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.

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Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues

November 26, 2021

Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues blends the sounds of classical chamber music, American blues, and Indian percussion. This broadcast with the ebullient harmonica virtuoso and composer and his ensemble colleagues took place in 2009.

Paul Huang, violin & Marta Aznavoorian, piano

November 19, 2021

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.

David Shifrin, clarinet, David Finckel, cello, & Wu Han, piano

November 12, 2021

Hear clarinetist David Shifrin, cellist David Finckel, and pianist Wu Han perform music by Bruch, Brahms, and Beethoven. The three renowned chamber musicians joined together to perform live on Impromptu back in 2012.

Alon Goldstein, piano

November 5, 2021

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.

Lawrence Brownlee, tenor & Craig Terry, piano

October 15, 2021

On October 15, 2015, the extraordinary American tenor, Lawrence Brownlee, and the superb collaborative pianist, Craig Terry, shared repertoire by Rossini – a Brownlee specialty – as well as a spiritual, “Come By Here” and Britten’s lovely “Down By the Sally Gardens.”

John Henry Crawford, cello and Victor Santiago Asuncion, piano

October 8, 2021

Hailed by the Philadelphia Inquirer for “projecting polished charisma and a singing sound,” cellist John-Henry Crawford has a passion for sharing powerful music with audiences near and far.  His collaborator in this 2016 Impromptu Encore is pianist Victor Santiago Asuncion.

Vadim Gluzman, violin & Angela Yoffe, piano

October 1, 2021

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.

Yolanda Kondonassis, harp and Jason Vieaux, guitar

September 24, 2021

We asked harpist Yolanda Kondonassis what she loves best about her instrumental collaboration with guitarist Jason Vieaux. She said it was how the blend and contrast “changes constantly depending on the register, the articulation, and the dynamics.”  The duo performed live on Impromptu on in  2016.

Awadagin Pratt, piano and Zuill Bailey, cello

September 17, 2021

Friends and collaborators, cellist Zuill Bailey and pianist Awadagin Pratt, performed selections from their recording, Brahms Works for Cello and Piano, on this Impromptu Encore from 2012.

Sephardic Journey: The Cavatina Duo with Desiree Ruhstrat, violin and David Cunliffe, cello

September 10, 2021

Eugenia Moliner and Denis Azabagic are a Chicago-based husband-and-wife flute and guitar duo who make music as the Cavatina Duo.  Violinist Desirée Ruhstrat and cellist David Cunliffe, also a married couple, are both members of the Lincoln Trio, one of Chicago’s most celebrated chamber ensembles. In this Impromptu Encore from 2016, the quartet  performed excerpts from their recent album on ...

Alisa Weilerstein, cello, Sergey Khachatryan, violin, and Inon Barnatan, piano

September 3, 2021

Originally broadcast in May 2019, this Impromptu Encore features violinist Sergey Khachatryan, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, and pianist Inon Barnatan in an outstanding performance of Beethoven’s “Ghost” Piano Trio in D Major, Op. 70, No. 1.

Calidore String Quartet

August 27, 2021

Gramophone Magazine praised the Calidore String Quartet as “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 group continues to earn high praise, incliudng a place on the prestigious roster of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Two.

Alexander Fiterstein, clarinet and Michael Brown, piano

August 20, 2021

Tune in to hear clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein and pianist Michael Brown play Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s 1945 Clarinet Sonata in this Impromptu Encore from 2018.

Beatrice Rana, Piano

August 13, 2021

Italian pianist Beatrice Rana made her Chicago debut at Symphony Center on February 24, 2019.  The next day, the 2013 Cliburn Competition silver medalist performed on Impromptu.

Parker Quartet with Richard O’Neill, viola, and Edward Arron, cello

August 6, 2021

Acclaimed violist Richard O’Neill and cellist Edward Arron joined the Grammy Award-winning Parker Quartet for a live performance in 2019.

Eden-Stell Guitar Duo

July 30, 2021

The Eden Stell Guitar Duo is known for its chameleon-like ability to communicate in a multitude of styles. In this Impromptu from 2017, collaborators Mark Eden and Christopher Stell confirmed their reputation as one of the world’s leading guitar ensembles.

Catalyst Quartet, a Sphinx ensemble

July 23, 2021

In September 2013, the Catalyst Quartet, a Sphinx ensemble, performed live on Impromptu.  The group played a piece by ensemble member, violinist Jessie Mongomery. In April 2021, she was appointed Mead composer-in-residence of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Cavatina Duo

July 16, 2021

The Cavatina Duo brings together Spanish flutist Eugenia Moliner and Bosnian guitarist Denis Azabagic.  In this 2019 Impromptu, you’ll hear the “style, sympathy, and technical aplomb” that captivated Fanfare Magazine as well as fans around the globe.

Solera Quartet

July 9, 2021

WFMT presented the Solera Quartet on Impromptu in May 2019. These rising stars have been acclaimed by critics as “top-notch, intense, stylish, and with an abundance of flare and talent” and “one of the foremost young string quartets.”

Imani Winds

July 2, 2021

Since its formation in 1997, the Grammy-nominated Imani Winds has established itself as one of America’s premier wind quintets. When Kerry Frumkin welcomed the group in 2013, they played works by ensemble member Valerie Coleman, as well as Igor Stravinsky, and Manuel de Falla.  

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