Past Shows

Past Shows

A list of our most recent past shows:

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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.

Franz Joseph Haydn: The Farewell Symphony
Every year, when the weather turned nice, Prince Esterhazy -- Franz Joseph Haydn's employer -- moved his entire household to his summer palace. When it turned cold again, everyone moved back to the main palace in the city. But one fall, it stayed warm for a very long time, and the prince didn't budge. The musicians in his orchestra wanted to go home, and Haydn found a musical way to tell the prince it was time to go: the Farewell Symphony.

Franz Joseph Haydn: Father of the Symphony
Franz Joseph Haydn never had any children, but the musicians who worked for him liked him so much they called him Papa Haydn. And Haydn is also known as the "Father of the Symphony." He wasn't the first person to compose symphonies, but he did help the symphony to grow up as a musical form.

Franz Joseph Haydn: About Franz Joseph Haydn
Franz Joseph Haydn spent over thirty years working as music director for the Esterhazy family. By the end of his life, Haydn was both rich and famous, and he had gotten along well with his employers - pretty unusual for a composer of that time.

Giuseppe Verdi: What's it like to be an Opera Singer?
Opera singer Denyce Graves talks with Naomi Lewin about what it's like to be an international opera star.

Giuseppe Verdi: The Story of Aida
Giuseppe Verdi composed Aida for a new opera house in Cairo, Egypt that opened around the time as the opening of the Suez Canal. Aida is the story of an Ethiopian princess being held captive by Egyptians. One of the Egyptian generals is desperately in love with her, and she's in love with him -- but so is the daughter of the Egyptian king.

Giuseppe Verdi: About Giuseppe Verdi
Guiseppe Verdi -- "Joe Green," in Italian -- was a great opera composer and Italian patriot. His music became part of the Italian fight for independence and unity.

Giuseppe Verdi: What's an Opera?
An opera is like a play in which the characters sing all their lines. Opera singers do not use microphones -- their voices are trained, and can fill a whole theater with sound without any amplification. All operas have solo singers and an orchestra -- and a lot of operas have a chorus, too. Operas have been written in many different languages, including English.

Frédéric Chopin: Famous Pianist-Composers
From the time Frédéric Chopin was a child, audiences loved to hear him play the piano. A lot of composers were famous as keyboard players, too: Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt…

Frédéric Chopin: Military Music
In his Military Polonaise, Frédéric Chopin uses the piano to imitate the drums that accompanied armies marching into battle. A lot of composers have put battle sounds into their music.

Frédéric Chopin: The Polonaise
The polonaise is a dance that was fashionable in the Polish court. Since Polish nobility used to like to speak French, the name "polonaise" is French. Eventually, the polonaise caught on all over Europe, and even migrated to America. Lots of operas contain polonaises, and after a while, composers began to use the polonaise as a form for non-dancing, instrumental pieces.

Frédéric Chopin: About Frédéric Chopin
Frédéric Chopin was one of the greatest pianists of his day. Every single piece of music he wrote used the piano. The name Chopin doesn't sound very Polish because Chopin's father was born in France. Even though he was fiercely proud of being Polish, Frédéric Chopin wound up moving to France, and never returned to Poland.

Women's History Month: Great Women Performers
Through the centuries, there have been exceptional female performers - on the largest stages of the world, and in smaller, more intimate settings. They include Clara Wieck Schumann, Maria Theresia von Paradies, Nadia Boulanger, Dame Myra Hess, Rebecca Clarke, Jacqueline Du Pré, Evelyn Glennie, Maria Callas, Marian Anderson, and Leontyne Price.

Women's History Month: What's It Like to Be a Conductor?
A program featuring acclaimed conductor JoAnn Falletta, who talks about her early love of music, how seeing her first symphony concert inspired her to become a conductor, and all the listening and preparation that goes into being successful at her job.

Women's History Month: Contemporary Women Composers

There are many women composers these days, and this program introduces some of them: Caroline Shaw, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Lera Auerbach, Kaija Saariaho, Chen Yi, Jennifer Higdon, Libby Larsen, Missy Mazzoli, Gabriela Lena Frank, and Tania León.

Women's History Month: Women Composers of the Past
Though many societies either forbade or looked down on women who wanted to be composers, many persevered. This show highlights Francesca Caccini, Élizabeth Claude Jacquet de la Guerre, Louise Farrenc, Cécile Chaminade, Germaine Tailleferre, Hildegard von Bingen, Marianna Martines, Fanny Mendelssohn, Amy Beach, Florence Price, and Queen Lili'oukalani.

Women's History Month: Women in History and Classical Music
How women in world history - Cleopatra, Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Elizabeth II, Aphra Behn, Joan of Arc, Emmeline Pankhurst, Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks, and Grace Hopper – inspired classical music compositions.

Scott Joplin: Black Composers of Classical Music
Music by composers with all kinds of hyphens to their African heritage: African-French, French-Cuban, African-English, and African-American.

Scott Joplin: Classical Music and the Movies
Lots of movies use classical music. Sometimes, that music is such a big part of the movie that the two become linked forever.

Scott Joplin: Ragtime Music
Ragtime music is truly African-American music. It combines rhythms that were brought to this country by slaves, with musical forms brought over to the United States from Europe. Ragtime uses syncopated rhythms -- that is, the accents in the melody are shifted away from the strong beats in the bass line underneath.

Scott Joplin: About Scott Joplin
From a very early age, Scott Joplin supported himself as a performing pianist. Eventually, he earned a living selling his compositions, too. Thanks to Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag, the most famous of all piano rags, Joplin became known as the King of Ragtime Writers.

Georg Philipp Telemann: The "Gigue" is Up!
"Gigue" is the French word for jig -- a lively dance in triple time. The jig started out as folk dance in Ireland, Scotland, and northern England, before finding its way into classical music.

Georg Philipp Telemann: Self-Taught Composers
Georg Philipp Telemann never studied composition - he taught himself how to write music. There are quite a few composers who taught themselves, including Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Edward Elgar, Francis Poulenc, Scott Joplin and others.

