Once upon a time when Seattle was smaller, orchards dotted the shores of Lake Washington. Today, many of those old apple, plum and fig trees still thrive within urban neighborhoods. And every year around this time, they surprise new property owners—who may never have lived with fruit trees before—with chores they don’t know how to… Read More
Consider this year’s apples: Born from the seeds of an earlier generation’s trees, the fruit you hold in your hand this fall will allow you “to shake hands with a good friend over the centuries.” That’s how the composer and antiquarian Gerald Finzi put it. As your apples ripen, with the sweet strains of classical music… Read More
A long, relaxed summer evening in the company of live classical music and fine food. That’s a favorite Northwest pleasure offered around the region: Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival (Concert on the Village Green), Bellingham Festival of Music (Chamber by the Bay), and Seattle Chamber Music Society Summer Festival (Music Under the Stars), to name a few. It’s the kind of Read More
Did you know that the director of the new documentary film about Mr. Rogers, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? – Morgan Neville – also directed The Music of Strangers, the 2016 documentary about Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project? And that Yo-Yo Ma’s son Nicholas is one of the producers of Won’t You Be My Neighbor? In a clip of his appearance on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, Nicholas Ma is Read More
Ah, June. Wedding season for so many, when even musical instruments can declare their loving intentions. 'D’amore': Italian, meaning 'of love.' And what does 'love' mean? Sympathetic vibrations, a soft, comforting voice, a whisper into the mysterious dark of the ancient, natural world. Welcome to the instruments d’amore: viola, oboe, and…yerbomatófono? Read More
Makes sense that Franz Schubert’s birthday would be at the coldest time of year: January 31, 1797. The deepest chill runs through Schubert’s whisper-short lifetime. Granted, within the hundreds of songs and symphonies and chamber pieces he left us, you can catch the energies of spring. But just consider, for now, “Die Winterreise.” There lurks… Read More
The original Mozartkugel is a rich little layered confection: pistachio marzipan enveloped by nougat, surrounded by chocolate, and wrapped in foil decorated with a portrait of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It was created in 1890, in response to an invitation from the city of Salzburg to its artisans to invent things to commemorate the hundredth anniversary… Read More
So it’s true! All these years, you’ve carefully pronounced the “beet” in Beethoven’s surname as “bait,” you well-educated music lover. And you’re right, you’re right. But dig a little bit, and there really is a beet! On a suggestion from my linguist friend, the Seattle violinist Sandra Layman, I checked with the popular music historian… Read More
Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cothen employed Johann Sebastian Bach as his court’s music master, and even sat in himself to jam with the players on harpsichord or violin. Eccentric businesswoman Nadezhda von Meck donated so much of her vast wealth to Tchaikovsky that he was able to drop his day job and compose full time. Her… Read More
  Antonin Dvorak’s 8th Symphony (1890) is one of several significant works which premiered on February 2. WIKIMEDIA COMMONS Music history refreshes itself every time you enjoy a favorite piece, or discover a new one, here on Northwest Public Radio.  Sometimes there’s an especially noteworthy day in music history, like February 2. This was the… Read More
  SEBÁSTIAN FREIRE FROM RIO DE JANEIRO, BRASIL OK, it’s not a prescription. It is cold-weather comfort: help warm your insides or the person you care about feel better and it goes well with a generous helping of classical music. My definition of “chopped”: Fits comfortably into your mouth as part of the mix on your… Read More
  Conductor Alondra de la Parra at a concert in New York, 2014. FEAST OF MUSIC / FLICKR Mexican conductor Alondra de la Parra is known for her energetic, animated conducting. Take a look at the her joyous body language in this rehearsal video: Tune in this Sunday, November 1 from 2-4 PM to Concierto, when Alondra de la Parra conducts her Filarmonica de las Americas in Read More
  Beethovenian? Digging into information for the tidbits you hear next to the classical music on NWPR, we run across some interesting phenomena. Like the use of a composer’s name as an adjective. What makes a piece Brahmsian? Or Beethovenian? Writers about music often take this shortcut to describe a sound. Steve Reeder discovered that… Read More
  The Arlington National Cemetery showing the tradition of honoring grave stones of veterans with the American flag on Memorial Day. CREDIT WIKIMEDIA COMMONS Music for Memorial Day serves two very different purposes: 1. honoring the nation’s fallen soldiers, and 2. acknowledging the holiday’s popular expression as the official start of summer. Below, you’ll see Read More
  Asad Ali, 63, was unemployed for four years when Pakistan clamped down on live music in 1977. He now plays the guitar for Sachal Studios Orchestra around the globe and in his hometown, Lahore. CREDIT MOBEEN ANSARI / HTTP://WWW.NPR.ORG/ Imagine your life if attending a concert were against the law. Now imagine trying to… Read More
  Composer Julia Wolfe has won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for music for Anthracite Fields, an oratorio about coal miners and their families. CREDIT PETER SERLING / HTTP://WWW.NPR.ORG/ Northwest Public Radio’s classical music programming staff has lately been making sure to include women composers on our playlists. Here’s one you might not have heard Read More
A painting of Ludwig van Beethoven. One of our favorite NPR shows plus Beethoven’s famous little piano piece adds up to a must-listen moment! From Fresh Air with Terry Gross (weekdays at 2 and 7 on our News Service; Sundays at 5 on our Classical Music Service): the show’s music critic delights in a 1932… Read More
  A screenshot of the Dublin Guitar Quartet’s Tiny Desk Concert at NPR. CREDIT TINY DESK CONCERTS / NPR We know you love guitar music. From Classical Guitar Alive (Sunday mornings at 9), to Inland Folk (Saturdays, 11am-2pm), to the guitar solos and concertos our classical music hosts bring you throughout the days and evenings,… Read More
The Dallas Street Choir dressed in one of their performing outfits. CREDIT MARK MULLANEY. What stories do you tell? What stories could you be telling? On the occasion of National Public Radio’s 45th birthday–celebrated this week–let’s honor the power of storytelling. What stories could you tell about how music has affected your life? Here’s Read More
  Isaac Azose, Seattle Sephardic music maestro, with NEA National Heritage Fellow Flory Jagoda, composer of “Ocho Kandelikas.” Credit Gigi Yellen Christmas carols, they’re not. But for Hanukkah, the music and storytelling on the NWPR special programs for that holiday have become public radio traditions, even as concert music for Hanukkah remains, in a way,… Read More
https://www.ted.com/talks/charles_limb_your_brain_on_improv?language=enImagine, for a moment, Bach’s brain. Long before there was jazz, musicians jammed. The pianist Keith Jarrett, whose recordings of Bach and Handel often come your way on NWPR, may be better known as a jazz keyboard player. He’s one of those who’ve played music in a Johns Hopkins University lab, Read More
What’s the right music for a Shakespeare play? Depends on what century you’re in. In the 400 years since the plays were new, generations of composers have set their musical styles onto Shakespeare’s scripts. Now Britain’s Royal Shakespeare Company has opened up its music vault and released recordings of some of the scores they’ve stashed… Read More
A 44-year-old man known as a phenomenal pianist played a disappointing concert that would be his last public performance at the keyboard. Ludwig van Beethoven’s hearing loss had finally overtaken his celebrated concert career, but even before then, his mind was hardly at ease. Beethoven’s lifelong struggles have left us music lovers grateful, confused, and… Read More
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