Dan Rest, Lyric Opera of Chicago

Tune in Saturday for Wagner's comic masterpiece, "The Mastersingers of Nuremberg," in a production featuring some master singers, including Bo Skovhus as Beckmesser, Johann Botha as Walther, and the illustrious Wagnerian James Morris as Sachs (one of his signature roles). The Lyric Opera of Chicago production is conducted by music director Sir Andrew Davis.

Credit: Robert Schultze/ Mat Hennek/ DG from

When Hélène Grimaud isn't playing the piano, her passion is the wolf conservancy she co-founded. It liberated her, she writes: after conceiving of it, "I had become a wild woman." That wildness may be part of what make Grimaud a great Beethoven interpreter. Hear her in Beethoven's Piano Concerto no. 5, (known as "The Emperor") Friday afternoon on Barney Sherman's program.

1982: Viktoria Mullova is the USSR's violin sensation, winning the gold in the Tchaikovsky Competition. I983: she puts her state-owned Stradivarius on her hotel bed in Finland, dons a blonde wig to fool her KGB minders, and escapes to Sweden. Since then, she's been on of the supreme violinists - and she regularly crosses artistic borders. She has just re-recorded the Bach concertos, and this time she plays a Baroque violin. Sparks fly. Hear one of the concertos - a reconstruction recorded for the first time - on Barney Sherman's program at around 3 this afternoon.


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Tune in tonight at 7 to hear the legendary Carlos Kleiber conducting one of his signature works, Beethoven's Seventh Symphony live in concert with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. The broadcast features other Concertgebouw legends in this composer: Eduard van Beinum, Mariss Jansons, Rafael Kubelik, and Riccardo Chailly each conducting one movement of the Second Symphony, and Mitsuko Uchida, Claudio Arrau, and Murray Perahia each playing one movement of the Third Piano Concerto.

Mikhail Ozerskiy on wikipedia commons

They seemed  opposite: Mstislav Rostropovich, the fiery Soviet cellist, Benjamin Britten  the cool-tempered English composer. But they shared uncompromising convictions about social issues and musical genius. On Wednesday's Performance Today Coleman Itzkoff, - PT"s Young Artist in Residence - brings to life music that Britten wrote for Rostropovich.

Quad City Symphony Orchestra

Quad City Symphony Orchestra

Mark Russell Smith, music director

Maestro Mark Russell Smith leads the Quad City Symphony in a program from their 2012-2013 season. Founded in 1915 as the Tri-City Symphony, the Quad City Symphony Orchestra celebrates 98 years.


"Ethereal, it glitters like stars millions of light-years away" - that's Distant Light, by Latvian composer Peteris Vasks. Tune in Tuesday at 7 PM to hear the world premiere by the Los Angeles Philharmonic led by Gustavo Dudamel. Also on the program is Mozart's Posthorn Serenade and Marriage of Figaro overture.

Eugene Alcalay's web page.

Tune in Monday at 7 PM to hear the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra in a program of Russian Romantics. Tchaikovsky's glorious Piano Concerto no. 1 features Romania-born guest artist Eugene Alcalay, who was praised by Leonard Bernstein for his “outstanding talent as both a performer and composer." The orchestra, led by music director William Intriligator, also performs Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances and Rimsky-Korsakov's Russian Easter Festival Overture and Capriccio Espagnol.

Photo by Carolyn Cruz/The Cliburn

Tune in tonight at 5 PM to hear the sensational pianist Vadym Kholodenko - who triumphed this week at the Van Cliburn Competition in Texas - in his victory performance of Mozart's Piano Concerto no. 21 (the one with the beautiful "Elvira Madigan" slow movement). Leonard Slatkin conducts the Fort Worth Symphony. Also on the program is another highly acclaimed young pianist, Conrad Tao, performing one of his own compositions.

