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Classical Music programming of National Public Radio
  Where are the Black musicians in the country's largest orchestras?
In 2014, a study found that only 1.4% of orchestra musicians were Black. In 2022, it's hard to know if that number is better or worse.   (30 September)
  Lizzo played James Madison's crystal flute onstage in D.C., proving history rocks
The Library of Congress had invited Lizzo to check out its flute collection during her tour stop. On Tuesday, she played a few notes on the historic instrument, twerked and declared history cool.   (29 September)
  A composer's meditation on the moment, blown up to immersive proportions
Seven months after it debuted at the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Tyshawn Sorey relaunches his work Monochromatic Light (Afterlife) on a monumental new scale in New York's Park Avenue Armory.   (28 September)
  Pianist Chad Lawson seeks to heal in new album
Pianist and composer Chad Lawson releases a double album recorded at Abbey Road, joined on some tracks by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, violinist Esther Yoo and cellist/composer Peter Gregson.   (23 September)
  Julia Bullock, 'One by One'
Hear the acclaimed classical singer put an exquisite twist on a deep cut from the troubled singer-songwriter Connie Converse.   (21 September)
  The hidden world of an opera prompter
One of the world's greatest living composers, John Adams, has a new opera, and the prompter keeps Anthony and Cleopatra from flying off the rails.   (21 September)
  Big risks and adventurous friends: How composer Julia Wolfe became a renegade
The Pulitzer-winning, MacArthur "genius" co-founder of Bang on a Can looks for the grit in music, whether she's writing a string quartet or one of her history-based oratorios.   (15 September)
  Randall Goosby: Tiny Desk Concert
The young rising violin star not only makes his instrument sing, he offers music by composers of color.   (6 September)
  Renowned classical pianist and conductor Lars Vogt has died at 51
Vogt died "surrounded by his family after a battle with cancer," according to a statement from his representatives.   (6 September)
  Sean Shibe, a shape-shifting artist, redefines the idea of a classical guitarist
The Scottish guitarist defies expectations, ditching his traditional nylon-strung instrument for a Fender Stratocaster to play a startling range of music – from Meredith Monk to Chick Corea.   (29 August)
  Battle Trance, 'Green of Winter I'
A wind-powered, tour-de-force from the tenor sax quartet.   (26 August)
  Home is never far for the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra, even when touring in the U.S.
The ensemble of top Ukrainian musicians, including recent refugees, is wrapping up a whirlwind tour with performances in New York City and Washington, D.C.   (20 August)
  Classical musicians with ties to Plácido Domingo arrested in Buenos Aires
Musicians who have been publicly linked to Plácido Domingo and other major artists have been arrested in connection to an alleged Argentine crime ring, or are still wanted by police.   (20 August)
  A group of musical ambassadors is completing a tour of Europe and the U.S.
After performing across Europe, the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra, an ad hoc ensemble of musicians from Ukraine, complete their tour with stops in New York and Washington.   (19 August)
  Plácido Domingo linked to criminal ring in Argentina, prosecutors say
Media in Argentina have broadcast audio recordings of police wiretaps that prosecutors say includes the voice of the famed singer making plans for a sexual encounter arranged by the crime ring.   (18 August)
  A new label revives forgotten female composers' music
The new record label La Boîte à Pépites is dedicated to raising the profile of female composers whose works have been neglected.   (17 August)
  Abdul Wadud, expressive cellist who blazed a trail in improvised music, dies at 75
Although much of his work was as a sideman, Wadud was one of the most important jazz musicians of the 1970s, '80s and '90s.   (15 August)
  Interpreting the music of Julius Eastman, Wild Up honors the composer's vastness
The feat the Los Angeles group Wild Up achieves in interpreting the music of Julius Eastman is the refusal to attempt impersonation — the musicians make him their muse without fetishizing him.   (4 August)