Georg Philipp Telemann: Go for Baroque
Georg Philipp Telemann composed during the Baroque period, which ran from about 1600 to 1750. Suzanne Bona, host of the National Public Radio program Sunday Baroque, talks with Naomi Lewin about Baroque music.

Georg Philipp Telemann: About Georg Philipp Telemann
Telemann loved to write. He wrote more pieces of music than any other composer, and he also wrote not one, not two, but THREE autobiographies.

Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Carnegie Hall
The Music Hall founded by Andrew Carnegie in New York City opened on May 5, 1891 with a concert conducted by Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. It quickly became known simply as “Carnegie Hall,” in honor of its donor.

Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Traditional Christmas Classical Music
George Frederick Handel's Messiah wasn't written for Christmas -- it was first performed in April. Hear some other pieces of classical music that traditionally get played during the Christmas season.

Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker
Tchaikovsky's ballet The Nutcracker is based on a story by German author E.T.A. Hoffmann. In The Nutcracker, a Christmas present -- a nutcracker -- comes to life as a handsome prince. He takes the young girl who received him as a present on some fantastic adventures.

Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Ballet
Ballet is a theatrical performance that tells a story using music, costumes, sets, and dance. Victoria Morgan, artistic director of the Cincinnati Ballet, talks with Naomi Lewin about ballet and ballet terms.

Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: About Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Some composers in Tchaikovsky's day didn't think his music sounded "Russian" enough, but Tchaikovsky was Russian through and through. Tchaikovsky wrote symphonies, operas, songs, chamber music -- and of course, several wonderful ballets.

Zoltán Kodály: The Kodály Method
Zoltan Kodály developed a method for teaching music. It is still used by teachers around the world today. Jill Trinka, who teaches the Kodály Method, talks with Naomi Lewin.

Zoltán Kodály: Classical Composers who Used Folk Music
Zoltán Kodály was not the only composer to use folk tunes in the music he wrote. Here are some others.

Zoltán Kodály: The Story of Hary Janos
Kodály’s opera Háry János is about a real person who told real whoppers - big, fat lies. If you listened to him, you'd think he defeated Napoleon's army all by himself.

Zoltán Kodály: About Zoltán Kodály
Zoltán Kodály was born in a small town in Hungary. His father worked for the Hungarian railroad, so the family moved around a lot. This meant that as a kid, Zoltán heard folk music from many different parts of the country. When he grew up, Hungarian folk music became his passion. Kodály spent a large part of his life collecting his native music, and teaching his countrymen about it.

Edvard Grieg: Halloween Music
Appropriately spooky classical music for Halloween.

Edvard Grieg: Other Scandinavian Composers
Music by composers from the three official Scandinavian countries -- Norway, Denmark and Sweden -- and a couple of unofficial ones -- Finland and Iceland!

Edvard Grieg: The Story of Peer Gynt
"In The Hall of the Mountain King" is part of the incidental music Edvard Grieg wrote for Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt. Hear the story of the play as you listen to Grieg's music.

Edvard Grieg: About Edvard Grieg
Edvard Grieg was from a music-loving Norwegian family. In addition to becoming the leading Scandinavian composer of his day, Grieg became a big supporter of Norwegian arts and culture.

Felix Mendelssohn: Women Composers
Fanny Mendelssohn, Felix Mendelssohn's older sister, was a talented pianist and composer. So was Clara Schumann, wife of composer Robert Schumann. Also featured: music of Elizabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre, Cecile Chaminade, Germaine Tailleferre, Hildegard von Bingen, Amy Beach, and Thea Musgrave.

Felix Mendelssohn: Child Prodigy Composers
A child prodigy, Felix Mendelssohn began composing when he was 10. This week on Classics for Kids hear about other composers who started just as early -- or even earlier.

Felix Mendelssohn: Music Based on Shakespeare
Probably no playwright has had more music based on his work than William Shakespeare. Felix Mendelssohn, Henry Purcell, Hector Berlioz, Giuseppe Verdi are just a few of the composers who've been inspired by Shakespeare's plays.

Felix Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream
When Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn put on Shakespeare's comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream to entertain their family, the two of them played all the characters! Mendelssohn's music for A Midsummer Night's Dream illustrates many of the characters and situations in the play.

Felix Mendelssohn: About Felix Mendelssohn
By the time he was a teenager, Felix Mendelssohn was already an excellent pianist and composer. And Mendelssohn was very talented in other areas. In addition to German (his native language), Mendelssohn spoke French, English, and Italian. He was also a very good painter. And he became quite famous as a conductor.

Leonard Bernstein: American Composers with a Boston Connection
Leonard Bernstein grew up in the Boston area. Here are some more composers who spent time in and around that city.

Leonard Bernstein: Operettas in English
Leonard Bernstein's "Candide" is an operetta. An operetta is like an opera, with one big difference. In opera, everything is sung, but in operetta, there are spoken lines between the singing. Composers who wrote operettas in English include Sir Arthur Sullivan (who can't be separated from William S. Gilbert, who wrote the words for Gilbert and Sullivan operettas), Victor Herbert, Sigmund Romberg, and Rudolf Friml.

Leonard Bernstein: Bernstein and Musical Theater
When he was growing up, Leonard Bernstein loved to put on operas and other musical shows with his friends. That interest in musical theater continued all through his life, and produced such great Broadway musicals as "On The Town," "Wonderful Town," and "West Side Story."

Leonard Bernstein: About Leonard Bernstein
American-born Leonard Bernstein became famous all over the world as a composer, a conductor, and a pianist. In addition to writing classical music, composed classic Broadway musicals, including West Side Story.

John Philip Sousa: The Golden Age of American Bands
From the late 1800's to the early 1900's, professional bands toured all over the United States, and many towns in this country had their own amateur bands.

John Philip Sousa: American Military Bands
The United States Marine Band is this country's oldest military band. Each branch of the U.S. Armed Forces has its own band, and song. Captain Don Schofield, associate conductor of the United States Air Force Band of Flight, talks with Naomi Lewin about all the U.S. military bands.

