A Concerto of Discovery: Nicola Benedetti on Collaborating With Wynton Marsalis

Classical music, jazz, Celtic folksongs, and funk — these genres make up just a few of the words in Wynton Marsalis’ musical language. Violinist Nicola Benedetti calls Marsalis’ new violin concerto a “path of discovery.”

Composer Joel Thompson On Anti-Police Brutality, Racism Oratorio ‘Seven Last Words of the Unarmed’

Thompson’s 2015 piece brings to light an issue that hits close to home in Chicago and countrywide: the killing of unarmed African American men. Thompson parallels Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Christ; using the liturgy as a guide, he weaves a piece that prompts conversation about race and social injustice.

With ‘Joker,’ composer Hildur Guðnadóttir could make history

This is no laughing matter: “Joker” composer Hildur Guðnadóttir could be the first woman in 19 years to win the Golden Globe for best original score.

Opera Explores the Brink of Humanity: ‘Dog Days’ Gets Chicago-Area Premiere

“It has been said that a society can be judged by the way it treats its animals,” composer David T. Little says in the program notes for his chamber opera, Dog Days. Based on a short story by Judy Budnitz, the opera is set in a war-torn future that’s not too far away from our own time.

Opera’s Ryan McKinny on Friendship, Artistic Bond with Death-row Inmate: ‘We’re Human Just Like Him’

Terence Andrus has been on death row since 2012. Through a penpal program, celebrated bass-baritone Ryan McKinny has become a friend and artistic collaborator.

Syrian Artists Express Urgency and Celebrate Survival through Music

Born in Damascus, Syria, clarinetist Kinan Azmeh’s home country has undergone years of political strife, violence, and a refugee crisis. Azmeh has looked to his own craft in order to draw attention to these ongoing struggles in the form of a concerto by Syrian composer Kareem Roustom.

Video | Cellist Kian Soltani Explains Why Classical Musicians Should Stay Curious

“I would not consider myself a composer at all,” says Kian Soltani, shortly after playing a piece of music that he composed called Persian Fire Dance. “I’m really a cellist first and foremost, but I try to be creative also.”

Video: Jake Heggie and Sister Helen Prejean Talk ‘Dead Man Walking’

“There are very few places… where people go to reflect as a community… The opera house, or the concert hall, is one of those sacred spaces…” observes composer Jake Heggie.

Music Acts as a Translator, Cultural Bridge in Wang Lu’s ‘Code Switch’

“Maybe we’re getting used to being misunderstood… Hopefully, [through] music, we can be more open,” reflects Wang Lu. Her work, Code Switch, will have its world premiere to open the first MusicNOW concert of the CSO season.

Celebrate Art Song and Living Composers in Chicago and Beyond at this Three-Day Festival

In the eyes of tenor Nicholas Phan, living composers and the classical music genre of art song both face a similar obstacle: they’re often overlooked when it comes to programming and promoting classical music.

Video: The McGill Brothers Return Home for Grant Park Music Festival Debut

The Chicago-born brothers reflect on their first forays into music, their ongoing support of young arts organizations, and their debut performances at their hometown Grant Park Music Festival.

On the Moon Landing’s 50th Anniversary, Hear a Song Cycle Inspired by American Women Astronauts

In February, soprano Tamara Wilson joined WFMT to perform a celestial song cycle composed for her by Chicago composer James Kallembach. The works draw from the experience of women astronauts, including Sally Ride, Sunita Williams, and Peggy Whitson. We’re bringing this video back in honor of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

Anthony Davis’ The Central Park Five: Opera as Mirror of Modern Society

Classical and jazz composer-pianist Anthony Davis’ latest opera, The Central Park Five, with a libretto by Richard Wesley, premiered in June 2019. We spoke with the composer and members of the creative team about bringing the opera to life.

Playlist: Fretless and Linear — How Classical Violin Shaped Andrew Bird’s Sound

Using his violin and virtuosic whistle, Andrew Bird genre-jumps from indie rock to jazz, and from folk to classical. Born in Lake Forest, Bird began learning classical violin from the Suzuki Method at the age of four and recalls, “My mom would have WFMT on all the time… My dad listened to Merle Haggard.”

‘Closets Are For Clothes’: Celebrating Pride Month through Musical Coming Out Stories

“I wanted to encourage young emerging LGBTQ+ composers to write pieces that tell their story in an authentic way… This concert series is both a celebration of how far we have come and how far we still have to go.”

Playlist: Sergio and Clarice, Music Runs in the Family for this Father-Daughter Duo

The father, Sergio, is a guitarist, composer, arranger, educator, and the daughter, Clarice, is a bold and highly innovative vocalist, composer, orchestrator, videographer, and mentor.

Where Are the Women Composers? How Classical Music is Faring in the Fight for Gender Equality

Over the span of just 9 months, Philadelphia Orchestra went from being one of the least representative orchestras of women composers to being the most.

Video: Legendary Guitarist, Composer Juan Falú Will Make Your Day

A musical treat even more delicious than an alfajor.

WIU professor a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Music

CHICAGO (AP) — A music composition professor in Illinois has learned he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Music . Western Illinois University notes that finalists aren’t known until after a winner is announced. A Friday statement from the school says one of its professors, James Romig, found out he’d been up for the award after Los Angeles composer Ellen Reid was …

‘I Like to Take on Projects That Terrify Me’: Jake Heggie on Adapting ‘Moby-Dick’ into an Opera

Moby-Dick is a Great American Novel, no doubt. But that fact doesn’t make Herman Melville’s 600+ page opus any less intimidating.

Why Composer and Chicago Children’s Choir Alum Ted Hearne Embraces Politics in His Art

The Chicago-born artist attributes his interest in politics and social justice to his many years singing in the Chicago Children’s Choir.

Students Commemorate Matthew Shepard, LGBTQ Hate Crime Victim, Through Song

More than two decades after a tragedy catalyzed a generation of LGBTQ activists, Matthew Shepard’s story is being shared with a new generation through music.

Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Dominick Argento dead at 91

Known for composing in styles ranging from melody to dissonance, he earned the Pulitzer in 1975 for From the Diary of Virginia Woolf, a composition for voice and piano.

Joffrey’s ‘Anna Karenina’ Features Its First-Ever Commissioned Full-Length Orchestral Score. Here’s What It Sounds Like.

“I believe that Karenina is a magical moment of looking at our beautiful art form and taking it a step forward,” says Ashley Wheater, Joffrey Ballet’s artistic director. One of the cornerstones of the production is 35-year-old composer Ilya Demutsky’s brand new, full-length orchestral score, the first such commission in Joffrey’s 62-year history.

Finding James Baldwin: Chicago’s Renée Baker Composes Opera Inspired By the Great Writer

Renée Baker’s interest in Baldwin began when she first heard recordings of his voice. “The person that I’d only accessed from books became quite real once I was able to actually hear and listen to him speak.” She notes.