Classical Wyoming

Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms, in Wyoming! Would you believe that Wyoming is one of a handful of states that has a 24-hour classical music channel? Maybe it's the vast open spaces and the overwhelming mountains that speak in a profound way and connect us to the majesty found in centuries of classical repertoire. 

Classical Wyoming draws from the nationally acclaimed Classical 24 series that explores repertoires from pre-Baroque to today's contemporary composers. Hosts carefully craft each broadcast. Lively, engaging, and knowledgeable, they illuminate the music they present with well-researched insightful information. Each program excites classical music novices and aficionados alike. You can also catch up on the news from the BBC at the top of each hour.

For those who enjoy keeping up with events in the classical world, we offer NPR's collection of stories and news items. In addition, you'll find information about our Metropolitan Opera Broadcasts, as well as other tid-bits of news. 

Indeed, classical music thrives in Wyoming. Let the curtain rise!

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New York's Metropolitan Opera, armed with technology, today's top singers and a captive, home-bound audience is, in spite of them, struggling to make opera relevant. The company's new streaming series, Met Stars Live in Concert, while a valiant endeavor, can't seem to shake off opera's fusty, aristocratic trappings.

One of America's most beloved and resourceful pianists has died. Leon Fleisher was 92 years old. He died of cancer in Baltimore Sunday morning, according to his son, Julian.

The pianist's roller coaster career began with fame, moved to despair and ended in fulfillment.

Composer Max Richter has scored soundtracks and had his music placed across film and television, including recent Hollywood movies such as Mary Queen of Scots, Hostiles and Ad Astra. But Richter's also a composer who's not afraid to take on political issues in his music.

Two controversies broke out this week regarding accusations of anti-Black racism in classical music. One involved two high-profile international soloists, pianist Yuja Wang and violinist Leonidas Kavakos. The other features less prominent individuals — a group of academics — but it also points to the slowness of the classical music community to take up difficult conversations about race and representation.

Updated on Aug. 6 at 8:06 a.m. ET

In April 1945, Madame Roos wrote a letter to French authorities describing her piano she was hoping to get back. Roos, who was 72, was Jewish and her piano had been stolen when Nazis emptied her apartment in Paris.

A similar fate befell many of the 75,000 French Jews deported to concentration camps during World War II.

Chris Herbert was in a hurry. The vocalist and musicologist was studying the Ephrata Codex — an 18th century music manuscript — in the Library of Congress, which meant he was on the clock. Herbert was working on digitizing the Codex. He flipped through the pages, taking pictures of each one, with no time to pause.

Here's a surprising statistic: According to a survey by Chorus America, one in six Americans, or 54 million people, sing in choral groups, whether that's community, school and children's choirs, religious groups or professional ensembles. But since stay-at-home orders have been issued across many states, choral music here and around the world has completely stopped.

The iconic score to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: This is the sound of the American West, at least filtered through the ears of an Italian — specifically, composer Ennio Morricone. He was a giant in the world of film scores who wrote the music for more than 500 movies.

On Nov. 20, 1934, a brand new symphony brought a Carnegie Hall audience to its feet. The concert featured the Philadelphia Orchestra, led by its star conductor Leopold Stokowski. The music was the Negro Folk Symphony, by the 35-year-old African American composer William Dawson.

New York's Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center both said on Thursday that they have canceled their performances for the rest of 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The twin announcements from the two New York City landmarks signal that the city's cultural life will be slow to return.

In typical years, late September marks the beginning of the new concert season for two of New York's most famous music venues, followed shortly by the moneymaking holiday season. But 2020 is turning out to be anything but a normal year.

Between the pandemic, the economic crisis and now protests, 2020 has already been a lot. Yo-Yo Ma has been coping, and trying to help the rest of us cope, with music. The cellist has been posting videos of himself playing what he calls "Songs of Comfort."

"I do believe that everything that we do," he says, "people in every profession — medical workers, the delivery people, the politicians — we all are there to serve. We only exist because someone has a need. I know that music fulfills that kind of need."

The shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic hit musicians hard, with concert halls and rehearsal spaces shuttered and silent. But a new music initiative from the Library of Congress embraces the constraints of COVID-19. The series is a collection of 10 videos of 10 different original compositions that will premiere online starting Monday, June 15. It's called the Boccaccio Project.