John Philip Sousa: About "Stars & Stripes"
John Philip Sousa’s The Stars and Stripes Forever is the official march of the United States of America. Sousa composed his most famous march in his head when he was on a ship coming back from a trip to Europe with his band. When the ship docked, he put the march down on paper and named it after the American flag he was so glad to see when he got home.

John Philip Sousa: About John Philip Sousa
John Philip Sousa -- the most American of composers -- was the son of immigrants to the United States. Because of his love for bands and band music, John Philip Sousa wrote many wonderful marches. As a result, he is known as the "March King."

Franz Liszt: What is a Rhapsody?
"Rhapsody" is an ancient word that means "songs stitched together". The Greeks used to write long poems in praise of their heroes, and then take bits and pieces of those poems and string them together for performance. In music, a rhapsody is a free-form piece that takes different tunes and strings them together.

Franz Liszt: Famous Pianist - Composers
In his day Franz Liszt was most famous as a pianist. So, were Mozart, Beethoven and a lot of other composers.

Franz Liszt: Romani, or Gypsy Music
Franz Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsodies were greatly influenced by gypsy, or Romani music. Brahms, Telemann and Verdi are among the many composers were attracted to this distinctive music.

Franz Liszt: Classical Music Superstars
Inspired by violinist Niccolo Paganini, Franz Liszt became a piano superstar. Many classical music superstars followed, including Jan Paderewski, Jenny Lind, Van Cliburn, Enrico Caruso, Yo-Yo Ma and Lang Lang.

Franz Liszt: About Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt was a pianist, composer, conductor and teacher who came up with musical innovations in all those fields. He was the first of the virtuoso performers and invented the solo recital. As one of the greatest pianists the world has ever known, Liszt was a 19th century superstar.

Giacomo Puccini: Classical Music that Turned into Musical Theater
Jonathan Larson, the composer of the musical “Rent,” used the same plot for this musical as Puccini did for La Bohème. Other composers also used classical music when they wrote their Broadway hits. “Kismet” is adapted from compositions by Russian composer Alexander Borodin and “The Song of Norway” uses tunes by Edvard Grieg to tell the story of Grieg’s life.

Giacomo Puccini: Bohemian Music
Giacomo Puccini’s opera La Bohème is about struggling artists in Paris. Its title means “the bohemian lifestyle.” But Bohemia isn’t in France; it’s in the Czech Republic. Other composers such as Antonin Dvorak, Bedrich Smetana, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Jules Massenet, were also inspired by this part of the world, using its music and describing its beautiful countryside in their works.

Giacomo Puccini: A Brief History of Italian Opera
Around the year 1600, Italian composers started writing theater pieces that use music all the way through them. Instead of speaking, characters in operas sing their lines. From Claudio Monteverdi, who wrote the earliest opera that is still performed, through Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi and Puccini, Italy has produced some of the world’s finest opera composers.

Giacomo Puccini: About Giacomo Puccini
By the time Italian composer Giacomo Puccini was born in 1858, there had already been four generations of musicians in his hometown of Lucca. Most were church musicians, but Giacomo had other ideas. When he was a teenager, he went to hear a performance of Verdi’s Aida. From that moment on he knew that what he wanted to do was write operas. He did, and became one of Italy’s most beloved operatic composers.

Johannes Brahms: Classical Music Featuring Dances from European Countries
Many composers used European dance forms in their work. Dvorak, Haydn, Chopin and Beethoven are just a few of the composers featured here.

Johannes Brahms: Hungarian Dancing
The Hungarian Dances by Johannes Brahms were never really intended for dancing. But that doesn't mean that people in Hungary don't dance! Richard Graber, the director of a Hungarian dance company in Cleveland, talks with Naomi Lewin about Hungarian dancing.

Johannes Brahms: The Brahms Hungarian Dances
When he was a young pianist, Johannes Brahms accompanied a Hungarian violinist, and fell in love with Hungarian music. His own Hungarian-flavored dances were written to entertain his friends at parties. Those friends convinced Brahms to publish his dances. When the first set was a hit, Brahms wrote and published another set.

Johannes Brahms: About Johannes Brahms
Brahms, Bach, and Beethoven are known as the "Three B’s" of classical music. Brahms always knew that he wanted to be a composer -- by the time he was six, he had thought up his own system for writing music down on a page.

William Grant Still: Black Composers of Classical Music
William Grant Still was a 20th century African-American composer. But hundreds of years before he lived, there were other black composers. And there are black composers of classical music alive today.

William Grant Still: Paul Laurence Dunbar's Poetry
After William Grant Still wrote his Afro-American Symphony, he found bits of poetry that he thought went with each movement. The poetry was written by Paul Laurence Dunbar, the first African-American to become a famous writer.

William Grant Still: The Afro-American Symphony
William Grant Still wanted to put the sound of the blues into a symphony. His Afro-American Symphony is centered on a bluesy theme. Still took that theme and did something entirely different with it in each of the Symphony's four movements.

William Grant Still: About William Grant Still
William Grant Still has been called the Dean of Afro-American composers. Judith Anne Still, the composer's daughter, talks with Naomi Lewin about her father's life, and the difficulty he faced in the first half of 20th century America as a black man writing classical music.

Franz Schubert: Marches Not Written for Bands and Parades
Even though Schubert's Marche Militaire has the word "march" in the title, it was never actually meant for anyone to march to. Several other composers wrote march music without bands or parades in mind.

Franz Schubert: Music for Piano Four Hands
Franz Schubert wrote his Marche Militaire for piano four hands -- two people playing the same instrument. Here are some more pieces for piano four hands.

Franz Schubert: Take Me to Your Lieder
Songs in classical music are usually called "art songs." In German, art songs are called Lieder. Franz Schubert was a master of writing Lieder. Each of his songs combines poetry and music, voice and accompaniment, to make a complete musical short story.

