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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December 4, 2018

Chanticleer returns to WFMT’s Fay and Daniel Levin Performance Studio to share songs of the holiday season. Host Michael San Gabino will also preside over a Facebook Live simulcast.

Alexander Fiterstein, clarinet and Michael Brown, piano

November 16, 2018

Tune in for a wonderful live performance when clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein and pianist Michael Brown play Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s 1945 Clarinet Sonata.

Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues

October 9, 2018

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. Enjoy this video excerpt from their performance!

Pianist Victor Santiago Asuncion, violinist Giora Schmidt, and cellist Leonardo Altino

October 4, 2018

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

September 27, 2018

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

September 6, 2018

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

July 19, 2018

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.

Neave Trio

May 14, 2018

Cellist Mikhail Veselov, pianist Eri Nakamura, and violinist Anna Williams are the members of the Neave Trio. These musicians strive to engage, exchange, and connect “every time we play, and in everything we do.” And they say, “We just happen to use music to do this.”

Anderson & Roe Piano Duo

May 10, 2018

Pianists Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Roe aim to make classical music a relevant and powerful force around the world. Their joyful virtuosity shines through chart-topping albums, Emmy-nominated music videos, and an extensive international touring schedule.

Pierre-Laurent Aimard

March 5, 2018

The magnificent French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard returns to WFMT’s Levin Studio for a live performance on Impromptu. Below watch an excerpt of his performance, or stream the entire performance by clicking “listen.” 

George Li, piano

March 2, 2018

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

February 27, 2018

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

February 6, 2018

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.

United States Coast Guard Saxophone Quartet

December 21, 2017

      The United States Coast Guard Band Saxophone Quartet is in Chicago for the 2017 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic. This Impromptu includes music for the holidays.

Music of the Baroque

December 14, 2017

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.

Eden-Stell Guitar Duo

September 26, 2017

Widely regarded as one of the world’s leading guitar ensembles, the Eden Stell Guitar Duo ’s chameleon-like ability to communicate in a multitude of styles gives them a uniquely creative, musical voice.

Reginald R. Robinson, piano

September 21, 2017

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

August 30, 2017

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 ...

The Knights

August 18, 2017

We will have to bring in extra music stands, and maybe stretch the walls of the Levin Studio, because The Knights are returning to WFMT to perform on Impromptu.

Danish String Quartet and Juho Pohjonen, piano

August 2, 2017

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 ...