When the story of George Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis police began making news last week, Anthony McGill felt something roiling up inside him.

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

Our Daily Breather is a series where we ask writers and artists to recommend one thing that's helping them get through the days of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Who: Davóne Tines

Where: Raleigh, N.C.

Recommendation: Reconnecting through daily rituals and learning to make the perfect cup of coffee

Our Daily Breather is a series where we ask writers and artists to recommend one thing that's helping them get through the days of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic. NPR Music's Tom Huizenga recently spoke with Pulitzer-winning composer Steve Reich, who has been keeping busy with the solitary act of writing a new piece from his winter getaway in Los Angeles.

Who: Steve Reich
Where: Los Angeles, Calif.
Recommendation: Keep on working

Rachel Portman has been scoring films since the 1980s, and in 1997 became the first woman ever to win an Oscar for best original score for her work on Douglas McGrath's Emma. Since then, Portman has scored dozens more films and TV shows, but is now stepping away from the screen with ask the river, her first album of music not written for a movie, TV show or stage production.

"There were hardly any female film composers," Portman says of winning an Oscar at that time.

Our Daily Breather is a series where we ask writers and artists to recommend one thing that's helping them get through the days of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Who: Jennifer Koh

Where: New York, N.Y.

Recommendation: Finding a source of fearlessness and joy


As a musician, I engage with the action of listening to others and the action of physicalizing music.

Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra [BSO] and a popular draw for tourists in the Berkshire Mountains, has canceled its 2020 live performance season due to the coronavirus, the BSO announced on Friday.

In these days of uncertainty, music can provide a safe haven, an escape, or even a boost of energy. I've found all of that and more in a new recording of the music of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, the second oldest of Johann Sebastian's musical sons, and a composer who continually fascinates me.

Violinists have special relationships with their instruments, almost like marriages. And so it was that when the Grammy-winning fiddler Augustin Hadelich came to play his Tiny Desk concert, he brought with him the equivalent of a new significant other.

Updated Tuesday at 1:25 p.m. ET

Anthony Davis' opera The Central Park Five, with a libretto by Richard Wesley, has won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Music.

NPR Music's Top 14 Albums Of April

Apr 30, 2020

As the NPR Music staff continues to cover the pandemic and its effects on the music industry, we are still listening to new music. In fact, we started Press Pause and Hit Play, a new playlist updated daily, in an effort to catalog our favorites released during this time.

Updated Wednesday at 10:29 a.m.

Cellist Lynn Harrell, one of the finest and most prominent American classical musicians of his generation, has died. He was 76 years old.

His death was initially announced by his wife, violinist Helen Nightengale, on social media. She did not disclose the cause of his death. In a statement provided Wednesday by Columbia Artists, the company that managed Harrell, Nightengale said that the cellist's death was unexpected.

The harpsichord is a beautiful but notoriously fussy instrument. After we wheeled one behind Bob Boilen's desk, it took the bulk of an hour to get the tuning just perfect for the very first Tiny Desk harpsichord recital. Given that our guest was Mahan Esfahani, the instrument's most ardent advocate, we were willing to wait.

In this time of social distancing, hunkering down and chatting remotely, we might learn some new things about each other. For example, you might know Marin Alsop as the longtime music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, one of the leading figures in classical music around the world and a frequent guest on Weekend Edition. But you might not know that back in the 1980s, she also led a swing band.

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

Some people respond to suffering by turning it into art. That's true even with the harrowing experience of a pandemic.

In the early 1400s, an Englishman named John Cooke composed Stella celi, a hymn to the Virgin Mary referencing the Black Plague which, according to some sources, wiped out half of Europe. Its text speaks of the "ulcers of a terrible death" but also the assurance that "the star of heaven ... has rooted out the plague."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It is Easter this Sunday. And in Milan, the renowned Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli will be sending a message of love and hope to the world, especially Italy, which has seen more death in this pandemic than any country.

Richard Teitelbaum, an electronic artist, keyboardist and composer who combined an interest in non-western musical languages with a focus on experimental practice, died on Thursday at HealthAlliance Hospital in Kingston, N.Y. His wife, the classical pianist Hiroko Sakurazawa, said the cause was a major stroke. He was 80.

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