Contemporary Classical Music
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      Upcoming Programs

      Still Goldberg After All These Years

      Modern works inspired by Bach’s Goldberg Variations.

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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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      Still Goldberg After All These Years (WFMT broadcast)

      More information about this program is available here.

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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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      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 diving 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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      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.

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      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.  Championed by Pierre Boulez in her early years and later named composer-in-residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Thomas rose early to the top of her profession […]

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      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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      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.

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