Franz Schubert: About Franz Schubert
Franz Schubert's father expected his son to be a teacher in the school that he ran. But Schubert didn't last long at that job -- he was much more interested in writing music than paying attention to a classroom full of kids.

Ralph Vaughan Williams: Winter in Music
It’s December, and winter has officially begun. This is a program of music with wintery themes.

Robert Schumann: Music for the Harvest Season
On this week’s Classics for Kids show, music for the harvest - and for fall.

Robert Schumann: All in the Musical Family
Robert and Clara Schumann were a husband and wife musician/composer team. But theirs was not the only family in which musician were linked by marriage. Others include Dvorak/Suk, Wagner/Liszt, Mozart/Weber, and the Bachs.

Robert Schumann: Clara Schumann
Clara Wieck was born in 1819 in the German city of Leipzig. Her father, Friedrich Wieck, was a piano teacher who decided even before his daughter was born that she was going to be a famous pianist. Clara toured all over Europe, playing in concert halls and for royalty.

Robert Schumann: About Robert Schumann
From the time he was young, Schumann knew that he wanted to write. The only question was, should he write words, or music? Eventually, Schumann became known as a famous composer and a music journalist.

Igor Stravinsky: Composer Teachers and their Students
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov spent years as a professor at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Many of his students became famous composers themselves: Anatol Liadov, Alexander Glazunov, and Igor Stravinsky. A lot of famous composers studied with each other.

Aaron Copland: Classical Music in Pop
What do Frank Sinatra, Blood Sweat and Tears and John Denver have in common? They all used classical music in some of their pieces. After Aaron Copland composed his Fanfare for the Common Man, the piece was also adapted by several popular musicians. Let’s explore some more classical music that made the transition to pop.

Aaron Copland: What's in a Name
In 1942, Eugene Goossens, music director of the Cincinnati Symphony, invited two dozen or so composers to write fanfares honoring those serving in World War II. Hear some more of those fanfares, and take a guess why Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man is the only one that's still regularly performed.

Aaron Copland: Tiptoe Through the Fanfare
A look at exactly what's going on musically in Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man.

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.

Aaron Copland: What is a Fanfare
The word fanfare comes from a French word that means to blow trumpets. Fanfares have been used for centuries to announce someone or something important. Presidential inaugurations, movies, the Olympics -- they've all had special fanfares written for them.

Edvard Grieg: Incidental Music
Incidental music creates a mood, or illustrates the action for what is going on in a play, movie or television show.

Dmitri Kabalevsky: Incidental Music
Incidental music creates a mood, or illustrates the action for what is going on in a play, movie or television show.

Dmitri Kabalevsky: Musical Jokes
Even though classical music is sometimes referred to as "serious music," a lot of times it just isn't. Serious, that is -- classical composers wrote some very funny music.

Dmitri Kabalevsky: What's a Galop
The kind of galop that Dmitri Kabalevsky put his suite The Comedians has nothing to do with horses. In fact, it's not even spelled the same as a horse's gallop. The one-l galop is a lively dance. Quite a few composers have written galops.

Dmitri Kabalevsky: The Comedians Suite
After Dmitri Kabalevsky wrote music for a play called The Inventor and the Comedians, he put selections from that music into a concert suite called The Comedians. Listen to what's going on in that suite.

Dmitri Kabalevsky: About Dmitri Kabalevsky
By the time Dmitri Kabalevsky was 14, the Russian Revolution had turned his country into a communist state. In spite of the Soviet Union's control over artists of all kinds, Kabalevsky managed to make a successful career as a composer.

Giuseppe Verdi: Famous Instrumental Music from Opera
Many operas feature music that is has become so famous all by itself, you might just forget that it's part of an opera!

John Philip Sousa: I Love a Parade!
Before television, radio, and the movies, it used to be a very big deal when the circus came to town. Circus parades and performances were always accompanied by marches called "screamers" -- a name that probably came from the fact that the music screams for attention.

Claude Debussy: Non-Dancing Music Based on Dances
The last movement of Claude Debussy's Children's Corner is a cakewalk -- a dance done by African-American slaves on plantations. But Debussy didn't intend for anyone to dance to his cakewalk. Lots of other composers wrote music that wasn't meant for dancing, even though it was based on dances.

Claude Debussy: Music Composed for Children
A lot of classical music was written just for kids. Peter and the Wolf is just the beginning -- there are also pieces based on children's books, toys, games, and more.

Claude Debussy: The Children's Corner
Claude Debussy had a daughter named Emma-Claude, but everyone called her Chouchou, a French pet name that means "darling." When Chouchou was three years old, she started taking piano lessons. Her proud father composed the Children's Corner as a present for her, even though it was much too hard for her to play at the time. The suite was meant to entertain Chouchou, since it starred her favorite toys.

Claude Debussy: About Claude Debussy
Even when he was young, Claude Debussy loved to experiment with new sounds. That got him into trouble when he was a student at the Paris Conservatory, but it turned out to be a good thing when he grew up. Inspired by Impressionist poets and visual artists around him, Debussy created Impressionism in music.

Georges Bizet: Firsts for the New Year
A collection of musical firsts, including the first string quartet, the first use of trombones in a symphony, and the first professional musician to make a recording.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Child Prodigy Composers
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a child prodigy. He wrote his first symphony when he was eight, but actually started composing at the age of five. In this show, hear about some other composers who started just as early.

Ralph Vaughan Williams: Turn of the 20th Century English Composers

Ralph Vaughan Williams arrived on the scene just as a definite English classical music sound was being established. His three main teachers at the Royal Academy of Music were Arthur Sullivan, Hubert Parry, and Charles Stanford. Edward Elgar and Gustav Holst also had an influence on Vaughan Williams. Other contemporaries of his were George Butterworth, Percy Grainger, and Peter Warlock.

Sergei Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf
"Peter and the Wolf" is a childhood classic. Peter, his animal friends, his grandfather, the wolf and the hunters all have appropriate musical themes that make this piece a delight to hear.

