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.

Etudes Project with Jenny Lin- Volume One: ICEBERG Live from (Le) Poisson Rouge

January 25, 2019

Pianist Jenny Lin likes to test her limits. Her latest labor of love is the Etudes Project in which she is commissioning composers to write new etudes for her and then pairing them with famous etudes from the standard repertoire.

In Memoriam

January 18, 2019

From Stravinsky’s famous In Memoriam: Dylan Thomas to Hindemith’s Trauermusik, composers have long written their most personal and moving music as a tribute to a friend or great figure they admired. We’ll remember several great personalities with musical tributes by modern day composers.

Modern Symphony

January 11, 2019

Much like the novel, people are always pronouncing the symphony to be a dead form. And yet, composers continue to write symphonies at an incredible pace. We’ll feature music by composers around the world who are adding to the symphonic canon.

Kronos Quartet

January 4, 2019

Ground breakers, virtuosos, and commissioners of many of the world’s twentieth and twenty-first century string quartet masterpieces, the influence of the Kronos Quartet cannot be underestimated. We’ll feature a sampling of their luminous output over the years.

Contemporary Vinyl

December 28, 2018

Old is new again as composers and performers return to the LP format for their latest releases. We’re dusting off our record player to feature a variety of new music released on vinyl including works by Bryce Dessner and Frank Zappa; performances by Brooklyn Rider, Yarn/Wire, and Kronos Quartet.

Vanishing New York

December 21, 2018

Jeremiah Moss’ book, Vanishing New York inspired this program featuring the music of New York City composers who were an important staple of the ’70’s and ’80’s scene but were taken too soon. We’re honoring Julius Eastman, Arthur Russell, Ben Weber, and Tui St. German Tucker by representing their works and stories.

Douglas Cuomo’s Arjuna’s Dilemma

December 14, 2018

Based on the Bhagavad Gita, a Sanskrit text that delves into the discussion between the divine Krishna and earthbound Arjuna, Douglas Cuomo’s Arjuna’s Dilemma draws from both Indian and western musical traditions to create a compelling musical drama. Cuomo joins Seth Boustead in the studio to talk about his composition.

Still Goldberg after All These Years

December 7, 2018

Bach’s Goldberg Variations is thought to be one of the most important examples of the compositional technique that repeats material in an altered form. Over the years composers have used this style to create modern versions.

Nels Cline

November 30, 2018

Rolling Stone declared Nels Cline as one of the 20 “new guitar gods” and one of the top 100 guitarists of all time. He may be best known as the guitarist of rock band Wilco, but he’s also a talented composer. Seth Boustead and Cline discuss his compositional and improvisational style, making the bridge to classical, and his album Lovers.


November 23, 2018

Although a famous name can open some doors, it’s not always easy following in the footsteps of a great artist. Many children of great composers and performers have chosen to go a different route altogether, but others have found their own artistic identity.


November 16, 2018

There is so much great music in the world and we’ve discovered a lot of great works for programs. Sometimes we find so much great music we can’t possibly fit it all into a one-hour program. ‘Outtakes’ is a sample of fantastic music that we weren’t originally able to air on shows like Drum Kit: Problem Child, Vinyl, Zygmunt Krauze, ...


November 9, 2018

There’s a subsection of contemporary music call ‘Musical Historicism,’ a genre of music that uses historical elements and revives them in modern works. From Minimalism to Totalism, Modernism to Post-Modernism to Neomodernism; we’re taking a look at pieces that influence contemporary compositions, either to mimic the past or to be the antithesis.

Haunted Landscapes: Music of George Crumb

November 2, 2018

Legendary composer George Crumb created a unique, haunting sound world that leaves an indelible impression upon anyone who hears it. This is the perfect landscape to celebrate his October birth-date and Halloween with an entire show dedicated to Crumb’s music.

The Accordion

October 26, 2018

Once relegated solely to the status of folk instrument, the accordion is being used more and more by composers around the world in a stunning variety of different musical contexts. We’ll feature music for this storied instrument and talk to a few of the composers about how it inspired them.

Composers Among Us: Thea Musgrave

October 19, 2018

Over 60 years of composing, Thea Musgrave is a powerful voice that demand respect around the world. We’re taking a deep-dive into her massive library and showcasing her eclectic range including chamber, orchestral, and electronic works.

Open House

October 12, 2018

The Open House movement began in the 1980’s in London as a celebration of the city’s justifiably famous architecture but it was so successful that it soon spread to more than 40 cities around the world.

Composer Cosmology

October 5, 2018

From super strings to quarks, multiple dimensions to M theory, we’ll play several imaginative works by composers captivated by our universe.

Flora and Fauna

September 28, 2018

The natural world is a never-ending source of fascination and inspiration for composers.

Green Umbrella Series

September 21, 2018

During the LA Philharmonic’s 2018/19 season, they are commissioning 50 new works from artists including Louis Andriessen, Unsuk Chin, Philip Glass, and Steve Reich, just to name a few.

Composer Collectives

September 14, 2018

The twentieth century saw an interesting movement as composers banded together in collectives to help promote each other’s work.

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