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.
Till Fellner, piano [Encore Broadcast]
Back in 2016, Austrian pianist Till Fellner performed Mozart’s sunny Piano Concerto No. 22 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and former CSO Principal Conductor Bernard Haitink. We are delighted to present this Impromptu Encore with Till Fellner from April 26, 2016.
Michael Barenboim + The West-Eastern Divan Ensemble [Encore Broadcast]
Since 1999, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra has brought together Arab and Israeli musicians as a means to defy fierce political divides in the Middle East and globally. Concertmaster Michael Barenboim leads the newly-formed West-Eastern Divan Ensemble, and on February 20, 2020 that fantastic group of chamber players performed the Mendelssohn Octet, live on Impromptu.
The Knights [Encore Broadcast]
Back on August 18, 2017, we had to bring in extra music stands, and even considered stretching the walls of the Levin Studio. That’s because the magnificent orchestra, The Knights, returned to WFMT’s Levin Studio to perform live on Impromptu.
Paul Huang, violin & Marta Aznavoorian, piano [Encore Broadcast]
On July 19, 2018, violinist Paul Huang was in Chicago to make his Grant Park Music Festival debut. First though, the recipient of the prestigious 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant and the 2017 Lincoln Center Award for Emerging Artists performed on Impromptu with pianist Marta Aznavoorian.
Lawrence Brownlee, Tenor [Encore Broadcast]
On October 15, 2015, the wonderful American tenor, Lawrence Brownlee, and the great collaborative pianist, Craig Terry, shared repertoire by Rossini – a Brownlee specialty – as well as a spiritual, “Come By Here,” and Benjamin Britten’s lovely “Down By the Sally Gardens.” This broadcast is a favorite of Impromptu’s producer, Louise Frank.
Alon Goldstein, piano [Encore Broadcast]
Hailed as one of the most original and sensitive artists of his generation, Israeli pianist Alon Goldstein played music by Scarlatti, Beethoven, and Ginestera when he was Kerry Frumkin’s guest on this Impromptu from September 9, 2019.
Aizuri Quartet [Encore Broadcast]
Enjoy an Impromptu encore performance by the award-winning Aizuri Quartet, whose debut album Blueprinting was nominated for a 2019 Grammy Award. This program was originally heard on WFMT on January 17, 2020.
Mūza Rubackytė, piano [Rebroadcast]
The great Lithuanian pianist Mūza Rubackytė began her stunning career when she made her debut at the age of 7. Kerry Frumkin has long been a champion of Muza’s, whose appearance on Impromptu has been canceled because of the COVID-19 Pandemic. In place of that live performance, we’ll rebroadcast a selection from her 2011 Impromptu appearance.
Concerto Köln with Shunske Sato, violin
Hear a live performance by Concerto Köln, a period chamber orchestra from Germany, with the ensemble’s distinctive concertmaster, Shunske Sato.
Michael Barenboim + The West-Eastern Divan Ensemble
Founded in 1999, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra brings together Arab and Israeli musicians as a means to defy fierce political divides in the Middle East and globally. The West-Eastern Divan Ensemble, led by the orchestra’s concertmaster Michael Barenboim, expresses their highly praised artistry through an intimate chamber music format.
Stephane Wrembel, guitar
Hear French guitarist Stephane Wrembel celebrate the Gypsy spirit of Django Reinhardt.
Impromptu proudly presents the award-winning Aizuri Quartet whose debut album Blueprinting was nominated for a 2019 Grammy Award.
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.
Tal & Groethuysen Duo
Israeli Yaara Tal and German Andreas Groethuysen formed a piano duo in 1985 for a single concert and they’ve been celebrating that rich repertoire ever since.
Patrick Dupré Quigley and singers from Music of the Baroque
Guest conductor Patrick Dupré Quigley, founder and artistic director of the vocal ensemble Seraphic Fire, leads a Music of the Baroque chorus in music for the holiday season.
California Guitar Trio
Paul Richards, Bert Lams, and Hideyo Moriya have been collaborating since 1991. It’s a great pleasure to welcome the California Guitar Trio back to Impromptu.
Chamber Music Chicago
Founded in 2019, Chamber Music Chicago presents performances by some of today’s leading artists. Violinists Janet Sung and David Bowlin, violist Ann Marie Brink, and cellists Peter Stumpf and Michael Mermagen will perform Schubert’s String Quintet in C Major live on Impromptu.
Alon Goldstein, piano
Hailed as one of the most original and sensitive artists of his generation, Israeli pianist Alon Goldstein returns to WFMT’s Levin Performance Studio to perform on Impromptu. At Ravinia, on Sunday, September 8, he’ll share a program of music inspired by Domenico Scarlatti.
Philippe Quint, violin, and Marta Aznavoorian, piano
Grammy nominated artists violinist Philippe Quint and pianist Marta Aznavoorian showcase their collaborative album, Chaplin’s Smile. Tune in to hear a collection of arrangements for violin and pian o of songs composed by Charlie Chaplin for his most well-known films.
Anne Akiko Meyers, violin
Before performing the Barber Violin Concerto at Ravinia with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, violinist Anne Akiko Meyers returns to WFMT’s Levin Studio to perform live on Impromptu. Want to attend the concert? As a WFMT listener, join general manager George Preston and host Candice Agree for an exclusive pre-concert party, then get two-for-one seats for the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and ...