Past Shows

Past Shows

A list of our most recent past shows:

Sort List by Date | Sort List by Composer

To see more, visit our complete list of composers or subscribe to our podcast.

Ralph Vaughan Williams: About Ralph Vaughan Williams

Ralph Vaughan Williams was one of the most important 20th century English composers. He spent years traveling the country collecting English folk songs, writing them down, and publishing them. Many of those melodies wound up in his music.

Benjamin Britten: The Instruments of the Orchestra - Part 2
Benjamin Britten was asked to compose music for a film that explained the instruments of the orchestra to children. Britten borrowed a tune by one of his favorite composers, Henry Purcell, to create his Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. This show uses Britten's Guide to introduce the instruments of the brass and percussion families.

Benjamin Britten: The Instruments of the Orchestra - Part 1
Benjamin Britten was asked to compose music for a film that explained the instruments of the orchestra to children. Britten borrowed a tune by one of his favorite composers, Henry Purcell, to create his Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. This show uses Britten's Guide to introduce the instruments of the woodwind and string families.

Benjamin Britten: Pizzicato and Other Musical Terms
Pizzicato is the Italian word for “plucked” -- it tells string players how to play their instruments at a given spot in the music. A lot of musical "traffic signals" are in Italian. This show has explanations and examples of some more of them.

Benjamin Britten: The Simple Symphony
Benjamin Britten composed his Simple Symphony when he was twenty, but he based it on music that he'd written much earlier -- some of it when he was only 10! The “Simple Symphony” has four movements, each of which has a very catchy name: Boisterous Bouree, Playful Pizzicato, Sentimental Sarabande, and Frolicsome Finale.

Benjamin Britten: About Benjamin Britten
After studying at the Royal Conservatory of Music in London, Benjamin Britten got a job writing film music. Then he went on to compose choral music, chamber music, songs, and quite a few operas, including some for major events in British history. In addition to being a composer, Britten was an excellent pianist and conductor.

Igor Stravinsky: Halloween Music
Appropriately spooky classical music for Halloween.

Igor Stravinsky: Fire Music

To go with this month's music from Igor Stravinsky's ballet The Firebird, some more music by composers who were playing with fire.

Igor Stravinsky: The Firebird

Igor Stravinsky based his ballet The Firebird on a Russian folk tale about an evil demon named Kashchei, who has thirteen princesses under his spell. A prince who wanders into Kashchei's garden to hunt the Firebird winds up defeating Kashchei and freeing the princesses -- with the help of the Firebird's magic feather.

Igor Stravinsky: About Igor Stravinsky

Russian composer Igor Stravinsky had a big hit with his first ballet, The Firebird. Stravinksy kept on writing ballets, followed by operas, and orchestral and choral music.

Johann Strauss, Jr.: Musical Conversation
Tritsch-Tratsch -- the title of a polka by Johann Strauss, Jr. -- is Austrian slang for "chit-chat." A lot of composers used music to portray people making sounds: talking, laughing, crying -- even sneezing!

Johann Strauss, Jr.: The Waltz
The waltz is a dance in 3/4 time that was very popular in Vienna, Austria in the 19th century. But the roots of the waltz go back to the German Dance of Mozart's day. After the waltz became popular on the dance floor, it moved onto the concert stage, the ballet stage and the opera stage.

Johann Strauss, Jr.: Other Members of the Strauss Family
Johann Strauss, Sr. had three musical sons: Johann, Jr.; Josef; and Eduard. Sometimes they worked together as musicians, but other times, there was bitter rivalry.

Johann Strauss, Jr.: About Johann Strauss, Jr.
Johann Strauss, Jr. was the son of a very successful violinist and orchestra leader. Eventually, Johann, Jr. was in competition with his father, conducting an orchestra of his own. When the older Strauss died, people began to realize that the son was an even better musician and composer.

Aaron Copland: Classical Music in Commercials
For years, the Hoe-Down from Aaron Copland's ballet Rodeo has been used in a commercial for the Beef Council. A lot of classical music turns up in T.V. commercials. It has been used to sell airlines, cars, cereal and even fertilizer.

Aaron Copland: Rodeo

Copland's ballet Rodeo tells the story of a cowgirl who is in love with a cowboy, but just can't get him to notice her. Once she finally does, she decides that she'd rather spend time with another cowboy who was nice to her all along.

