This Week at The Classical Station

Photo: Painting inspired Debussy’s La Mer by Ari Ferro. From our Virtual Art Exhibition.

This Week at The Classical Station

by Rob Kennedy

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Joshua Bell opens Preview! this evening with a performance of the much-loved Meditation from Thaïs. Assistant Conductor of the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle, Niccolo Muti, talks about his life and work as a conductor.

Preview! brings you new releases and local arts news every Sunday at 6 p.m. With Tony Waller.

This morning, Great Sacred Music includes performances by the Cambridge Singers, Sinfonietta de Montréal, and Christa Rakich. Also on the playlist is music by John Rutter, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Michael Haydn, and many more.

Great Sacred Music brings you four hours of sacred choral and organ music every Sunday at 8 a.m. Eastern. Right after Sing for Joy. With host Mick Anderson.

On February 11 we observe the birthdays of Scottish conductor Sir Alexander Gibson (1926-1995), Czech-born American pianist Rudolf Firkušný (1912-1994), and English organist Christopher Dearnley (1930-2000). Sir Alexander Drummond Gibson was the conductor of the Scottish National Orchestra from 1959-1984. Rudolf Firkušný studied with legendary pianists Alfred Cortot and Artur Schnabel. Christopher Dearnley was organist of Salisbury Cathedral and Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London.

Photos: Sir Alexander Gibson, Unknown Author on; Rudolf Firkušný, Unknown Author on Philadelphia Chamber Music Society; Christopher Dearnley, Unknown Author on Composer For Organ

Saturday, February 10, 2024

The Metropolitan Opera continues its 2023-24 season of Saturday matinée broadcasts – and sets the mood for Valentine’s Day – with a program of opera’s most enthralling love duets. “Valentines from the Met” features some of the Met’s greatest stars in radio broadcasts that span more than 90 years on the air, from Lily Pons in the 1930s to Leontyne Price and Franco Corelli in the 1960s, to more recent favorites. These captivating performances depict love at first sight, steamy seduction, death-defying passion, and everything in between, covering two centuries of music, from Handel to Gershwin.

The curtain goes up at 1 p.m. Eastern.

On February 10 we observe the birthdays of American soprano Leontyne Price (1927-) and American composer Peter Boyer (1970-)

Laurel, Mississippi native Leontyne Price was highly regarded as a lyrico-spinto soprano until her retirement in 1985. Over 125 of her recordings are available. A graduate of The Hartt School of the University of Hartford, Peter Boyer is known for his film scores.

Photo of Ms. Price by Jack Mitchell; Mr. Boyer by Danika Singfield, CC BY-SA 4.0 on

Friday, February 9, 2024

Metropolitan Opera presents
Valentines from the Met
Saturday, February 10 at 1 p.m. Eastern

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On February 9 we observe the birthdays of English composer and founder of the Royal School of Church Music, Sir Sydney Nicholson (1875-1947), Austrian composer Alban Berg (1885-1935) and Welsh organist and choral conductor George Guest (1924-2002).

Sir Sydney Nicholson was organist of Westminster Abbey and founder of the School of English Church Music which later became the Royal School of Church Music. A proponent of the 12-tone compositional technique, Alban Berg is best known to 21st-century audiences for his operas Wozzeck and Lulu. Director of the Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge, from 1951-1991, George Guest made the Choir one of the most renowned in the world.

Photo: Photo of Sir Sydney Nicholson, Unknown Author on; Photo of George Guest, Author Unknown on; Photo of Alban Berg, Unknown Author on OnMusic Dictionary,com

Thursday, February 8, 2024

This evening, the Thursday Night Opera House presents Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio. In this comical romp filled with delightful and virtuosic music, Kostanze (Gruberova) and her English maid, Blonde (Battle), are held captive in a harem. Their lovers try to rescue them using outlandish antics. Osmin’s (Talvela) third act aria is the most impressive aria for bass in all of Mozart’s operas.

The curtain goes up at 7 p.m. Eastern. Tell your smart speaker to “Play The Classical Station.”

On February 8 we observe the birthdays of French composer André Ernest Modeste Grétry (1741-1813), Polish-born American pianist and teacher Artur Balsam (1906-1994), and American composer John Williams (1932-).

A student of Galuppi and Pergolesi in Rome, Monsieur Grétry composed over fifty operas. Artur Balsam was a distinguished teacher whose students included Emmanuel Ax and Murray Perahia. While serving in the Air Force, John Williams conducted the United States Air Force Band. He also studied at Julliard. Mr. Williams has written some of the most memorable film scores ever. Happy 90th birthday, Maestro!

Photos: Portrait of André Ernest Modeste Grétry by Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, Public Domain on; Photo of Artur Balsam, Unknown Author on Primephonic;  Photo of John Williams by Alex McNayr, CC BY-SA 2.0 on

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Keep Great Classical Music on the air by donating your old gas guzzler to The Classical Station. We make donating easy, and the pick-up is free. Here’s how to get started: simply call 877-927-3872 or click on Donate.

On February 7 we observe the birthdays of Swedish composer Wilhelm Stenhammar (1871-1927) and Polish conductor Antoni Wit (1944-).

Besides being the artistic director and conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra from 1906-1922, Carl Wilhelm Eugen Stenhammar managed to compose three symphonies, two piano concerti and a host of other works in his short life of fifty-six years. A student of Nadia Boulanger, Maestro Wit has conducted many of the world’s great orchestras. He currently teaches at the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw.

Photos: Wilhelm Stenhammar c. 1916 in Vecko-Journalen, Author Unknown, Public Domain on; Antoni Wit, Unknown Author on

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Join George Leef in the 11 a.m. hour of Classical Café on Wednesday, February 7th, for your chance to win our ticket giveaway. George will be offering a pair of tickets to the North Carolina Symphony’s concert featuring Beethoven’s much-loved Fifth Symphony.  The concert takes place on Friday, February 16th, and Saturday, February 17th at 8 p.m. at Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh.

On February 6 we observe the birthday of Chilean pianist Claudio Arrau (1903-1991).

Señor Arrau was considered one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century. Steinway & Sons has a fascinating article about Señor Arrau entitled “How Claudio Arrau Nearly Became Glenn Gould”

Photo: 1974 photo of Claudio Arrau by Allan Warren, CC BY-SA 3.0 on

Monday, February 5, 2024

This evening, Monday Night at The Symphony features the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, which was founded in 1945. The program includes music by Antonio Vivaldi, Josef Haydn, Ferdinand Ries, and more, conducted by Howard Griffiths and current Music Director Daniel Hope.

The concert begins at 8 p.m. Eastern. Tell your smart speaker to “Play The Classical Station.”

JoAnn Falletta
Photo by Cheryl Gorski

The February edition of My Life in Music will feature GRAMMY Award-winning conductor, JoAnn Falletta. Maestra Falletta serves as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Music Director Laureate of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Brevard Music Center, and Conductor Laureate of the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra.

Join Rob Kennedy for My Life In Music this evening at 7 p.m. Eastern.

On February 5 we observe the birthday of English conductor Sir John Pritchard (1921-1989).

He was the music director of the San Francisco Opera when he died. Besides being an authority on Mozart and Rossini, Sir John was well-regarded as a champion of contemporary British music for which he was knighted in 1983. He had a long association with the Glyndebourne Festival.

Photo: John Pritchard, Unknown Author on