Classical 101 | WOSU Radio

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.

Explore concert previews, book and album reviews, arts features, web-exclusive playlists 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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Thanks to the internet, I've discovered that Beethoven is alive and well and living on Sesame Street. That would be Murray Beethoven, who seems to have a similar hairstyle, but otherwise bears little resemblance to Ludwig.  He seems to possess Beethoven's name, Mozart's purported impishness, and Haydn's sense of humor, as seen in this video with none other than Yo-Yo Ma.

New Technologies Offer Something Gained and Something Lost

Jun 24, 2009

Imagine what the experience of music must have been like before the invention of recording technology,  before iPods, downloads, uplinks, CDs, tapes, and even records and turntables, let alone old 78 RPM Victrolas. If you wanted to hear music, you had to listen to it being made in the present moment by someone else or make it yourself.  Live music was the only kind of music there was.

This is an article I was asked to write for Opera Columbus's 25th anniversary program book a few years ago. "I'm not making this up, you know!" Diva Mary Garden Incites the Masses The meanest Buckeye linebacker is no match for a prima donna.

Okay, now I've really seen it all.  Do you know Mozart's Rondo alla turca, the third movement of his Piano Sonata, K. 331?  Sure you do. This rondo has been transcribed for a countless combination of instruments. But this video of two men playing Mozart's Turkish Rondo on the same guitar takes the cake:

. . . a whole new definition of chamber music.

As you likely know, the Columbus Symphony's search for a new music director is underway.  A recent post on former Chicago Symphony Orchestra executive director and American Symphony Orchestra League head Henry Fogel's Arts Journal blog, "On the Record," may be of local interest here in C-town.

Musical Fathers

Jun 19, 2009

This Sunday is Father's Day.  There are lots of musical dads out there - famous and not so famous. Leopold Mozart was, and even today still is, one of the most famous musical fathers.  In fact, he might not have been famous at all had he not been dad to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

The Cleveland International Piano Competition Nears

Jun 19, 2009

Thirty-five young pianists from around the world converge on Cleveland July 27-August 9 in hopes of winning prizes and a record deal through the Cleveland International Piano Competition, held at The Cleveland Play House and Severance Hall every other year. First prize alone offers a cash prize of $50,000 (!) plus the following:

A few years back I produced a one hour broadcast special on choral music and choirs in Ohio. I met Dr. Catherine Roma, founder and director of Cincinnati's MUSE Choir and director of the UMOJA choir at the Warren Correctional Facility in Lebanon, Ohio. Catherine invited me to attend an early morning rehearsal with the men at Warren. I had never been inside a prison before. I've seen too many bad movies and too much bad television. I found a lot of humanity among the staff, the inmates, and certainly with Catherine.

Yo-Yo Ma Stars in PBS Science Documentary

Jun 19, 2009

The Music Instinct: Science and Song, a new 2-hour documentary in the PBS series hosted by jazz vocalist Bobby McFerrin and Dr. Daniel Levitin, airs  June 24th @ 9pm on WOSU TV and June 25th @ 9pm on WOSUPlus.

As I listened to Van Cliburn play Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata this morning, I was compelled to track down Nobuyuki Tsujii, the young Japanese pianist who, along with Haochen Zhang, was awarded the Gold Medal in the thirteenth

In 2005 Tom Keane wrote an article in the Boston Herald calling for a recap of Boston's once glamorous theater district. I wrote him this letter. Dear Mr. Keane: I read with pleasure your recent column in the Herald about Boston's Theater District.  I was especially pleased by your mention of B.F. Keith Memorial Theatre, the magnificent theater Sarah Caldwell bought and renamed The Opera House in the late 1970s.

At one time or another, I believe all of us feel as though we could write a song.  Maybe you picked out a melody on the piano or wrote some lyrics that are just begging to be put to music.  Or possibly, you've already written a few tunes that you just KNOW would sound great if (fill in the blank) would sing them. Your chance is just around the corner, and it doesn't involve being insulted by Simon Cowell.

Anne Frank at 80 and in Song

Jun 15, 2009

Anne Frank was born on June 12, 1929. She died in the concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen in March, 1945,  only a few weeks before Germany collapsed and the war in Europe ended.  The Diary of Anne Frank was first published in the States in 1952. A definitive version of the diary, with pages withheld by Anne's father, appeared in 1995. Otto Frank was the only one of the eight people hidden in the "Secret Annexe" in Amsterdam to survive the war. He died in 1980.

Bach's Brandenburg Concerto with Natural Trumpet

Jun 12, 2009

Recently I played the 1st movement of J. S. Bach's 3rd Brandenburg Concerto.  Since it's scored for all strings, I thought I'd give you a sample of Brandenburg No. 2 with woodwinds and brass in a period instrument performance by the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra. Note the natural trumpet, recorder, and older style oboe.

A Chorus Line made a stop at the Ohio Theatre this week and brought about one of those "small world moments" for a couple of WOSU staffers.