Aaron Copland: Agnes de Mille
Agnes de Mille loved to dance. She became hooked on ballet as a child, after seeing the famous ballerina Anna Pavlova perform. Agnes de Mille performed all over America and Europe, but she didn't hit it big until Rodeo -- the ballet that launched her career.

Aaron Copland: Copland's Cowboy Ballets

Copland's first cowboy ballet was Billy the Kid, about the notorious outlaw who lived in the American Southwest in the late 1800's. Then, choreographer (a choreographer is a person who invents dance moves) Agnes de Mille convinced Copland to write a second cowboy ballet -- Rodeo.

Aaron Copland: About Aaron Copland
Aaron Copland was a 20th century American composer from Brooklyn, New York. Copland is known for writing very American music, but he actually studied in France. His teacher, Nadia Boulanger, helped Copland find his way to an American sound in classical music.

Charles Ives: American Hymns in Classical Music
Charles Ives loved to put hymns into his music. Several other composers borrowed hymn tunes; here are several examples from 20th Century American compositions.

Charles Ives: Folk Tunes in Classical Music
The Country Band March has 12 recognizable popular and folk tunes in it. But Ives was not the only composer to put borrowed tunes in his music. Many classical composers -- including Ludwig van Beethoven, Mily Balakirev, and Percy Grainger -- used folk music in the pieces they wrote.

Charles Ives: Marching Through the Country Band March
Charles Ives wrote the Country Band March about amateur musicians -- people who make music for the love of it. In the Country Band March Ives combines a tune that he wrote with bits and pieces of many other popular and folk tunes. See how many of them you can recognize.

Charles Ives: About Charles Ives
The music that Charles Ives wrote was greatly influenced by his father, George. From the time he was a kid, Ives heard his father experiment with sound. George Ives always told Charlie to "stretch his ears," and Charlie did that with every piece of music he wrote.

Franz Joseph Haydn: Patriotic Songs By Classical Composers
Many countries around the world have national anthems and other patriotic songs that were written by classical composers. Haydn, Elgar and Verdi are just a few you'll explore here.

Franz Joseph Haydn: Minuets
The minuet is a dance that started in the 1700's in the French court. Gradually, the minuet began to be used for non-dancing purposes, as a musical form -- especially as the third movement of symphonies. Minuets found their way onto the stage, too, in operas, plays, and ballets.

Past Shows

Past Shows

A list of our most recent past shows:

Sort List by Date | Sort List by Composer

To see more, visit our complete list of composers or subscribe to our podcast.

Ralph Vaughan Williams: About Ralph Vaughan Williams

Ralph Vaughan Williams was one of the most important 20th century English composers. He spent years traveling the country collecting English folk songs, writing them down, and publishing them. Many of those melodies wound up in his music.

Benjamin Britten: The Instruments of the Orchestra - Part 2
Benjamin Britten was asked to compose music for a film that explained the instruments of the orchestra to children. Britten borrowed a tune by one of his favorite composers, Henry Purcell, to create his Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. This show uses Britten's Guide to introduce the instruments of the brass and percussion families.

Benjamin Britten: The Instruments of the Orchestra - Part 1
Benjamin Britten was asked to compose music for a film that explained the instruments of the orchestra to children. Britten borrowed a tune by one of his favorite composers, Henry Purcell, to create his Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. This show uses Britten's Guide to introduce the instruments of the woodwind and string families.

Benjamin Britten: Pizzicato and Other Musical Terms
Pizzicato is the Italian word for “plucked” -- it tells string players how to play their instruments at a given spot in the music. A lot of musical "traffic signals" are in Italian. This show has explanations and examples of some more of them.

Benjamin Britten: The Simple Symphony
Benjamin Britten composed his Simple Symphony when he was twenty, but he based it on music that he'd written much earlier -- some of it when he was only 10! The “Simple Symphony” has four movements, each of which has a very catchy name: Boisterous Bouree, Playful Pizzicato, Sentimental Sarabande, and Frolicsome Finale.

Benjamin Britten: About Benjamin Britten
After studying at the Royal Conservatory of Music in London, Benjamin Britten got a job writing film music. Then he went on to compose choral music, chamber music, songs, and quite a few operas, including some for major events in British history. In addition to being a composer, Britten was an excellent pianist and conductor.

Igor Stravinsky: Halloween Music
Appropriately spooky classical music for Halloween.

Igor Stravinsky: Fire Music

To go with this month's music from Igor Stravinsky's ballet The Firebird, some more music by composers who were playing with fire.

