The American Sound | WOSU Radio

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 Jory Vinikour sitting at the harpsichord
Nuccio di Nuzzo / http://joryvinikour.com/presenters.shtml

You might think the harpsichord is a mere historic novelty, an outdated baroque cousin of the piano and fit only for the powdered wig set. If so, the American harpsichordist Jory Vinikour’s most recent recording might change your mind.

color photo of Wil B. and Kev Marcus playing their instruments
Black Violin / https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYerKidQGcc

They’ve spent the last 15 years breaking stereotypes with their genre-busting songs and instrumentals. Now, Black Violin is adding a heavy dose of full-out inspiration to the mix.

color photo of rehearsal
Broad Street Presbyterian Church / William Boggs/Broad Street Presbyterian Church

Your beautiful infant child is diagnosed with cancer.

Months – even years – of doctor’s visits, tests, surgeries and medical treatments, like everything else in life, offer no guarantees. And even if the illness is brought under control, it still hangs over your family like the sword of Damocles.

It’s every parent’s nightmare. And Brittany and the Rev. Trip Porch, of Granville, have been living this nightmare ever since their son, Ward, was diagnosed with Wilms Tumor, a rare form of kidney cancer, nearly two years ago.

The Central Ohio Symphony
The Central Ohio Symphony

A renowned bassoonist, a respected conductor and a composer whose career is on the rise.

Christopher Weait has worn all three labels for most of his life. And this year he adds another label – octogenarian – to the list.

A former co-principal bassoonist with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and OSU School of Music Professor Emeritus of bassoon, Weait is known in central Ohio and throughout the world as a top-flight orchestral musician and bassoon pedagogue.

ccolor photo of Daniel Wnukowski playing the piano
/ wnukowski.com

“It was dark, unsettling. And it, in a way, kind of reflected my own family’s dark history.”

That’s how the music of Austrian-born Holocaust survivor Karol Rathaus first struck Canadian pianist Daniel Wnukowski when he heard it for the first time several years ago.

“This man was completely obscure to me, but the music resonated so strongly,” Wnukowski said in a recent phone interview.

color photo of Cosmos Trio in the Classical 101 studio
WOSU Public Media / WOSU Public Media

“This is an amazing place.”

That’s what San Francisco-based composer Stephen Main said recently about Columbus, the namesake of his new work Columbus Triptych, written for the Columbus-based Cosmos Trio.

Main’s Columbus Triptych is just one of a number of new works composed specifically for Cosmos Trio – comprised of flutist Katherine Borst Jones, violist Mary Harris and harpist Jeanne Norton – and featured on the group’s new recording, American Premieres (MSR Classics).

black and white photo of Wynton Marsalis playing trumpet
Luigi Beverelli / Courtsey of Wynton Marsalis

Wynton Marsalis' rare musical versatility has long been a beacon in the worlds of jazz and classical music. Now the Grammy Award-winning trumpeter and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer brings those worlds together in two new works for violin written for one of today's foremost violinists.

color photo of The Crossing
Becky Oehlers / https://www.crossingchoir.org/press-photos

The ecstasy of hearing Louis Armstrong play in a New York jazz club. The simple yet otherworldly beauty of palm branches swooping in the breeze. The moment of awe inspired by nature's vastness.

These experiences emerge in American poet Robert Lax's poems and are enrobed in light and shadow and shimmering beauty on The Crossing‘s recent recording of Philadelphia-based composer Kile Smith's full concert-length a cappella choral work The Arc in the Sky (Navona Records).

color photo of balloons lifting house in Up
Pixar, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / YouTube

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the animated film Up, directed by Pete Docter, produced by Pixar and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. Set initially in Ohio, Up unfolds in dazzling visuals the outlandish adventures of an elderly widower and a young boy. 

color photo of Jim Graham watching the P-51 Mustang in flight in Empire of the Sun
Amblin Entertainment / https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ekv_mUb3yuo

September 2019 marks the 80th anniversary of Hitler's invasion of Poland, which opened the floodgates to World War II. On this occasion, this episode of SoundReels looks at a film set in the later years of the war.

Adrian Brody as Wladyslaw Szpilman in The Pianist.
Focus Features

September 1, 2019 is the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the combined Nazi and Soviet invasion of Poland, which marked the start of World War II.

This episode of SoundsReels explores producer and director Roman Polanski's 2002 film The Pianist and will take you back to that moment in history and into the harrowing true story of Polish-Jewish concert pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman's struggle to survive the brutal realities of the Polish invasion and the Warsaw Uprising.

color shot of Megasaki City from "Isle of Dogs"
FOX Searchlight / https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTfSg77jrJw

Writer, director and producer Wes Anderson’s 2018 stop motion animation film Isle of Dogs was first screened at the 2018 Berlin International Film Festival.

Anderson won that festival’s Silver Bear award for best director. The film and its musical score, with original music by Alexandre Desplat, also received nominations for Golden Globe, Critic’s Choice and Academy Awards, among others.

color photo of Stephen Caracciolo conducting LancasterChorale
LancasterChorale / Facebook

“I call it real American music.”

That’s how Stephen Caracciolo, artistic director of the LancasterChorale, describes the program for An American Mosaic, the chorale’s upcoming concert of American folk songs, hymns, spirituals, concert works and popular fare. 

publicity photo / http://www.anthonymcgill.com/press/

Long before clarinetist Anthony McGill and flutist Demarre McGill launched coast-to-coast musical careers, as kids the brothers were each other’s musical inspiration.

“I grew up – even before I played an instrument – listening to my brother practice, for a few years actually. And so I learned probably what the sound of a wind instrument was because of him,” said Anthony McGill in a recent phone interview.

color photo o Yolanda Kondonassis surounded by harps
Laura Watilo Blake / yolandaharp.com

If you think playing the harp is something only angels do, then you’ve never met Yolanda Kondonassis. She's in part the reason why the new harp concerto that Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon wrote for Kondonassis is anything but angel food.

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