Barney Sherman

Classical Music Host

Barney Sherman joined Iowa Public Radio member station KSUI in fall 2001 as Classical music host. In his role with Iowa Public Radio, Barney hosts weekday and Sunday afternoon Classical programs. He has written about music in books for Oxford and Cambridge University Presses and in articles for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Journal of the American Musicological Society, Early Music, and many other publications. Another topic he has written about is Iowa, for The Atlantic (and for Iowa Public Radio!).

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IPR's Holiday programming continues with two homegrown Iowa classics: from Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Handel's Messiah with the wcfso and Metropolitan Choir (at 7 PM), and from Decorah, this year's "Christmas at Luther" broadcast, titled "And on Earth, Peace" (at 8 PM). The Messiah excerpts were recorded at a community sing held at the Gallagher-Bluedorn last weekend - join us for the highlights at 7!

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I was working on a post about a fascinating footnote to American cultural history: that half of our popular Christmas songs were written by my people, the Jews. Before I'd made it through the first draft, I tuned to Iowa Public Radio and discovered that I'd been scooped by Here & No w, to which I can only say, "Phew!" Here is their "A Goyische Christmas to You," about a show done annually by pianist/vocal coach extraordinaire Steven Blier. It covers a lot of the points I was wrestling...

It was a good year for chamber music, orchestras, fusion and harmonies. That's according to two of IPR's music hosts who shared their favorite recordings of 2014.

Margareta Mitchell

In 2014, two American composers whose name begin with "John" and end with "Adams" were surprised to find themselves in front-page headlines. John Luther Adams says he never imagined winning a Pulitzer, and John Adams says he never imagined the intensity of protests that would meet the Met's staging of his 1991 opera, The Death of Klinghoffer . ( Here's All Things Considered on John Luther Adams' Pulitzer, and here's ATC on the Met protests.) Whatever your opinions on the politics of...

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Recently I invited you to vote for the 3 classical works you wish everyone could experience at least once - the "Musts" you'd urge your friends to put on their bucket lists. The votes are in, and you can hear Iowa's Top 10 picks on my show Sunday from noon to 4 PM. I'll tell you what won, and of course I'll play samples from outstanding recordings. (Later I'll post the list with links and information.) Join me - as you'll hear, Iowa's recommendations are awesome!

uri-golomb.com

In an exclusive for IPR Classical, I sraeli musicologist Uri Golomb reviews a milestone album by Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt , who started recording all of Bach's keyboard works in 1994. The resulting cycle won major acclaim and awards, but she says she "purposefully put off" Bach's final keyboard work, The Art of Fugue , for last. Now, 20 years in, its time has come - so how does she do? Over to Uri Golomb, who teaches at Tel Aviv University and wrote his doctoral thesis at Cambridge on...

public domain/ wikipedia

As promised, the classical Halloween countdown continues - thanks for your input! Earlier, I posted eight picks ; here are five more classical scares to bring the count up to 13. (And in the next post I'll add those you suggested.) Here are some youtube versions. Again, if you have any other candidates, let me know at classical@iowapublicradio.org or at our Facebook post: Franz Schubert - Der Erlkönig ("The Alder King") - Goethe's 1782 poem about a very bad spirit lives on because in 1815, an...

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3702908

It's that time again! If you have any classical-music Halloween favorites, write to us at classical@iowapublicradio.org . Here are a few possibilities to get the conversation started; in Part 2 I'll post a few more later, bringing my total to 13. And then on Monday, Halloween, I'll add a Part 3 with all your suggestions (at least 13!). To start things off: 1) It's not just that Bach didn't associate Halloween with the Toccata and Fugue in D minor , it's that he may not even have known the...

Steve Bowbrick via flickr.com

His series on the 50 greatest symphonies is unsurpassed; his guide to contemporary music is unequaled; his book on conductors, Music as Alchemy , is the best of its genre. Tom Service is among the finest music writers we have (for more samples, check out his blog at The Guardian ). But first, let me distract you with the latest Service: a post sampling the funniest classical-music parodies on video. All 10 are hilarious, but here's one to start with: http://youtu.be/5YqgiOj54Ko?list...

When the Folias Duo came to Iowa, the husband-wife pair's first stop was Cedar Falls, where they played a live set in IPR Classical's Studio Two. They'd been on the road for seven hours, but their zest was irresistible. Try it: here's a video of their IPR performance of Cumparsita Vals , a waltz-time reimagining of the classic tango La Cumparsita by Argentine composer Pablo Aslan : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICNzPy2e-U4&feature=youtu.be Flutist Carmen Maret holds Master's degrees in...