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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.

Franz Joseph Haydn: The Farewell Symphony
Every year, when the weather turned nice, Prince Esterhazy -- Franz Joseph Haydn's employer -- moved his entire household to his summer palace. When it turned cold again, everyone moved back to the main palace in the city. But one fall, it stayed warm for a very long time, and the prince didn't budge. The musicians in his orchestra wanted to go home, and Haydn found a musical way to tell the prince it was time to go: the Farewell Symphony.

Franz Joseph Haydn: Father of the Symphony
Franz Joseph Haydn never had any children, but the musicians who worked for him liked him so much they called him Papa Haydn. And Haydn is also known as the "Father of the Symphony." He wasn't the first person to compose symphonies, but he did help the symphony to grow up as a musical form.

Franz Joseph Haydn: About Franz Joseph Haydn
Franz Joseph Haydn spent over thirty years working as music director for the Esterhazy family. By the end of his life, Haydn was both rich and famous, and he had gotten along well with his employers - pretty unusual for a composer of that time.

Giuseppe Verdi: What's it like to be an Opera Singer?
Opera singer Denyce Graves talks with Naomi Lewin about what it's like to be an international opera star.

Giuseppe Verdi: The Story of Aida
Giuseppe Verdi composed Aida for a new opera house in Cairo, Egypt that opened around the time as the opening of the Suez Canal. Aida is the story of an Ethiopian princess being held captive by Egyptians. One of the Egyptian generals is desperately in love with her, and she's in love with him -- but so is the daughter of the Egyptian king.

Giuseppe Verdi: About Giuseppe Verdi
Guiseppe Verdi -- "Joe Green," in Italian -- was a great opera composer and Italian patriot. His music became part of the Italian fight for independence and unity.

Giuseppe Verdi: What's an Opera?
An opera is like a play in which the characters sing all their lines. Opera singers do not use microphones -- their voices are trained, and can fill a whole theater with sound without any amplification. All operas have solo singers and an orchestra -- and a lot of operas have a chorus, too. Operas have been written in many different languages, including English.

Frédéric Chopin: Famous Pianist-Composers
From the time Frédéric Chopin was a child, audiences loved to hear him play the piano. A lot of composers were famous as keyboard players, too: Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt…

Frédéric Chopin: Military Music
In his Military Polonaise, Frédéric Chopin uses the piano to imitate the drums that accompanied armies marching into battle. A lot of composers have put battle sounds into their music.

Frédéric Chopin: The Polonaise
The polonaise is a dance that was fashionable in the Polish court. Since Polish nobility used to like to speak French, the name "polonaise" is French. Eventually, the polonaise caught on all over Europe, and even migrated to America. Lots of operas contain polonaises, and after a while, composers began to use the polonaise as a form for non-dancing, instrumental pieces.

Frédéric Chopin: About Frédéric Chopin
Frédéric Chopin was one of the greatest pianists of his day. Every single piece of music he wrote used the piano. The name Chopin doesn't sound very Polish because Chopin's father was born in France. Even though he was fiercely proud of being Polish, Frédéric Chopin wound up moving to France, and never returned to Poland.

Women's History Month: Great Women Performers
Through the centuries, there have been exceptional female performers - on the largest stages of the world, and in smaller, more intimate settings. They include Clara Wieck Schumann, Maria Theresia von Paradies, Nadia Boulanger, Dame Myra Hess, Rebecca Clarke, Jacqueline Du Pré, Evelyn Glennie, Maria Callas, Marian Anderson, and Leontyne Price.

Women's History Month: What's It Like to Be a Conductor?
A program featuring acclaimed conductor JoAnn Falletta, who talks about her early love of music, how seeing her first symphony concert inspired her to become a conductor, and all the listening and preparation that goes into being successful at her job.

Women's History Month: Contemporary Women Composers

There are many women composers these days, and this program introduces some of them: Caroline Shaw, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Lera Auerbach, Kaija Saariaho, Chen Yi, Jennifer Higdon, Libby Larsen, Missy Mazzoli, Gabriela Lena Frank, and Tania León.

Women's History Month: Women Composers of the Past
Though many societies either forbade or looked down on women who wanted to be composers, many persevered. This show highlights Francesca Caccini, Élizabeth Claude Jacquet de la Guerre, Louise Farrenc, Cécile Chaminade, Germaine Tailleferre, Hildegard von Bingen, Marianna Martines, Fanny Mendelssohn, Amy Beach, Florence Price, and Queen Lili'oukalani.

Women's History Month: Women in History and Classical Music
How women in world history - Cleopatra, Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Elizabeth II, Aphra Behn, Joan of Arc, Emmeline Pankhurst, Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks, and Grace Hopper – inspired classical music compositions.

Scott Joplin: Black Composers of Classical Music
Music by composers with all kinds of hyphens to their African heritage: African-French, French-Cuban, African-English, and African-American.

Scott Joplin: Classical Music and the Movies
Lots of movies use classical music. Sometimes, that music is such a big part of the movie that the two become linked forever.

Scott Joplin: Ragtime Music
Ragtime music is truly African-American music. It combines rhythms that were brought to this country by slaves, with musical forms brought over to the United States from Europe. Ragtime uses syncopated rhythms -- that is, the accents in the melody are shifted away from the strong beats in the bass line underneath.

Scott Joplin: About Scott Joplin
From a very early age, Scott Joplin supported himself as a performing pianist. Eventually, he earned a living selling his compositions, too. Thanks to Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag, the most famous of all piano rags, Joplin became known as the King of Ragtime Writers.

Georg Philipp Telemann: The "Gigue" is Up!
"Gigue" is the French word for jig -- a lively dance in triple time. The jig started out as folk dance in Ireland, Scotland, and northern England, before finding its way into classical music.

Georg Philipp Telemann: Self-Taught Composers
Georg Philipp Telemann never studied composition - he taught himself how to write music. There are quite a few composers who taught themselves, including Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Edward Elgar, Francis Poulenc, Scott Joplin and others.

