Conversations with Instrumentalists Part 1

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.

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: Roni Ely

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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

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Rebecca Cypess

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

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Carolina Eyck

German-Sorbian musician Carolina Eyck is one of a handful of theremin players in the world today. In this podcast, Carolina and Rob Kennedy talk about the theremin and Carolina’s career as a performer and a teacher.

Photo: Ananda Costa

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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/

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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

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George Harliono

British pianist George Harliono talks with Rob Kennedy about the various competitions he has entered and his love of performing on the concert stage.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.”

Photo: Kir Smivakov

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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

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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

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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

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Olivier Latry

On April 15, 2019, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris suffered a devastating fire. Fortunately, the great organ was spared. The former 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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