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.

Love and Heresy

March 31, 2017

We had the distinct pleasure of attending two recent opera premieres, the World Premiere of Heresy in Dublin by Roger Doyle and the Met’s premiere of L’Amour de Loin by acclaimed composer Kaija Saariaho. Both operas explore universal themes in strikingly different ways, from Doyle’s setting of the infamous heresy trial of Giordano Bruno, to Saariaho’s mythic setting of idealized love. We’ll hear from Eric Fraad, the ...

Soundward: Old Faves New Raves

March 24, 2017

Soundward is a collaboration between Relevant Tones host Seth Boustead and Q2 music host Phil Kline in which the pair sit down and listen to new music releases. The show begins with a piece from the late New York composer, Julius Eastman. Although he was relatively unknown outside of the New York City music community in the 1970s, reissues of ...

Composer Champions

March 17, 2017

Where would Gustav Mahler be without the incredible support of Leonard Bernstein?  Bach without the support of Mendelssohn?  Being championed by a famous performer or conductor is an incredible leg up to the career of many composers.  Who are the modern day composer champions, and whose work are they promoting?

Listening Party

March 10, 2017

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.

Music for International Women’s Day

March 8, 2017

We’ve had the privilege of speaking with incredible women in contemporary music over the last few years. Our program celebrates the diverse composers and performers who are expanding the definitions of classical music. We celebrate International Women’s Day today by highlighting clips from previous interviews. Full shows are linked to each composer of performers name. ERROLLYN WALLEN Errollyn Wallen is ...

Composer Spotlight: James Matheson

March 3, 2017

With important commissions from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic among others, and a new and highly praised album release, James Matheson has established a reputation as a composer of finely tuned, individualistic music with wide ranging appeal.  We’ll chat with him about his career and play his music.

The Atlanta School

February 24, 2017

Conductor Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra have created a thriving community of composers who have come to be known as “The Atlanta School”. They include Jennifer Higdon, Christopher Theofanidis, Osvaldo Golijov, and Michael Gandolfi, and this week we’ll listen to their music.

Soundward: Finding New Voices

February 17, 2017

It’s a format as old as time: two guys sit down to play music and talk about it.  Soundward, a continuing collaboration between Relevant Tones and Q2 Music, features lively conversation, new releases from composers around the globe and interesting new discoveries.   Phil Kline is a composer and hosts a two-hour show weekdays at 11am – with repeat presentations at 7 ...

Joseph Schwantner

February 10, 2017

A master of orchestral timbre and an ardent individualist, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Joseph Schwantner has been one of the most prolific composers in the 20th and 21st centuries. He visits our studios to talk about his life and music.

The Accordion

February 3, 2017

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.

Crossing Barriers

January 27, 2017

A big trend in the 2000’s saw contemporary music ensembles commissioning composers not to write new pieces for them but to arrange music by pop artists. We’ll listen to music from two such collaborations: Alarm Will Sound performing arrangements of electronic musician Aphex Twin and Osso Quartet’s arrangements of indie pop superstar Sufjan Stevens.

Live: Late Night at Sawdust

January 20, 2017

For this exciting new series Relevant Tones is teaming up with Open G Records and Access Contemporary Music to present a quarterly live broadcast at Brooklyn’s hottest new venue National Sawdust.  Much of the music for this series will be programmed from an international ‘call for scores.’    

Winter Music

January 13, 2017

Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Luther Adams, who until very recently made his home in Alaska, is far from the only composer to be inspired by winter landscapes.  We’ll celebrate the season with music from around the world by composers inspired by winter.


January 6, 2017

We do a lot of research here at Relevant Tones and we find a lot of great music. 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, and more.

Open House

December 30, 2016

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. For five years Access Contemporary Music has commissioned composers to write music inspired by the spaces and put musicians in the spaces to perform ...

Soundward: Digital Formats

December 23, 2016

Another installment in our popular new series in which Relevant Tones host Seth Boustead and Q2 Music’s Phil Kline listen to and passionately discuss new releases. With each host bringing wildly different musical sensibilities to the table, Soundward is always lively, engaging and brimming with excitement for new music.

Modern Oratorio

December 16, 2016

Large-scale sacred works might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of contemporary music, but a number of important composers are creating expansive works inspired by their concept of a higher power.

In the Field: Gaudeamus Muziekweek, Part II

December 9, 2016

Celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, the Gaudeamus Festival festival, Gaudeamus Muziekweek, is a powerhouse contemporary music festival showcasing young talent from around the world. The second of our two-part series will feature interviews and audio from the established mentor composers at this year’s festival.

In the Field: Gaudeamus Muziekweek, Part I

December 2, 2016

Celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, the festival, Gaudeamus Muziekweek, in the Netherlands is a powerhouse contemporary music festival showcasing young talent from around the world. Every year the Gaudeamus Award is granted to a new music pioneer, this year nominees include Giulio Colangelo, David Bird, James O’Callaghan, Anthony Vine, and Shih-Wei Lo, all under the age of 30. In ...

The Andriessen Effect

November 23, 2016

For more than thirty years, young composers have traveled to Holland to worship at the altar of Louis Andriessen, perhaps most notably the three composers from the storied collective Bang on a Can.  As a result Andriessen, and Bang on a Can themselves, have had an outsize influence on the music of our time.  We’ll feature Andriessen’s work and many ...