Georg Philipp Telemann: Go for Baroque
Georg Philipp Telemann composed during the Baroque period, which ran from about 1600 to 1750. Suzanne Bona, host of the National Public Radio program Sunday Baroque, talks with Naomi Lewin about Baroque music.

Georg Philipp Telemann: About Georg Philipp Telemann
Telemann loved to write. He wrote more pieces of music than any other composer, and he also wrote not one, not two, but THREE autobiographies.

Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Carnegie Hall
The Music Hall founded by Andrew Carnegie in New York City opened on May 5, 1891 with a concert conducted by Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. It quickly became known simply as “Carnegie Hall,” in honor of its donor.

Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Traditional Christmas Classical Music
George Frederick Handel's Messiah wasn't written for Christmas -- it was first performed in April. Hear some other pieces of classical music that traditionally get played during the Christmas season.

Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker
Tchaikovsky's ballet The Nutcracker is based on a story by German author E.T.A. Hoffmann. In The Nutcracker, a Christmas present -- a nutcracker -- comes to life as a handsome prince. He takes the young girl who received him as a present on some fantastic adventures.

Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Ballet
Ballet is a theatrical performance that tells a story using music, costumes, sets, and dance. Victoria Morgan, artistic director of the Cincinnati Ballet, talks with Naomi Lewin about ballet and ballet terms.

Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: About Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Some composers in Tchaikovsky's day didn't think his music sounded "Russian" enough, but Tchaikovsky was Russian through and through. Tchaikovsky wrote symphonies, operas, songs, chamber music -- and of course, several wonderful ballets.

Zoltán Kodály: The Kodály Method
Zoltan Kodály developed a method for teaching music. It is still used by teachers around the world today. Jill Trinka, who teaches the Kodály Method, talks with Naomi Lewin.

Zoltán Kodály: Classical Composers who Used Folk Music
Zoltán Kodály was not the only composer to use folk tunes in the music he wrote. Here are some others.

Zoltán Kodály: The Story of Hary Janos
Kodály’s opera Háry János is about a real person who told real whoppers - big, fat lies. If you listened to him, you'd think he defeated Napoleon's army all by himself.

Zoltán Kodály: About Zoltán Kodály
Zoltán Kodály was born in a small town in Hungary. His father worked for the Hungarian railroad, so the family moved around a lot. This meant that as a kid, Zoltán heard folk music from many different parts of the country. When he grew up, Hungarian folk music became his passion. Kodály spent a large part of his life collecting his native music, and teaching his countrymen about it.

Edvard Grieg: Halloween Music
Appropriately spooky classical music for Halloween.

Edvard Grieg: Other Scandinavian Composers
Music by composers from the three official Scandinavian countries -- Norway, Denmark and Sweden -- and a couple of unofficial ones -- Finland and Iceland!

Edvard Grieg: The Story of Peer Gynt
"In The Hall of the Mountain King" is part of the incidental music Edvard Grieg wrote for Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt. Hear the story of the play as you listen to Grieg's music.

Edvard Grieg: About Edvard Grieg
Edvard Grieg was from a music-loving Norwegian family. In addition to becoming the leading Scandinavian composer of his day, Grieg became a big supporter of Norwegian arts and culture.

Felix Mendelssohn: Women Composers
Fanny Mendelssohn, Felix Mendelssohn's older sister, was a talented pianist and composer. So was Clara Schumann, wife of composer Robert Schumann. Also featured: music of Elizabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre, Cecile Chaminade, Germaine Tailleferre, Hildegard von Bingen, Amy Beach, and Thea Musgrave.

Felix Mendelssohn: Child Prodigy Composers
A child prodigy, Felix Mendelssohn began composing when he was 10. This week on Classics for Kids hear about other composers who started just as early -- or even earlier.

Felix Mendelssohn: Music Based on Shakespeare
Probably no playwright has had more music based on his work than William Shakespeare. Felix Mendelssohn, Henry Purcell, Hector Berlioz, Giuseppe Verdi are just a few of the composers who've been inspired by Shakespeare's plays.

Felix Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream
When Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn put on Shakespeare's comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream to entertain their family, the two of them played all the characters! Mendelssohn's music for A Midsummer Night's Dream illustrates many of the characters and situations in the play.

Felix Mendelssohn: About Felix Mendelssohn
By the time he was a teenager, Felix Mendelssohn was already an excellent pianist and composer. And Mendelssohn was very talented in other areas. In addition to German (his native language), Mendelssohn spoke French, English, and Italian. He was also a very good painter. And he became quite famous as a conductor.

Leonard Bernstein: American Composers with a Boston Connection
Leonard Bernstein grew up in the Boston area. Here are some more composers who spent time in and around that city.

Leonard Bernstein: Operettas in English
Leonard Bernstein's "Candide" is an operetta. An operetta is like an opera, with one big difference. In opera, everything is sung, but in operetta, there are spoken lines between the singing. Composers who wrote operettas in English include Sir Arthur Sullivan (who can't be separated from William S. Gilbert, who wrote the words for Gilbert and Sullivan operettas), Victor Herbert, Sigmund Romberg, and Rudolf Friml.

Leonard Bernstein: Bernstein and Musical Theater
When he was growing up, Leonard Bernstein loved to put on operas and other musical shows with his friends. That interest in musical theater continued all through his life, and produced such great Broadway musicals as "On The Town," "Wonderful Town," and "West Side Story."

Leonard Bernstein: About Leonard Bernstein
American-born Leonard Bernstein became famous all over the world as a composer, a conductor, and a pianist. In addition to writing classical music, composed classic Broadway musicals, including West Side Story.

John Philip Sousa: The Golden Age of American Bands
From the late 1800's to the early 1900's, professional bands toured all over the United States, and many towns in this country had their own amateur bands.

John Philip Sousa: American Military Bands
The United States Marine Band is this country's oldest military band. Each branch of the U.S. Armed Forces has its own band, and song. Captain Don Schofield, associate conductor of the United States Air Force Band of Flight, talks with Naomi Lewin about all the U.S. military bands.

