Towering Musical Theater Master Stephen Sondheim Dies at 91

Stephen Sondheim, the songwriter who reshaped the American musical theater in the second half of the 20th century, has died.

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VIDEO: How A 440 Became Standard Concert Pitch

To play in tune together, musicians have to tune their instruments together using a fixed pitch as a standard. For most ensembles today, that standard is A 440, meaning the note A above middle C is tuned to a frequency of 440 Hz. But how did that pitch become fixed at 440 Hz? The answer lies in the Deagan Building, ...

10 Lesser-Known Violin Concertos You Should Hear Right Now

For every cherished Beethoven or Tchaikovsky violin concerto, there's a concerto by Szymanowski or a Berwald that deserves some more love!

Is Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D “Unplayable”? Violinist Jennifer Koh Explains…

Violinist Jennifer Koh on what makes this piece such an enduring favorite, her own journey with the piece, and why the concerto was once considered “unplayable.”

15 Sopranos Singing One of the Craziest Coloratura Arias

One of the most difficult coloratura arias in the entire operatic repertoire, “Les oiseaux dans la charmille,” comes from Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffman (Les contes d’Hoffmann). The piece is also known as “The Doll Song,” since the character who performs it, Olympia, is a mechanical doll. In the opera, Hoffman recounts how he was charmed by the automaton, co-created by Spalanzani ...

Philip Glass: “What’s Most Misunderstood About My Music”

Philip Glass is simultaneously one of the best known and most misunderstood composers of our time. Though he has many fans, he also has many critics. When Donal Henahan was the New York Times’s senior critic, he described Glass’s opera Akhnaten as “one more example of going-nowhere music” that provides mere “backgrounds of continually repeated, barely varied sound patterns. They ...

Hear 5 of Alisa Weilerstein’s Favorite New Works for Cello

“I’m a cellist, therefore I don’t have the luxury of ‘favorite’ repertoire,” Alisa Weilerstein said. She is committed to expanding the repertoire by developing relationships with living composers. “I try to take Rostropovich’s example, who had incredible relationships with composers and of course was the muse to Shostakovich and Prokofiev,” she said. “Without him, we might not have these titanic 20th century cello works."

Stanisław Moniuszko: The Most Famous Polish Composer You Haven’t Heard Yet but Should

Stanisław Moniuszko may not be a household name today, the composer is literally the face of Polish opera... a statue of him rests outside of the Warsaw Opera House.

How Grammy Award-Winning Jazz Singer Kurt Elling Developed His Chops Singing Motets by J.S. Bach

As Elling returned to his native Chicago for performances at City Winery, he spoke about how classical music has influenced him throughout his life.

5 Rising Stars in Classical Music Who Got Their Start in Chicago

Many musicians have started their careers in Chicago, and some of them have also studied at the Academy of the Music Institute of Chicago. Founded in 2006, the Academy was established to serve as a training center for gifted pre-college classical musicians. The program is designed for piano and strings. “The Academy was modeled after another program, the oldest of its ...

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