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.
Back in January 2019, the “unfailingly stylish” (The Strad), and “technically dazzling” (Long Beach Gazette), Trio Céleste performed live on Impromptu.
Goldstein Peled Fiterstein Trio
The Goldstein-Peled-Fiterstein Trio plays works by Beethoven and Brahms in this Impromptu Encore from 2014.
Vadim Gluzman, violin & Angela Yoffe, piano
Enjoy violinist Vadim Gluzman and pianist Angela Yoffe‘s interpretations of the Scherzo from Sonata FAE by Brahms, Träumerei by Schumann, and the Figaro Fantasia by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco in this performance from 2009.
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.
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
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.
Alisa Weilerstein, cello; Inon Barnatan, piano; and Sergey Khachatryan, violin
Originally broadcast in May 2019, this Impromptu Encore features an outstanding performance of Beethoven’s “Ghost” Piano Trio by violinist Sergey Khachatryan, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, and pianist Inon Barnatan.
Benjamin Hochman, piano
Pianist Benjamin Hochman first performed live on Impromptu in 2009. This encore broadcast features his gorgeous renditions of works by Bach, Kurtág, and Brahms.
Concerto Köln with Shunske Sato, violin
On February 28, 2020, Concerto Köln, a highly esteemed period chamber orchestra from Germany, performed live on Impromptu with the ensemble’s distinctive concertmaster, Shunske Sato.
M5 Mexican Brass
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.
The Smetana Trio
Founded in 1934, the Smetana Trio enjoys an extensive discography and busy international tour schedule. Current members of the respected Czech chamber ensemble performed live on Impromptu in 2018.
Jorge Federico Osorio, piano
Hear a performance from 2015 featuring the wonderful pianist Jorge Federico Osorio. Osorio has earned international acclaim for his superb musicianship, powerful technique, and elegant performances.
Awadagin Pratt, piano and Zuill Bailey, cello
When pianist Awadagin Pratt and cellist Zuill Bailey released their 2012 recording, Brahms Works for Cello and Piano, these two friends, collaborators, and ping-pong competitors performed selections on Impromptu.
Escher String Quartet
Tune in to hear the marvelous Escher String Quartet perform Debussy’s only string quartet, the first truly Impressionist-style chamber music. This dynamic ensemble visited WFMT’s Levin Performance Studio in January 2020.
Stephane Wrembel, guitar
Hear French guitarist Stephane Wrembel celebrate the Gypsy spirit of Django Reinhardt in this Impromptu Encore from February 2020.
Marta Aznavoorian, David Cunliffe, and Desirée Ruhstrat named the Lincoln Trio after the ensemble’s place of origin: the heartland of the United States and the land of Lincoln. This performance by these three extraordinary collaborators took place on Impromptu in 2012.
Catalyst Quartet, a Sphinx ensemble
In September 2013, the Catalyst Quartet, a Sphinx ensemble, performed live on Impromptu.
Anne Akiko Meyers, violin & Marta Aznavoorian, piano
In this Impromptu Encore from August 2019, violinist Anne Akiko Meyers performs with pianist Marta Aznavoorian.
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center offers programs curated to provide listeners a comprehensive perspective on the art of chamber music, presenting repertoire from over three centuries and numerous premieres by living composers. Four pianists associated with CMS (Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Anne-Marie McDermott, André-Michel Schub, and Wu Han) visited WFMT in 2012 taking turns in works for piano duo.
Philip Setzer, violin; David Finckel, cello; and Wu Han, piano [Encore Broadcast]
Co-artistic directors of Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Music at Menlo, pianist Wu Han and her husband, cellist David Finckel, channel their passion for making music with extraordinary colleagues through live concerts, a radio series, and online experiences. In this 2016 broadcast, Wu Han and David played live with cherished collaborator, violinist Phil Setzer.