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February 2014
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Archive for February, 2014

Pianist Returns for Hess Concert


Benjamin Hochman made his Chicago Symphony debut sitting beside Trevor Pinnock, and another pianist, in the Mozart Triple Piano Concerto. Pinnock, who was conducting from the piano, is an esteemed keyboard player and early music specialist—one wonders if that’s slightly intimidating

Impromptu with Chicago Shakespeare Theater


Cast members from Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s two shows by Stephen Sondheim came to WFMT’s studios for a live Impromptu. More on the Sondheim productions.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Road Show runs March 13 – May 4. Gypsy closes March 23

As If Love Weren’t Complicated Enough

Ilya Repin painted this portrait of Glinka composing Ruslan in his robe

[Tuesday Night Opera, 8:00 PM] An evil dwarf brother; a kidnapped princess, a giant’s head that talks, a vengeful sorceress, unworthy suitors and a lovesick bridegroom–those could almost be the plot points for The Ring of the Nibelung. In fact, this story predates Wagner, its source is Alexander Pushkin

Impromptu: Songs of Sondheim

Stephen Sondheim, 1976

[Tuesday at 4:00 PM] Players from Chicago Shakespeare Theater come to WFMT on Tuesday afternoon for a little live music and conversation with Kerry Frumkin. Continuing until May 4, CST presents the magic of Stephen Sondheim: Gypsy and Road Show.

The mini Sondheim fest is being staged

American Dance Music

Leonard Bernstein c. Jack Mitchell

It’s a famous story: in November of 1943, Bernstein’s enormous talent was only beginning to turn heads when Bruno Walter fell ill and needed a sub for his New York Philharmonic concert. On short notice, the energetic assistant conductor from Boston took the podium; the concert was heard live across the nation on CBS radio, and Leonard Bernstein was an overnight success. He became one of the most charismatic

Lyric Opera’s Moonlighters


She has a degree in chemistry from Yale. He has coached singers for more than a hundred operas at Lyric. Violinist Heather Wittels and pianist Eric Weimer are driven, successful people. Both artists work for Lyric Opera, though playing together isn’t in the job description.

Exploring Music: Two Victorian Composers in a Rapidly Changing World

Saturn, which is depicted as "The Bringer of Old Age" in Holst's famous work "The Planets"

When they were kids, England’s most popular composer was Arthur Sullivan. Gustav Holst and Frederick Delius were destined to choose different paths, looking to Germany, to landscapes, to America, to India, or even to the planets for their inspirations. Born in the second half of the 1800s, they witnessed a Europe obsessed with Wagner, the end of tonality, and a world at war

Ana María Martínez: Czech Was the Hardest

Ana Maria Martinez as Rusalka, c. Todd Rosenberg

[WFMT’s Broadcast of Rusalka Begins Saturday at 7:15 PM]Ana María Martínez is a seasoned performer on the stage of Chicago’s Civic Opera House. In the last year, she’s sung Mimì, Desdemona, and opens as Rusalka on Saturday. What is less dazzling, less conspicuous, has been her role as role model to Chicago’s youth. The Puerto Rican-American soprano

CSO Plays Mahler 9, A Conductor’s Pilgrimage

Michael Tilson Thomas

With the support of the San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas plunged headlong into a cycle of Mahler symphonies on their own record label, and produced a PBS documentary about Mahler to go with it. According to the conductor, going to the places where Mahler spent his days was a revelation.

About People Named Strauss

Richard Strauss

The name Strauss looms large in the annals of western music. The family that lived like rock stars during 19th century Vienna captured and embodied the musical voice of that city, a hub for European music, cranking out one popular dance piece after another. Johannes Brahms once signed an autograph with the opening bars of the Blue Danube waltz: “Unfortunately not by Johannes Brahms”