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October 2014
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Author Archive

Stephen Paulus (1949-2014)

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Fans are mourning the loss of American composer Stephen Paulus who died on Sunday at the age of 65. Paulus wrote works for many American artists and ensembles, including Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, the Cleveland and Minnesota Orchestras, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Singers were particularly drawn to his treatment of the human voice, which garnered commissions from Deborah Voigt, Samuel Ramey, Thomas Hampson

Shostakovich as a “Calling Card”

Atrium

The pairing of performers and compatriot composers is such a satisfying notion (like having a French meal at l’Ecole Le Cordon Bleu Paris) that in a field crowded with artists carving out an identity, it happens a lot. It almost seems cliché for a Russian quartet to focus on Shostakovich – except so many reviewers

Artur Rodzinski, A Fire Breathing Maestro

RodzinskiArtur

Tune in for two fascinating documentaries. Polish-American conductor Artur Rodziński is remembered for his fiery temperament on and off the podium. Stories abound of his having kept a loaded pistol in his pocket. Some rumors, likely apocryphal, go so far as to claim that he once

Impromptu with Marc-André Hamelin and Takács

WFMT's Lisa Flynn chats with Geraldine and Edward

The formidable pianist Marc-André Hamelin joins the Takács Quartet for a concert at Symphony Center on Thursday, October 16. Mr. Hamelin and two of the quartet players stopped by the WFMT studios for a live Impromptu. Mr. Hamelin

A Last-Minute Concerto Hits Home

Walt Disney Concert Hall

“The playing was superb. The audience was large and acutely enthusiastic. A sense of well-being seemed to pervade the hall. Anyone wanting to understand why Disney has been such a success and the L.A. Phil appears an unusually happy orchestra…could find out why with this program.”

Chicago’s Incubator for Opera Singers

Ryan Opera Center bass-baritone Richard Ollarsaba as "Don Giovanni"

Richard Ollarsaba, who was the “cover” for Don Giovanni star Mariusz Kwiecien, got the call at 10:00 am: “Mr. Kwiecien will not be able to sing today. You’re on.” He had four hours until curtain.

“The instant I got the call, adrenaline shot through my system, but after the initial shock I immediately went into work mode and the only thing I could tell myself was ‘Just do your job’

Chicago a cappella Impromptu

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Chicago a cappella gave an Impromptu on Tuesday at WFMT, previewing a concert they’re billing as the musical intersections of the world’s faiths, exploring mystical, harmonically mesmerizing, and contemplative sacred vocal traditions. The ethnic basis

Renée Fleming on Her Way to WFMT

Renee Fleming with Impromptu Producer Louise Frank and host Lisa Flynn at WFMT; photo by Noel Morris

Renée Fleming is stopping by WFMT’s studios Tuesday afternoon around 2:30 pm to speak with Lisa Flynn about her new CD, Christmas in New York. With dozens of recordings to her credit, this is her first holiday record. The popular diva used the project as an opportunity to reach across genres to some of her favorite artists. Chris Botti, Kurt Elling

Live from WFMT is Back with Dvorak Concerto

Drostan Hall

Monday nights have long been a showcase for local talent and beyond with a weekly broadcast of live music and conversation on WFMT. After a summer series of broadcasts from the Ravinia Festival, Live from WFMT kicks off a new season on Monday with a broadcast from Nichols Concert Hall at the Music Institute of Chicago. Monday’s show presents the ensemble Camerata Chicago with soloist Joshua Roman

A Marvelous Marathon of Opera

Renee Fleming as the Countess in "Capriccio"

For one day every year, WFMT suspends the typical Saturday fare in order to wallow in the lusciousness of opera – and it’s not just anything opera, it’s Lyric Opera of Chicago; the organization that is so central to bringing the world’s greatest singers and directors to Chicago’s proscenium