Contemporary Classical Music
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      Recent Programs

      Composer Spotlight: Ben Johnston

      Acclaimed micro-tonal composer Ben Johnston is justifiably famous for his rigorous work ethic, attention to detail and for constructing a sound world entirely his own. One of the few composers using just intonation who is also interested in writing rhythmic music, Johnston is a true original and we’re happy to shine the spotlight on this modern master.

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      Out of Time

      Ever since Ezra Pound’s famous advice to young artists, “make it new!” there has been a relentless interest in breaking new ground in art and music. But what about composers who are genuinely inspired by older forms like fugues, rondos, capriccios, even rags? We’ll feature music by these “composers out of time” this week on Relevant Tones.

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      We ask composers: What’s in your iPod?

      We know composers spend a lot of time alone wrestling with their sonic muse but, when they’re not composing what are they listening to? What music is currently inspiring them? How does it influence their own music? We’ll ask established and emerging composers alike to tell us what’s in their Ipod and why and then we’ll play each piece in its entirety.

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      Visual Aids

      We’ve always been fascinated here at Relevant Tones with how our perceptions of music change when it’s paired with visual imagery. With that in mind we’re asking several prominent visual artists to suggest imagery to a wide variety of different pieces by living composers. Relax, close your eyes and enjoy the view!

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      CD Grab Bag

      We’re thrilled to receive hundreds of CDs a year from around the country as well as from far-flung corners of the globe. We listen to everything we receive and then feature an eclectic mix of music we think our listeners should hear from established labels to self-producing artists making their very first recording.

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      Still Goldberg After All These Years (WFMT broadcast)

      More information about this program is available here.

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      Composers Among Us: Robert Kritz (syndicated release)

      Composer Robert Kritz spent many years working in the corporate world by day and busily composing music into the wee hours of the night. A decision several years ago to show some of his pieces to professional composers was the occasion of great excitement and led to a flurry of public performances and commissions. We’ll talk with Kritz about his unusual career path as a composer and feature live performances of several of his pieces by the musicians who support his work.

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      Composer Cosmology

      As astrophysicists like Neil deGrasse Tyson learn more about the cosmos and present their often strange and wondrous findings to the public, the creative mind can’t help but be captivated and inspired, and composers are certainly no exception. From super strings to quarks, multiple dimensions to M theory, we’ll play several imaginative works by composers captivated by our universe.

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      Composers Among Us: Robert Kritz (live WFMT broadcast)

      More information about this program is available here.

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      Still Goldberg After All These Years

      Modern works inspired by Bach’s Goldberg Variations.

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      Going Solo

      There is perhaps no more intimate connection in music than when a composer writes a solo piece specifically for a gifted performer, crafting the piece for the player’s specific strengths and musical tastes. We’ll talk with several performers about solos that have been written for them and feature performances of the pieces recorded live in our Levin studio.

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      In the Field: Seoul, Part II

      The second in our two-part series featuring composers and performers from Seoul, South Korea.

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      In the Field: Seoul, Part I

      Relevant Tones goes in the field to this hotbed of contemporary classical music- Seoul, South Korea- to discover emerging and established composers. In part I we’ll chat with the composers and showcase the dynamic music scene there.

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      composing

      Modern-Day Moonlighters

      Philip Glass is arguably the most famous plumber, mover and cab driver ever to work in New York. While not every example is that extreme, there are quite a few composers with day jobs – multitalented people that advocate for their fellow composers, write, work in radio or have a Ph.D in neuroscience.

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      Composers Among Us: Laura Elise Schwendinger

      Our popular series profiling emerging composers continues with Laura Elise Schwendinger, an artist whose strongly personal style of music is filled with kinetic energy and slow-burning intensity.

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