This Week At The Classical Station



Photo of Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina by Daderot

This Week At The Classical Station

by Rob Kennedy


Sunday, August 16, 2020

This evening on Preview! pianist Simone Dinnerstein plays music of Franz Schubert and Philip Glass, recorded at her home in Brooklyn. Violinist Ray Chen plays Bach from his home studio.  Rob Kennedy speaks with conductor James Blachly about his new recording of Ethel Smyth’s vocal symphony, The Prison.

Preview! brings you the best in new classical recordings each Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m. Eastern. With Jeffrey David Smith.

Photo of James Blachly by Olivia Locher

This evening on Wavelengths we’ll hear music of Chris Thile, Stuart Duncan, Yo-Yo Ma and Edgar Meyer from their long awaited follow-up to the “Goat Rodeo Sessions”. We’ll also hear works by Douglas Knehans and Michael Daugherty.

Wavelengths brings you the best in contemporary classical music, Sundays at 9 p.m. Eastern. With Ed Amend.

Photo of Michael Daugherty by Michael Daugherty on

This morning Great Sacred Music includes music sung by The Cathedral Singers, The Choir of Trinity Church, New York, and The St. Olaf Choir. Also on the playlist is choral music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Robert Parsons, and Emilio de Cavalieri. Dr. Philip Cave offers the commentary.

Great Sacred Music. Beautiful choral and organ music. Every Sunday morning. 8 a.m. eastern. Right after Sing For Joy. With Rob Kennedy.

Photo of Philip Cave by Bob Barkany

On August 16 we observe the birthdays of French composer Gabriel Pierné (1863-1937), American organist and conductor Paul Callaway (1909-1995), and Israeli conductor Yoel Levi (1950-). Monsieur Pierné was a student of César Franck and Jules Massenet. Dr. Callaway was organist and choirmaster at the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul, Washington, DC, from 1939-1977. Maestro Levi is the Music Director and Principal Conductor of the KBS Symphony Orchestra in Seoul, South Korea.

Photos: Yoel Levi/ABOSCH; Dr. Callaway & M. Pierne/

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Bringing you music composed hundreds of years ago takes 21st-century technology. Studio equipment, transmitters, satellites, fiber-optic Internet links, and a broadcasting tower nearly as tall as the Empire State Building. Help preserve the great sounds of western civilization. Donate online today. Don’t let history be forgotten.

On August 15 we observe the birthdays of English composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912), French composer Jacques Ibert (1890-1962), and German-American composer Lukas Foss (1922-2009). Coleridge-Taylor studied composition at the Royal College of Music with Sir Charles Villiers Stanford. Ibert wrote seven operas and five ballets, among other compositions. Foss was a classmate of Leonard Bernstein at the Curtis Institute.


Friday, August 14, 2020

Classical music was his companion. That’s why, in 2010, pop star, Kid Rock, raised a million dollars in a benefit concert and saved the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The Classical Station is your companion, and you can have us with you everywhere you go. Just check out our app. We’re in your device’s store. Search for WCPE, The Classical Station.

On August 14 we observe the birthdays of English composer Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810-1876) and French conductor Georges Prêtre (1924-2017). Wesley received his middle name because of his father’s love of Bach. Monsieur Prêtre earned international recognition as a fine conductor of opera in the major opera houses of the world.


Thursday, August 13, 2020

This evening the Thursday Night Opera House presents Peter Tchaikovsky’s best-known opera, Evgeny Onegin (Eugene Onegin). The idea of setting Alexander Pushkin’s classic “novel in verse” was suggested to Tchaikovsky in 1877, and the opera had its premiere on January 23, 1881 at Moscow’s Imperial College of Music.

The curtain goes up at 7 p.m. Eastern.

Photo: Scene from Eugene Onegin/Samokish Sudkovskaya

On August 13 we observe the birthdays of English composer John Ireland (1879-1962), French conductor Louis Frémaux (1921-2017), and American soprano Kathleen Battle (1948-). Ireland wrote music in many forms, mainly in an impressionistic style. His students included Ernest John Moeran and Benjamin Britten. Frémaux was music director of several major orchestras including the Orchestra of the Opéra de Monte-Carlo and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Battle is a Grammy Award winning artist who is at home singing classical, jazz, and crossover works.

Photos: Ms. Battle/Douglas Foulke; Others/

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

On August 12 we observe the birthdays of Bohemian-Austrian composer Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber (1644-1704) and English composers Maurice Greene (1696-1755), Sir Frederick Arthur Gore Ouseley (1825-1889) and Sir Joseph Barnby (1838-1896). Herr von Biber was a brilliant composer and one of the finest violinists of his era. Maurice Greene was one of the most acclaimed musicians of his time. Eighteenth Century English Music states that by the age of 40 “he was Organist of St. Paul’s Cathedral, Organist and Composer to the Chapel Royal, Professor of Music at Cambridge University and Master of the King’s Musick.” Sir Frederick A. G. Ouseley was one of those brilliant musicians whose music is rarely heard these days. A prominent musician of the late 19th-century, Barnby is best known by modern listeners for his hymn tunes Laudes Domini for “When morning gilds the skies” and O Perfect Love for the hymn of the same name.


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

It’s fascinating to discover what makes 21st-century composers tick. In this conversation, Rob Kennedy speaks with  Norwegian composer Ola Gjeillo about his solo piano album Night. From his website: “Ola Gjeilo was born in Norway in 1978 and moved to the United States in 2001 to begin his composition studies at the Juilliard School in New York City, where he currently lives and works as a composer and pianist.” You can find more conversations here.

Photo: Jessica Griffin

On August 11 we observe the birthdays of German composer Heinz Werner Zimmermann (1930-), Welsh composer Alun Hoddinott (1929-2008), and British conductor Raymond Leppard (1927-2019). Herr Zimmermann has taught composition at several German music schools including the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts. Mr. Hoddinott was among the first Welsh composers to be known internationally. Artists such as Mstislav Rostropovich and Dennis Brain championed the composer’s music. Maestro Leppard was a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and its Director of Music from 1958-1968. He was also Music Director of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra from 1987-2001.

Monday, August 10, 2020

This evening Monday Night at the Symphony features the Dresden State Orchestra. On the program is music of Giachino Rossini, Johannes Brahms, and Ludwig van Beethoven in performances led by Silvio Varviso, Rudolf Kempe, and current principal conductor Christian Thielemann. The concert begins at 8 p.m. Eastern. Tell your smart speaker to “Play The Classical Station.”

Photo: Matthias Creutziger

This evening the August edition of Renaissance Fare includes some of the best recordings by the most popular Renaissance groups today—the Toronto Consort; Folger Consort; Piffaro, the Renaissance Band; the Baltimore Consort; and much more.

Join George Douglas for Renaissance Fare at 7 p.m. Eastern.


On August 10 we observe the birthdays of German composer Hieronymus Praetorius (1560-1629), Russian composer Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936), English composer Cecil Armstrong Gibbs (1889-1960), and French organist and teacher Marie-Claire Alain (1926-2013). Herr Praetorius is remembered mostly for a collection of chorales or hymn tunes which became a standard musical form in church worship. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov taught Glazunov composition. Glazunov in turn taught Dmitri Shostakovich. Cecil Armstrong Gibbs was best known for his songs. Marie-Claire Alain recorded the complete organ works of Bach three times.