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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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.

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 ...

I like oddities, those novelties that surprise and delight.  The world of classical music has many oddities, but one new addition to the fold recently crossed my desk here at WOSU and—as oddities often do—piqued my curiosity.  Sigiswald Kuijken, the middle of the three Kuijken brothers who for decades now have borne the standard for historically informed performance, has released a

Andre Previn turns eighty this year. His accomplishments as a conductor, performer and composer go back over fifty years and don't need a lot of approbation from me. I'm listening to his opera A Streetcar Named Desire (1998) based, of course, on Tennessee Williams' play.

The fourth Johnstone Woodwind Master Series (JWMS) at The Ohio State University School of Music celebrates the oboe, and also welcomes Joseph Robinson, retired Principal Oboist of the New York Philharmonic and noted educator, as featured guest artist.

I've been having fun listening to Earl Wild's recording of George Gershwin's Concerto in F made forty years ago by the Boston Pops, which was conducted by Arthur Fiedler ("Ah-thah Feed-lah" as we called him up home).

Martin Inglis is the new Chairman of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors. Inglis arrived in Columbus in November of 2004, following a thirty-year career at Ford Motor Company in Detroit, to become Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Battelle. In this interview Inglis talks about his childhood in Malaysia, his love of violinist Itzhak Perlman and what he loves about Columbus (and Central Ohio). He also outlines his plans for a revived Columbus Symphony.

It's hard to believe that the Guarneri Quartet ("...has no superior on the world's stages" -New York Times) is retiring at the end of the 2008-2009 concert season after 45 years. Their final concert in Columbus is Saturday, November 29 at 8pm at the Southern Theater. Meanwhile, here's a chat with Arnold Steinhardt.