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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Contemporary Vinyl

September 16, 2016

Old is new again as composers and performers return to the LP format for their latest releases. We’ll dust off our record player to feature a variety of new music released on vinyl.

Soundward: What’s New from Cantaloupe Music

September 9, 2016

Another episode in our ongoing series of conversations with Phil Kline from Q2 Music features a typically eclectic lineup of new releases that we think should be on your radar.

The Ear Taxi Festival: A Preview

September 2, 2016

Chicago is rapidly becoming known as one of the country’s premiere cities for contemporary music and the Ear Taxi festival aims to showcase this great work. We’ll choose the highlights from the festival’s ambitious lineup of 300 musicians, 75 composers, 25 ensembles, and 53 world premieres

Ambient Environments

August 26, 2016

Composers like Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Bartók and have sought to musically depict their environs for centuries. How are landscapes, both urban and pastoral, being represented musically today? We’ll hear composer’s portrayals of locations like David Sampson’s Grant Park in Chicago, the surrounding islands of Australia from Peter Sculthorpe, Michael Daughterty’s George Washington from Mount Rushmore and more.

Extra Tones: Computing to Composing

August 22, 2016

Extra Tones is a new podcast series featuring exclusive content that is not featured in our show, Relevant Tones. The podcast is produced by Relevant Tones reporter, Bea Aldrich. In this first episode, we explore how exactly composing software, such as Sibelius and Finale music notation software has changed the way in which composers compose music. This is inspired by ...

Rebroadcast: Robert Lombardo

August 19, 2016

Robert Lombardo’s sixty years of compositions has made an extraordinary mark on the Chicago contemporary classical music scene. Relevant Tones on WFMT is remembering the late Kathleen Lombardo, whose poems inspired and are frequently the texts of many of Robert’s compositions.

Tickling the Ivories

August 12, 2016

All music written for and adapted for piano. Seth features sneak previews upcoming releases from Bridge Records, including the latest Etudes from David Rakowski to new recordings from the acclaimed piano duo Quattro Mani. Hear the exotic sounds of an etude for talking piano to a piece featuring the unusual piano-like instrument, the celesta.  

String Quartet Plus…

August 5, 2016

Ever since its creation by Haydn in the 18th century, the string quartet has been one of the preeminent vehicles for more musical innovation. This show features new directions for the string quartet, pairing the quartet with unusual other instruments like frame drum, alto flute and more.

Musical Mythology

July 29, 2016

Seth talks with composer Stacy Garrop about the new recording of her Mythology Symphony inspired by Greek myths. Starting with the exhilarating piece Becoming Medusa, which tells the story of Medusa, a beautiful woman turned into a hideous monster, to the quiet sounds of Penelope Waits, the touching tale of a wife waiting for her heroic husband, and much, much ...

Remembering Einojuhani Rautavaara

July 28, 2016

The great Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara died on July 27, 2016.  He was easily the best-known and widely considered the greatest Finnish composer of his generation and he was the last living link to Jean Sibelius. We were lucky enough to interview him in his home in 2014 for the program In the Field: Finland. In light of his recent passing, we, here ...

Soundward: The Best Through the Ages

July 22, 2016

Back by popular demand! Seth welcomes Phil Kline, host on Q2 Music and composer who makes music in many genres and contexts, into a rousing debate and conversation about newly released music like Abrahamsen’s Let Me Tell You while rediscovering old favorites like Satie’s Portrait De Socrate. Another exciting installment of Soundward! Check out Phil Kline weekdays at 11am – with repeat presentations at 7 ...

What is Wandelweiser?

July 15, 2016

Originally a German musical creation, Wandelweiser is a kind of extreme minimalism that is fast becoming popular with composers around the world. We talk with two of its creators, Jürg Frey and Eva-Maria Houben, about the phenomenal growth of this movement.

Dealer’s Choice

July 8, 2016

Great music is a game of expertise, luck, and chance. Seth curates a list of great music and discusses why it’s a winner.

Classical: NEXT

July 1, 2016

Though relatively new, the Classical Next conference attracts composers, performers and presenters from nearly fifty countries every year to share performances and new ideas for strengthening classical music.  Seth travels to Rotterdam to take in the sounds and share them with you.

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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.