Watch WFMT’s Classical Conversations With Marin Alsop

One of the world's leading conductors, Marin Alsop was in 2020 appointed the principal conductor and curator of the Ravinia Festival. WFMT was honored to speak with the celebrated conductor in the latest installment of our Classical Conversations series.

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Guggenheim Fellow Rudresh Mahanthappa On Creating Music that Defies Genre

Musicians today work across genres to create sounds that defy categorization, yet listeners crave categories. Saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, whose many awards and honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, has created sounds that defy categorization for his latest project, Song of the Jasmine, an interdisciplinary collaboration with Ragamala Dance that comes to the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago this weekend. Manhathappa was born in Italy to Indian ...

14 Facts About Haydn

As we celebrate Haydn’s Birthday on the air, enjoy these fun facts about the composer from hosts and Haydn lovers Peter Van de Graaff and Carl Grapentine. Share your favorite facts about Haydn with us in the comments below. 1. Haydn was born the year George Washington was born (1732) and died the year Abraham Lincoln was born (1809). 2. ...

Host Peter van de Graaff Stars in Haymarket’s ‘Don Quichotte’

You’ve come to know Peter van de Graaff’s voice by listening to Through the Night with Peter van de Graaff and as WFMT’s chief announcer. But, did you know you can also hear Peter’s voice on some of the world’s most prestigious stages? As a bass-baritone, Peter has performed with leading orchestras — including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra — and ...

Lyric Opera of Chicago Announces 2016-17 Season

Thursday, January 14, 2015, Lyric Opera of Chicago announced its 2016-17 Season, scheduled to include 8 opera productions on its main stage, 1 opera production at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, and 1 musical, part of its ongoing American Musical Initiative. Casting includes Eric Owens, Piotr Beczała, Christine Goerke, Sondra Radvanosvky, Joseph Calleja, and Ana María Martínez. The ...

$32 Million to the CSO

The legacy of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra received a boost on Thursday with the announcement of two multimillion-dollar gifts − among the largest in the orchestra’s history according to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association. Chicago-based Sam and Helen Zell acknowledged a $17 million dollar gift from the Zell Family Foundation for the endowment of the position currently held by music director Riccardo Muti. Maestro ...

Ana María Martínez: “Czech Was the Hardest”

Ana María Martínez is a seasoned performer on the stage of Chicago’s Civic Opera House. In the last year, she’s sung Mimì, Desdemona, and opens as Rusalka on Saturday. What is less dazzling, less conspicuous, has been her role as a role model to Chicago’s youth. The Puerto Rican-American soprano (who is fluent in Italian, English, and Spanish) frequently volunteers as a ...

Beethoven’s Smile: Yes, He Had One

“After the final chord, I looked up. The Master’s darkly glowing gaze was fixed upon me penetratingly. Yet suddenly a benevolent smile broke up his gloomy features, Beethoven became quite close, bent over me, laid his hand on my head and repeatedly stroked my hair. ‘Devil of a fellow’ he whispered, ‘such a young rascal!’ I suddenly plucked up courage. ...

Composer Exploration: Jacques Ibert

Jacques Ibert was born in Paris in 1890; his father was a businessman; his mother was a pianist. She began teaching him piano and violin at age 4. When young Jacques finished grade school, he found a job in a movie house, playing piano for silent films. In 1910 he enrolled at the Paris Conservatory, joining Arthur Honegger and Darius ...

Art and Music: Mendelssohn’s Watercolors

Felix Mendelssohn was a beacon in his world, whether as a conductor, composer, scholar, or painter. As a painter, he wallowed in images of man in dialogue with nature: landscapes with buildings or people under trees. The image to the right is of an unknown subject, but brings to mind the mysterious, churning sounds of his Hebrides Overture, and offers ...

10 Pieces That Changed the World

As our sister station, WTTW launches 10 Buildings that Changed America, we at WFMT thought perhaps it was time for some reflection on the art of music composition. WFMT’s 10 Pieces That Changed the World offers a full day of musical giants, pieces of music that turned the art form into something it hadn’t seen. It is important to say ...

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