Contemporary Classical Music
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      Recent Programs

      Stulginska

      Composer Alive: Poland  

      An innovative collaboration with Warsaw composer Agnieszka Stulgińska in which a piece of music is publicly performed in installments as work on it progresses.  We’ll hear Agnieszka’s thought process, play each installment, and sit alongside the composer as she hears the world premiere of the completed work.

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      phone1

      Dial Tones

      RT calls up our radio and podcasting friends around the world to find out what new music they think will dominating our airwaves and digital bit streams in 30 years.

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      Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain

      Relevant Tones partners with the Santa Fe Opera to feature a sneak preview of Jennifer Higdon’s soon-to-be-premiered first opera, Cold Mountain, based on Charles Frazier’s best-selling novel.

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      Postcard from Ukraine

      Letters from Ukraine

      Relevant Tones has been carrying on a correspondence with several musicians in this war-torn region, where making music has recently been a challenge.  We’ll share their stories and feature chamber and orchestral works by composers determined to carry on.

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      mic headphones

      Listening Party

      We invite some of our favorite musical friends to bring a new recording into the studio for listening, lively discussion and the joy of new discoveries. Max Grafe: “Bantams in Pine-wood” fr. Three Madrigals Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble 1:53 Michael Gordon: Industry Maya Beiser, amplified cello 10:23 Peter Ablinger: Drei Minuten für Orchester SWR Sinfonieorchester/Sylvain […]

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      bowed piano ensemble

      Playing it Wrong

      It gives technicians fits, but composers and performers are always experimenting with new “wrong” ways to play their instrument.  From Bartok pizz to prepared piano, multiphonics to slap tongue, many of these techniques have made it into the standard repertoire.  What new extended techniques are being pioneered today?

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      Augusta Reed Thomas

      Composer Spotlight: Augusta Read Thomas

      One of the leading composers of our time and an ardent promoter of new music throughout the world, Augusta Read Thomas is an artistic force to be reckoned with.  

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      Light Shadow in Citizen Kane

      Musical Chiaroscuro

      Literally “light-dark,” chiaroscuro in art is the creation of depth through the play of light and shadow.  This artistic technique has inspired legions of composers to try and create the same contrasts in music through timbral shadings and instrumental colors. Jacob Druckman: Chiaroscuro (excerpt) Juilliard Orchestra/Foss New World 80381 1:04 Steven Block: Shadows Slovak Radio […]

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      Drum Kit: Problem Child

      It’s essentially just a conveniently placed grouping of popular percussion instruments and yet, the drum kit is often cited as the dividing line between popular music and classical. We’ll examine how composers are using the drum kit today and what impact it’s having on genre boundaries.

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      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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