Tom Huizenga

Tom Huizenga is a music producer, reporter and blogger for NPR Music. He hosts NPR's classical music blog Deceptive Cadence.

A regular contributor of stories about classical music on NPR's news programs, Huizenga regularly introduces intriguing new classical CDs to listeners on the weekend version of All Things Considered. He contributes to NPR Music's "Song of the Day."

During his time at NPR, Huizenga spent seven years as a producer, writer and editor for NPR's Peabody Award-winning daily classical music magazine Performance Today, and for the programs SymphonyCast and World of Opera. He produced the live broadcast of Gershwin's Porgy & Bess from Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center, concerts from NPR's Studio 4A and performances on the road at Summerfest La Jolla, the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival and New York's Le Poisson Rouge.

Huizenga's radio career began at the University of Michigan, where he graduated in 1986. During his four year tenure, he regularly hosted several radio programs (opera, jazz, free-form, experimental radio) at Ann Arbor's WCBN. As a student in the Enthnomusicology department, Huizenga studied and performed traditional court music from Indonesia. He also studied English Literature and voice, while writing for the university's newspaper.

After college Huizenga took his love of music and broadcasting to New Mexico, where he served as music director for NPR member station KRWG, in Las Cruces, and taught radio production at New Mexico State University.

Huizenga lives in Takoma Park, MD, with his wife Valeska Hilbig, a public affairs director at the Smithsonian. In his spare time he writes about music for the Washington Post, overloads on concerts and movies and swings a tennis racket wildly on many local courts.

Tiny Desk Concerts
10:21 pm
Sun June 29, 2014

Tracy Silverman: Tiny Desk Concert

Olivia Merrion NPR

Originally published on Sat June 28, 2014 9:29 am

Tracy Silverman has been called the greatest living exponent of the electric violin. But we're not talking just any electric violin.

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Deceptive Cadence
9:07 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

The Silence And Awe Of Arvo Pärt

Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, creator of contemplative music, photographed in 1990 by influential patron Betty Freeman.
Betty Freeman ECM Records

Originally published on Tue June 3, 2014 11:54 am

Arvo Pärt is one of the few living composers to find popularity beyond the borders of classical music. R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe and Bjork are big fans.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:53 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Anonymous 4: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do (But They're Doing It)

The vocal ensemble Anonymous 4 will disband after the 2015-16 concert season.
Dario Acosta

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 11:01 am

In 1986, four women gathered in a casual setting to sing through a bit of medieval chant. Little did they know they were launching Anonymous 4, an a cappella ensemble that has spanned nearly 30 years, 20 albums, countless concerts and more than a millenium of music.

Today the group announced that the 2015-16 season will be its last together. But this isn't the first time Anonymous 4 has thought about calling it quits. The group bid a similar farewell in 2004.

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Deceptive Cadence
5:08 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

10 Can't-Miss Classical Music Festivals

Some performances during the Bard Music Festival in the Hudson Valley take place at the Fisher Center, designed by Frank Gehry.
Peter Aaron/Esto

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 8:32 am

  • Stravinsky: Firebird - 'Infernal Dance' (from the 2013 Aspen Music Festival)

In much of the country it still feels like summer is a long way off, but it's not too early to plan on hitting the road and hearing great music. From bucolic college campuses in New England to musical rafting trips down the Colorado, these are 10 of the most intriguing classical festivals. And below them is a listing, by region, of many of the best fests. Been to one we missed? Pass along your own advice in the comments section or via Facebook or Twitter.

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Deceptive Cadence
9:21 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Alaskan Composer Wins Pulitzer For 'Become Ocean'

Alaska-based composer John Luther Adams has won the Pulitzer Prize for music with an homage to the sea called Become Ocean.
Evan Hurd Photography

Originally published on Tue April 29, 2014 2:55 pm

John Luther Adams, whose music is inspired by — and sometimes performed in — natural landscapes, has won the Pulitzer Prize for music for his symphonic work Become Ocean.