  Attacca Quartet / Caroline Shaw, 'First Essay (Nimrod)'
The versatile Attacca Quartet offers a funhouse of musical trap doors in a piece by the Pulitzer-winning composer Caroline Shaw.   (4 August)
  Kaija Saariaho, a composer with ears wide open
From sexist professors and low self-esteem to worldwide acclaim, the Finnish composer talks about her path to success and her relentless pursuit of sound.   (21 July)
  Johnny Gandelsman, 'O'
Hear one of the intrepid violinist's 22 commissioned works, focusing on the harrowing year that was 2020.   (21 July)
  Mivos Quartet: Tiny Desk Concert
The Mivos Quartet offers a new, colorful piece by Henry Threadgill and music by Robert Honstein inspired by the shimmering light at the Arctic Circle.   (19 July)
  Remembering Richard Taruskin, a writer who made you care about 1,000 years of music
Hear the towering – and polarizing – author in conversation about his 4,000-page book, The Oxford History of Western Music.   (14 July)
  Piano performances terrify me, but I can stomach playing in the background
I'm into piano, but it's also my frenemy. When I get frustrated with something I'm trying to learn, we stop talking for months. But then I hear a pop song and my brain leaps to how I would play it.   (12 July)
  Caterina Barbieri's rapturous electronica was forged in deep solitude
The Italian composer Caterina Barbieri's euphoric new album Spirit Exit was made in pandemic isolation but longs for "the outside world," in all of its imperfections and wonder.   (11 July)
  Kali Malone, 'Living Torch II'
On Kali Malone's "Living Torch II," distortion and feedback reshape mourning into triumph.   (8 July)
  Essential Voices USA: Tiny Desk Concert
Watch a world premiere performance of choral songs built on texts from important Washington women, from Kamala Harris and Condoleezza Rice to Eleanor Roosevelt, Elena Kagan and Abigail Adams.   (1 July)
  NPR Music's 36 Favorite Albums of 2022 (So Far)
The best albums from the first half of the year include sprawling offerings from Big Thief and Bad Bunny, works of fiery introspection from Kendrick Lamar and S.G. Goodman and an abundance in between.   (28 June)
  Hatis Noit, 'Aura'
With only her voice as an instrument, the Japanese singer conjures a world of sound and color, with operatic élan.   (28 June)
  Street Symphony plays in harmony with Skid Row's 'sacred spaces'
Vijay Gupta was a 19-year-old violin prodigy when he joined the LA Philharmonic. Now he runs Street Symphony, an organization bringing music to clinics, jails and homeless shelters on Skid Row.   (27 June)
  NPR Music's 36 Favorite Songs of 2022 (So Far)
The songs we love from the first half of the year span a wide emotional and musical range, from wild percussive romps to raw pleas for empathy to Beyoncé's command to leave it all on the dance floor.   (27 June)
  J'Nai Bridges: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert
The Grammy Award-winning opera singer performs a classical, jazz and gospel influenced set.   (27 June)
  An Arab American singer reframes music about the Crusades
A new project conceived by Lebanese American tenor Karim Sulayman recasts baroque music that by turns demonizes and exoticizes Arabs and Muslims.   (20 June)
  'Requiem for the Enslaved' holds a major university's truths up to the light
Georgetown University owes its survival to slavery. A new album by Carlos Simon, an assistant professor at the school, unflinchingly confronts that legacy.   (17 June)
  Songs to believe in: A Juneteenth playlist
This Juneteenth, pianist Lara Downes remembers the freedom that has been hard fought and hard won.   (16 June)
  David Lang, 'again (after ecclesiastes)'
In music of translucent constancy, the Pulitzer-winning composer finds philosophical questions — and comfort — in the Old Testament.   (14 June)
  The theme to 'Jurassic Park' hasn't aged a day
John Williams' score was, true to form, unforgettable — as Jeff Goldblum remembers in an interview with NPR.   (11 June)
  Kyiv opera house reopens after 3 months
Ukraine's National Opera was built to celebrate Russian opera at the height of the imperial era. Performances were suspended after the war began but have recently re-started.   (10 June)
  The debut of 'Omar,' a thoroughly American opera
Composers Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels have brought a true story to the opera stage: the life of Omar Ibn Said, a Senegalese Muslim scholar who was enslaved and brought to the Carolinas.   (7 June)
