Playlist: The Best Classical Music to Serve at Your Next Cookout

As you fire up the grill, we have the perfect soundtrack for you: some of our favorite American works, from classics like Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue to modern masterpieces like John Adams’ City Noir.

CSO’s MusicNOW Announces 20th Anniversary Season: Vijay Iyer, Salonen, Evening-Length Theatrical Work

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra recently announced the 2017-18 lineup for its acclaimed series MusicNOW, celebrating 20 years of bringing contemporary music to Chicago.

Composer Rodrigo Cadet Creates World-Premiere Works for Chicago Students to Teach About Mexico & Its Music

“Music is the perfect way to get to know other parts of the world,” said composer Rodrigo Cadet during a visit to Chicago from his native Mexico. “Sometimes you don’t have the time or means to travel to another place, but music can help you to do that.” As part of a yearlong residency, Cadet has been sharing his music …

“Difficult, But Worth It”: Singers Share Their Secrets to Memorizing Opera Scores by Philip Glass

Anyone who’s ever tried to sing or play an instrument knows that hard work and practice are essential to make a performance successful. But performing music from memory presents another challenge. The repetitions Glass uses make memorizing his music particularly difficult.

Composer Creates Music Major for Persecuted Bahá’ís in Iran Despite No Classrooms, Teachers, Piano

Growing up in Kerman, Iran, composer Badie Khaleghian received his first music lessons from his father. “When I was six or seven years old, he taught me how to play the recorder, then violin, and later piano.” As a young adult, Khaleghian wanted desperately to study music at the university level. “But because of my religion, I was not allowed …

Composer Samuel Adams Explains How Schubert, J-Pop Inspired His First Work for the Chicago Symphony

31-year-old composer Samuel Adams didn’t yet have specific ideas in mind when he began his three-year residency with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra two years ago. Rather, he developed them as he got to know members of the orchestra and music director Riccardo Muti. Eventually, he decided that he wanted to write something that would “explore every possible extreme of what …

Playlist: 10 Composers Changing Classical Music (Who Also Happen to Be Women)

If you’re looking to expand your own repertoire, why not explore the music of living composers? Check out these 10 composers changing contemporary classical music today who also all happen to be women.

The 1 Concert That Inspired Riccardo Muti to Create the CSO’s African American Network

Maestro Muti sat down with Sheila Jones, coordinator of the CSO’s African American Network, years ago to ask, “How do we bring the African American community into Symphony Center?”

VIDEO | Why Stewart Copeland, Police Founding Member/Drummer, Has Turned to Composing Opera

You may know Stewart Copeland as a founding member of the band the Police, but did you know he’s also composed works for orchestra, ballets, and even operas? His music has also been featured in countless films and even video games. With such an incredibly diverse output, what has inspired this chart-topping composer and musician to create new operas? In …

Chicago Composer Brings Recently Restored St. Stanislaus Kostka Church “Out of Darkness into Light”

“Restoration is an act of defiance against decay,” composer William Neil said. His new work, “Out of Darkness into Light,” celebrates the restoration of Chicago’s historic St. Stanislaus Kostka Church.

Add ‘The Miracle of Hanukkah’ Opera to Your Holiday Traditions, Now That It’s (Finally) Been Written

“Music and worship started out together…” composer and conductor Victoria Bond explains. “In Jewish worship, prayers are not spoken, they are sung.”

3 New-to-Chicago Contemporary Operas You Can See During National Opera Week

National Opera Week 2016 is from October 28 to November 6. Why not celebrate by experiencing the Chicago premiere of a contemporary opera? You can see not one, not two, but three new-to-Chicago operas.

Hear World Premiere by Pulitzer Prize-Winning Composer David Lang FREE This Weekend In Chicago

David Lang (Photo: Peter Serling) It’s not every day you can hear the world premiere of a piece composed by a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer for free. You can hear David Lang’s latest work, composition as explanation, at the Arts Club of Chicago, during its open house celebrating its 100th anniversary this Saturday, October 22, 2016, from 12-5 pm. “One of …

Oliver Sacks-Inspired Concerto, ‘Five Hallucinations,’ Has Windy City World Premiere

“That phrase just runs through and through your head and you cannot get it out. It occupies their entire field of vision, that sentence.”

Philip Glass: “What’s Most Misunderstood About My Music”

Philip Glass is simultaneously one of the best known and most misunderstood composers of our time. Though he has many fans, he also has many critics.

Classical and Jazz: How Composer and Musician Paquito D’Rivera Thrives in Both Realms

A fourteen-time Grammy Award winner, Cuban-born saxophonist and clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera is revered in both the jazz and classical worlds.

Playlist: 5 of Alisa Weilerstein’s Favorite New Works for Cello

“I try to take Rostropovich’s example, who had incredible relationships with composers and of course was the muse to Shostakovich and Prokofiev,” Alisa Weilerstein said. “Without him, we might not have these titanic 20th century cello works.”

How Stephen King’s ‘The Shining’ Became an Opera

Pulitzer-winning composer Paul Moravec: “A supernatural story makes total sense for an opera…”

Playlist: 10 Contemporary Composers You Should Know (…Who Also Happen to Be Women)

During March, Women’s History Month, we draw special attention to the music of women composers past and present on WFMT. Here are 10 living composers who are changing music today, along with 10 albums featuring their music you might want to add to your library.

Pulitzer-Winning Composer David Lang on Composing for the Silver Screen

“One of the things I really like about film is the size of the audience. There are potentially millions and millions of people who want to see film, who are open to hearing music, and who know that music can be an important part of the film experience.”

‘I’m a white composer, living in white privilege, setting the poetry of Langston Hughes’

When Karpman encountered Langston Hughes’ poem, she was instantly fascinated.

New Opera Exposes Horrors of My Lai Massacre

Growing up, composer Jonathan Berger reflects, “there was an enormous amount of talk in my house about what really constitutes patriotism, what is a right war and a wrong war…”

Why Vijay Iyer, DownBeat’s Jazz Artist of the Year, Doesn’t Like the Word ‘Jazz’

DownBeat magazine gave Vijay Iyer the honors of Jazz Artist & Jazz Group of the Year in its 63rd Annual Critics Poll. But to Iyer, jazz is a bit of a four-letter word.

Mystery Writer Sara Paretsky’s 5 Favorite Pieces of ‘Mysterious’ Classical Music

Chicago-based author Sara Paretsky is known for her crime and detective novels, but what may be less well-known is that Paretsky is a longtime fan of classical music.

Did You Know Philip Glass Wrote Music Inspired by David Bowie?

David Bowie, who passed away January 10, 2016 at age 69, inspired artists in every medium over the decades. Philip Glass is one of them: his Symphony No. 1 “Low,” composed in 1992, is based on Bowie’s album, Low, and his Symphony No. 4 “Heroes” is based on Bowie’s Heroes.