This Week At The Classical Station

Photo: Dale Marie Muller, Roberts, Montana

This Week At The Classical Station

by Rob Kennedy

Sunday, March 21, 2021

This evening on Wavelengths, we feature recent Grammy winners and nominees with music of Christopher Theofanidis, Ellen Taafe Zwilich and Maria Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir.

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

This evening on Preview!, we’ll feature winners and nominees from last weeks’ GRAMMY Awards, with music of Benjamin Britten, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Antonín Dvořák, and Charles Ives. Performers include pianist Daniil Trifonov, conductor Gustavo Dudamel and violinist Augustin Hadelich. Rob Kennedy speaks with American composer Richard Danielpour about his oratorio, The Passion of Yeshua, which won Best Choral Performance in a recording by JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic.

Preview! brings you the best in new classical recordings, Sundays at 6 p.m. Eastern.

Photo: Richard Danielpour by Timothy Greenfield Sanders

This morning on Great Sacred Music Rob Kennedy, Al Sturgis, and William Henry Curry will be asking for your support of this unique Sunday morning program of sacred choral and organ music. Call 800-556-5178 to make your pledge or donate securely online.

On March 21 we observe the birthdays of German composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881), Belgian composer Jules Van Nuffel (1883-1953), French cellist Paul Tortelier (1914-1990), Belgian violinist Arthur Grumiaux (1921-1986), American violinist Joseph Silverstein (1932-2015), and American conductor Erich Kunzel (1935-2009).

A composer thoroughly versed in the skills of his trade, Bach drew from the past and looked to the future in the music which he wrote for all manner of occasions and purposes. Originally destined for a military career, Mussorgsky abandoned his commission in 1858 to devote his life to music. While cantor at Mechelen Cathedral, Father Van Nuffel worked with Flor Peeters, a noted organist, and composer. One of the great cellists of the 20th-century, Monsieur Tortelier taught at several universities during his lifetime. Monsieur Grumiaux was one of the great violinists of the 20th-century. Besides being a fine violinist and concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for many years, Joseph Silverstein was also a conductor and teacher. A well-known musician, Maestro Kunzel is best-known for his long tenure with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.

Photos: Johann Sebastian Bach (aged 61) in a portrait by Elias Gottlob Haussmann, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Modest Mussorgsky, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Jules Van Nuffell, Unknown Author,;  Paul Tortelier, Unknown Author; Arthur Grumiaux, Unknown Author, Fair Use, Wikimedia Commons; Erich Kunzel, Unknown Author, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra

Saturday, March 20, 2021

The 2020-21 Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcast season continues with Le Comte Ory, Rossini’s racy final comedy, in a performance from 2013. Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flórez starred in the title role as the Count who goes undercover – repeatedly – to pursue the Countess Adèle. That role was sung by South African soprano Pretty Yende, who made her dazzling Met debut in this production. French mezzo-soprano Karine Deshayes was Isolier, the Count’s page and romantic rival, and American baritone Nathan Gunn was Ory’s pal Rimbaud. Maurizio Benini conducted the Met Orchestra and Chorus in Rossini’s delightful and virtuosic score.

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

Photo: Metropolitan Opera House by Jonathan Tichler

On March 20 we observe the birthday of Russian pianist Sviatoslav Richter (1915-1997). Sviatoslav Teofilovich Richter was considered one of the greatest 20th-century pianists.

Photo: Photo in Ann Arbor District Library, Unknown Author

Friday, March 19, 2021

On this first day of our Spring Membership Drive, we have an Early Bird Special for you. 100 Best Children’s Classics, a six-CD collection on the Warner Classics label,  features the music of Debussy, Beethoven, Grieg, Mozart, Chopin, and more. Included are classics such as The Moldau, Night on Bald Mountain, and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

Ask for 100 Best Children’s Classics as a Thank You Gift for your Sustaining Membership of $12.50 per month or a one-time gift of $150 in support of Great Classical music. Today only, while supplies last.

Call 800-556-5178 and tell the phone answerer that you want to become a Sustaining Member of The Classical Station and that you want 100 Best Children’s Classics. If you choose to give online, please note in the Additional Comments field of the pledge form that you would like 100 Best Children’s Classics as your Thank-you Gift.

Thank you for supporting The Classical Station!

On March 19 we observe the birthdays of Korean cellist Myung-Wha Chung (1944-), King John IV of Portugal (1604-1656), and German composer Max Reger (1873-1916).

After studying with Leonard Rose at The Julliard School, Myung-Wha Chung has gone on to an active performing career. She is a professor of cello at The Mannes College of Music in New York. King John ruled the Portuguese empire at its zenith. He was also a patron of the arts and a gifted composer. A prolific composer, Herr Reger’s music is familiar, and indeed terrifying, to organists.