  Composer and performer Ingram Marshall dies at age 80
Visionary musician Ingram Marshall has died at the age of 80; a leading figure of the West Coast avant-garde music scene, Marshall forged unusual connections between minimalism and electronic music.   (3 June)
  Composer John Williams and cellist Yo-Yo Ma bring together 'A Gathering of Friends'
On a new album, the classical stars revisit the concerto Williams composed specifically for Ma, as well as some of Williams' most affecting film scores.   (25 May)
  Composer John Williams and cellist Yo-Yo Ma bring together 'A Gathering of Friends'
On a new album, the classical stars revisit the concerto Williams composed specifically for Ma, as well as some of Williams' most affecting film scores.   (25 May)
  Wild Up, 'Stay On It'
The Los Angeles-based band refurbishes an enigmatic, but entrancing piece by the late Julius Eastman, whose music is enjoying a well-deserved resurgence.   (18 May)
  Mary Halvorson, 'Belladonna'
On the guitarist's first string quartet composition, she comes with a dramatic precision.   (13 May)
  Third Coast Percussion's borderless music finds inspiration in fleet-footed beats
On a new album, the most accessible so far, the Grammy-winning group reaches out to an EDM wizard, a famous film score composer and Philip Glass.   (13 May)
  ARC Ensemble: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert
Musicians from Canada's Royal Conservatory in Toronto introduce the spirited and overlooked music of Ukrainian composer Dmitri Klebanov.   (11 May)
  Meet Raven Chacon, the first Native American to win the Pulitzer Prize for music
A composer, performer and installation artist from the Navajo Nation, Chacon's winning piece, Voiceless Mass, was composed for chamber orchestra and a specific Milwaukee pipe organ.   (10 May)
  Can classical music really be inclusive? Composer Jessie Montgomery thinks so
With orchestras clamoring for her work, the rising artist feels a responsibility and opportunity to help reframe classical music and the institutions that present it.   (2 May)
  Third Coast Percussion, 'Derivative'
Hear the Chicago-based ensemble lay down a killer groove, composed by electronic music producer Jlin.   (29 April)
  Can classical music really be inclusive? Composer Jessie Montgomery thinks so
With orchestras clamoring for her work, the rising artist feels a responsibility and opportunity to help reframe classical music and the institutions that present it.   (28 April)
  Roger Eno: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert
Gentle music from the bucolic English countryside pervades this tranquil Tiny Desk (home) concert by Roger Eno, with a special appearance by his two daughters.   (27 April)
  claire rousay transforms the mundane into sonic abundance
On the largely wordless everything perfect is already here, the composer lets us experience the world through her ears with field recordings, strings and a little tenderness.   (21 April)
  Jason Vieaux, 'Bach: Violin Sonata No. 1: IV. Presto'
Classical guitarists can rock out, too. Hear a searing, joyful performance of Bach at its most shred-worthy and satisfying.   (21 April)
  Radu Lupu, celebrated Romanian pianist, dies at age 76
A pianist widely admired by his fellow artists, Radu Lupu was known for his interpretations of Brahms, Schubert, Mozart and Beethoven, among others. Lupu retired from performing in 2019.   (19 April)
  Harrison Birtwistle, an influential English composer, has died at age 87
Known for his sonic brashness and unyielding artistic vision, Birtwistle was awarded a British knighthood in 1988. He was one of the U.K.'s most prominent composers for decades.   (19 April)
  Radu Lupu, celebrated Romanian pianist, dies at age 76
A pianist widely admired by his fellow artists, Radu Lupu was known for his interpretations of Brahms, Schubert, Mozart and Beethoven, among others. Lupu retired from performing in 2019.   (19 April)
  Harrison Birtwistle, an influential English composer, has died at age 87
Known for his sonic brashness and unyielding artistic vision, Birtwistle was awarded a British knighthood in 1988. He was one of the U.K.'s most prominent composers for decades.   (18 April)
  Leif Ove Andsnes: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert
Hear the award-winning pianist offer two sides of Mozart's genius from inside the composer's own home in Vienna.   (8 April)
  OHYUNG, 'yes my weeping frame!'
