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.

Subscribe to the Podcast

Yana Reznik, piano and Julian Milkis, clarinet

January 19, 2016

Clarinetist Julian Milkis studied with Benny Goodman. He comes to Chicago for the 75th anniversary performance of the historic premier of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time. During this Impromptu, he and pianist Yana Reznik will perform the Brahms Clarinet Sonata No. 2, and Yana will play some piano favorites.  

“Baritones Unbound” at the Royal George Theater

December 17, 2015

Steve Robinson hosts a conversation about Baritones Unbound at the Royal George Theater, produced by Hershey Felder and featuring Nathan Gunn.  

The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Brandenburg Concertos

December 17, 2015

The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center perform Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 5 and 6  live from the Levin Performance Studio on this Impromptu. Kerry Frumkin hosts.

“The Nutcracker” with the Chicago Philharmonic and Joffrey Ballet

December 1, 2015

Musicians from Chicago Philharmonic and Quintet Attaca perform works by Piazzolla, Prokofiev, and Tchaikovsky on this live Impromptu.

Joshua Bell, violin and Sam Haywood, piano

October 23, 2015

Violinist Joshua Bell, the “most perfect interpreter of this generation” (Houston Chronicle), makes his Impromptu debut with pianist Sam Haywood. The duo will perform at Symphony Center on October 30.

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

October 21, 2015

When the musicians of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center perform at the Harris Theater this evening, they will take listeners on a journey from the classical to romantic era. In this Impromptu we will hear music by Barber and Dvořák performed by Wu Han, piano; Michael Brown, piano; Chad Hoopes, violin

Lawrence Brownlee, Tenor

October 6, 2015

Hailed by the Associated Press as one of “the world’s leading bel canto tenors,” American-born Lawrence Brownlee captivates audiences and critics around the world. His voice, praised by NPR as “an instrument of great beauty and expression…perfectly suited to the early nineteenth century operas of Rossini and Donizetti,” has brought him to the top of opera world, ushering in “a ...

Rachel Barton Pine, Viola d’amore

October 2, 2015

Rachel Barton Pine’s latest recording for Cedille features the complete viola d’amore concerti by Vivaldi. When she visits with Kerry Frumkin, Rachel will share selections from the new CD, and also demonstrate the sounds of this remarkable baroque instrument with its extra strings and widely varied tunings.  

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

September 21, 2015

Lisa Flynn welcomes the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg for two hours of music and commentary. First, the Supreme Court Justice will share an hour of her favorite recordings. Then she will present her Opera and the Law lecture, aided by members of the Lyric Opera’s Ryan Opera Center who will perform scenes that deal with law and justice.

Vassily Primakov, piano and Ben Capps, cello

September 15, 2015

Formidable Duo Team Ben Capps (Cello) and Vassily Primakov (Piano) teamed up for an ultimate romantic program of Chopin and Rachmaninoff Cello Sonatas.

ARVO PÄRT 80th BDAY: Mathias Tacke, violin, and Marta Aznavoorian, piano

September 11, 2015

Violinist Mathias Tacke and pianist Marta Aznavoorian will perform music by Arvo Pärt in honor of the Estonian composer’s 80th birthday today. Hosted by Kerry Frumkin.  

Cuban Pianist Frank Fernández

August 18, 2015

Internationally renowned Cuban pianist Frank Fernández has played in some 40 countries, but never the United States – until now. On August 18th, Fernández made his long-overdue recital debut in the U.S. as part of the Ravinia Festival. He offered a sample of some of his Ravinia recital in WFMT’s Levin Studio in concert, spoke with Elbio Barilari, host of ...

Inon Barnatan, piano

August 4, 2015

Pianist Inon Barnatan performs works of Bach, Franck and Mendelssohn live from the Levin Performance Studio on this Impromptu. Kerry Frumkin hosts.

Igudesman and Joo

July 29, 2015

“A Little Nightmare Music brings surrealism to the concert hall and takes its trousers down! Very musical, very engaging and very funny. 
A Big Hand for A Little Night­mare Music’s Big Hands.” -Terry Jones, Comedian/Monty Python/Director

The Secret Garden

June 2, 2015

A five-time Joseph Jefferson Award winner for musical director for beloved shows like Caroline, or Change and Porgy and Bess, Doug Peck and his team bring to life the exquisitely beautiful musical arrangements in Court Theater’s production of The Secret Garden. The esteemed Hyde Park theater company celebrates 60 years of exceptional productions.

Dimitris Marinos, mandolin

May 19, 2015

Mandolin virtuoso Dimitris Marinos performs music of Bach, Bartók and Lombardo when he is Lisa Flynn’s guest on Impromptu.

Spektral Quartet

May 12, 2015

The Spektral Quartet returns to Impromptu to perform Dvořák’s “American” quartet, and other musical delicacies.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater: Cast members from Paul Gordon’s world premiere musical, “Sense and Sensibility”

May 8, 2015

Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen’s deliciously charming romance full of wit and passion, is now a world premiere musical from Tony Award®-nominated composer Paul Gordon. The work was specially commissioned by Chicago Shakespeare Theater for the 2014/15 Season.

Marta Aznavoorian, piano and Ilya Kaler, violin

April 30, 2015

On Sunday, May 10 at 3:00 pm, violinist Ilya Kaler and pianist Marta Aznavoorian perform works by Mozart, Brahms, R.Strauss, Bartok, Gershwin at DePaul University, 800 W. Belden, in Chicago. The concert is free and open to the public. First though, an Impromptu.

Orion Weiss, Piano

March 27, 2015

Pianist Orion Weiss stopped by the WFMT Levin Studio for a LIVE concert on Impromptu on Friday, March 27, 2015 at 11:00 AM. One of the most sought-after soloists in his generation of young American musicians, the pianist Weiss has performed with the major American orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony.