what’s playing now

      View playlists >

      Thanks to our sponsors:

      Carl's Morning Quiz

      Carl Grapentine

      Carl's Morning Quiz: check back on Tuesday, September 2 for another round of quiz questions.

      Thanks to our sponsors:

      Learn more about advertising
      and sponsorship on WFMT.


      Chicago Classical Calendar

      Use the calendar below to browse upcoming
      Chicago-area concerts.

      Top Stories

      Carlos Kleiber, A Reclusive Genius

      "Carlos has a genius for conducting, but he doesn't enjoy doing it. He tells me, 'I conduct only when I'm hungry'. And it's true. He has a deep-freeze. He fills it up and cooks for himself and when it gets down to a certain level, then he thinks 'Now I might do a concert'." That more...

      Christopher Maltman Tweets and Sings Beethoven, John Adams

      It is well established that opera singers can sing like canaries. Now we're finding they tweet like them, too. Baritone Christopher Maltman used Twitter to share something of the on-stage and off-stage energy during his concerts with the Milwaukee Symphony earlier this year more...

      Pianist Amy Briggs on What’s New in Music

      Pianist Amy Briggs has a passion for pristine and rugged terrains, be it a trek in the Spanish Pyrenees or a virtuosic piano score that no one's ever performed before. As a working pianist and Director of Chamber Music and Lecturer in Music at the University of Chicago, Ms. Briggs knows her way around the standard repertoire of Brahms and Beethoven. But it is the music of our own time that finds its way more...

      Champion Plays Ravinia

      He calls Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin "a big friend of mine." His heroes are Vladimir Horowitz and star hockey center Sergei Fedorov. Russian pianist Denis Matsuev, who has "epic technique" according to the Boston Globe, is not shy about talking sports. In a 2009 Impromptu, he told WFMT that as a youth in Siberia, he could hardly be kept indoors. He played either soccer or ice hockey "about seven hours a day. Music was second." Speaking with a gentle Russian growl, he laughs more...

      View all stories»

      Thanks to our sponsors:

      Learn more about advertising and sponsorship on WFMT.


      stay in-touch


      Prom 59: Strauss's Elektra review a highlight of the season

      Royal Albert Hall, London
      The BBCSO was on vibrant form under Semyon Bychkov, while the five main principals struck sparks off one another

      Salome one day, Elektra the next: the Proms' Strauss weekend was a heady pairing that will go down as a highlight of this season. The BBC Symphony Orchestra's Elektra, conducted by Semyon Bychkov, lived up to the Deutsche Oper's iridescent Salome the night before, and in at least one respect improved on it: this time each singer had his or her role securely by heart, and with no music stands for the cast to step around, director Justin Way could make the presentation less static than he had for Salome. The five main principals in concert dress struck sparks off one another within their narrow strip of platform.

      They had space to sing as well, thanks to Bychkov's expansive, fluid conducting. The BBCSO was on vibrant form. Did they sound quite as confident and at ease with this seething score as an opera-house orchestra might have? Perhaps not, but this was still quite a performance: the brass were searing at the bloodthirsty close of Elektra's first monologue, the wind dark and evil at the start of her scene with Clytemnestra, the whole orchestra voluptuous when she finally recognises her long-lost brother, Orestes.

      Continue reading...

      Symphony guide: Dvoák's 9th 'From the New World'

      Dvoáks final symphony, with its famous Largo, is one of classical musics best loved works. Tom Service separates its facts from its fictions

      Dvoraks New World Symphony: as legend has it, the sound of a music that heralded a new dawn for American music, the product of the then-New-York-based composers own statement in the Negro melodies of America I discover all that is needed for a great and noble school of music.

      This E Minor Symphony was the first that Dvoák completed in his two-and-a-half year stay in the US. He was brought over by a wealthy patron of the arts to set up a music conservatory, the forerunner of todays Juilliard School. And the fact that Dvoák was influenced by the spirituals and songs that he heard from one of his most important pupils, Harry T. Burleigh, is not in doubt. But apart from a strong allusion to Swing Low, Sweet Chariot in the second main melody of the first movement (compare them yourself!), its astonishing that Dvoáks own clear statement to the New York Herald at the time of the symphonys premiere at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic on 16 December 1893 was not properly attended to. It is merely the spirit of Negro and Indian melodies which I have tried to reproduce in my new symphony. I have not actually used any of the melodies. Later, in 1900, he said in a letter: leave out that nonsense about my using Indian and American motifs it is a lie! and again, It was my intention only to write in the spirit of these national American melodies. That lie went so far as imagining that the soulful cor anglais melody in the slow movement (which may have associations of different kind of folk spirit for anyone of my vintage, of a kid on a bicycle struggling up a cobbled street with batch of wholemeal loaves in a prelapsarian vision of the country-bumpkin-far-west that Hovis ad, basically!) was itself an authentic American melody: in fact, the words of Goin Home were added to the tune years later by another of Dvoáks pupils.

      Continue reading...

      The Blank Canvas review operatic novices make their mark

      King's Head, London
      The winner of last year's Opera Up Close Flourish competition for new composers and librettists impresses in all aspects

      Now in its third year, Opera Up Close's Flourish competition seeks to give composers and librettists the chance to create new chamber pieces scaled to the possibilities of this pub-theatre venue. Last year's winning entry now reaches the stage with work by two operatic novices, composer Spyros Syrmos and writer Fay Wrixon.

      The Blank Canvas centres on artist Lucy, widowed for a year following the death of her husband, Peter, but continuing to enjoy the support of her agent and friend, Gio, who is in love with her. Her work, meanwhile, has run aground because of vision problems that are eventually diagnosed as the onset of blindness. How Lucy comes to terms with these losses and eventually enters into a new relationship with Gio provides the essence of a plot that is simple but not without ambiguities.

      Continue reading...

      Read more classical news >

      meet the hosts

      event feature

      Read the biography of host Carl Grapentine and find out more about all WFMT hosts.

      View all Hosts >

      travel with wfmt

      travel feature

      Join Peter Van De Graaff for a trip to Montreal & Quebec City this September!

      travel feature

      Join Lisa Flynn for a tour of Scotland.

      travel feature

      Join Peter Van De Graaff this October for the treasures of Cuba's rich culture of music, dance, art, and history!

      View all Travel >

      new releases

      Uchida Plays Mozart

      Decca 478 6763

      Rate it >

      Monteverdi: Vespers of Saint Mark

      Naïve OP-30557

      Rate it >

      Fasch: Quartets & Concertos

      Linn CKD-467

      Rate it >

      Bach: Keyboard Partitas

      Sony Classical 88843076302

      Rate it >

      Summer Night Concert 2014

      Sony Classical 88843070972

      Rate it >

      View all New Releases >