OHYUNG is better known as a producer of hyperactive hip-hop and pop music, but on a new double cassette plays with shapes of tender ambient sound.   (5 April)
  Lavinia Meijer (feat. Iggy Pop), 'Mom & Dad'
A surprising collaboration between Iggy Pop and harpist Lavinia Meijer touches on the love, loss and regret between children and parents.   (1 April)
  George Floyd remembered in new choral work
In "A Knee on the Neck," composer Adolphus Hailstork and librettist Herbert Martin pay tribute to Floyd's memory and offer hope for the future – while wrestling with the realities of the present day.   (25 March)
  Critics want to shutter a new opera about Emmett Till. Here's what its creators say
While the creators of a a new opera about Emmett Till hope it will inspire white people to confront racism, others worry it depicts Black trauma for white entertainment while masquerading as activism.   (24 March)
  A new opera about Emmett Till is criticized for being created from a white perspective
While the creators of a a new opera about Emmett Till hope it will inspire white people to confront racism, others worry it depicts Black trauma for white entertainment while masquerading as activism.   (23 March)
  Disassembler, 'Dynasty'
From a series of texts and downloads, a meditative, electroacoustic oasis of calm emerges.   (22 March)
  Jóhann Jóhannsson, 'Take the Night Air'
The late Icelandic composer's magnum opus unfolds like a ritual, combining a potent mix of tradition and technology.   (18 March)
  At 97, Pianist Ruth Slenczynska has a new album — and plenty of stories
The ebullient nonagenarian's new recording features music she's been playing for nearly a century.   (18 March)
  Daniel Hope: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert
Watch violinist Daniel Hope play Beethoven from the composer's own birth house in Bonn, Germany.   (17 March)
  A Russian pianist's shows are canceled, even though he condemns the war in Ukraine
Alexander Malofeev, 20, had already arrived in Montreal when a series of his concerts in Canada had been canceled.   (14 March)
  Norwegian opera singer Lise Davidsen is on the verge of superstardom
The big-voiced soprano is in her mid-thirties, and she didn't even hear an opera live until she was in her twenties. Now, she's a sought-after opera singer.   (14 March)
  Yo-Yo Ma performs a musical protest outside the Russian Embassy
The world-famous cellist made a personal stand with Ukraine on Monday, setting up his instrument on the sidewalk in Washington, D.C., next to an improvised street sign reading, "Zelensky Way."   (10 March)
  Patricia Kopatchinskaja: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert
A fearless risk-taker who makes warhorses sound freshly minted, Kopatchinskaja, from her Vienna apartment, sets fire to Beethoven and offers rarely heard American music.   (8 March)
  Anna Netrebko, a Russian star tied to Putin, is out at the Metropolitan Opera
The famed New York opera house said Thursday that the soprano will not appear there this season or next, after she declined to distance herself from Russian President Vladimir Putin.   (4 March)
  As performing artists denounce or stay allied with Putin, history offers some lessons
While Russian artists and institutions grapple with how they are viewed internationally, American cultural organizations make what amounts to foreign policy decisions.   (4 March)
  New opera teaches a classical music class in the ongoing fight for civil rights
Tamar-kali, who composed the music for Mudbound and Shirley, has a new project: an opera that you can watch online.   (3 March)
  Anna Netrebko, a Russian star tied to Putin, is out at the Metropolitan Opera
The famed New York opera house said Thursday that the soprano will not appear there this season or next, after she declined to distance herself from Russian President Vladimir Putin.   (3 March)
  Michael Tilson Thomas discusses cancer and his scaled-back New World Symphony role
The conductor has announced his diagnosis with an aggressive form of brain cancer and plans to step down as the group's artistic director.   (3 March)
  Joyce DiDonato's 'Eden' beckons humanity back to the garden
On her new album, the opera star suggests Mother Nature has a lot to teach us, if we'd only listen.   (1 March)
  Metropolitan Opera is among those severing ties with Putin-allied artists
Star performers at the famed New York opera house, including soprano Anna Netrebko and conductor Valery Gergiev, have been closely associated with Russian President Vladimir Putin.   (1 March)
  Russian conductor pulls out of New York concerts after supporters of Ukraine protest
Valery Gergiev, who is closely allied with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, was due to take part in a three-concert series at Carnegie Hall. Also stepping aside is Russian pianist Denis Matsuev.   (28 February)
  Metropolitan Opera says it will sever ties with Putin-allied artists
