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

Composer Ching-chu Hu
Denison University

That moment when you’re facing something that might be wonderful or harrowing...

You inhale. You pause. You exhale.

That moment, suspended in time and tied so closely to our emotions that the breath pauses automatically, is what Ching-chu Hu, professor of music composition and chair of the Music Department at Denison University, calls “the hope moment.”

color photo of Miwa Matreyek performing in one of her animations
Miwa Matreyek / YouTube/Courtesy of Miwa Matreyek

Teamwork is the name of the game at Denison University’s TUTTI New Music Festival this year.

Musicians and athletes will explore together the key ingredients of working successfully in teams during TUTTI Festival 2020, March 3-7 on Denison’s Granville campus.

color photo of the members of Bearthoven sitting on a couch
Jaime Boddorff / Courtesy of Bearthoven

Judging by their instruments – piano, bass and drums – you might think they’re a standard jazz trio. But there’s nothing standard about the contemporary music trio Bearthoven.

Based in Brooklyn, Bearthoven has been making a name during the last seven years as an impassioned catalyst for the creation of new music. The trio returns to Columbus this month to give the world premiere of Mixed Tulips by Michael Gordon, composer and co-founder of the Brooklyn-based new music collective Bang on a Can and the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.

Percussionist Colleen Bernstein performs in the WOSU studios.
Nick Houser / WOSU

Sometimes a snare drum is not just a snare drum.

Percussion soloists Cameron Leach and Colleen Bernstein took the drummer’s humble rat-a-tat-tats into the world of scat singing, hand drumming and other unexpected feats on a recent visit to the Classical 101 studio.

color photo of Derek Bermel holding a pencil and sitting with a musical score
publicity photo / courtesy of Derek Bermel

It was a fateful trip to the art museum.

That trip decades ago, when Derek Bermel was just a kid - long before he became an award-winning composer and clarinetist -  that has landed Bermel on the list of Grammy Award nominees.

color photo of Lindsey Goodman playing her flute
Nick Houser / WOSU Public Media

Columbus flutist Lindsey Goodman’s most recent solo recording ETEREO (Navona Records) is interesting in any number of ways. But Goodman says her favorite thing about the disc is that she recorded it in Weigel Hall Auditorium, right here in Columbus.

color photo of Caroline Shaw
Kait Moreno / carolineshaw.com

Six years ago, fifty bucks and an outside-the-box choir helped Caroline Shaw become the youngest person to win the Pulitzer Prize for music. Here's a look at some of what she's been doing more recently.

color photo of the Dessoff Choirs performing
publicity photo/The Dessoff Choirs / http://www.dessoff.org/gallery

She was an African-American woman trying to make it in a white man’s world – and she succeeded, performing with world-class orchestras and winning three highly coveted ASCAP Awards, among other accolades.

Recently, Margaret Bonds’ music received another honor with the release of the world-premiere recording of The Ballad of the Brown King (Avie Records).  Bonds considered it her magnum opus... a Christmas cantata set to a text by noted Harlem Renaissance poet, and Bonds’ longtime friend, Langston Hughes.  The work will be featured this Christmas season on The American Sound.

Malcolm J. Merriweather leads the New York City-based Dessoff Choirs and Orchestra in a performance featuring soprano Laquita Mitchell, mezzo-soprano Lucia Bradford and tenor Noah Stewart as soloists.

color night shot of headlights whizzing by the Arc de Triomphe, Paris
Sheila Sund/Wikimedia Commons /

It’s jarring to hear a honking car horn. But on the streets of Paris, honking horns – like good wine, café au lait and the Gallic shrug – are just a part of life.

So much so that when George Gershwin decided to compose an orchestral piece inspired by the City of Light, he gave the honking horns of the Parisian taxicabs practically top billing. And not long ago those taxi horns claimed the spotlight for a different reason.

color photo of Chamber Brews in performance
publicity photo/Chamber Brews / https://www.chamberbrews.com/about-1

Question: How can music by women composers be performed on more concerts?

Answer: Perform it.

That’s what the Columbus-based string quartet Chamber Brews is doing. And they're joining a growing number of professional ensembles in their quest to showcase music by composers who, by virtue of their sex, their race and/or their socioeconomic background, have traditionally been underrepresented on  classical music concerts.

Jessica Lewis / Pexels

As 2019 draws to a close, the music of Chanukah and Christmas reminds so many of us of our treasured holiday traditions.

We have a full slate of special programs scheduled to air on Classical 101 for Thanksgiving and throughout December, in addition to holiday editions of our regular shows and seasonal favorites throughout the month.

black-and-white photo of Caroline Shaw performing with the Calder Quartet
Music on Main / youtube

Just a few more weary days and then, I’ll fly away.

Albert E. Brumley had no idea the song would become so popular, would resonate so boldly with people’s spirits or, much later, would inspire a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer to give it a stunning arrangement.

He also had no idea his song might end up joining your Thanksgiving festivities.

photo of Antoine Clark conducting the McConnell Arts Center Chamber Orchestra
Ronald Hoehn / antoinetclark.com

Columbus conductor and clarinetist Antoine Clark wants women musicians and musicians of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds to be heard.

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.

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