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.

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.

After a 50-year wait, ‘Stonewall’ opera was written in weeks

This is the third major presentation of City Opera’s LGBTQ series following Peter Eotvos’ Angels in America in 2017 and Charles Wuorinen’s Brokeback Mountain last year.

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.

Video: Violinist Jennifer Koh on Creating a Diverse, Thriving Classical Music Future

“One of the things that’s important to me,” Koh shared, “is to bring voice to people who didn’t have that voice before.”

Video: Mezzo-Soprano J’Nai Bridges Performs Live in the WFMT Studios

Mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges is known for her interpretations of classic and contemporary works, and she shared both with us live in the WFMT studios – including a world premiere!

Hear the Album Inspired by the Incredible Life of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

With the Supreme Court very much in the news these days, a Chicago label has released a musical tribute illuminating the personal and professional life of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is marking 25 years on the high court.

Video: Jennifer Koh Plays 6 New Works That Redefine Violin Virtuosity for the 21st Century

Niccolò Paganini’s 24 Caprices for Solo Violin, Op. 1 has defined virtuosity on the solo violin for nearly 200 years. Violinist Jennifer Koh is changing that.

Video: This Is What It Sounds like When 100 Percussionists Play Together

The thought of 100 percussionists may evoke up cacophonous clanging, but the soundscape is more peaceful than you might expect.

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 …

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.

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.”

Playlist: Rufus Wainwright’s 3 Favorite Opera Composers

Opera has always been important to composer Rufus Wainwright, though many know him as the man behind the piano crooning confessional songs.