Classical 101

Classical 101 is Central Ohio’s source for 'round-the-clock classical music. Our hosts provide insight into classical music news from Columbus and around the world.

Find concert previews, book and record reviews, arts features, and archived audio and video of local and visiting musicians. Listen your way through our podcast archives of Opera Abbreviated and the Mozart Minute for a deeper dive into the music we play.

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I had been disappointed that the 70th anniversary of Marian Anderson's 1939 Easter Sunday concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial had passed unnoticed. I got over it.

Daron Hagen’s opera Shining Brow rehashes the story of the most sordid episode in the life of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The opera’s world-premiere recording, released this year, took me back into one of my great passions—American architecture—and made me wonder why I want to hear Wright’s tragic story yet again.

I should always have such problems. In planning a broadcast of Opera Columbus's recent production of Puccini's Turandot, I found myself with about ninety minutes of leftover air time. Usually I try to play a lot of the new release aria CDs, and lately there have been some sensational titles from Christine Brewer, Marcel Alvarez, Elina Garanca, Juan Diego Florez and more. But for Turandot I thought, this is Puccini's last opera. Why not play his first?

ProMusica Chamber Orchestra introduced the new name of the Columbus Zoo's baby elephant, Beco, with a rousing performance of Henry Mancini's Baby Elephant Walk on Mother's Day. As you would expect, the large crowd at the zoo's amphitheater was made up largely of children who played with the zoo's mascots while awaiting the announcement.

Korean Pianist Soyeon Lee is Eco-Friendly

May 11, 2009

One of the pleasures of my job is to keep an eye out for "rising stars." Right now I'm fascinated with Korean pianist Soyeon Lee. She's beautiful, talented, and into recycling, literally, for she wore a concert gown made out of used juice pouches for her Carnegie Hall debut, the first ever eco-awareness concert of its kind there.

I have now officially seen it all. Do you know Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor, the piece that’s used to conjure vampires and other spookiness on t.v.

I recently had the privilege of interviewing the guest artists for ProMusica Chamber Orchestra's 30th Anniversary gala concert: Mark O'Connor and the Ahn Trio. It was as though I had stepped into a Star Trek transporter room and been beamed between two worlds. Mark O'Connor is a low-key, laid-back kind of guy.  He's easy to talk to and immediately puts you at ease. Then I stepped into the room with the Ahn Trio.

Beethoven Strolls in the Countryside for Us

May 8, 2009

Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony is one of the great depictions of nature in music. Thankfully for us, he loved to take strolls in the countryside outside of Vienna with his music notebook in hand and turn his impressions of the sights and sounds around him into musical pictures that have the power to refresh and inspire us as much as it did him.

Aida In German

May 8, 2009

A friend has sent me a broadcast of Verdi's Aida performed in the Theater an der Wien, in German as was the custom at the time. Until the mid 1970s, opera in Europe was always sung in the language of the audience. Imagine that? I digress. The cast is mouthwatering in whatever language. The great Leonie Rysanek at 29 storms the heavens in the title role. She has a voice like a knife. There's little of what I'd call the intrinsic beauty of Tebaldi or Price, but you shudder with this Aida.

The story goes that Sergei Rachmaninoff had huge hands, so big that it makes playing his music quite difficult for those of us who don't have NBA-sized hands. At least one pianist has found the solution, but it takes timing and a bit of coordination. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifKKlhYF53w

As part of ProMusica Chamber Orchestra's 30th Anniversary Gala, I had the opportunity to speak with their guest artists Mark O'Connor and the Ahn Trio. O'Connor was commissioned by ProMusica to write a piece for the Ahn Trio: March of the Gypsy Fiddler. Mark also performed his Harmony for Violin and String Orchestra as part of the evening's festivities.

You know the drill. What would you need to survive on a deserted island? Not missing the obvious - a player, a power source and maybe chocolate - I submit the following: This is the music that has meant the most to me over the years, in no particular order.

Karl Paulnack is a pianist and an Academic Dean at the Boston Conservatory. The full text of his Welcome Address to parents and students on September 1, 2004 has been making the rounds.  Here are a few selections from this extraordinary talk:

Solitary Jean Sibelius and Colin Davis

May 1, 2009

I hope you had a chance to hear Symphony at 7 recently.  We aired a new recording of Sibelius' first symphony with Colin Davis and the London Symphony. Davis clearly has a strong affinity for this great Finnish composer.

The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition

May 1, 2009

From a field of 225 applicants, thirty pianists, ranging in age from 18-30, are competing at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, to be held May 22-June 7  in Fort Worth, for a prize package valued at over $1,000,000.  Whew! Talk about pressure ...

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