Conversations with Performers

In these conversations with our staff announcers Rob Kennedy, Bob Chapman, and Dan McHugh, distinguished musicians talk about their new recordings, their art, and much more. These musicians love what they do and are most eager to share their art with everybody. Let your family and friends know about these conversations, which they can listen to or download anytime. You can also listen to these conversations on our apps.

Lucas Meachem

From Lucas’s website: “Grammy Award-winning baritone Lucas Meachem is one of the most accomplished, in-demand singers of the moment, captivating audiences around the world with his “earnest appealing baritone” (The New York Times) and “commanding presence” San Francisco Chronicle. “A rock star of opera” (Opera Pulse). Rob Kennedy speaks with lyric baritone Lucas Meacham about his career and upcoming engagements.

Photo: Simon Pauly

Stephen Hough

From his website: “One of the most distinctive artists of his generation, Stephen Hough combines a distinguished career as a pianist with those of composer and writer. Named by The Economist as one of Twenty Living Polymaths, Hough was the first classical performer to be awarded a MacArthur Fellowship (2001. Mr. Hough has composed works for orchestra, choir, chamber ensemble and solo piano. His Mass of Innocence and Experience and Missa Mirabilis were respectively commissioned by and performed at London’s Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral.”

Photo: Andrew Crowley

Angèle Dubeau

From Angèle’s website: “A pulsation marks time, it infuses its rhythm in it and also evokes the heart. Just like those composers whose music calls out to me and who, with their unique signatures, mark time, our time; Olafur Arnalds, Jean-Michel Blais, Ludovico Einaudi, Alex Baranowski, Craig Armstrong, Peter Gregson, Yann Tiersen, Abel Korzeniowski, Johan Johannsson, Max Richter, Dalal, Michael Nyman.” In this conversation, Rob Kennedy and Angèle talk about her CD Pulsations which you can listen to on Spotify.

Photo: Analekta

Paul Merkolo

From his website: “Paul Merkelo has been hailed as ‘the new Maurice André’’ by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and is recognized as ‘a spectacular soloist… a most impressive master of his instrument’ (Montreal Gazette) who ‘knows no limits’ (Der Spiegel online – Germany) with ‘unusual lyrical gifts’ (Gramophone). Principal trumpet with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal since 1995, he has been featured frequently with the OSM, including tours to South America and at the Lincoln Center in New York, and is the first member of the orchestra to be invited to record a debut solo album with the orchestra (French Trumpet Concertos – Kent Nagano).” In this podcast, Rob Kennedy and Paul chat about his CD The Enlightened Trumpet.

Photo: paulmerkolotrumpet.com

Diane Bish

Concert and recording artist, composer, conductor, and international television personality, Diane Bish displays her dazzling virtuosity and unique showmanship the world over to international acclaim.  From her website: “Miss Bish has recorded on the foremost organs of the world and was the first American woman to record on the four organs of Freiburg Cathedral, Germany. Featured on over 30 of her recordings are music for organ and orchestra, brass and organ, great organ masterpieces, organ and harp, original works, and hymn arrangements. ” In this podcast, which was recorded for the March 2019 edition of My Life In Music, Rob Kennedy speaks with Diane about her career as a concert organist.

Photo: Ron Ely

Carr-Petrova Duo

From their website: “Carr and Petrova began playing together during their years at the Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music, and have since performed together across Europe, the Middle East and North America, in venues ranging from Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall to soup kitchens and food pantries in New Orleans. Their debut album Novel Voices was released on Melos Records in October 2019 to critical acclaim. Spain’s Classical Music Magazine Ritmo chose it as one of their “Top 10 CDs of the Month.” Fanfare Magazine listed the album as “magical” and a “recording to have and hold dear, […] one of the most successful viola and piano recitals – technically perfect and musically involving.” Rob Kennedy spoke with Molly Carr and Anna Petrova about Novel Voices.

Photo: David Beyda

Yolanda Kondonassis

From her website: “Yolanda Kondonassis is celebrated as one of the world’s premier solo harpists and is widely regarded as today’s most recorded classical harpist. Hailed as “a brilliant and expressive player” (Dallas Morning News) with “exquisite sensitivity to timbre and shading…both elegant and eloquent” (Miami Herald), she has performed around the globe as a concerto soloist and in recital, bringing her unique brand of musicianship and warm artistry to an ever-increasing audience. Also a published author, speaker, professor of harp, and environmental activist, she weaves her many passions into a vibrant and multi-faceted career.” In this podcast originally aired as My Life In Music in December 2019, Rob Kennedy and Yolanda Kondonassis talk about her career as a solo performer and teacher, as well as her championing of new music for the harp.
Photo: Yolanda Kondonassis/Laura Watilo Blake

Sharon Isbin

The Grammy Award-winning Pacifica Quartet and multiple Grammy-winning guitarist Sharon Isbin join forces for an uncommon album of music for strings and guitar from the Baroque to the mid-20th century. Souvenirs of Spain And Italy is the first joint recording by these renowned artists and marks Isbin’s Cedille Records debut. Dan McHugh and Sharon Isbin discuss her new recording with Sharon offering fascinating insights into its genesis and production.