Dan Rest, via Lyric Opera of Chicago

Anna Netrebko as Mimi, Joseph Calleja as Rodolfo,  Elizabeth Futral as Musetta -  you can't find a better cast for La Boheme today than the one we'll broadcast Saturday at noon from Lyric Opera of Chicago. Critic Lawrence Johnson praised  Netrebko's "gleaming vocalism, dramatic acuity, and personality-plus stage charisma," and found Calleja to be "on an equally inspired level."

public domain/ wikipedia

Tune in Thursday to hear the New York Philharmonic perform Copland, Stravinsky, Shostakovich - and Marsalis. Jazz-influenced works by Aaron (the  Clarinet Concerto), Igor (Ragtime) and Dmitri (Tahiti Trot) precede the Symphony no. 3 (Swing Symphony) by Wynton, who brings his Jazz at Lincoln Center orchestra along to join Alan Gilbert and the orchestra.

Dubuque Symphony Orchestra

Dubuque Symphony Orchestra – Classics 5 Russia’s Greatest

William Intriligator, conductor
Eugene Alcalay, piano

TCHAIKOVSKY        Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 23 in B-flat Minor

BORODIN         Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor
RIMSKY-KORSAKOV     Russian Easter
                                                   Festival Overture, Op. 36

RIMSKY-KORSAKOV    Capriccio Espagnol, Op. 34

Clive Barda, courtesy of

Tune in tonight at 7PM to hear Yevgeny Sudbin - at 32 "hailed as potentially one of the greatest pianists of the 21st century"- perform Beethoven's Third Concerto with musicians famed for Beethoven, the Minnesota Orchestra with Osmo Vanska. Then Vanska conducts a work he's famed for, the Second Symphony of his fellow Finn, Jean Sibelius. Opening this concert is a new work by American composer Aaron Jay Kernis. The concert comes to us via SymphonyCast.

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Tune in Sunday at noon or Monday at 7 PM to hear the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony and Jason Weinberger in "The Planets Reimagined" - Holst's masterpiece along with a new rendering by artist Garry Kelley. The concert was recorded on April 27 as part of IPR's Symphonies of Iowa series.

Dan Rest, via Lyric Opera of Chicago

Unhappy childhoods are each unhappy in their own way. For Hansel and Gretel, things look grim but turn out sweet; for Elektra... not so much. Hear both stories in great German operas this Saturday from the Lyric Opera of Chicago: Richard Strauss's Elektra, with Christine Goerke in the title role, and Engelbert Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel, with Elizabeth DeShong and Maria Kanyova as the siblings and Jill Grove as the witch.

Steve Bowbrick via

Tune in tonight at 7 as Andras Schiff - one of the world's supreme Bach interpreters - leads the final concert in the "Bach Variations" Festival of the New York Philharmonic. The Hungarian pianist/ conductor (a winner of the prestigious Bach Prize) leads two of the Bach keyboard concertos from the piano, and also conducts Mendelssohn's String Symphony no. 9 and Schumann's Symphony no. 4. 



"I could tell he was no joker," wrote Wagner about the young Brahms playing the Handel Variations for him. For Wagner speaking of a rival, that was high praise, and for the rest of us, the work sounds outright amazing. Hear an inspired performance of the Handel Variations Wednesday afternoon on Barney Sherman's show. Also on the program: an ethereal evocation of ancient Greece by Debussy.

courtesy of Sophia Ahmad

Tune in Saturday at 7AM or Sunday at 6PM to hear a group of Iowa musicians celebrate the 75th birthday of Philip Glass with a concert (part 1 of 2) that conveys the range of his music. Pianist Sophia Ahmad (you might know her as the Director of Marketing and Public Relations for the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra) plays the Orphee Suite; pianist Kris DeWild plays Love Divided By; Edwin and Francine Griffith perform Hymn to the Sun (from Akhnaten); saxophonist Colin Young plays Gradus; and The Rex Repeter Quartet plays a movement from his Third String Quartet.


She was once called "the greatest violinist you've never heard of" - but since then she' s won many major awards. Hear Isabelle Faust play the Brahms Concerto on Barney Sherman's show in the afternoon, and then the two Bach violin concertos on the New York Philharmonic broadcast at 7 pm. Discover why the New York Times says, "her sound has passion, grit and electricity but also a disarming warmth and sweetness that can unveil the music's hidden strains of lyricism."

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Wednesday, May 29 is the 100th anniversary of the first performance of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, and while it no longer causes riots it still sounds radical, wild, and fresh. Hear it - introduced by New Yorker music critic Alex Ross - in the 6 PM hour of Performance Today.  In the afternoon Barney Sherman will play part of it in the version Stravinsky first published, for piano four hands.

