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July 2020
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Chicago Month

As the summer concert season starts to wind down, we look forward to the opening of the fall season. Once again, the riches offered to the classical music lover here in Chicago are striking. Our tradition of musical excellence and innovation is long and deep here; this month we will celebrate that. Tune in to 98.7 WFMT throughout August for performances by Chicago-based ensembles and artists, works written by Chicagoans, and pieces about Chicago itself. You’ll be amazed at what our city and suburbs have to offer.

We also encourage you to support your favorite groups and attend concerts, whenever possible. How fortunate we are to live in this great musical city!

Click here to see highlights for the month.

Start your day with Sandburg!

Tune into 98.7 or throughout the month of August for a poetry reading: Sandburg reading Sandburg. Hear Chicago’s two-time, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet read from a wide sampling of his poems, weekdays at 9:00 AM.

September Highlights

Snap the Whip, by Winslow Homer

September is a month of transition for many; sweaters come out, kids go back to school, and musicians gear up for the new season. WFMT will be there to celebrate the perennial cultural life of Chicago.

Friday Feature: John Alden Carpenter

c. 1847 antique stroller, and inspiration for Carpenter's "Adventures in a Perambulator"

John Alden Carpenter’s musical education at Harvard was deeply rooted in 19th century European traditions. While in school he became thoroughly immersed in student life: he composed music for three “Hasty Pudding Shows,” a theatrical society at Harvard known for its burlesque cross-dressing

Retrospective 1963: MLK Speaks with WFMT’s Studs Terkel

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

If he were to look in on us today, 50 years after speaking from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King, Jr. would have much to consider: in more…

On-Demand: Spektral and Avalon Quartets play Mendelssohn

Spektral Quartet

Preview–Spektral Quartet on Tuesday’s Rush Hour Concert–Two electrifying ensembles in one room: the Avalon and the Spektral Quartets came together for a WFMT Impromptu in May. They played the opening to the Mendelssohn Octet. Listen to it

Vengerov: An On and Off Relationship?

Maxim Vengerov

For those of us not born to rip through Tchaikovsky like a hot knife through butter, it’s painful to see a virtuoso walk away from an instrument. As a youth, Maxim Vengerov was a regular with Daniel Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony; in his twenties he pulled the highest fees of any violinist, but at thirty-two, the Russian powerhouse stopped playing. There was much talk of burn-out

Chicago Artists’ Day: Musicians Visit!

On Friday, August 23, from 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM, preview your favorite concert series as special guests from throughout the music community stop by the WFMT studios to chat about the season ahead. Click here to see the schedule and view concert information.

1967: Studs at the Unveiling of the Picasso

untitled sculpture by Pablo Picasso at Daley Plaza in Chicago

Best of Studs Terkel August 15th, 1967: On that day Chicago’s Mayor Richard J. Daley unveiled Pablo Picasso’s great gift to Chicago, a massive 50′ tall abstract sculpture. It still more…

Going Authentic: CSO and Flamenco

Marina Heredia, photo by Antonio Panizza

See video of flamenco star Marina Heredia who sings music by Falla on the CSO broadcast on Sunday. Spanish music was the ‘new black,’ when Cádiz-native Manuel de Falla came of age. All the best composers scored hits writing Spanish music. When he took himself to Paris to refine his skills as a composer, Manuel de Falla was nonplussed–none of those composers were Spanish

Ravinia Broadcast

Ravinia Music Director, James Conlon, works with Steans fellow Janai Brugger

Monday, August 19, at 8:00 PM–This season Ravinia’s summer conservatory, the Steans Institute of Music, celebrates 25 years. To honor the anniversary, a number of singers from the vocal program premiered songs written for the occasion by a veritable ‘who’s who’ of American composers; including Jake Heggie, Aaron Jay Kernis, Stephen Paulus, Roberto Sierra, Ramsey Lewis, and Augusta Read Thomas.

On-Demand: Hear Valentina Lisitsa Playing Für Elise


What’s the most famous piece by Beethoven? Is it Beethoven’s 5th? Is it the 9th? Maybe. What about the little number that gets played on every electric keyboard in every shopping mall across the land? Every kid knows the opening E to D-sharp figure, piano student or not. YouTube lists over 380,000 videos