John Philip Sousa: About "Stars & Stripes"
John Philip Sousa’s The Stars and Stripes Forever is the official march of the United States of America. Sousa composed his most famous march in his head when he was on a ship coming back from a trip to Europe with his band. When the ship docked, he put the march down on paper and named it after the American flag he was so glad to see when he got home.

John Philip Sousa: About John Philip Sousa
John Philip Sousa -- the most American of composers -- was the son of immigrants to the United States. Because of his love for bands and band music, John Philip Sousa wrote many wonderful marches. As a result, he is known as the "March King."

Franz Liszt: What is a Rhapsody?
"Rhapsody" is an ancient word that means "songs stitched together". The Greeks used to write long poems in praise of their heroes, and then take bits and pieces of those poems and string them together for performance. In music, a rhapsody is a free-form piece that takes different tunes and strings them together.

Franz Liszt: Famous Pianist - Composers
In his day Franz Liszt was most famous as a pianist. So, were Mozart, Beethoven and a lot of other composers.

Franz Liszt: Romani, or Gypsy Music
Franz Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsodies were greatly influenced by gypsy, or Romani music. Brahms, Telemann and Verdi are among the many composers were attracted to this distinctive music.

Franz Liszt: Classical Music Superstars
Inspired by violinist Niccolo Paganini, Franz Liszt became a piano superstar. Many classical music superstars followed, including Jan Paderewski, Jenny Lind, Van Cliburn, Enrico Caruso, Yo-Yo Ma and Lang Lang.

Franz Liszt: About Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt was a pianist, composer, conductor and teacher who came up with musical innovations in all those fields. He was the first of the virtuoso performers and invented the solo recital. As one of the greatest pianists the world has ever known, Liszt was a 19th century superstar.

Giacomo Puccini: Classical Music that Turned into Musical Theater
Jonathan Larson, the composer of the musical “Rent,” used the same plot for this musical as Puccini did for La Bohème. Other composers also used classical music when they wrote their Broadway hits. “Kismet” is adapted from compositions by Russian composer Alexander Borodin and “The Song of Norway” uses tunes by Edvard Grieg to tell the story of Grieg’s life.

Giacomo Puccini: Bohemian Music
Giacomo Puccini’s opera La Bohème is about struggling artists in Paris. Its title means “the bohemian lifestyle.” But Bohemia isn’t in France; it’s in the Czech Republic. Other composers such as Antonin Dvorak, Bedrich Smetana, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Jules Massenet, were also inspired by this part of the world, using its music and describing its beautiful countryside in their works.

Giacomo Puccini: A Brief History of Italian Opera
Around the year 1600, Italian composers started writing theater pieces that use music all the way through them. Instead of speaking, characters in operas sing their lines. From Claudio Monteverdi, who wrote the earliest opera that is still performed, through Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi and Puccini, Italy has produced some of the world’s finest opera composers.

Giacomo Puccini: About Giacomo Puccini
By the time Italian composer Giacomo Puccini was born in 1858, there had already been four generations of musicians in his hometown of Lucca. Most were church musicians, but Giacomo had other ideas. When he was a teenager, he went to hear a performance of Verdi’s Aida. From that moment on he knew that what he wanted to do was write operas. He did, and became one of Italy’s most beloved operatic composers.

Johannes Brahms: Classical Music Featuring Dances from European Countries
Many composers used European dance forms in their work. Dvorak, Haydn, Chopin and Beethoven are just a few of the composers featured here.

Johannes Brahms: Hungarian Dancing
The Hungarian Dances by Johannes Brahms were never really intended for dancing. But that doesn't mean that people in Hungary don't dance! Richard Graber, the director of a Hungarian dance company in Cleveland, talks with Naomi Lewin about Hungarian dancing.

Johannes Brahms: The Brahms Hungarian Dances
When he was a young pianist, Johannes Brahms accompanied a Hungarian violinist, and fell in love with Hungarian music. His own Hungarian-flavored dances were written to entertain his friends at parties. Those friends convinced Brahms to publish his dances. When the first set was a hit, Brahms wrote and published another set.

Johannes Brahms: About Johannes Brahms
Brahms, Bach, and Beethoven are known as the "Three B’s" of classical music. Brahms always knew that he wanted to be a composer -- by the time he was six, he had thought up his own system for writing music down on a page.

William Grant Still: Black Composers of Classical Music
William Grant Still was a 20th century African-American composer. But hundreds of years before he lived, there were other black composers. And there are black composers of classical music alive today.

William Grant Still: Paul Laurence Dunbar's Poetry
After William Grant Still wrote his Afro-American Symphony, he found bits of poetry that he thought went with each movement. The poetry was written by Paul Laurence Dunbar, the first African-American to become a famous writer.

William Grant Still: The Afro-American Symphony
William Grant Still wanted to put the sound of the blues into a symphony. His Afro-American Symphony is centered on a bluesy theme. Still took that theme and did something entirely different with it in each of the Symphony's four movements.

William Grant Still: About William Grant Still
William Grant Still has been called the Dean of Afro-American composers. Judith Anne Still, the composer's daughter, talks with Naomi Lewin about her father's life, and the difficulty he faced in the first half of 20th century America as a black man writing classical music.

Franz Schubert: Marches Not Written for Bands and Parades
Even though Schubert's Marche Militaire has the word "march" in the title, it was never actually meant for anyone to march to. Several other composers wrote march music without bands or parades in mind.

Franz Schubert: Music for Piano Four Hands
Franz Schubert wrote his Marche Militaire for piano four hands -- two people playing the same instrument. Here are some more pieces for piano four hands.

Franz Schubert: Take Me to Your Lieder
Songs in classical music are usually called "art songs." In German, art songs are called Lieder. Franz Schubert was a master of writing Lieder. Each of his songs combines poetry and music, voice and accompaniment, to make a complete musical short story.

