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August 2014
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On WFMT

Christopher Maltman Tweets and Sings Beethoven, John Adams

Baritone Christopher Maltman, c. Pia Clodi

It is well established that opera singers can sing like canaries. Now we’re finding they tweet like them, too. Baritone Christopher Maltman uses Twitter to share something of the on-stage and off-stage energy during his concerts with the Milwaukee Symphony earlier this year

Pianist Amy Briggs on What’s New in Music

Pianist Amy Briggs plays Rush Hour with Third Coast and Daniel Schlosberg, c. Brian McConkey

Pianist Amy Briggs has a passion for pristine and rugged terrains, be it a trek in the Spanish Pyrenees or a virtuosic piano score that no one’s ever performed before. As a working pianist and Director of Chamber Music and Lecturer in Music at the University of Chicago, Ms. Briggs knows her way around the standard repertoire of Brahms and Beethoven. But it is the music of our own time that finds its way

Champion Plays Ravinia

DenisMatsuevCollage

He calls Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin “a big friend of mine.” His heroes are Vladimir Horowitz and star hockey center Sergei Fedorov. Russian pianist Denis Matsuev, who has “epic technique” according to the Boston Globe, is not shy about talking sports. In a 2009 Impromptu, he told WFMT that as a youth in Siberia, he could hardly be kept indoors. He played either soccer or ice hockey “about seven hours a day. Music was second.” Speaking with a gentle Russian growl, he laughs

Cedille Day on WFMT

Rachel Barton Pine plays live at WFMT on Cedille Day

With over 30,000 recordings in WFMT’s “record” library, the staff seldom focuses on a single record label for very long. When it happens, it’s usually because an artist has an exclusive agreement with a label; and the programming staff is featuring that artist.

On Friday, WFMT honors a record label that has made it its mission to enhance the cultural life of Chicago. Cedille Records Day celebrates the Chicago-based record label that for 25 years has been recording the gifted and diverse musicians and composers

WFMT Gets an Upgrade

PianoView

After being off-line for two months, WFMT’s Fay and Daniel Levin Performance Studio is open for business. With a new mixing board, new recording equipment, and a sassy blue paint job (better for shooting photographs and video), the studio re-opened last week for a recording with composer Lita Grier, followed by a live broadcast of “Folkstage”

Impromptu with Saxophone Virtuoso Ashu

Ashu warms up for a live recital at WFMT on Thursday

Ashu returns to Chicago for a recital at Ravinia. The Northwestern graduate is logging thousands of frequent flyer miles these days, giving concerts throughout Europe, North America, Asia, and Oceania.

Ashu had been playing the saxophone for only a few years when he entered a contest. Taking the top prize, he was granted a solo recital at Carnegie Hall at the age of 16

Sax and the City

Sax

From Charlie Parker to Kenny G, John Coltrane to Clarence Clemons, the sultry sounds of the saxophone have been a mainstay for American music. Many have praised the saxophone’s vocalism, range of color, and expressivity. Nevertheless, it’s been a tough road for classical soloists.

When Pink Floyd Meets Mingus and Bach

JasonSeed

It’s hard to describe Chicago composer/guitarist Jason Seed, other than as a well-rounded musician. As such, he delights in music and doesn’t worry so much about iTunes categories.

Jason Seed’s credits include jazz bands, rock bands, collaborations with Baroque Band and Bill Frisell. He’s also been around the “new music” scene

Passings: Licia Albanese, Carlo Bergonzi

Licia Albanese as Cio-Cio-San in "Madama Butterfly"

He gave more than 300 performances at the Metropolitan Opera. She exceeded 400. Two Italian-born, 20th century opera stars passed away in recent weeks: tenor Carlo Bergonzi and soprano Licia Albanese. Bergonzi in particular had a long performance history in Chicago, making his American debut at Lyric Opera in 1955; while Albanese worked primarily in New York

Video: William Bolcom and Grant Park

Pulitzer Prize-winning composer William Bolcom

It’s fitting that the Grant Park Music Festival should commission a piece by William Bolcom to celebrate its 80th anniversary. The two have had a long relationship. In fact, it was at a 1986 Grant Park Orchestra performance of Bolcom’s “Songs of Innocence and of Experience” that then Lyric Opera General Director Ardis Krainik