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First Listen
6:04 pm
Sun March 16, 2014

First Listen: Augustin Hadelich, 'Sibelius, Adès: Violin Concertos'

Violinist Augustin Hadelich pairs a classic concerto with a contemporary one on this new album.
Rosalie O'Connor

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 9:54 am

Looking for a new violinist to fall in love with? Meet Augustin Hadelich, the 29-year-old Italian-born son of German parents. On his new album, to be released March 11, he pairs two searching, seemingly disparate violin concertos — one classic and one contemporary.

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Classical
4:49 pm
Sun March 16, 2014

How Irish Are You? A St. Paddy's Day Puzzler

Hoist a pint for this St. Patrick's day. But first take this quiz!
iStock.com

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 12:33 pm

With St. Patrick's Day upon us, it's hard to escape the allure of the Emerald Isle, with its rolling heaths, swirling jigs, frothy beer and curious legends. While we can't afford to fly you to Dublin we can offer this humble St. Paddy's Day puzzler. Score high and be rewarded with the pot 'o gold at the end of the rainbow. Mess up and yours is a sad bowl of soggy Lucky Charms.

Deceptive Cadence
1:06 pm
Sun March 9, 2014

A Kid Named Carl Stirs Up The Bach Musical Dynasty

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, captured around 1733, in a portrait by one of his relatives, Gottlieb Friedrich Bach.
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 10:31 am

When it comes to musical dynasties, it's tough to top the Bach family. From town fiddlers to court composers, the Bachs dominated German music for seven generations. Today, Johann Sebastian towers above all his relatives, but there's another important Bach we shouldn't forget — especially today, on the 300th anniversary of his birth.

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Deceptive Cadence
10:09 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Robert Ashley, Opera's Misunderstood Innovator, Dies At 83

Robert Ashley's operas for television redefined the genre.
Joanne Savio Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 6:50 pm

Robert Ashley, a restlessly innovative American composer, died at his home in New York March 3 from complications of cirrhosis of the liver. NPR confirmed the composer's death through his wife and manager Mimi Johnson. Ashley was 83.

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Deceptive Cadence
9:26 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Classical Couples: Sweethearts Sharing The Stage

Soprano Ailyn Perez and tenor Stephen Costello met in music school. Now married, the couple sings together around the world — as in Gounod's Romeo and Juliet at Opera Philadelphia in 2001.
Kelly & Massa Photography Opera Philadelphia

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 10:36 am

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Deceptive Cadence
2:54 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

New Music Shines at Classical Grammy Awards

Composer and bandleader Maria Schneider accepts her Grammy Award. Her album Winter Morning Walks earned three awards yesterday at the pre-telecast Grammy ceremony in Los Angeles.
Michael Buckner Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 2:52 pm

"New classical music is well and alive," Brad Wells, director of the vocal collective Roomful of Teeth, said yesterday as he accepted his Grammy for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance.

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Deceptive Cadence
6:34 pm
Sun January 19, 2014

Note To 'Downton Abbey' Viewers: Nellie Melba Was A Big Deal

Opera singer Dame Nellie Melba, circa 1900.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 2:15 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
10:19 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Cachet And Cash For Rafał Blechacz, Named 2014 Gilmore Artist

Rafał Blechacz has been named the 2014 Gilmore Artist. In 2005, he swept the five top prizes at the International Chopin Competition.
Felix Broede DG

Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz, who at age 20 swept all five top prizes at the 2005 International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, can now add another prestigious award to his collection. Early Wednesday, Blechacz was named the 2014 Gilmore Artist.

The Gilmore may not have quite the name recognition as the Chopin Competition, but it has a distinguished cachet of its own, plus a generous $300,000 cash award.

