This Week At The Classical Station

Photo: Dale Marie Muller, Roberts, Montana

This Week At The Classical Station

by Rob Kennedy

Sunday, January 31, 2021

American composer Philip Glass, born on January 31 in Baltimore in 1937, has been called a “minimalist”, but the label seems a bit off for someone who has written 25 operas, 12 symphonies, and a wealth of film scores and music in other genres. We’ll feature music of Philip Glass on Wavelengths this evening. Happy 84th birthday!

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

Photo: Philip Glass by Pasquale Salerno on, CC BY-SA 2.0

This evening on Preview! we’ll get an early start to our Black History Month celebration with new releases from baritone Will Liverman and pianist Lara Downes. Rob Kennedy speaks with tenor Brian Giebler about his recording, A Lad’s Love. JoAnn Falletta leads the Buffalo Philharmonic in music of Mahler and violinist Hilary Hahn plays Prokofiev.

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

Photo: Brian Giebler by J. Demetrie Photography

This morning Great Sacred Music includes music sung by The Holst Singers, Sospiri, and the Tallis Scholars. Also on the playlist is music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Dan Locklair, and John Rutter.

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

Photo: Presentation window in Canterbury Cathedral by Jules & Jenny from Lincoln, UK, CC 2.0 Generic on

On January 31 we observe the birthdays of Austrian composer Franz Schubert (1797-1828), American composer Philip Glass (1937-), and Israeli-born Canadian cellist Ofra Harnoy (1965-).

One of the last classical-era composers and one of the first romantic-era composers, Franz Schubert loved melodies. He wrote over 600 songs and nine symphonies in his short life. Phillip Glass has written eleven symphonies and dozens of film scores. Ms. Harnoy enjoys an active performing and recording career with over 25 CDs to her credit. You can enjoy an interview with her on our Conversations With Instrumentalists page.

Photos: Franz Schubert, Unknown Author on; Philip Glass, Author Unknown; Ofra Harnoy by Denise Grant;

Saturday, January 30, 2021

The 2020-21 Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcast season continues with Charles Gounod’s Faust, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin in an encore broadcast from 2011. Tenor Jonas Kaufmann starred in the title role as the scholar who trades his soul to regain his youth. Soprano Marina Poplavskaya sang Marguerite, Faust’s love interest and eventual victim, baritone Russell Braun was Marguerite’s brother Valentin, and bass René Pape sang the devil Méphistophélès. In one of his early company appearances, Maestro Nézet-Séguin conducted the Met orchestra and chorus in Gounod’s lush, melodic score.

The curtain goes up at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.

Photo: Cover to an edition of Charles Gounod’s Faust, Public Domain, on

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On January 30 we observe the birthdays of English composer Thomas Tallis (1505-1585), German Johann Joachim Quantz (1697-1773), German-born American conductor Walter Damrosch (1862-1950), and American cellist Lynn Harrell (1944-2020).

Thomas Tallis flourished at a difficult time in English history. He is considered to be one of England’s greatest composers. Herr Quantz was a prolific composer who wrote 200 sonatas, 300 concertos, 45 trio sonatas, and many other works, according to Wikipedia. Remembered today as a conductor, Walter Damrosch was NBC’s music director back in the 30s and 40s. After studying at Julliard and the Curtis Institute, Lynn Harrell made his debut in 1961 with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

Photos: Engraving by Niccolò Haym of Thomas Tallis after a portrait by Gerard van der Gucht, Public Domain, on; Portrait of Johann Joachim Quantz by  Johann Friedrich Gerhard, Public Domain, on; Portrait of Walter Damrosch by Napoleon Sarony, Public Domain, on; Photo of Lynn Harrell by Christian Steiner;

Friday, January 29, 2021

Metropolitan Opera presents Gounod’s Faust
Saturday, January 30 at 1 p.m. Eastern
Conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, with tenor Jonas Kaufmann, soprano Marina Poplavskaya, baritone Russell Braun, and bass René Pape.

On January 29 we observe the birthdays of English composers Frederick Delius (1862-1934) and Havergal Brian (1876-1972), English pianist Malcolm Binns (1936-), and Taiwan-born American violinist Cho-Liang Lin (1960-).

Young Delius managed his father’s orange groves in Florida before returning to England and ultimately Paris where he spent much of his life. To call Havergal Brian a symphonist is putting it mildly. He wrote thirty-two symphonies. A graduate of London’s Royal College of Music, Malcolm Binns has championed British composers in his recordings and performances. He celebrates his 83rd birthday today. Cho-Liang Lin studied at The Julliard School and made his debut with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of 19.

