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 DiDonato, 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.
There are no upcoming broadcasts at the moment.
Anthony McGill & Friends
January 27, 2023
On a blustery January 27th, back in 2004, clarinetist Anthony McGill and some of his virtuosic friends braved the snow storm to come to WFMT’s Levin studio. On this 257th anniversary of the birth of Mozart, we bring you their performance of the Mozart Clarinet Quintet.
M5 Mexican Brass
January 20, 2023
Since 2005, M5 Mexican Brass has earned international recognition as Mexico’s leading brass quintet by performing virtuosic chamber music in all styles. These charming cultural ambassadors visited WFMT in 2017.
Benjamin Hochman, piano
January 13, 2023
Pianist Benjamin Hochman first performed live on Impromptu in 2009. This encore broadcast features his gorgeous renditions of works by Bach, Kurtág, and Brahms. Benjamin Hochman joins cellist Zlatomir Fung in recital at the University of Chicago ‘s Mandel Hall on January 20, 2023.
Calidore String Quartet
January 6, 2023
Gramophone Magazine called the Calidore String Quartet “a miracle of unified thought.” This vibrant, young ensemble won the 2016 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship, the first North Americans to be so honored. The ensemble continues to earn high praise, including a place on the prestigious roster of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Two. Catch this extraordinary ensemble in performance tonight at Northwestern University’s Winter Chamber ...
Pablo Sáinz Villegas, guitar
December 30, 2022
The soul of the Spanish guitar runs in the blood of Pablo Sáinz Villegas. This charismatic, intimate performance took place in WFMT’s Levin Studio in 2016.
December 23, 2022
Chanticleer is known around the world for the seamless blend of its twelve male voices ranging from countertenor to bass. In December 2012, Carl Grapentine welcomed this “orchestra of voices” for an Impromptu filled with music of the season.
December 16, 2022
Today, in honor of the 252nd anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, Impromptu presents two pieces by the iconic German composer. Enjoy historic WFMT performances by The Orion String Quartet and The Goldstein-Peled-Fiterstein Trio.
US Coast Guard Saxophone Quartet
December 9, 2022
The United States Coast Guard Band Saxophone Quartet visited WFMT when they were in Chicago for the 2017 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic. This Impromptu includes music for the holiday season.
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
December 2, 2022
During this festive Impromptu from 2015, members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center performed a pair of the great Brandenburg Concertos by Bach: No. 5 in D major, BWV 1050, and No. 6 in B-flat major, BWV 1051.
November 25, 2022
In this charming Impromptu from 2005, Rodolfo Hernandez and members of the Chicago-based string ensemble Cuerdas Classicas play music by Bach, Juventino Rosas, and Johann Strauss.
Miloš Karadaglić, guitar
November 18, 2022
In 2012, Montenegran guitarist Miloš Karadaglić made his Chicago debut on Impromptu at WFMT.
Brant Taylor, cello and Kuang-Hao Huang, piano
November 11, 2022
Cellist Brant Taylor and pianist Kuang Hao Huang play music by Ravel and Granados in this Impromptu encore from 2004.
Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues
November 4, 2022
Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues blends the boundaries between classical chamber music, American blues, and Indian percussion. The ebullient harmonica virtuoso and composer made his Earthly debut in Chicago, on October 24 1943. We wish him a very happy birthday.
Parker Quartet with Richard O’Neill, viola, and Edward Arron, cello
October 21, 2022
Acclaimed violist Richard O’Neill and cellist Edward Arron joined the Grammy Award-winning Parker Quartet for a live performance in 2019.
October 14, 2022
The Grammy-nominated ensemble played works by ensemble member Valerie Coleman, as well as Igor Stravinsky and Manuel de Falla.
Yolanda Kondonassis, harp & Jason Vieaux, guitar
October 7, 2022
Kondonassis on her collaboration with Vieaux: the blend “changes constantly depending on the register, the articulation, and the dynamics.”
Zuill Bailey, cello and Awadagin Pratt, piano
September 30, 2022
Friends and collaborators cellist Zuill Bailey and pianist Awadagin Pratt performed selections by Brahms.
George Li, piano
September 23, 2022
Praised by the Washington Post for combining “staggering technical prowess, a sense of command and depth of expression,” pianist George Li possesses brilliant virtuosity and effortless grace.
Mathias Tacke, violin & Marta Aznavoorian, piano
September 16, 2022
In 2015, violinist Mathias Tacke and pianist Marta Aznavoorian honored the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt on his 80th birthday with this live performance on WFMT.
September 9, 2022
Back in 2017, we had to bring in extra music stands because the magnificent orchestra, The Knights, returned to WFMT.