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

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.

Wes Kroninger / Columbus Dance Theatre

Tim Veach is one of my favorite on-air guests. Veach is the founder and artistic director of Columbus Dance Theatre. He's a complicated mass of creativity, brilliance and charm.

He has plenty of political passion that warms the heart of this old leftie from Boston. I've had to caution Veach before air time. Thankfully, I need do no such thing—quite the contrary—in admiring his onstage work.

Columbus Dance Theatre's production of Courage​ opens this weekend at CDT's Theatre, 592 E. Main St. Showtimes are at 8 p.m. Friday, March 31, and 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday, April 1.

The Ohio State University Opera and Lyric Theatre presents Giacomo Puccini's s La Rondine "The Swallow" in Mershon Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 31 and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 2. Mark Lane Swanson conducts. The production is staged by Opera and Lyric Theatre director A. Scott Parry.

James Poulson / Daily Sitka Sentinel

Over the years, many musicians have taken classical music into venues that seem a little out of character.

Cellist Zuill Bailey has performed more than once with Alaska's acclaimed Hiland Mountain Correctional Center Women’s Orchestra, formed in 2003. On HBO's Oz, Bailey played a cellist who was serving a jail sentence, meaning Bach could be heard throughout the cell block.

color photo of the members of Monarch Brass standing outdoors and holding their instruments
Jan Duga / myiwbc.org

“The monarch butterfly is fragile and yet can fly 2,000 miles to get from point A to point B,” said Susan Slaughter, former principal trumpeter with the St. Louis Symphony, in a recent phone interview. “It’s beautiful to look at, and the sound that we want to make is a beautiful sound.”

As the first woman ever appointed principal trumpet in a major American orchestra, Slaughter knows all too well how far point A can be from point B for many aspiring professional women brass musicians. She founded the International Women’s Brass Conference and Monarch Brass to help women brass instrumentalists on their sometimes treacherous journeys in the profession.

Allan Warren / Wikimedia Commons

Mary Rousculp Hoffman became program director of WOSU-FM in 1966.

By the time she retired over 20 years later, Mary had interviewed many of the world's finest classical artists during their visits to Central Ohio. The Mary Hoffman Archive includes interviews with Thomas Schippers, Maria Callas and Vladimir Horowitz.

In May 1972, Joan Sutherland was in Columbus for a concert at Mershon Auditorium.

A scene from Mozart's Idomeneo opera
Marty Sohl / The Metropolitan Opera

The Metropolitan Opera's next performance of Mozart's Idomeneo will be seen Live in HD in cinemas all over the world at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 25.

Opera Abbreviated presents a 10-minute podcast, giving you my take on this great opera seria.

color photo of the members of Genghis Barbie with their horns
Spencer Lloyd / genghisbarbie.com

It’s 2009, and the Great Recession is draining bank accounts and devouring dreams everywhere. In New York City, four freelance French horn players suddenly find themselves out of work and wondering what to do next.

“It kind of came to me in this random moment—I was like, ‘Oh, my God, we have to have a horn quartet with these four people and play pop music.’” 

Roger Rich / 2cellos.com

Upon discovering 2Cellos, you might be tempted to consider the duo a one-trick pony. They are well-known for performing powerful arrangements of songs by artists ranging from Michael Jackson, Avicii and Mumford & Sons to Guns N' Roses, Led Zeppelin and AC/DC.

But they play sold-out houses of all ages around the globe, and for good reason—they can flat-out play. I watched the duo's sound check when they were in Columbus and FELT their music as much as I heard it while standing in the BACK of the house.

Travis Anderson / jakerunestad.com

This month, Capital University is hosting Minneapolis-based composer and conductor Jake Runestad for a residency that culminates in a March 25 performance. The concert marks the premiere of Runestad's latest choral work, Please Stayinspired by stories of overcoming depression and choosing life over death—as well as the first annual Young Choral Artists Festival.

In music, a coda is a passage that brings a musical composition to an end. This is the coda to a musical saga — the story of the Stradivarius violin that was stolen 37 years ago from my late father, violinist Roman Totenberg, and recovered in 2015.

That violin, made by Antonio Stradivari in 1734, was my father's "musical partner" for 38 years as he toured the world.

Graeme Richardson / Ice Music

Some of the "coolest" music being made this time of year is heard at a mountaintop ice igloo concert hall in Lulea, Sweden, presented by the ICEstrument Orchestra.  

The instruments are made of ice, and the music is played at subfreezing temperatures so the instruments don't melt. This is apparently not much of a problem at this northern latitude.

color photo of the feet of the members of Stiletto Brass - all in red high-heeled shoes
stilettobrass.com

"I think there are some assumptions about the ability of a female brass player versus a male brass player," said Stiletto Brass Quintet hornist Misty Tolle, in a recent phone interview, "and that when you walk in as a woman, part of what you walk in with is this knowledge that you have to be that much better than the person that you’re competing against if they are a man."

Assumptions like this one are what the all-female Stiletto Brass Quintet is helping to dispel by simply existing—by being a professional women’s brass ensemble that reaches school-age and adult audiences with music ranging from classical to jazz and beyond.

black-and-white photo of Isaac Stern playing a violin
Rob Bogaerts/Anefo / Wikimedia Commons

Mary Rousculp Hoffman became program director of WOSU-FM in 1966.

By the time she retired over 20 years later, Mary had interviewed many of the 20th century's finest musicians. Elsewhere on this blog you'll find Mary's interviews with Vladimir Horowitz, Maria Callas and Thomas Schippers.

carnegiehall.org

German bass Kurt Moll has died at the age of 78.

It was Moll's voice that most entranced me when, many years ago, I bought my first opera recording, Mozart's The Magic Flute. The sound of his deep and resonant voice as the fatherly and wise Sarastro impressed me so much. It made me realize that it isn't all about just the tenor and the soprano.

newalbanysymphony.net

The New Albany Symphony Orchestra presents Casey at the Bat and concert favorites in a 45-minute sensory-friendly performance, perfect for anyone wanting a more relaxed concert environment. Young families, persons on the autism spectrum and those with dementia or Alzheimer's will find a comfortable and welcoming environment.

Arrive early, dressed in your favorite team jersey, for hands-on activities, Cracker Jacks, an instrument petting zoo and communication cards in the lobby. The show starts at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 11 at the McCoy Center for the Arts, located in New Albany.

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