The 10 Best Classical Christmas Albums of 2019

Every year, the holiday season brings a new assortment of fabulous and festive Christmas albums. Here are some of the inspiring recordings we’ve received for 2019. Let them accompany your celebrations this Christmas and for years to come.

Playlist: Classical Recorder Pieces You Should Know

The recorder may call to mind tortured performances of “Hot Cross Buns” or “Jingle Bells” from your elementary school days, but these pieces make use of the instrument’s virtuosic potential.

Playlist: Christmas Classics Performed by Chicago Artists

Chicagoans really know how to celebrate the holidays! Here’s a playlist of Christmas favorites as performed by Chicago-area artists and ensembles.

Playlist: Pacifism in Classical Music

Listening to classical music can provide a general sense of peace and tranquility, but many great works promote pacifism as their central theme.

Playlist: Take Lisa Flynn’s ‘New Releases’ With You On the Go!

Every morning, host Lisa Flynn shares the best new classical recordings to share with WFMT listeners, and now, you can take her selections with you wherever you go!

Playlist: What Makes a Verdi Baritone? Sherrill Milnes and Quinn Kelsey Explain

There are baritones, and then there are Verdi baritones. They are the elite performers, athletes among baritones, thrilling their fans with blazing top notes and plumbing the depths of some of the most dramatically complex roles in opera.

Playlist: 10 Jazzed Up Versions of Chopin Classics

Frédéric Chopin is one of the most beloved composers of all time. Here are 10 jazz versions of Chopin that will have you listening to old favorites with new ears.

Playlist: Classical Music for an Abundant Autumn, Selected by WFMT

In the gap between a languid summer and a long winter, there’s just enough room left for fall. It’s a season for transformation, comfort, reflection, and growth. In other words, it’s the perfect time to grab some cider, take in that brilliant fall foliage, and enjoy this playlist created for you by WFMT staff and hosts!

Playlist: 12 Clara Schumann Pieces You Should Know

Clara Schumann was one of the 19th century’s most celebrated composers and performers for the piano. Ahead of the 200th anniversary of her birth, celebrate her with a playlist of some of her greatest compositions.

Playlist: Piano Études for Your Back to School Studies

Since there is a type of musical composition named for studying — études, for you non French-speakers — we have the perfect musical accompaniment while you hit the books.

Playlist: Classical Music From Composers’ School Days

Just because the school year is right around the corner doesn’t mean that you have to stop playing (or writing) music. As proof, here are 16 pieces from composers written when they were still students!

Playlist: 5 Salieri Operas You Should Know

Regardless of his relationship to Mozart, Salieri was a successful composer in his own right, and we should not forget his music – particularly his operas!

Playlist: Aeronautic and Maritime Music for the Skies and Seas

Brace your ears: the Chicago Air and Water Show is upon us! But there’s more to hear than the roars of the Blue Angels and Red Arrows — take in the excitement while listening to music inspired by aviation and nautical navigation!

Playlist: The Greats of British Classical Music

Some of the most beautiful music ever composed originates from or was inspired by the British Isles. Weekend morning program host Maggie Clennon Reberg and Introductions host and producer Michael San Gabino have selected some of their favorites in this great British playlist!

Playlist: A Big Parade of 76 Trombone Pieces

When you think of the trombone, what comes to mind? A particular classical work, or more likely, “Seventy-Six Trombones” leading a big parade? Although The Music Man brings the instrument into the spotlight in Meredith Willson’s hallmark song, the musical leaves a lot of room to explore the wide world of trombone repertoire.

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.”

Playlist: Classical Cats, Selections Inspired by Feline Friends

While kitties are favored in contemporary popular culture (memes, viral videos, #Instagram), they have also long dominated the hearts of humans throughout history and are reflected through past art and music.

Playlist: WFMT Selects Classical Music for Your Serene, Sunny Summer

Summer is upon us! Whatever your plans, we have the perfect musical accompaniment: summery classical music selected by WFMT hosts and staff!

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.

Playlist: The Most Creative, Unconventional ‘Ave Maria’s on the Internet

We can’t guarantee that you’ll love (or even like) each and every rendition, but we promise that you will be amazed by the beauty and the broad appeal of Schubert’s “Ave Maria.”

Playlist: Remembering Composers Suppressed By the Third Reich

James Conlon’s OREL Foundation documents scores of composers whose lives were taken—directly or indirectly—or otherwise irrevocably altered by the Nazis. Here are four who persisted, creating art in the face of peril.

Playlist: WFMT Selects Classical Music to Help You Spring into Spring

You made it; the frigid, blustery days of winter have finally passed, and spring is here! Here is some music that captures the season’s irrepressible spirit.

Playlist: The Voyager Golden Record — The True Story Behind Earth’s Greatest Hits

If given the task to assemble a collection of music that reflects humanity, what would you choose?

Playlist: Meet John Field, the Irish Composer Who Invented the Nocturne

Frédéric Chopin’s collection of 21 nocturnes might be the best-known example of the musical form, but did you know the inventor of the nocturne was an Irish composer named John Field?

Playlist: Hate Valentine’s Day? This Is the Classical Music for You!

We can’t blame you if you wish you could just skip Valentine’s Day. As an antidote for the overpowering saccharine sentimentality of every February 14, we made this playlist of angry, downcast, and downright anti-romantic music.