Relevant Tones

Fridays at 10:00 pm
Relevant Tones

A weekly exploration of the most fascinating time in classical music history: right now.

With composers from nearly every country in the world creating music in diverse styles, there has simply never been a more exciting time for classical music. Relevant Tones creator and host Seth Boustead dives into this treasure trove of music accompanied by first-person interviews, in the field segments that take him to festivals and concert halls around the world, with stellar performances by talented ensembles and soloists.

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Out of Time

February 16, 2018

Ever since Ezra Pound’s famous advice to young artists, “make it new!” there has been a renewed and relentless interest in breaking new ground in art and music. But what about composers who are genuinely inspired by older forms like fugues, rondos, capriccios, even rags? We’ll feature music by these “composers out of time”.

Live at LPR: Jenny Lin

February 9, 2018

Production company Access Contemporary Music has partnered with the esteemed Manhattan venue, LPR – (Le) Poisson Rouge a multimedia art cabaret founded by musicians on the site of the historic Village Gate. Pianist Jenny Lin is taking the stage for the first in this exciting new series.  This concert is celebrating Philip Glass’ birthday with a live performance of his ...

Visual Aids

February 2, 2018

We’ve always been fascinated here at Relevant Tones with how our perceptions of music change when it’s paired with visual imagery. With that in mind we’re asking several prominent visual artists to suggest imagery to a wide variety of different pieces by living composers. Relax, close your eyes and enjoy the view!

Spotlight: Nick Photinos

January 26, 2018

Founding cellist of Eighth Blackbird, Nick Photinos, will join us in WFMT’s Levin Studio in Chicago to play pieces from his first solo album.  Nick worked with an exciting array of diverse composers on the album including David T. Little, Angélica Négrón, Florent Ghys, Andrew Norman and Bryce Dessner.

Jeremy Gill Concerto BMOP Release

January 19, 2018

Composer Jeremy Gill recently had the opportunity of a lifetime when the Boston Modern Orchestra Project agreed to record not one, not two, but three of his concertos.  We’ll talk with Jeremy and clarinet soloist Chris Grymes about this fantastic new release and play as much of it as we can.

Eighth Blackbird Creative Lab

January 12, 2018

Three-time Grammy winning super group Eighth Blackbird unveils their newest creative project: “to inspire the next generation of performers and composers to share in the ensemble’s vision: to champion a distinctive, dynamic and engaging performance aesthetic.”  We’ll talk to the birds and this year’s participants and bring you into the creative process as the lab comes to life.

World Music Days: Vancouver Part II

January 5, 2018

This is the second program featuring the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) which holds arguably the world’s most important contemporary music festival in a different city each year.  Much like the Olympics, cities bid to be the host and this year it’s in Vancouver.  In this first program of two, we hear from Fredrik Gran, Fredrick Neyrinck, and violinist, Müge Buyukcelen.

World Music Days: Vancouver Part 1

December 29, 2017

The International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) holds arguably the world’s most important contemporary music festival in a different city each year.  Much like the Olympics, cities bid to be the host and this year it’s in Vancouver.  In this first program of two, we hear from Jordan Nobles, Charlotte Bray, Jocelyn Morlock, and Stefan Prins. 

Kontras in Levin Performance Studio!

December 22, 2017

A WFMT special broadcast of Ensemble-in-Residence Kontras Quartet on Relevant Tones. Kontras Quartet has been blending the line between classical and folk music since 2009. On this program we'll hear a Folk inspired repertoire from South Africa to Japan back home to the Midwest.   

New Sounds from Europe

December 15, 2017

We team up with the European Broadcasting Union to bring recent concert events and interviews from some of the brightest musical lights on the continent to our listeners back home. *Check your local listings for airdate. This program is unable to be streamed on-line due to right terms.

Gender Identity in Music

December 8, 2017

One of the most important new developments in contemporary classical music is part of a wider societal trend of gender fluidity. We talk with three composers who have transitioned about their music before and after, and their personal experiences.

Modern-Day Moonlighters

December 1, 2017

Philip Glass is arguably the most famous plumber, mover and cab driver ever to work in New York. While not every example is that extreme, there are quite a few composers with day jobs – multi-talented people, that advocate for their fellow composers, write, work in radio or have a Ph.D. in neuroscience.

Discovery Series

November 24, 2017

A process-based exploration into several pieces chosen from a pool of more than five hundred submissions, the Discovery Series is led by composer/pianist Jeremy Gill and features an inside peak into the inner workings of the compositional process, and the process of putting the piece together for the musicians tasked with bringing it to life.

Extra Tones: Vegetable Acoustics

November 20, 2017

Interviews with Barbara Kaiser of the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra and experimental filmmaker Calum Walter about the strange and wondrous sounds of everyday life.

Modern Piano Virtuoso Kathleen Supové

November 17, 2017

One of America’s most acclaimed and versatile contemporary music pianists, performance artist and keyboardist Kathleen Supové is known for breaking boundaries between audience and performer and for her multimedia performances as the “Exploding Piano”

Composer Spotlight: Zhou Long

November 10, 2017

One of the first composers to graduate from the Beijing Conservatory upon its reopening after the Cultural Revolution and the winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for his opera Madame White Snake, Zhou Long creates thoughtful, spiritually-infused music that has resonated with audiences across the globe.

Foster the Music: Ireland

November 3, 2017

The Contemporary Music Centre in Ireland is one of the world’s foremost models of government support for composers, with dozens of composers receiving financial support, commissions and travel grants. We plunge into the incredible wealth of music created by this program.

Eighty Trips Around the Sun

October 27, 2017

Seth speaks with Sarah Cahill about the new box set Eighty Trips Around the Sun, celebrating the music of Terry Riley.

LIVE: Late Night at National Sawdust

October 20, 2017

In this final live broadcast from Brooklyn’s hottest new music venue, National Sawdust, we’re featuring chamber and vocal music by the late, great Steven Stucky, a former composer in residence with the New York Philharmonic and modern compositional master.

Sonata Form Redux

October 13, 2017

Sonata form is one of the oldest composition structures in classical music but it’s being rediscovered, and in many cases re-purposed, by contemporary composers. What is the lasting appeal? We’ll play music by four composers looking to the past for formal inspiration.

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Composer Spotlight: Thomas Adès

February 23, 2018

Since his early teens, Thomas Adès has been a commanding figure in the world of classical music as a triple threat pianist, conductor and composer.  We talk with him about his career including his work at, among others, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw, Melbourne and Sydney Symphonies, BBC Symphony, and City of Birmingham Symphony ...

Listening Party 2017

March 2, 2018

We invite some of our favorite musical friends to bring a new recording into the studio for listening, lively discussion and the joy of new discoveries. Seth sits down with violinist Doyle Armbrust and composers Kyong Mee Choi, Nomi Epstein, and Jeff Kowalkowski.