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 Di Donato, 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.
Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues
Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues blends the sounds of classical chamber music, American blues, and Indian percussion. The ebullient harmonica virtuoso and composer made his Earthly debut in Chicago in October 1943, and we wish him a very happy 75th birthday. For this Impromptu, the ensemble welcomes special guest Rachel Barton Pine.
Pianist Victor Santiago Asuncion, violinist Giora Schmidt, and cellist Leonardo Altino
Hailed by The Washington Post for his “poised and imaginative playing,” Filipino-American pianist Victor Santiago Asuncion returns to the Fay and Daniel Levin Performance Studio to perform on Impromptu. This time, he’s bringing friends violinist Giora Schmidt and cellist Leonardo Altino.
Elias Goldstein, viola and Angela Draghicescu, piano
Hear Elias Goldstein perform Paganini caprices for unaccompanied viola as well as duets with his longtime collaborator, pianist Angela Draghicescu. Their upcoming CD, called Melanconico, will be released on Centaur in the early part of 2019.
New Comma Baroque
Emmanuel Episcopal Church of La Grange’s artists-in-residence New Comma Baroque launch their season with rare gems for viol & harpsichord from the twilight of the viol. From ‘last gambists’ Carl Friedrich Abel and Franz Xaver Hammer to master Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and lesser-known composers Johann Gottfried Mente and Christian Wilhelm Podbielski, New Comma Baroque exploration includes the Chicago premiere ...
Paul Huang, violin & Marta Aznavoorian, piano
Violinist Paul Huang makes his Grant Park Music Festival debut this weekend playing the Barber Violin Concerto. First though, the recipient of the prestigious 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant and the 2017 Lincoln Center Award for Emerging Artists returns to WFMT to perform on Impromptu with pianist Marta Aznavoorian.
George Li, piano
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 far beyond his years. He captured the Silver Medal at the 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition and was the recipient of the 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant. WFMT host Lisa Flynn loves George’s debut ...
The Smetana Trio
Founded in 1934, the Smetana Trio is today’s foremost Czech chamber ensemble. With an extensive discography and busy international tour schedule, the group’s current members, pianist Jitka Cechová, violinist Jiří Vodička, and cellist Jan Pálenícek, carry on the virtuosic and interpretational ideals created by their predecessors.
Timothy McAllister, saxophone and Liz Ames, piano
Two-time Grammy Award winning classical saxophonist Timothy McAllister and the renowned pianist Liz Ames have performed as a duo since 2012. As collaborators they have appeared at festivals and chamber music series worldwide. Mr. McAllister and Ms. Ames will release their debut album in 2018, with a second planned for 2019.
Music of the Baroque
For more than forty years, Music of the Baroque has celebrated the repertoire of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Their performances and recordings have earned devoted fans in Chicago and around the world. This Impromptu features MOB’s acclaimed brass ensemble in works Giovanni Gabrieli crafted for St. Mark’s in Venice, lively dances by Michael Praetorius, and more.
Reginald R. Robinson, piano
The story goes that Reginald R. Robinson first heard the sweet strains of ragtime music through the loudspeaker of a neighborhood ice cream truck. Years later, the self-taught pianist and composer received a 2004 “genius” fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation. We welcome him back to the Levin Studio for this solo performance of his original compositions.
The Fareed Haque & Goran Ivanovich Guitar Duo
Inspired by the rhythms and melodies of flamenco, jazz, classical, rock and the Balkan region, the Fareed Haque & Goran Ivanovic Guitar Duo celebrates the unrivaled guitar artistry of two of the finest players of their respective generations. These virtuosic and musically multi-lingual guitarists have recorded two CDs together, Macedonian Blues and 7 Boats. They don’t often enjoy the opportunity ...
REBROADCAST: Astera String Quartet
On Saturday’s encore broadcast, we feature the Astera String Quartet of the Academy at the Music Institute of Chicago. To listen to this program again, please click here.
Danish String Quartet and Juho Pohjonen, piano
Frederik Øland, Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen, Asbjørn Nørgaard, and Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin – known collectively as the Danish String Quartet – have described their ensemble with these words: “Yes, playing string quartets is our job, and yes it is hard work, but we mostly do it for pleasure, like we always did.” Sometimes, of course, they revel in quintets, too, as ...
Drew Petersen, American Pianists Association Competition Winner
The American Pianists Awards are held every four years to discover the best aspiring young American classical pianists. 2017 competition winner Drew Petersen is also a prizewinner in the Leeds International Piano Competition. He has performed solo and concerto recitals in both Europe and the United States, and he makes his WFMT debut with this Impromptu.