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      Recent Programs

      Music of Marrying and Burying

      Since earliest times, music has always had a ritual purpose in human society, but these ritualistic functions are often forgotten in the hustle and bustle of the modern world. We’ll play music by composers still thinking of the ceremonial importance music can play in our lives.

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      Photo by Jay Blakesberg.

      Photo by Jay Blakesberg.

      Kronos Quartet

      Ground breakers, virtuosos, and commissioners of many of the world’s twentieth and twenty-first century string quartet masterpieces, the influence of the Kronos Quartet cannot be underestimated.  We’ll feature a sampling of their luminous output over the years.

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      Michael Colgrass

      Composers Among Us: Michael Colgrass

      Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Michael Colgrass has had a varied career as jazz drummer, freelance percussionist and composer of a dizzying array of works in every conceivable genre.

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      SIRGA Festival

      A relatively new festival in a remote part of Catalonia featuring music by electro-acoustic composers, SIRGA has recently grown into an international event that brings musicians from all over the world.  Relevant Tones visits the SIRGA festival to feature audio from their concerts.

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      Composer Collectives

      The twentieth century saw an interesting movement as composers banded together in collectives to help promote each other’s work. The movement has only gotten stronger in the twenty-first century with the rise of entrepreneurialism in classical music. We’ll feature the music of several composer collectives and take a close look at their inner workings.

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      9 The Laptop Ensemble

      The Laptop Ensemble

      This week we’re exploring a newer musical medium: the laptop.  We wanted to find out what exactly groups named PLOrk, CLOrk, and Benoit and the Mandelbrots could possibly have to offer. The answer surprised us.  We discovered improvisation, live coding, and even orchestral collaboration.

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      8 A Modern Symphony

      The Modern Symphony

      Much like the novel, people are always pronouncing the symphony to be a dead form.  And yet, composers continue to write symphonies at an incredible pace.  We’ll feature music by composers around the world who are adding to the symphonic canon.

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      A Change of Opinion

      Throughout history, composers who have been known for championing a particular musical style have shocked their fans by radically and suddenly changing their aesthetic.  Why does this happen, and who’s changing their style in the modern era? George Rochberg: String Quartet No. 3 (excerpt) Concord String Quartet New World 80551 1:19 George Rochberg: Bagatelle No. […]

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      6 Cityscapes


      We all know the Pastoral Symphony of Beethoven, Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture inspired by Fingal’s Cave, and the music by Vaughan Williams inspired by the English countryside.  But in the modern era, the urban environment is inspiring many composers to capture its sounds in music.

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      5 Composer Spotlight Alvin Singleton

      Composer Spotlight: Alvin Singleton

      Critic Kyle Gann says “Singleton’s music is soulful, with an understated simplicity that I particularly prize. Despite the studied economy of his means and the set character of his images, the music is never cold … nor abstract. It glows with warmth.”  We’ll feature Singleton’s music on our next Composer Spotlight.

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      Composer Champions

      Where would Gustav Mahler be without the incredible support of Leonard Bernstein?  Bach without the support of Mendelssohn?  Being championed by a famous performer or conductor is an incredible leg up to the career of many composers.  Who are the modern day composer champions, and whose work are they promoting?

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      3 Above and Beyond

      Above and Beyond

      In recent years composers have become interested in the fact that the performers can do things on stage other than just play their instrument: stomp their feet, clap, play simple percussion, and even sing.  We’ll feature a variety of pieces from composers who ask musicians (who are not trained singers) to vocalize and supplement their […]

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      2 Pianist Jenny Lin

      Pianist Jenny Lin

      Stunningly versatile pianist Jenny Lin has recorded with jazz musicians, rockers, contemporary composers and everyone in between.  Equally comfortable playing Shostakovich on the same concert as giving a world premiere, Lin is a vital talent that is taking concert halls by storm.

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      1 CD Grab Bag

      CD Grab Bag

      We’re having a ball trying to keep up with our ever-expanding musical collection as composers and performers around the world joyously overwhelm us with their creations.  We’re consistently amazed by their level of talent and artistry, and are thrilled this week to share their music with our listeners. Amy Wurtz: String Quartet No. 1, I […]

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      Peter Sculthorpe, piano-sydney

      Del Sol Quartet – Quartets of Peter Sculthorpe

      This new release by the Del Sol Quartet marks the first time that all of the string quartets by Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe have appeared on one recording.  We’ll play several selections from this remarkable new album.

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