Photo: Sharon Isbin/J. Henry Fair

Sarah Cahill

From her website: “Cahill not only possesses the technical prowess to interpret challenging new scores, but also the ability to provide persuasive verbal explanation that gives context to each composer’s compositional approach. As an ambassador for new music, Cahill has few peers.” Sarah speaks with Rob Kennedy about her innovative program The Future Is Female.

Photo: Sarah Cahill/Christine Alicina

Robert Parkins

From the liner notes: “Robert Parkins plays the newly renovated 1932 Aeolian organ at Duke which was the last built by this builder and their only organ of this size and significance built for a church. His unusual program includes American works influenced by German Romantic, jazz and blues traditions.” Dr. Parkins speaks with Rob Kennedy about Salome’s Dance which you can hear on Spotify.
Photo: Robert Parkins/Duke University

Stephanie Blythe

Mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe was our guest on the June 2019 edition of My Life In Music. Winner of the 1994 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Ms. Blythe enjoys an active career on the opera stage as well as teaching. Stephanie speaks with Bob Chapman about her career and what got her started as a professional musician.
Photo: StephanieBlythemezzo.com

George Harliono

From his website: “British pianist George Harliono was invited to make his first one hour long, solo recital at the age of nine and since then has performed in numerous locations both in the UK, USA, Europe and Asia, appearing at venues such as Wigmore Hall, The Berlin Philharmonie Kammermusiksaal, The Royal Albert Hall and Chicago Symphony Centre.” In this podcast, Rob Kennedy and George Harliono talk about the various competitions he has entered and his love of performing on the concert stage.
Photo: Josh Harliono

Matthew Lipman

From the liner notes: “Dmitri Shostakovich’s long-lost Impromptu for Viola and Piano, Op. 33, recently unearthed in the Moscow State Archives, receives its world-premiere recording on Matthew Lipman’s Ascent, the acclaimed young American violist’s solo debut album, featuring, in the artist’s words, “music enraptured by flights of fantasy.” Recipient of a 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Lipman has created an album of uplifting and spiritually transcendent works for viola and piano, dedicated to his late mother.” Matthew speaks with Dan McHugh about his recording which you can hear on Spotify.
Photo: Matthew Lipman/Jiyang Chen

Joyce DiDonato

From Joyce’s website: “On Songplay, along with her hand-picked band led by pianist and arranger Craig Terry, Joyce draws inspiration from Cavalli and Chet Baker in equal measure. The languishing heart in Giordani’s Car mio ben is as emotionally charged as Jerry Bock’s hopeful Will he like me? Perhaps the most compelling reminder of how the music of Songplay breaks down barriers is from DiDonato’s experience leading vocal and composition workshops in the New York prison Sing Sing, where one of the men who is incarcerated was particularly moved upon hearing her rendition of Car mio ben: ‘I feel like I’ve known this song my whole life.'” Bob Chapman speaks with Joyce DiDonato about Song Play which you can listen to on Spotify.
Photo: Joyce DiDonato/Simon Pauly

Anna Shelest

In early 2019 Ukrainian-American pianist Anna Shelest released Donna Voce which features the music of six women composers: Lili Boulanger, Clara Schumann, Fanny Mendelsohn-Hensel, Amy Beach, Cécile Chaminade, and Chiayu Hsu. Rob Kennedy speaks with Anna about this recording, the composers, and their music. You can listen to the album on Spotify.
Photo: Anna Shelest/Cathy Lyons

Olivier Latry

On April 15, 2019, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris suffered a devastating fire. Fortunately the great organ was spared. The Titular Organist of Notre Dame, Olivier Latry, speaks with Rob Kennedy about the last recording he made of the organ before the fire.  It is entitled Bach To The Future. You can listen to the album on Spotify.
Photo: Olivier Latry/Jean-François Badias

Roman Rabinovich

Wikipedia notes: “Roman Rabinovich is an Israeli pianist. He was the winner of the 2008 Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition. He has performed in the United States, Europe, and Israel at places such as Gewandhaus, Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Seymour Lipkin.” In this podcast Roman speaks with Rob Kennedy about his recording of the Haydn Piano Sonatas.

 

Photo: Balazs Borocz

Miró Quartet

From their website: “The Miró Quartet is one of America’s most celebrated string quartets, having performed throughout the world on the most prestigious concert stages. For twenty-five years the Miró has performed a wide range of repertoire that pays homage to the legacy of the string quartet while looking forward to the future of chamber music by commissioning new works and collaborating with some of today’s most important artists.” Rob Kennedy speaks with members of the quartet about their recording of all the Beethoven string quartets.