Photos: Portrait of Frederick Delius by Jelka Rosen, in City of Westminster collection; Photo of Havergal Brian on Havergal Brian Society; Malcolm Binns by Hanya Chlala;  Photo of Cho-Liang Lin on

Thursday, January 28, 2021

portrait of Bob Chapman, host of Opera House

Bob Chapman

This evening the Thursday Night Opera House presents Der Stein der Weisen and Der Wohltätige Derwisch. First performed in 1790 and 1791, The Philosopher’s Stone and The Beneficient Dervish are pastiches, with music by Mozart, Henneberg, Schack, Gerl, and Schikaneder, that anticipate The Magic Flute.

The curtain goes up at 7 p.m. Bob Chapman hosts. Tell your smart speaker to “play The Classical Station.”

All-Request Friday
What shall we play for you tomorrow?
Submit your request by clicking Listen at the top of this page.

On January 28 we observe the birthdays of French composer Ferdinand Hérold (1791-1833), German composer Johann Ernst Bach (1722-1777), Polish-born American pianist Arthur Rubenstein (1887-1982), and English composer John Tavener (1944-2013).

Monsieur Hérold was a composer of operas of which Zampa is his best-known work. Herr Bach was a member of the famous North German Bach family. Arthur Rubenstein was widely considered one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century. Sir John Tavener’s fusion of modern compositional techniques and Eastern Christianity made him a unique voice in late 20th-century and early 21st-century music.

Photos: Artur Rubenstein on, Author Unknown; Ferdinand Hérold , Author Unknown in Gallica Digital Library, Public Domain; Johann Ernst Bach, Author Unknown, Public Domain; Sir John Tavener, Clestur, CCA 3.0 on;

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

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Here’s how a Sustaining Membership works: Your monthly contribution is deducted automatically from the account of your choice on the same day each month until you tell us to stop. You can increase, decrease, or stop your donation at any time.

To become a Sustaining Member, visit our Donation Page. Or call 800-556-5178 anytime. A member of staff will be happy to take down your information and instructions, as well as answer any questions you may have. Don’t forget to take a Thank You Gift or designate 10% of your Sustaining Membership to the Education Fund if you prefer. Thank you for being a Sustaining Member!

On January 27 we observe the birthdays of French composer Édouard Lalo (1823-1892), Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), English pianist John Ogdon (1937-1989), and French conductor Jean-Philippe Collard (1948-).

Édouard Lalo is best known to modern audiences for his Symphonie Espagnole. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed for a variety of musical genres and left us remarkable compositions in each category. John Ogdon’s genius was probably the root of his psychological problems. A child prodigy, Monsieur Collard went on to be a highly-regarded interpreter of the music of Faure and Saint-Saens.

Photos: Portrait of W.A. Mozart by Johann Georg Edlinger, Public Domain on; Engraving by Richard Paraire of Eduard Lalo, Public Domain,; John Ogden on; Jean-Phillippe Collard on

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Our mission since 1978 has been to share our love of classical music with our listeners everywhere. That’s why you’ll hear our announcers mention something about the music you are about to hear. Those little 20 or 30 second factoids are perfect for our listening experience because we want less talk and more music. On the other hand, hearing what performers think about the music they play or who they studied with is fascinating. Above all, it’s downright inspiring.

Our Conversations pages offer you dozens of interviews with conductors, singers, and instrumentalists. Download them or listen to them on our recently updated app.

What did we play yesterday or the day before? What will we play tomorrow?
Find out by clicking Listen at the top of this page.

On January 26 we observe the birthday of English cellist Jacqueline du Pré (1945-1987). Ms. du Pré was a brilliant cellist who had a career of barely ten years before it was cut short by multiple sclerosis. She was just forty-two years old when she died. The Davydov Stradivarius cello with which she is pictured is now on loan to Yo-Yo Ma.

Photo: Image of cellist Jacqueline du Pré (1945-1987) with husband, Daniel Barenboim and the Davydov Stradivarius violoncello, Unknown author on

Monday, January 25, 2021

From the boy wonder pianist of Salzburg to the troubled young genius in Vienna, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart created an extraordinary amount of music in his 35-year lifespan. The Classical Station brings you Mozart Madness Monday, January 25th through Wednesday, January 27th.  It’s a three-day celebration of his symphonies, piano concertos, chamber music, opera, and sacred music in celebration of the 265th anniversary of his birth.

Photo: Johann Nepomuk della Croce, Public Domain on

This evening Monday Night At The Symphony features an all-Mozart program, with performances by the Cleveland Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.  Celebrate “Mozart Madness” with us!

The concert begins at 8 p.m. Eastern.


On January 25 we observe the birthdays of Belgian composer Jan Blockx (1851-1912) and German conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler (1886-1954).

A composer of several operas, Jan Blockx was director of the Antwerp Conservatory from 1886-1912. Widely considered one of the great conductors of the 20th-century, Gustav Heinrich Ernst Martin Wilhelm Furtwängler’s life and career took many twists and turns.

Photos: Wilhelm Furtwängler by Emil Orlik, Public Domain on; Jan Blockx, Unknown Author, Arts Center, Brussels, Belgium