Contemporary Classical Music
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      Upcoming Programs

      The Modern Oratorio

      Large-scale sacred works might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of contemporary music, but a number of important composers are creating expansive works inspired by their concept of a higher power.

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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. Alexander Calder, Calder’s Circus, 1926–31.    

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      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. Tune in […]

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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 attend two major festivals of emerging and established composers. In part I we’ll chat with the composers and feature live performances from the concerts to showcase the dynamic music scene there.

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      Seoul-South-Korea-cityscape-by-dusk-1600x1066

      In the Field: Seoul, Part II

      The second part in our two-part series from Seoul will feature interviews with funders and organizers who are busily providing opportunities for living composers to flourish, and we’ll feature more of the audio recorded from the two major festivals we attended.

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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 […]

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      Still Goldberg After All These Years

      When harpsichordist Johann Gottlieb Goldberg asked Bach to write pieces for him to play to help a Saxon count get to sleep at night he could hardly have realized that he was playing a key role in creating music that would inspire audiences and musicians for centuries. Not only are the Goldberg Variations among the most frequently performed works today, they also continue to inspire composers to write new variations on the famous themes. We’ll feature an incredible array of these this week on Relevant Tones.

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      Composers Among Us: Robert Kritz (live WFMT broadcast)

      More information about this program is available here.

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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 (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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      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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      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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      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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      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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      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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