Impromptu

Impromptu

Live broadcasts from the WFMT studios with some of today’s best artists.

Our live afternoon series of “impromptu” music and conversation features some of today’s most sought-after musicians from around the world. Previous guests on Impromptu have included cellist Yo-Yo Ma, mezzo-soprano Joyce Di Donato, and author Salman Rushdie. Other guests have included Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, tenor Joseph Calleja, violinist Joshua Bell, and the vocal ensemble Chanticleer. Broadcast live from the Levin Performance Studio at WFMT, the program also features local performers who are vital to Chicago’s vibrant musical culture.

Subscribe to the Podcast

Eden-Stell Guitar Duo

September 26, 2017

Widely regarded as one of the world’s leading guitar ensembles, the Eden Stell Guitar Duo ’s chameleon-like ability to communicate in a multitude of styles gives them a uniquely creative, musical voice.

Reginald R. Robinson, piano

September 21, 2017

The story goes that Reginald R. Robinson first heard the sweet strains of ragtime music through the loudspeaker of a neighborhood ice cream truck. Years later, the self-taught pianist and composer received a 2004 “genius” fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation. We welcome him back to the Levin Studio for this solo performance of his original compositions.

The Fareed Haque & Goran Ivanovich Guitar Duo

August 30, 2017

Inspired by the rhythms and melodies of flamenco, jazz, classical, rock and the Balkan region, the Fareed Haque & Goran Ivanovic Guitar Duo celebrates the unrivaled guitar artistry of two of the finest players of their respective generations. These virtuosic and musically multi-lingual guitarists have recorded two CDs together, Macedonian Blues and 7 Boats. They don’t often enjoy the opportunity ...

The Knights

August 18, 2017

We will have to bring in extra music stands, and maybe stretch the walls of the Levin Studio, because The Knights are returning to WFMT to perform on Impromptu.

REBROADCAST: Astera String Quartet

August 5, 2017

On Saturday’s encore broadcast, we feature the Astera String Quartet of the Academy at the Music Institute of Chicago. To listen to this program again, please click here.

Danish String Quartet & Juho Pohjonen, piano

August 2, 2017

Frederik Øland, Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen, Asbjørn Nørgaard, and Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin – known collectively as the Danish String Quartet – have described their ensemble with these words: “Yes, playing string quartets is our job, and yes it is hard work, but we mostly do it for pleasure, like we always did.” Sometimes, of course, they revel in quintets, too, as ...

Drew Petersen, American Pianists Association Competition Winner

July 27, 2017

The American Pianists Awards are held every four years to discover the best aspiring young American classical pianists.  2017 competition winner Drew Petersen is also a prizewinner in the Leeds International Piano Competition. He has performed solo and concerto recitals in both Europe and the United States, and he makes his WFMT debut with this Impromptu.

Argus Quartet

July 11, 2017

Lisa Flynn welcomes the Argus Quartet, the new Graduate Resident String Quartet at the Juilliard School. The ensemble members — violinists Jason Issokson and violinist Clara Kim, violist Dana Kelley, and cellist Joann Whang — will be spending the summer honing their craft at Ravinia’s Steans Institute. www.ArgusQuartet.com

Make Music Chicago: KAIA String Quartet

June 21, 2017

Inspired by the French Fête de la Musique, and held annually on the day of the Summer Solstice, Make Music Chicago is a day-long, citywide, music festival. This year, MMC partners with “Lift Every Voice: Musicians Rising For Racial Justice.” The KAIA String Quartet¸ WFMT’s ensemble-in-residence, will be participating in the festivities. Impromptu broadcasts this performance live.

Rachel Barton Pine, violin

June 13, 2017

On her new recording, Bel Canto Paganini 24 Caprices and other Works for Solo Violin, Rachel Barton Pine samples the most challenging techniques possible on the violin. And during her performance on Impromptu, she demonstrates the showmanship it takes to perform these virtuosic creations.

Vadim Gluzman, violin, & Angela Yoffe, piano

May 30, 2017

It’s a busy time for musical couple violinist Vadim Gluzman and pianist Angela Yoffe. The 7th edition of their intimate North Shore Chamber Music Festival takes place June 7, 9 and 10 in Northbrook, Illinois. Then on June 14, Vadim helps the Grant Park Music Festival launch their summer season. He performs the Tchaikovsky Concerto with the Grant Park Orchestra under the direction of Carlos Kalmar ...

Inon Barnatan, piano

May 23, 2017

Israeli pianist Inon Barnatan is known for his compelling and insightful musicianship and elegant virtuosity, and as “a true poet of the keyboard, refined, searching [and] unfailingly communicative” (London’s Evening Standard). After this broadcast, Inon performs George Gershwin’s lively Piano Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Jesus Lopez-Cobos.

Paul Galbraith, guitar

May 4, 2017

Paul Galbraith’s guitar has eight strings and he makes the most out of the extra high and low notes.  The instrument rests, supported by an end-pin, on a wooden resonance box. Paul brings his unusual guitar and his unique playing to Impromptu for the first time.

The Smetana Trio

February 28, 2018

Founded in 1934, the Smetana Trio is today’s foremost Czech chamber ensemble. With an extensive discography and busy international tour schedule, the group’s current members, pianist Jitka Cechová, violinist Jiří Vodička, and cellist Jan Pálenícek, carry on the virtuosic and interpretational ideals created by their predecessors.

George Li, piano

March 2, 2018

Praised by the Washington Post for combining “staggering technical prowess, a sense of command and dept h of expression,” pianist George Li possesses brilliant virtuosity and effortless grace far beyond his years. He captured the Silver Medal at the 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition and was the recipient of the 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant. Lisa Flynn loves George’s debut recital ...

Wael Farouk, piano

March 23, 2018

Egyptian-American pianist Wael Farouk has performed on five continents in such venues as the White Hall in St. Petersburg, Schumann’s house in Leipzig, and Carnegie Hall in New York, where his solo debut performance in 2013 was described as “absolutely masterful.”

Anderson & Roe Piano Duo

May 10, 2018

Pianists Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Roe aim to make classical music a relevant and powerful force around the world.  Their joyful virtuosity shines through chart-topping albums, Emmy-nominated music videos, and an extensive international touring schedule.