Des Moines Symphony Orchestra

Des Moines Symphony – Carmina Burana

Joseph Giunta, music director
Gregory Oakes & Clarence Padilla, clarinets
Carrie Ellen Giunta, soprano
Christopher Pfund, tenor
Robert Orth, baritone
The Drake Choir and Drake University/Community Chorus, directed by Aimee Beckmann-Collier
Drake University Orchestra, directed by Akira Mori

Sébastien Barré at

The Boston Symphony Orchestra performing Beethoven's Fifth and Sixth (Pastoral) Symphonies and third Leonore Overture under the stars at Tanglewood with noted Beethovenian Christoph von Dohnanyi - sound enticing? Tune in Tuesday at 7 pm to hear it on SymphonyCast on IPRClassical.

Christoph Müller-Girod from

Tune in Saturday at 7AM or Sunday at 6PM to hear the ISU Wind Ensemble led by Michael Golemo playing Mendelssohn's Overture for Winds and three modern works for the ensemble - including Eric Whitacre's riotous "Godzilla Eats Las Vegas." Written when Whitacre  was an undergrad at Juilliard, it has become a modern classic.  Says Whitacre, "The idea that this piece is being played all over the world in serious concert venues is the single funniest thing I have ever heard.

The June edition of Iowa Public Radio’s Iowa Arts Showcase kicks off with Ted Swetz and Jody Hovland discussing Riverside Theatre’s upcoming productions of Hamlet and The School for Scandal at Riverside Theatre in the Park. Hovland is the artistic director and one of the original three founders of RiversideTheatre. Swetz, a Professor of Theater at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and past theatrical director at Riverside, is returning this year to direct The School for Scandal.

WFMT and Lyric Opera of Chicago

Tenor superstar Matthew Polenzani portrays the smitten poet Werther in the Lyric Opera of Chicago's production of Massenet's opera, based on the Goethe novel that rocked Europe.  Sophie Koch stars as the unfortunate object of his affection, Charlotte.

Wikimedia Commons

Today is the 200th birthday of Richard Wagner. Performance Today at 5 will be almost all Wagner; Barney Sherman from 1-5 will play just a little of his music, but will also feature music by composers who respond, in some way, to or against Wagner: Debussy (a recording of him playing his own "Children's Corner"), Faure, John Adams, Leonard Bernstein, and a movement by Bruckner. We'll also sample a new recording of one of the works that most influenced Wagner, Beethoven's 9th. (And for more, Bill McGlaughlin continues his week-long series on Wagner at 9 PM.)

PercyGermany on

What do we make of the complex legacy of Richard Wagner on the 200th anniversary of his birth, Wednesday? Both Performance Today with Fred Child (5-7 PM) and Exploring Music with Bill McGlaughlin (9-10 PM) are exploring the question this week with fascinating results. Tune in tonight to PT, for example, to hear Gabriel Faure's "Souvenirs of Bayreuth" - a cheeky quadrille on themes from the Ring Cycle - as well as Wagner in concert by leading performers (among those on PT this week are Bryn Terfel, Deborah Voigt, Sir Simon Rattle, and Esa-Pekka Salonen).

Orchestra Iowa


Orchestra Iowa Chamber: Concert 4

Photochiel from

Tune in today at 12 noon for the season's first broadcast from the Lyric Opera of Chicago, featuring Verdi's Simon Boccanegra -  "essentially a heartwarming story about a compassionate political leader... who is reunited with his lost daughter...and makes peace with two political enemies" (as the New York Times summarizes the plot). The renowned American baritone Thomas Hampson heads the stellar cast.

Marco Borggreve (from Indiana Public Media)

Tune in Thursday at 7 PM as Masaaki Suzuki - one of the world's most renowned Bach interpreters - kicks off the New York Philharmonic's month-long Bach Festival.  The Japanese keyboardist/conductor, one of the few recipients of the Royal College of Music's "Bach Prize," has been recording the complete sacred vocal works, keyboard works, and orchestral works for the prestigious BIS label, to great acclaim. Hear him conduct Bach's Magnificat and motet "Sing to the Lord a New Song" (as well as Felix Mendelssohn's Magnificat and Christus).