Photo: Michael Thad Carter

Sung-Won Yang

The Bach Cello Suites are some of the most sublime music the German composer wrote. South Korean cellist Sung-Won Yang recorded the Cello Suites in the spacious acoustics of the Église Notre Dame de Bon Secours, Paris. Sung-Won Yang speaks with Rob Kennedy about the music and his interpretation. You can listen to the album on Spotify.
Photo: Sung-Won Yang/Sang-Hoon Park

Roberto Fabbriciani

In this video, Adrienne DiFranco speaks about Italian flute player and composer Roberto Fabbriciani. She describes her time studying with Signor Fabbriciani as well as giving an overview of his music and work as a composer, teacher, and conductor.
Photo: Roberto Fabbriciani/robertofabbriciani.it

Ward Stare and Yolanda Kondonassis

This is a conversation which Rob Kennedy had with Ward Stare, Music Director of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and harpist Yolanda Kondonassis about the Rochester Philharmonic’s CD American Rapture. We discuss Ward’s work with the orchestra and both Yolanda and Ward offer insights into Jennifer Higdon’s Harp Concerto. The podcast begins with Rob’s asking Ward how he came to be Music Director of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. You can listen to the CD on Spotify.

Photo: Yolanda Kondonassis & Ward Stare/Crossover Media

Musicologist & historical keyboardist Dr. Rebecca Cypess is an Associate Professor of Music at the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, New Jersey. She received the 2018 Noah Greenberg Award from the American Musicological Society for her recording with fortepianist Yi-heng Yang, Sisters, Face-to-Face: The Bach Legacy in Women’s Hands. Dan McHugh speaks with Dr. Cypess about her recording which you can listen to on Spotify.
Photo: Rebecca Cypess/Michele Alperin

Yevgeny Kutik

From Yevgeny’s website: “I asked composers I admire to choose their own family photo, a photo that conjures up memories of joy, sadness, unity, and longing, and to translate that photo into a short work for violin. What follows are eight musical meditations, written by eight different voices, each inspired by their own family story and tradition.” Rob Kennedy speaks with violinist Yevgeny Kutik about Meditations on Family which you can listen to on Spotify.

Photo: Kevin Sprague

Nancy Green

From Nancy’s website: “Hailed by Fanfare Magazine as ‘one of the great cellists of our time’ and ‘in the elite of today’s concert cellists’, Nancy Green is an internationally recognized recording artist, known for her highly acclaimed CDs of previously unrecorded works as well as staples of the cello repertoire.” Dan McHugh speaks with cellist Nancy Green about her recording of the Beethoven Sonatas for Cello and Piano.

Photo: Christian Steiner

Ofra Harnoy

From her website: “Ofra Harnoy has established herself as one of the greatest cellists on the world’s concert stage. She is one of Canada’s most celebrated personalities and is a Member of the Order of Canada. By joining the international artists roster of RCA Victor Red Seal in 1987, Ms. Harnoy became the first Canadian classical instrumental soloist since Glen Gould to gain an exclusive worldwide contract with a major record label.” In this podcast, Rob Kennedy speaks with Ofra and her husband Mike Herriott about her new CD Back to Bach and the couple’s new life in the maritime provice of Newfoundland.

Photo: Ofra Harnoy/Denise Grant

Nadia Shpachenko

From her website: “GRAMMY AWARD® winning pianist Nadia Shpachenko enjoys bringing into the world things that are outside the box – powerful pieces that often possess unusual sonic qualities or instrumentation.” In this podcast, Rob Kennedy speaks with Nadia about her new CD The Poetry of Places which won the GRAMMY® for Best Classical Compendium in 2020.

 

Photo: Albert Chang

Wei Luo

From her website: “Pianist Wei Luo, as one of the most promising students of legendary Gary Graffman, was recognized by American classical radio station WQXR as one of the 19 artists to watch in 2019. In August 2019, Wei released her self-titled debut album produced by Grammy awards winner Erica Brenner, under DeccaGold, Universal Music Group. The album was recommended and featured by the Gramophone online as one of the most exciting new releases in July, 2019.”

Photo: Wei Luo/weiluopiano.com

Jim Jordan & Sister Christine

From their website: “Gloriæ Dei Cantores Schola presents The Chants of Angels. Using the ancient melodies and texts of the early church, each Gregorian chant depicts a new aspect or story of these heavenly guardians, guides and friends, from the most intimate plea to our own guardian angels, to the great announcement made to the Virgin Mary by the Archangel Gabriel. For those who are new to Gregorian chant and for seasoned scholars, The Chants of Angels allows listeners to simply close their eyes, and be surrounded by these songs of prayer and comfort — just as they are surrounded by angels.” In this conversation, Rob Kennedy speaks with Jim Jordan and Sister Chris about their CD of Gregorian chant.

Photo: Gloriae Dei Cantores