Past Shows

Past Shows

A list of our most recent past shows:

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Gustav Holst: English Composers Who Loved Folk Songs

Both Gustav Holst and Ralph Vaughn Williams loved using folk music in their music. They were inspired by a "folk song revival" started by an English musician named Cecil Sharp collected thousands of folk tunes from around England in the early 1900's.

Gustav Holst: Music for Students

St. Paul's Girls' School in London has a sign that says: "Gustav Holst wrote The Planets and taught here." Holst composed his St. Paul's Suite for the student orchestra at St. Paul's Girls' School. Many other composers wrote music for students to perform.

Gustav Holst: The Planets

Astronomy is the science that studies the sun, moon, planets, and other objects in the sky. Astrology is not a science - it tries to show how objects in the sky affect people's lives on earth. Gustav Holst loved astrology, and he composed his Planets to be musical pictures of human nature.

Gustav Holst: About Gustav Holst

Born into a family of composers, Gustav Holst wanted to follow in their footsteps. His career included playing in orchestras and serving as head of music at St. Paul's Girls' School for almost thirty years while also composing.

Modest Mussorgsky: Halloween Music
Appropriately spooky classical music for Halloween.

Modest Mussorgsky: Music from Russian Operas

Many pieces of music from Russian operas have become much more famous in the concert hall than on the opera stage. Some of these pieces include Tchaikovsky's Waltz and Polonaise from Eugene Onegin, Alexander Borodin's Polovstian Dances from Prince Igor, and Sergei Prokofiev's march from The Love for Three Oranges.

Modest Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition
Russian artist and architect Victor Hartman was a good friend of Modest Mussorgsky. When Hartman died at the age of 39, there was a memorial exhibit of his work. That inspired Mussorgsky to create his own tribute to Hartman -- a composition depicting ten pieces of art from the exhibit.

Modest Mussorgsky: The Mighty Handful
The Mighty Handful, also known as the Mighty Five, were group of Russian composers who all wanted to develop a distinctly Russian style of classical music. The Mighty Five composers were Mily Balakirev, Alexander Borodin, Cesar Cui, Modest Mussorgsky, and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.

Modest Mussorgsky: About Modest Mussorgsky
When he was a kid growing up, Modest Mussorgsky learned Russian fairy tales and folk stories from the family nurse. Those fairy tales put in an appearance in the music he wrote later on. Mussorgsky composed Pictures at an Exhibition in memory of an artist friend of his who died suddenly.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: What's a Rondo?
Rondo is an Italian word that means round. A rondo is an instrumental form with a refrain that keeps coming back. Unlike the verses of a song, though, the music in a rondo changes between each repetition of the refrain.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Janissary Music
In the 18th century, Janissary music became all the rage in Europe. Janissaries were the men who guarded the sultan of Turkey. They had wonderful bands that included instruments that sounded very exotic to European ears: cymbals, triangles and bass drums.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Mozart's Operas
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote his first opera when he was twelve, and opera continued to fascinate him throughout his life. Mozart had such genius for combining music and theater that he took opera to a whole new level. No other composer from Mozart's day still has so many operas performed all over the world.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: About Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
When Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart sat down at the keyboard at the age of three, it was clear to his father Leopold that he had a genius on his hands. From the first pieces he composed as a five-year-old, to the Requiem he was working on when he died, right before his 35th birthday, Mozart wrote an astonishing amount of beautiful music.

Ludwig van Beethoven: Roll Over Beethoven
For some reason, Beethoven has been the butt of many musical jokes over the years. You can find Beethoven references everywhere from disco, to the Beatles, to the Broadway musical.

Ludwig van Beethoven: Music that Imitates Inanimate Objects
The beginning of the second movement of Beethoven's 8th Symphony imitates a metronome -- a mechanical device that ticks steadily to help musician keep to the beat of the music. Other composers wrote music that ticks, or that imitates other inanimate objects -- including a doll and a typewriter.

Ludwig van Beethoven: Beethoven's Symphonies
Plenty of composers wrote more symphonies than Beethoven, but few did more to change the way the symphony sounded. Beethoven's First Symphony reflects the fact that he learned from Mozart and Haydn.

Ludwig van Beethoven: Beethoven the Pianist
Beethoven was a pianist. During his lifetime, the piano changed quite a bit, and those changes were reflected in the music Beethoven composed for the instrument. William Black, who was head of the piano department at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, talked with Naomi Lewin about how Beethoven's music followed the development of the piano.

Ludwig van Beethoven: About Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a uniquely talented composer and musician. But by the time Beethoven was 30, his increasing deafness put an end to his career as a pianist. That did not stop him from continuing to compose some of the most beautiful music the world has ever known.

George Gershwin: Jazz in Classical Music
George Gershwin was just one composer who used jazz in music that was written for the classical concert hall. So did Leonard Bernstein, Igor Stravinsky, Dmitri Shostakovich, and others.

George Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue
George Gershwin wrote his Rhapsody in Blue in a big hurry, after he saw a newspaper announcement saying that he was writing a jazz concerto for a concert taking place in less than a month! Everyone loved the piece at its first performance, and at age 25, Gershwin became a musical celebrity.

George Gershwin: 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.

George Gershwin: About George Gershwin
George Gershwin was an American composer who combined classical music and jazz to create his own unique style. Gershwin wrote music for Broadway shows, movies, the concert hall, and opera. One of the people he liked to work with was his brother Ira, who wrote wonderful lyrics (words) for George Gershwin's songs.

George Frederick Handel: Music by Royalty and Nobility
Handel wrote his Water Music for the King of England. Lots of aristocrats hired composers to write music for them. But some kings and nobles wrote music themselves, including King Henry VIII; Alfonso X; Frederick the Great and others.

