multicolored Christmas lights decorating a guitar
Chris Combe / Flickr

It happens every year – there’s so much to do in preparation for the holidays that by the time the holidays actually roll around, you’re plum tuckered out. Some wondrous Christmas music can help keep the wind in your sails.

And there is no shortage of wondrous Christmas music. As a special gift for you, I’ve included here some spectacular performances of some of my favorite works of Christmas music. Some are restful and awe-inspiring. Others are exuberant and joyful. And all of them can take your mind off everything that “must” get done, so you can enjoy the season.

Christmas Bachs

Dec 19, 2019
color image of the inside of St. Thomas Church, Leipzig
Kevin Zi-Xiao He /

Trades run in some families like water from leaky faucets. The most famous family of musical tradesmen is the Bach family, which over the span of two centuries – from the 1500s to the early 1800s – produced more than four dozen musicians and composers of note.

That’s a lot of musical DNA.

color photo of Matt Haimovitz playing the cello on the roof of an urban building
Brent Calis / Oxingale Records

You could say Matt Haimovitz does things differently.

He abandoned the typical career of a classical cellist early on. Since then, Haimovitz, now on the faculty of McGill University's Schulich School of Music, has championed new music and sought out unusual venues in which to perform it.

Cellist Juliana Soltis performs selections from new album Going Off Script in the Classical 101 studio.
Nick Houser / WOSU

When you think of improvisation in music, you probably think of saxophone lines sailing through the smoke of a jazz club, not cello riffs frilling up a piece by Bach.

But Bach was a man of his times, a happenin’ kind of guy who set and also followed the musical trends of his day, which encouraged performers to ornament his and other composers’ works.

bbq, barbecue, skewers, grill

Planning on a summer backyard barbecue? Why not grill those burgers and brats to the sounds of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms?

Lisa Marie Mazzucco /

“I think that he’s kind of like the grandfather of it all.”

That’s what pianist Simone Dinnerstein says about Bach, a composer for whose music she has a particular affinity.

color photo of rolling hills in the English countryside
Kumweni / Flickr

I know, I know. Another seemingly sensationalistic claim tossed out into cyberspace like so much line at the fishing hole. Sure, winning the lottery can change your life — but a piece of music?

Of course. Even the most hardened Hannibal Lecters (remember the Goldberg Variations scene?) know that music does something deep inside us. Allow me to rhapsodize for a moment about some music that, I believe, does the human heart good.

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

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.

color photo of the four musicians of Infusion Baroque wearing black gowns and holding violins and recorders
Elizabeth Delage /

It’s one thing to give elegant, award-winning performances of music composed by Baroque-era composers who were, as my Kentucky grandmother used to say, no better than they oughta be. It’s quite another thing to serve up the dirt about the composers, too.

Friday morning at 11, get the scuttlebutt on Sebastian Bach and hear all the jabber about Jean-Marie Leclair live on Classical 101 and on Classical 101’s Facebook page (we'll have a Facebook Live video so you can watch as you listen along). Montreal-based Infusion Baroque will be in our studios the day of the ensemble's debut album release to perform a preview of “Rebels and Rivalries,” a program of sublime music and all the news about some Baroque composers that's not fit to print.

color photo of Rachel Barton Pine sitting down and playing her violin in the chancel area of St. Paul's UCC, Chicago
artist publicity video/YouTube

Violinist Rachel Barton Pine’s playing isn’t the only sound you hear on her new recording, Testament: Complete Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin by Johann Sebastian Bach (Avie Records). The venue in which Pine made the recording had a voice from the beginning of the project, and shines forth as a brilliant collaborator on the new disc.

Music notes illustration with WOSU Classical 101 logo
WOSU Public Media

Every week is concert week on Classical 101. Tune in to hear everything from Ravel to Bach with witty insight and conversation from hosts in-the-know. Here's a sneak peek of what's on the menu for next week, April 3rd-9th, 2016. 

Sunday, April 3rd: 

1:00 PM, Columbus Symphony Broadcast with Christopher Purdy

Wikipedia, public domain

Every week is concert week on Classical 101. Tune in to hear everything from Ravel to Bach with witty insight and conversation from hosts in-the-know. Here's a sneak peek of what's on the menu for next week, March 26th- April 2nd:

Sunday, March 26th: 


1:00 PM, Columbus Symphony Orchestra broadcast with Christopher Purdy

Tchaikovsky  Symphony 4 in f, Op. 36

3:00 PM, Easter Sunday broadcast from First Community Church of Columbus 

WOSU Public Media

Welcome to the first round of voting for the Classical 101 March Madness Tournament! Today we'll be voting on the Baroque round. Sports had their fun with the opening of the NCAA Tournament yesterday, but now it's our time.

WOSU Public Media

Every March my sports-enthused friends and coworkers go bananas over basketball, and every March I wonder why they've lost their minds over a competition.

That was, until I sat down with WOSU sports reporter Thomas Bradley to make a composers bracket for the Classical 101 March Madness. Now I get it. When you take vastly different competitors whom you know and love, and throw them together to guess who will win, well, it kinda' reminds me of this.