Sunday Baroque

Every Sunday morning Suzanne Bona brings us gems from before Mozart on Sunday Baroque and Barney Sherman follows with four hours of great music. Today, from 11AM to 1PM they'll team up for two special hours of Sunday Baroque. Suzanne is an accomplished professional flautist, and Barney will ask her about her career and how she comes up with those incredibly rich, varied playlists every week. Barney has written about music for many outlets, such as the New York Times, and interviewed many...

Sheila Rock for EMI Classics

Last year the Qatar Philharmonic made headlines when it hired Han-Na Chang to be its music director. The South Korean woman raised the ensemble to international standards, and its London debut earlier this month got rave reviews. Then, hours afterwards, Chang quit, citing “p ersistent administrative difficulties and irreconcilable artistic differences with the management.” You can hear the concert that won over London tonight at 7 on IPRClassical. Chang rose to fame as a cellist at the age of...

http://www.davidfinckelandwuhan.com/

Iowa's orchestras, choirs, bands, & operas are awesome, but let's not forget our chamber music! Tune in 7AM Saturday or 8PM Sunday to hear two recent highlight from the Ames Town & Gown Chamber Music Association , now in its 65th season. The Schumann Piano Quintet is performed by Musicians from Marlboro led by violinist Bella Hristova ; and the Prokofiev Cello Sonata is played by cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han , the husband and wife who are the Artistic Directors of Chamber...

Stephen Danelian

Join Krista Tippett a t this link t o hear Yo-Yo Ma "share his philosophy of curiosity about life and of performance as hospitality." This episode of On Being is a must for every music lover! The great cellist, who has won 15 Grammy Awards, the National Medal of Arts, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, also tells Krista about his Silk Road Ensemble , which explores the world's musical cross-fertilizations. Its latest project is called A Playlist without Borders ; here's a video...

Presidential hopefuls need to clear all kinds of hurdles. Some are unique to politics, but one is familiar to every Iowan: getting our state's place-names right. While some of them (like Atlantic) are clear from the spelling, others trip newbies up. Louisa County? Not like my cousin's first name. Madrid? Not like the city in Spain. Nevada? Not like that state out west. You can’t take anything for granted. But you're not on your own - Iowa Public Radio has you covered. Below is our handy audio...

Earlier this year I posted about "Iowa orchestras making music about Iowa " - and one work discussed was Rock Island Line by Jacob Bancks, commissioned and premiered by the Quad City Symphony Orchestra and broadcast on IPR's Symphonies of Iowa . Bancks, who teaches at Augustana College, told me that he took his inspiration not only from the most famous song to mention the Quads but also from the actual sounds of the place, including the trains and the mighty Mississippi. Some big news: Friday...

http://ledouxclaude.wordpress.com/2012/01/12/une-annee-nouvelle-rencontre-avec-erin-gee/

In what ways could music relate to the human voice without Auto-Tune or even, necessarily, language - or, for that matter, even singing? New classical CDs are exploring a fascinating range of possibilities, and several are either by or about Iowans. In reverse chronological order, here are five standouts: 1. Erin Gee: Mouthpieces - Gee, ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, et al. (col legno) . Erin Gee, who was raised in Iowa and earned two music degrees at the University of Iowa, has won...

He would have cranked up his radio louder and louder as his hearing got worse, but there's no doubt that if public radio had existed, Beethoven would have been an addict. And according to Jan Swafford, "People who knew Beethoven said politics was his favorite subject." So in addition to IPR Classical, I'd bet LvB would have had a preset for IPR's News/Talk stream. Do you seriously think this man would have missed an episode of All Things Considered? Swafford, author of the new biography,...

simonestesfoundation.org

In May, Simon Estes came to IPR to talk about his life and work, and one hour seemed way too short! His history is extraordinary: his grandparents were slaves, his father was a miner in Centerville, IA , then a major coal town, and he grew up to become one of the world's greatest opera singers. He broke many color barriers, including becoming the first black man to sing lead roles at the Bayreuth Festival (founded by Richard Wagner to showcase his operas). Dr. Estes has now sung at all the...

