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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Last October, in the midst of the pandemic, Laurie Anderson appeared at the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum to recreate one of her earliest works. Wearing ice skates attached to frozen blocks of ice, she played her violin along with a tape recording stashed cleverly inside her instrument. When the ice melted, her performance ended. Bow over bridge, blades over ice: "Duets on Ice" is a meditation on balance and time.

Composer and classical pianist Malek Jandali was raised in Homs, Syria, where he was visiting his family in 2011. During that trip, Jandali was first electrified by street protests challenging the brutal dictator Bashar al-Assad, both in his hometown and across the country. He composed a simple song in reaction to it, called "I Am My Homeland."

Words matter. And Rita Dove's words matter tremendously to untold numbers of readers, including me. As our former U.S. poet laureate, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, author of hundreds of poems, a novel, a play, essays and articles, she's written countless words, all of them full of meaning and melody. Her words bring characters to life and shared experience to light.

How do traditional arts organizations respond to turbulent times?

A young, mild-mannered soprano from Norway with a huge voice has been turning heads in the opera world.

Lise Davidsen is an emerging star whose voice has been called one-in-a-million. It can soar like a rocket over enormous orchestras. And yet on her new album, in the Verdi aria, "Pace, pace mio Dio!" it can dial down to a single gleaming strand of polished silver.

Could there be a more unloved, abject literary form than the press release? Inherently clammy and needy, press releases crowd the inboxes of busy reporters, who find it all too easy to ignore their entreaties. ("My client is soooo great!")

But every so often, a press release shows up like this one from Early Music New York. It arrived with the swagger of a carnival barker. It was flashy. It was fun.

It's been just over a year since anyone has seen a "live" Broadway musical – but ever since I got hold of a lovingly crafted new-slash-old cast-album recording, I've been thinking about a show once left for dead.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but in April of 1964, Anyone Can Whistle was a flop. It came into Manhattan with a great pedigree, headed by two movie stars making their musical debuts — Angela Lansbury and Lee Remick, each an Oscar nominee just a year earlier for Manchurian Candidate and Days of Wine and Roses, respectively.

Opera Philadelphia has, of course, spent the last year unable to stage live works in theaters. In response, they started creating original works written for the camera, to be shared and viewed online as part of an ongoing effort to bring a wider range of voices into the repertory.

In some ways, making a movie isn't too different from running a business: At the end of the day, it's just a set of relationships. Financial interests clash with creative ones. The mission depends on who's in charge. And when new management comes in, sometimes people further down the chain find themselves suddenly out of a job, too.

James Levine, the immensely accomplished conductor who wielded power and influence in the classical world, and whose singular tenure at the Metropolitan Opera ended in a flurry of accusations of sexual abuse, died on March 9 in Palm Springs, Calif. His physician of 17 years, Dr. Len Horovitz, confirmed his death to NPR, saying that Levine died of natural causes. He was 77 years old.

The first time I saw Kris Bowers, it was only his hands. You saw them too, if you watched the 2019 movie Green Book. Kris wrote the film score and his hands stood in for the actor Mahershala Ali's in the close-up scenes when the lead character, pianist and composer Don Shirley, is playing the piano.

With a new year comes a new season of "Play It Forward," All Things Considered's chain of artistic inspiration, where we ask musicians to tell us about their work and the people who inspire them, after which we ask the person mentioned for their own, and so it continues. This series often takes leaps from one genre to another, which makes Devonté Hynes a tricky and exciting place to jump back in.

You might know her as the host of NPR Music's web series, Amplify with Lara Downes, or by her work as a concert pianist – through each, Downes' goal has been to elevate the work of Black artists. Her new project, Rising Sun Music, is something of a combination: Downes will release a mini-album every month, for as long as she can keep it up, to highlight overlooked and forgotten compositions by Black artists in the classical music tradition.

As pianist Mahani Teave was poised to launch her international career, she remembered the moment when the first piano arrived on her remote island. It was 1992, she was nine years old and the instrument landed on Rapa Nui, or Easter Island as it was named by Europeans. Best known for its mysterious, sentinel-like stone statues, the island lies some 2000 miles off the coast of Chile.