Igor Stravinsky: The Firebird

Igor Stravinsky based his ballet The Firebird on a Russian folk tale about an evil demon named Kashchei, who has thirteen princesses under his spell. A prince who wanders into Kashchei's garden to hunt the Firebird winds up defeating Kashchei and freeing the princesses -- with the help of the Firebird's magic feather.

Igor Stravinsky: About Igor Stravinsky

Russian composer Igor Stravinsky had a big hit with his first ballet, The Firebird. Stravinksy kept on writing ballets, followed by operas, and orchestral and choral music.

Johann Strauss, Jr.: Musical Conversation
Tritsch-Tratsch -- the title of a polka by Johann Strauss, Jr. -- is Austrian slang for "chit-chat." A lot of composers used music to portray people making sounds: talking, laughing, crying -- even sneezing!

Johann Strauss, Jr.: The Waltz
The waltz is a dance in 3/4 time that was very popular in Vienna, Austria in the 19th century. But the roots of the waltz go back to the German Dance of Mozart's day. After the waltz became popular on the dance floor, it moved onto the concert stage, the ballet stage and the opera stage.

Johann Strauss, Jr.: Other Members of the Strauss Family
Johann Strauss, Sr. had three musical sons: Johann, Jr.; Josef; and Eduard. Sometimes they worked together as musicians, but other times, there was bitter rivalry.

Johann Strauss, Jr.: About Johann Strauss, Jr.
Johann Strauss, Jr. was the son of a very successful violinist and orchestra leader. Eventually, Johann, Jr. was in competition with his father, conducting an orchestra of his own. When the older Strauss died, people began to realize that the son was an even better musician and composer.

Aaron Copland: Classical Music in Commercials
For years, the Hoe-Down from Aaron Copland's ballet Rodeo has been used in a commercial for the Beef Council. A lot of classical music turns up in T.V. commercials. It has been used to sell airlines, cars, cereal and even fertilizer.

Aaron Copland: Rodeo

Copland's ballet Rodeo tells the story of a cowgirl who is in love with a cowboy, but just can't get him to notice her. Once she finally does, she decides that she'd rather spend time with another cowboy who was nice to her all along.

Aaron Copland: Agnes de Mille
Agnes de Mille loved to dance. She became hooked on ballet as a child, after seeing the famous ballerina Anna Pavlova perform. Agnes de Mille performed all over America and Europe, but she didn't hit it big until Rodeo -- the ballet that launched her career.

Aaron Copland: Copland's Cowboy Ballets

Copland's first cowboy ballet was Billy the Kid, about the notorious outlaw who lived in the American Southwest in the late 1800's. Then, choreographer (a choreographer is a person who invents dance moves) Agnes de Mille convinced Copland to write a second cowboy ballet -- Rodeo.

Aaron Copland: About Aaron Copland
Aaron Copland was a 20th century American composer from Brooklyn, New York. Copland is known for writing very American music, but he actually studied in France. His teacher, Nadia Boulanger, helped Copland find his way to an American sound in classical music.

Charles Ives: American Hymns in Classical Music
Charles Ives loved to put hymns into his music. Several other composers borrowed hymn tunes; here are several examples from 20th Century American compositions.

Charles Ives: Folk Tunes in Classical Music
The Country Band March has 12 recognizable popular and folk tunes in it. But Ives was not the only composer to put borrowed tunes in his music. Many classical composers -- including Ludwig van Beethoven, Mily Balakirev, and Percy Grainger -- used folk music in the pieces they wrote.

Charles Ives: Marching Through the Country Band March
Charles Ives wrote the Country Band March about amateur musicians -- people who make music for the love of it. In the Country Band March Ives combines a tune that he wrote with bits and pieces of many other popular and folk tunes. See how many of them you can recognize.

Charles Ives: About Charles Ives
The music that Charles Ives wrote was greatly influenced by his father, George. From the time he was a kid, Ives heard his father experiment with sound. George Ives always told Charlie to "stretch his ears," and Charlie did that with every piece of music he wrote.

Franz Joseph Haydn: Patriotic Songs By Classical Composers
Many countries around the world have national anthems and other patriotic songs that were written by classical composers. Haydn, Elgar and Verdi are just a few you'll explore here.

Franz Joseph Haydn: Minuets
The minuet is a dance that started in the 1700's in the French court. Gradually, the minuet began to be used for non-dancing purposes, as a musical form -- especially as the third movement of symphonies. Minuets found their way onto the stage, too, in operas, plays, and ballets.

 

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