Photos: Portrait of King John IV of Portugal, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons; Myung-Wha Chung, Unknown Author, Alchetron; Max Reger, Ernst Hoenisch, Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg,


Thursday, March 18, 2021

This evening the Thursday Night Opera House presents Robert Ward’s The Crucible. Arthur Miller’s McCarthy-era play about the 1692 Salem witch trials won the 1962 Pulitzer Prize for Durham composer Robert Ward (1917–2013). The late Al Ruocchio hosts. (From the Ruocchio Archives.) The curtain goes up at 7 p.m. Eastern.

On March 18 we observe the birthdays of Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908), and Japanese violist Nobuko Imai (1943-), and American conductor James Conlon (1950-).

Rimsky-Korsakov was one of The Mighty Handful of Russian composers that included Mily Balakirev, César Cui, Modest Mussorgsky, and Alexander Borodin. After studying at Julliard and Yale, Ms. Imai has gone on to have a distinguished career performing and teaching. A native of Douglaston, Queens, New York, Maestro Conlon is currently Music Director of Los Angeles Opera and Artistic Advisor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra from September 2021.

Photos: Portrait of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov by Valentin Serow, Public Domain, WikiMedia Commons; Nobuko Imai by Marco Borggreve; James Conlon courtesy Cincinnati May Festival

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Our Spring 2021 Membership Drive begins this Friday. The point of our membership drives is to encourage listeners to become supporting members of The Classical Station. Did you know that Angels help us achieve that objective? Well, yes, they do and have done so for many years. Our Angels are very special listeners who will match your gift to encourage you to support this unique classical music radio station which you enjoy so much.

The way it works is very simple. For example, a listener in Virginia commits $600 to the membership drive. She tells us that she will match any contribution up to a total of $600. So, once her angel match is met, The Classical Station garners $600 from our Angel and another $600 from the listeners who have become Sustaining Members.

Can you be an Angel during our Spring 2021 Membership Drive? Here’s how to make that happen: call Tanja Greaves here at the station and let her know that you want to be an Angel with your gift of $300 or more. You can reach Tanja at 800-556-5178 or email her.

If you prefer, you can become an Angel by making your gift of $300 or more online via our secure server. Just be sure to mention that you want to be an Angel in the Comments box. Thank you for inspiring other listeners to support The Classical Station. Don’t hesitate to call if you have questions.

On March 17 we observe the birthday of composer and organist Josef Rheinberger (1839-1901).

A native of Liechtenstein, Rheinberger spent most of his life in Germany. He taught several Americans including Horatio Parker and George Whitefield Chadwick. His European students included Englebert Humperdinck, Richard Strauss, and Wilhelm Furtwängler.

Photo: Joseph Rheinberger, Unknown Author, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

On March 16 we observe the birthdays of English conductor Sir Roger Norrington (1934-), German mezzo-soprano Christa Ludwig (1925-), Spanish mezzo-soprano Teresa Berganza (1935-), American composer David Del Tredici (1937-), and German conductor Claus Peter Flor (1953-).

Highly-regarded for his performances and recordings of Beethoven, Schubert, Haydn, and more on period instruments, Sir Roger Norrington founded the London Classical Players in 1978. Active from the 40s through the 90s, Ms. Ludwig was one of the greatest singers of her generation. Besides appearing on opera house stages around the world, Senora Berganza has appeared in nine movies. A Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, David Del Tredici is renowned for his music written for a variety of genres. Maestro Flor has conducted many of the world’s great orchestras. He was music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra from 1999-2008.

Photos: Sir Roger Norrington by Manfred Esser; Christa Ludwig, Unknown Author on Opera World; Teresa Berganza, Unknown Author, Public Domain, WikiMedia Commons; David Del Tredici, Unknown Author on Marin Music Chest; Claus Peter Flor, Shawn Northcutt

Monday, March 15, 2021

During the month of March, we honor women’s contributions to American history. Here at The Classical Station we also honor women composers, performers, and conductors for their contributions to classical music. We have an extensive collection of conversations with distinguished musicians for you to enjoy. You can find them on our Conversations page. Here’s a sampling of the artists who await you there. Click the link below each photo to hear our conversation with that musician.

Photos: Libby Larsen by Ann Marsden; Nancy Green by Christian Steiner; Rebecca Cypess by Michele Alperin; Anne Sofie von Otter by Eva-Marie Rundquist

This evening Monday Night at the Symphony features the Dresden State Orchestra.  On the program are works by Otto Nicolai, Josef Haydn, and Joannes Brahms in performances led by Hans Vonk, Giuseppe Sinopoli, and current Chief Conductor Christian Thielemann.

The concert begins at 8 p.m. Eastern.

On March 15 we observe the birthday of Austrian composer Eduard Strauss (1835-1916). Part of the Strauss dynasty, he and his brothers Johann Strauss II and Josef Strauss composed much light music to entertain the good people of Vienna.

Photo: Eduard Strauss, Unknown Author, Public Domain, WikiMedia Commons