After months of lockdown, on a glorious sunny day, I got to watch the Los Angeles Philharmonic rehearse at the famous, near-empty Hollywood Bowl. A year into the pandemic, live concerts are still a rarity in this country, but the LA Phil has been recording concerts here for its online Sound/Stage series.

There were only about seven others scattered in the audience of the vast amphitheater; in sneakers and jeans, conductor Gustavo Dudamel led the orchestra in a piece by composer John Adams, Grand Pianola Music.

Kris Bowers' film-scoring career started, strangely enough, with a word of praise from the Queen of Soul — Aretha Franklin.

The 31-year-old composer has been tickling the ivories since he was a little kid, growing up in the Mid-City neighborhood of Los Angeles. He always loved film scores (E.T. was a heavy favorite), and he was one of the few Black students at his arts high school. He studied at Juilliard, and in 2011 he won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition.

Updated at 9:46 p.m. ET

A union representing 800 backstage workers at New York's Metropolitan Opera began a publicity campaign today urging donors and government entities to withdraw support for the company because of a labor dispute.

Kev Marcus and Wil Baptiste — two artists from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — met 25 years ago, in a high school orchestra class. Growing up, neither one had had much exposure to classical music; both said their parents were more likely to listen to reggae or calypso. Classical music felt like it was supposed to be for other people, which had the effect of drawing them even closer to it. Today, they play as a duo, with Marcus on violin and Baptiste on viola.

In the 1920s, the Russian physicist Leon Theremin debuted an electronic instrument that could be played without any physical contact. Players stood in front of a box and waved their hands over antennas, summoning otherworldly sounds seemingly from thin air.

Will Liverman is a young baritone and a new, exciting voice in the opera world. He is also on something of a mission.

In school, the artist was rarely introduced to Black composers. It was a cumulative interest, patched together by YouTube clips and introductions from colleagues. Now, he wants to expose listeners to music that he feels doesn't get programmed enough in concert halls or receive enough airplay on classical radio stations.

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.


There's a distinct dissonance between the bucolic setting of this lovely Max Richter Tiny Desk (home) concert and the reality he references after his performance.

Osvaldo Golijov is a MacArthur "genius" composer who's written for Yo-Yo Ma, Kronos Quartet and soprano Dawn Upshaw. But in 2012, he was accused of plagiarism, and he disappeared from the scene. Only now, nearly a decade later, is Golijov reemerging — with a work that could not have a more timely subject: it's a meditation on grieving and loss.

For members of Luminous Voices, a professional choir ensemble in Alberta, Canada, rehearsing and performing safely during the pandemic has meant getting into their cars, driving to an empty parking lot and singing with each other's voices broadcast through their car radios.

This "car choir" solution is one that college music professor David Newman — an accomplished baritone himself in Virginia — came up with so that ensembles could sing and "be" together.

In 2021, I'm looking forward to, fingers crossed, live music. I really miss the roar of a symphony orchestra in concert or a soaring soprano on the opera stage. But artists are still making albums, even in lockdown, like British composer Max Richter. His upcoming album is a follow-up to last year's Voices. This new one is Voices, Part 2 which will be released in April.

Meet internationally-acclaimed author Alexander McCall Smith (No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency) and award-winning composer James Ross, who collaborated on song cycle These Are The Hands. Host Fiona Ritchie chatted with them about the process of bringing together the lyrics (McCall Smith) and the piano arrangements (Ross).

The year 2020 was, in so many ways, divided. In terms of live performances, musicians were forced to reinvent, reflect and respond from a distance and in turn I watched their concerts from the remove of my laptop screen.

Two-hundred-fifty years ago, a musical maverick was born. Ludwig van Beethoven charted a powerful new course in music. His ideas may have been rooted in the work of European predecessors Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Josef Haydn, but the iconic German composer became who he was with the help of some familiar American values: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

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.

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.

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.

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