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Deceptive Cadence
1:54 am
Thu October 10, 2013

Verdi's Operas: A Vigorous Soundtrack To Human Nature

Giuseppe Verdi's operas have an uncanny ability to probe into our contemporary psyche.
Leemage Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 3:09 pm

Two hundred years ago today, in a small northern Italian village, a couple named Verdi — tavern owners by trade — welcomed the birth of a baby boy who would later change the face of opera forever. And, whether we recognize it or not, on the bicentennial of his birth, Giuseppe Verdi is still vital.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:14 pm
Sun September 8, 2013

Banjos, Bartók And La Belle Époque: New Classical Albums

Caleb Burhans debut album as a composer is called Evensong.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 11:34 am

People ask why I thrive on classical music, and I tell them it's all about discovery. The possibilities for finding incredible music, both old and new, are endless as the oceans.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:00 am
Sun June 30, 2013

Revved-up Vivaldi, Persian Bamboo And Soaring Spirituals: New Classical Albums

album cover for Corps Exquis

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 6:41 am

It's a brave new musical world. Between downloads, iPods, music sharing websites and the good old CD, we have more easy access to the songs and symphonies we love than ever before.

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Deceptive Cadence
7:37 pm
Sat April 6, 2013

Vespers, Habaneras And Early Morning Walks: New Classical Albums

The Attacca String Quartet's latest album celebrates John Adams.
Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

Originally published on Sun April 7, 2013 5:52 pm

Robert Frost's famous poem "The Road Not Taken" begins with the line: "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood." Frost's traveler must choose between them. But slide that metaphor over to the world of classical music and you will discover hundreds of paths to explore.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:54 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Measures Of Affection: Five Musical Love Letters

Composer Peter Lieberson wrote his Neruda Songs for his wife, mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson.
Johansen Krause Peter Lieberson

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 11:21 am

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Deceptive Cadence
2:03 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Whatever Happened To The Classical Christmas Album?

A sampling of one listener's cherished classical Christmas albums from a few years back.
Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 1:38 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
2:04 pm
Sun December 9, 2012

A Bald Mezzo And Three Shades Of Violin: Classical Favorites From 2012

On Silfra, violinist Hilary Hahn improvises with prepared pianist Hauschka.
DG

Originally published on Sun December 9, 2012 6:09 pm

From mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli's ambitious revival of the early Baroque composer Agostino Stefani (and yes, she's got another outrageous album cover) to three very different roles for the violin, here's a clutch of classical albums I returned to again and again this year for sheer delight and aural inspiration. Bartoli lavishes extravagant attention on the music of a fascinating but forgotten link in the history of opera.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:50 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

Elliott Carter, Giant Of American Music, Dies At 103

Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 7:08 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
4:20 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

Cecilia Bartoli's Latest 'Mission' Rediscovers Agostino Steffani

Mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli uncovers the music of Agostino Steffani, a 17th-century composer who led a double life as a diplomat.
Decca

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 12:09 pm

Cecilia Bartoli has a passion for musical archaeology: "I am the Indiana Jones of classical," she says jokingly to All Things Considered host Robert Siegel.

Bartoli rummages through music history to uncover forgotten opera composers deserving of her detailed and dramatic performances. Her new album, Mission, introduces her most recent "find," the late-17th-century Italian Agostino Steffani.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:23 pm
Sun August 5, 2012

Headbanging Bruckner And Debussy In Black And White: New Classical Albums

The young pianist Inon Barnatan plays Debussy and Ravel with striking assurance.
Avie Records

Originally published on Tue August 7, 2012 4:14 pm

Some people are intimidated by the vastness of classical music. And while the prospect of more than 1,000 years of hits to consider may be daunting, just think instead of how many musical journeys of discovery can be made.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:52 am
Thu July 26, 2012

A Know-It-All's Guide To Olympic Music

Among all things official at the Olympics, like the flag, is music composed for the opening and closing ceremonies.
Tony Duffy Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 5:24 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
2:41 pm
Sat May 5, 2012

Fireworks From Cuba, And Schubert That Grooves: New Classical Albums

The new album by The Knights, A Second of Silence, celebrates Schubert and more modern but like-minded composers.
Ancalagon Records

Originally published on Sun May 6, 2012 6:37 pm

Although it always seems fashionable to forecast the downfall of classical music, enterprising musicians both young and not so young continue to make deeply satisfying recordings. For this visit to weekends on All Things Considered, I was delighted to uncover the little known (at least in this country) Jorge Luis Prats, a terrifically talented Cuban pianist whose once uncertain career appears to be resurging — at 55, he has signed a handsome record deal. Then there's The Knights, a young chamber orchestra with a postmodern take on Schubert.

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