Franz Schubert: About Franz Schubert
Franz Schubert's father expected his son to be a teacher in the school that he ran. But Schubert didn't last long at that job -- he was much more interested in writing music than paying attention to a classroom full of kids.

Ralph Vaughan Williams: Winter in Music
It’s December, and winter has officially begun. This is a program of music with wintery themes.

Robert Schumann: Music for the Harvest Season
On this week’s Classics for Kids show, music for the harvest - and for fall.

Robert Schumann: All in the Musical Family
Robert and Clara Schumann were a husband and wife musician/composer team. But theirs was not the only family in which musician were linked by marriage. Others include Dvorak/Suk, Wagner/Liszt, Mozart/Weber, and the Bachs.

Robert Schumann: Clara Schumann
Clara Wieck was born in 1819 in the German city of Leipzig. Her father, Friedrich Wieck, was a piano teacher who decided even before his daughter was born that she was going to be a famous pianist. Clara toured all over Europe, playing in concert halls and for royalty.

Robert Schumann: About Robert Schumann
From the time he was young, Schumann knew that he wanted to write. The only question was, should he write words, or music? Eventually, Schumann became known as a famous composer and a music journalist.

Igor Stravinsky: Composer Teachers and their Students
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov spent years as a professor at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Many of his students became famous composers themselves: Anatol Liadov, Alexander Glazunov, and Igor Stravinsky. A lot of famous composers studied with each other.

Aaron Copland: Classical Music in Pop
What do Frank Sinatra, Blood Sweat and Tears and John Denver have in common? They all used classical music in some of their pieces. After Aaron Copland composed his Fanfare for the Common Man, the piece was also adapted by several popular musicians. Let’s explore some more classical music that made the transition to pop.

Aaron Copland: What's in a Name
In 1942, Eugene Goossens, music director of the Cincinnati Symphony, invited two dozen or so composers to write fanfares honoring those serving in World War II. Hear some more of those fanfares, and take a guess why Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man is the only one that's still regularly performed.

Aaron Copland: Tiptoe Through the Fanfare
A look at exactly what's going on musically in Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man.

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.

Aaron Copland: What is a Fanfare
The word fanfare comes from a French word that means to blow trumpets. Fanfares have been used for centuries to announce someone or something important. Presidential inaugurations, movies, the Olympics -- they've all had special fanfares written for them.

Edvard Grieg: Incidental Music
Incidental music creates a mood, or illustrates the action for what is going on in a play, movie or television show.

Dmitri Kabalevsky: Incidental Music
Incidental music creates a mood, or illustrates the action for what is going on in a play, movie or television show.

Dmitri Kabalevsky: Musical Jokes
Even though classical music is sometimes referred to as "serious music," a lot of times it just isn't. Serious, that is -- classical composers wrote some very funny music.

Dmitri Kabalevsky: What's a Galop
The kind of galop that Dmitri Kabalevsky put his suite The Comedians has nothing to do with horses. In fact, it's not even spelled the same as a horse's gallop. The one-l galop is a lively dance. Quite a few composers have written galops.

Dmitri Kabalevsky: The Comedians Suite
After Dmitri Kabalevsky wrote music for a play called The Inventor and the Comedians, he put selections from that music into a concert suite called The Comedians. Listen to what's going on in that suite.

Dmitri Kabalevsky: About Dmitri Kabalevsky
By the time Dmitri Kabalevsky was 14, the Russian Revolution had turned his country into a communist state. In spite of the Soviet Union's control over artists of all kinds, Kabalevsky managed to make a successful career as a composer.

Giuseppe Verdi: Famous Instrumental Music from Opera
Many operas feature music that is has become so famous all by itself, you might just forget that it's part of an opera!

John Philip Sousa: I Love a Parade!
Before television, radio, and the movies, it used to be a very big deal when the circus came to town. Circus parades and performances were always accompanied by marches called "screamers" -- a name that probably came from the fact that the music screams for attention.

Claude Debussy: Non-Dancing Music Based on Dances
The last movement of Claude Debussy's Children's Corner is a cakewalk -- a dance done by African-American slaves on plantations. But Debussy didn't intend for anyone to dance to his cakewalk. Lots of other composers wrote music that wasn't meant for dancing, even though it was based on dances.

Claude Debussy: Music Composed for Children
A lot of classical music was written just for kids. Peter and the Wolf is just the beginning -- there are also pieces based on children's books, toys, games, and more.

Claude Debussy: The Children's Corner
Claude Debussy had a daughter named Emma-Claude, but everyone called her Chouchou, a French pet name that means "darling." When Chouchou was three years old, she started taking piano lessons. Her proud father composed the Children's Corner as a present for her, even though it was much too hard for her to play at the time. The suite was meant to entertain Chouchou, since it starred her favorite toys.

Claude Debussy: About Claude Debussy
Even when he was young, Claude Debussy loved to experiment with new sounds. That got him into trouble when he was a student at the Paris Conservatory, but it turned out to be a good thing when he grew up. Inspired by Impressionist poets and visual artists around him, Debussy created Impressionism in music.

Georges Bizet: Firsts for the New Year
A collection of musical firsts, including the first string quartet, the first use of trombones in a symphony, and the first professional musician to make a recording.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Child Prodigy Composers
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a child prodigy. He wrote his first symphony when he was eight, but actually started composing at the age of five. In this show, hear about some other composers who started just as early.

Ralph Vaughan Williams: Turn of the 20th Century English Composers

Ralph Vaughan Williams arrived on the scene just as a definite English classical music sound was being established. His three main teachers at the Royal Academy of Music were Arthur Sullivan, Hubert Parry, and Charles Stanford. Edward Elgar and Gustav Holst also had an influence on Vaughan Williams. Other contemporaries of his were George Butterworth, Percy Grainger, and Peter Warlock.

Sergei Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf
"Peter and the Wolf" is a childhood classic. Peter, his animal friends, his grandfather, the wolf and the hunters all have appropriate musical themes that make this piece a delight to hear.

 

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