In my post Is Parity Time Here for the Classical Violin? I mention a list I put together of classical solo violinists born after 1970, which I said illustrates my thesis that the field has attained gender parity. I mentioned, however, that the list is provisional - the best I could come up with from my perch in northeast Iowa - and that I welcome your input. Let me know what I missed, but meanwhile, here's the list: Women violinists b. 1971 or later (49 and counting) Rachel Kolly d'Alba ...

http://www.midoriandfriends.org/

To paraphrase my previous post, if you think women have it bad in classical music, take a look at supposedly contemporary arts like film, literature, rock, jazz, blues , and coun try . Blogging for the New Yorker , Alex Ross notes that I “might also have pointed out that misogyny is excruciatingly commonplace in mainstream pop culture. ” Alex adds that classical music “... can point with some pride toward i ncreasing gender parity in the makeup of orchestras , toward considerable progress in...

michaelgilbertson.net

Listen below to a podcast of a live set from our studio Monday featuring four stellar young musicians from ChamberFest Dubuque . Dubuque native Michael Gilbertson founded the festival in 2009; since then his compositions have won the Israel Prize and major awards from ASCAP and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and have been performed by the Washington National Opera, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, and many other prestigious groups. Joining Michael at IPR : Jordan Dodson , whom...

Join us Monday at 7 PM to hear the Quad City Symphony in Beethoven, Brahms, and ... Bancks. In March, the orchestra premiered a work by local composer Jacob Bancks specifically about the Quad Cities. It's called Rock Island Line and yes, it quotes that Southern work song of unknown authorship - the most famous reference ever made to one of the Quads, though it is actually about the t rain line that ran through the town . Bancks also evokes the sounds of the trains themselves and of the...

At first glance, it seems obvious that classical music is unusual among the arts in its degree of male dominance. But a careful look suggests that its gender balance is far from exceptional. NPR’s Anastasia Tsioulcas just wrote a scathingly brilliant post about the “fat-shaming” of the gifted Irish mezzo Tara Erraught by a plague of British critics, who sounded like teenage boys as they dissed not Erraught's singing but the supposed flaws of her body. Last year, Tsioulcas thoughtfully...

Andrew Eccles

When sworn enemies shrug and say, “What was THAT about?” it’s worth noticing, especially when they add, “You know, you’re making some good points.” Something like that may be happening in classical music performance. Twenty years ago, some of us compared tussles about how to play Bach and Beethoven to gang wars over turf . A group of upstarts—let’s call them the Sharks —advocated the use of period instruments (gut-strung fiddles, valveless horns, wooden flutes, and the like) and what they...

Join us tonight at 7PM to hear the wcfsymphony premiere a work by Decorah-based composer Br ooke Joyce and perform Mahler's First Symphony. Below are my impressions of the April concert (which I posted here on April 9th ) - tune in and see what YOU think! ' Last weekend, I attended the wcfsymphony's concert in Cedar Falls and loved it. Here are some impressions.... The theme was "architecture," but for me it was like a journey to three specific places. First, the brass took us to Renaissance...

Yuri Vedenyapin

Russian-born singer/scholar Yuri Vedenyapin - a renowned expert in Yiddish folklore - will be in our studios Wednesday with Russian-guitar virtuoso Oleg Timofeyev to introduce us to the little-known repertory of Russian songs in Yiddish. (Scroll down to hear one of them!) Also joining us will be a Russian-guitar master from Sweden, Stefan Wester, and a leading Russian-Roma guitarist from Moscow, Fedor Kondenko. They'll perform and also tell us about the International Russian Guitar Festival...

David Andrako

Even I am a little stunned by how exciting, original - and abundant - the classical concerts are in Iowa this weekend. Here's a list (and please let me know if I've missed something! I'll add it - bsherman at iowapublicradio.org): At Grinnell , the award-winning vocal collective Roomful of Teeth is doing a residency, including a concert Sunday at 2 PM . Their first CD made IPR's " Best of 2013" list, and one piece on it, written by member Caroline Shaw , won last year's Pulitzer Prize in...

Greg Helgerson

When the 16-month lockout of the Minnesota Orchestra ended in January, the orchestra had no conductor. Music director Osmo Vanska, whose conducting had propelled the orchestra to international fame, resigned last year in support of the musicians, and without him... well, what exactly was Plan B? It won't be needed, the music world learned gratefully yesterday afternoon: the Finnish maestro is back at the helm. Some reports: Minneapolis Star-Tribune : "The Minnesota Orchestra on Thursday took...

Join us Thursday afternoon to hear one of the great musicians of our time, Simon Estes, as he tells us about his extraordinary work as a musician, humanitarian, and educator. Born in Centerville, IA, where his father worked as a coal miner, Estes was the first black male artist ever to appear at the Bayreuth Festival (he is one of the rare singers to triumph in all of Wagner's major operas) and has sung lead roles with all of the world's great opera houses and orchestras. He has sung at the...

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