest Hemingway.

Allan Warren / Wikimedia Commons

April 22 is Earth Day and a time when I'm more inclined to reflect on how interconnected the natural world and all life really is. I'm not referring necessarily to the economic or political world. Sometimes it seems hopelessly divided as 7 billion people try to figure out how to live together on this planet with its ever-shrinking natural resources.

In the world of nature, however, there are no such boundaries and divisions. It's one vast system, and we are all a part of it. Earth Day reminds me of that.

Poets, writers, artists and musicians have always been inspired by the natural world. In classical music, you can go from Vivaldi's The Four Seasons and Johann Strauss' The Beautiful Blue Danube to An Alpine Symphony by Richard Strauss or Mysterious Mountain by Alan Hovhaness and many, many, more works.

Wikimedia Commons

Sergei Prokofiev, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Paul Hindemith: two Russians and a German, one a repatriated son of Mother Russia and two permanent exiles from their homelands. These three important 20th century composers journeyed far from their countries and also lived for a time in the United States.

This weekend, the Columbus Symphony presents a program featuring music by these well-traveled composers.

F. Reinhold

It was just a couple of seasons ago that composer-pianist Lera Auerbach teamed up with ProMusica Chamber Orchestra in a performance of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20 and her work Eterniday (Homage to W.A. Mozart) for Bass Drum, Celesta and Strings.

Auerbach returns to Columbus this weekend, again in the role of composer-performer, with a work commissioned by ProMusica: A Twofold Dream – Concerto grosso No. 5 after W.A. Mozart’s K. 299/297c and K. 315. This time, she is the soloist in her own composition.

Recently I had the opportunity to observe music therapy classes at Columbus' Bridgeway Academy. Joining me for the visit were WOSU intern Sean Flynn and digital producer Emily Thompson.

In honor of National Autism Awareness Month, we created a series of posts and videos highlighting the work being done at Bridgeway, showing the positive effects music has on the lives and development of kids on the autism spectrum. This post is the first of three.

Bridgeway is housed in the former Medary Elementary School building, off East Hudson Street, not far from the Ohio State University campus. The school, formerly Helping Hands Center for Special Needs, was founded by Erin Nealy and Abigail David in 2005.

David Debalko / kenshowatanabe.com

Classical music has a new rising star. According to a story published Tuesday in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the young assistant conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra stepped in to lead a concert at the last moment for an ailing Yannick Nezet-Seguin, and it was a great success.

color photo of Jeannette Sorrell leading Apollo's Fire from the harpsichord
apollosfire.org

Jeannette Sorrell, founder and artistic director of the Cleveland-based period-instrument orchestra Apollo's Fire, is one of the world's foremost conductors and interpreters of baroque music. But she's also much more than that.

"I am an entrepreneur as an artist," Sorrell said in a phone interview. "I think Mozart and Handel were also entrepreneurs, and that’s OK. It forces you to make sure that your artistic work is accessible to the public and will draw an audience."

Sorrell and Apollo’s Fire are making available their performance of Bach’s St. John Passion for you to enjoy Good Friday evening, 7 p.m. April 14 on Classical 101.

Du Yun, a 39-year-old composer, musician and performance artist, today won the Pulitzer Prize for music for her opera Angel's Bone. The Pulitzer jury describes the piece as a bold work "that integrates vocal and instrumental elements and a wide range of styles into a harrowing allegory for human trafficking in the modern world." Angel's Bone, which has a libretto by the versatile Royce Vavrek (Missy Mazzoli's Breaking the Waves and David T.

Cincinnati Ballet YouTube

If someone tries to tell you that going to the symphony to hear orchestral music is for "old dinosaurs," show them this video of a T-rex conducting. That should change their tune.

color photo of David Thomas playing his clarinet
David Thomas

Wednesday evening, two of Columbus’ own will perform the world premiere of 10 new musical masterpieces—and Columbus gets to see and hear it first.

In a concert called “Jeanjean on the Rocks,” David Thomas, principal clarinetist of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, and pianist Mariko Kaneda will play 10 of French composer Paul Jeanjean’s 18 Études de Perfectionnement (1927) for clarinet with brand-new piano accompaniments commissioned by Thomas and composed by Philadelphia-based composer Joseph Hallman.

Piotr Anderszewski might be one of the most revered pianists of his generation, but he's also one of the most impulsive.

In 1990, at age 21, the young Pole entered the prestigious Leeds International Piano Competition. He was nearly finished with his semi-final performance when he quit playing — just walked off the stage. He felt he wasn't good enough to continue. It was a gutsy move that actually helped launch his career.

National Archives and Records Administration / Wikimedia Commons

I want you to buy this CD.

On Easter Sunday 1939, contralto Marian Anderson (1897-1993) sang a concert from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., to a crowd of an estimated 75,000.

Elena Urioste with her violin
Alessandra Tinozzi / elenaurioste.com

Classical 101 has been the broadcast home of the Columbus Symphony since long before I got here in 1991. I was delighted to inherit responsibility for these broadcasts about 20 years ago. The recordings are made by Ed Thompson, and the broadcast preparation is by WOSU's own Kevin Petrilla and Eric French.

Join me and your orchestra (and chorus) Sunday afternoons at 1 on Classical 101, beginning this Sunday, April 2. You can also stream the broadcast online.

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