Star performers at the famed New York opera house, including soprano Anna Netrebko and conductor Valery Gergiev, have been closely associated with Russian President Vladimir Putin.   (28 February)
  Claremont Trio, 'Serenata'
Violin and cello are sparkling stand-ins for the Andean charango in an evocative serenade by Gabriela Lena Frank.   (28 February)
  Some Russian performing artists are speaking out against Putin
A number of Russian stars from the performing arts world are using their voices and international platforms to denounce the invasion of Ukraine and speak up against Russian President Vladimir Putin.   (28 February)
  Metropolitan Opera says it will sever ties with Putin-allied artists
Star performers at the famed New York opera house, including soprano Anna Netrebko and conductor Valery Gergiev, have been closely associated with Russian President Vladimir Putin.   (28 February)
  At the Rothko Chapel, Tyshawn Sorey explores sound — and silence
Invited to write a new work for Houston's Rothko Chapel, the composer and multi-instrumentalist Tyshawn Sorey created a work that is both intimate and vast, like those Mark Rothko paintings.   (25 February)
  Russian conductor pulls out of New York concerts after supporters of Ukraine protest
Valery Gergiev, who is closely allied with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, was due to take part in a three-concert series at Carnegie Hall. Also stepping aside is Russian pianist Denis Matsuev.   (25 February)
  At the Rothko Chapel, Tyshawn Sorey explores sound — and silence
Invited to write a new work for Houston's Rothko Chapel, the composer and multi-instrumentalist Tyshawn Sorey created a work that is both intimate and vast, like those Mark Rothko paintings.   (24 February)
  Black Voices in American Music: The Playlist
Some of the first truly American music was created by Black voices. In this playlist, pianist Lara Downes offers a broad range of songs that speak to the irrepressible, irresistible sound of hope.   (19 February)
  Prison choirs sing in a reboot of Beethoven's opera about unjust incarceration
A New York City opera company created an updated version of Fidelio for the Black Lives Matter era. The performance features singers who are incarcerated in real life.   (19 February)
  Anthony Roth Costanzo and Justin Vivian Bond: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert
Opera and cabaret comingle when two odd bedfellows bring music by Philip Glass, The Bangles, Peter Gabriel and Christoph Willibald Gluck to a "tiny apartment" in Manhattan.   (15 February)
  Jean Rondeau, 'Aria'
Hear the French harpsichordist's monument to silence in a luminous and expansive performance from Bach's Goldberg Variations.   (15 February)
  yMusic, 'Together'
Hear a sparkling new chamber piece that, by design, explores the idea of being together.   (11 February)
  Reconsidering Scott Joplin's 'The Entertainer'
The king of ragtime published his hit tune 120 years ago. Pianist Lara Downes believes the piece helped shape the future of American music.   (7 February)
  George Crumb, an influential and deeply American composer, has died at age 92
The Pulitzer Prize winner, whose music enveloped everything from the horrors of the Vietnam War to the calls of humpback whales, died Sunday.   (7 February)
  'The Violin Conspiracy' shows what it can be like to play classical music while Black
NPR's Asma Khalid speaks with Brendan Slocumb, author of The Violin Conspiracy. The crime mystery finds a Black classical musician trying to recover his stolen instrument — among other challenges.   (4 February)
  Renowned conductor Marin Alsop's life explored in new documentary
Scott Simon speaks with conductor Marin Alsop about "The Conductor," a new film tracing her storied life and career in classical music.   (1 February)
  Renowned conductor Marin Alsop's life explored in new documentary
Scott Simon speaks with conductor Marin Alsop about the "The Conductor," a new film tracing her storied life and career in classical music.   (31 January)
  Daniel Wohl, 'Drift'
Hear an ode to the air we breathe from the innovative electro-acoustic composer, with an assist from a children's choir.   (28 January)
  Steven Beck, 'Piano Sonata No. 5' (George Walker)
George Walker's final Piano Sonata might be short in length, but it's long on ideas, unfolding in a colorful thicket of textures and episodes.   (19 January)
  Opera singer Maria Ewing, known for her dramatic intensity, has died at age 71
Acclaimed for her fearless performances in operas by Strauss and Bizet, Ewing also partly inspired Passing, a film written and directed by her daughter, Rebecca Hall.   (12 January)
  Yo-Yo Ma (feat. Tunde Olaniran), 'Doorway'
Pairing the classical cellist with the Michigan iconoclast makes a fair bit of sense: Neither cares much for genre boundaries.   (30 December)
   
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