George Frederick Handel: Other Composers' Water Music

The Water Music that Handel composed may be the most famous classical music associated with water, but there are lots of other composers who wrote watery pieces.

George Frederick Handel: The Story of Handel's Water Music
As soon as Handel got his first job of court composer to a German prince, he headed for England. Through a bizarre twist of royal succession, that prince ended up becoming king of England. Instead of staying angry at Handel for leaving Germany, King George I asked him to compose music for a huge party he held on barges on the River Thames.

George Frederick Handel: About George Frederick Handel
1685 was a very good year for German composers. Within the space of a month, two of the greatest were born: Johann Sebastian Bach, and George Frederick Handel. Handel spent most of his career in England, where he wrote and produced both operas and oratorios.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: 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.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: The Bees and the Birds

There are many pieces of classical music -- besides "The Flight of the Bumblebee" -- that are about bees, birds, and other winged creatures. Composers use various instruments to imitate insects, and to create all kinds of bird calls.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: Russian Operas

Many pieces of music from Russian operas have become much more famous in the concert hall than on the opera stage. Some of these pieces include Tchaikovsky's Waltz and Polonaise from Eugene Onegin, Alexander Borodin's Polovstian Dances from Prince Igor, and Sergei Prokofiev's march from The Love for Three Oranges.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: The Tale of Tsar Saltan

The Flight of the Bumblebee comes from an opera called The Tale of Tsar Saltan, which is based on a story by the famous Russian poet Alexander Pushkin. In the opera's complicated plot, Prince Gvidon is separated from his father, Tsar Saltan, and ends up ruling an island full of enchanted objects and animals -- including an enchanted swan, whom the prince marries once she gets turned back into a princess.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: About Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov became a navy officer in order to follow in his older brother's footsteps. But his real talent lay in music. After leaving the navy, he became a teacher at the St. Petersburg Conservatory -- even though he had little formal music education himself.

Antonio Vivaldi: Spring Music

Vivaldi is not the only composer who wrote music about the seasons, or about spring. Many other composers wrote springtime music.

Antonio Vivaldi: Violin Concertos Through the Ages

Concertos got their start in 17th century Italy. The history of violin concertos follows the history of great violinists.

Antonio Vivaldi: Poetry and Sound Effects in Vivaldi's Spring Concerto

Vivaldi based each of his The Four Seasons concertos on a set of sonnets -- poems. The music in each of the Four Seasons describes exactly what's going on in the poems. "Spring" includes birds, brooks, breezes and thunderstorms. See how many of those you can hear in Vivaldi's music.

Antonio Vivaldi: About Antonio Vivaldi

Antonio Vivaldi was the oldest of six (some say nine) children. His father was a barber, baker and violinist. Vivaldi inherited his father's musical talent, and his flaming red hair. Vivaldi became a priest, but he spent most of his life composing and teaching music.

Johann Sebastian Bach: The Story of the Brandenburg Concertos

When Johann Sebastian Bach sent a set of six concertos to the Margrave of Brandenburg -- a German official -- the Margrave probably never even looked at the music. Bach called his pieces "concertos for a variety of instruments," because each one calls for a different instrumental combination.

Johann Sebastian Bach: What's a Concerto?

A concerto is a piece of music in which one or more solo instruments get to shine in front of an orchestra. A concerto can be written for any instrument. A "concerto grosso" is a concerto for two groups of instruments -- a smaller group of soloists alternating with a larger group.

Johann Sebastian Bach: The Sons of Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach was married two times, and had a grand total of 20 children! All of Bach's ancestors were musicians, and his sons were expected to follow in his musical footsteps. Some of them became famous composers, too.

Johann Sebastian Bach: About Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach was born into a musical dynasty. The Bach family had over 300 years' worth of professional composers and musicians, but Johann Sebastian was the most famous of all of them. In addition to being one of the greatest composers the world has ever known, Bach was also an excellent organist and violinist.

Gioachino Rossini: Famous Finales
A Finale is the end of a piece of music. Here's a look at some famous finales.

Gioachino Rossini: Weather in Music
Depicting a thunderstorm in music was one of Rossini's specialties. Here are some more examples of musical thunderstorms.

Gioachino Rossini: Overtures
Usually, an overture is a piece of music played at the beginning of a play, opera or ballet in order to set the mood. But there are also other kinds of overtures.

Gioachino Rossini: The Story of William Tell
The William Tell Overture was written to open an opera by Gioachino Rossini. The opera is based on a legend about the Swiss hero William Tell. According to the legend, William Tell was an expert with a bow and arrow who shot an apple off his son's head. You can hear the political turmoil in William Tell's Switzerland in Rossini's music.

Gioachino Rossini: About Gioachino Rossini
Italian composer Gioachino Rossini was born in 1792 and died in 1868, so you might think that he celebrated 76 birthdays. But Rossini was born in a leap year, on February 29th, so he only had 18 official birthdays! Rossini was the most successful opera composer of his day.

Sergei Prokofiev: The Story of Lt. Kijé

Lt. Kijé is the story of an imaginary soldier, created when the Russian Tsar misread a smudged name on a list of his men.

Sergei Prokofiev: How Suite It Is

In music, a suite is a specific collection of pieces. Here are some examples of various kinds of musical suites.

Sergei Prokofiev: Musical Sleigh Rides

Prokofiev was not the only classical composer to paint a musical portrait of a sleigh ride on a snowy day. Listen as we take you through several other examples of this frosty form of transportation.

Sergei Prokofiev: About Sergei Prokofiev

Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev lived and traveled around the world, but found that he was most at home in Russia. This look at his life takes you on his travels and highlights some of his music, including Peter and the Wolf, which he wrote for the Central Children's Theatre in Moscow.

Ralph Vaughan Williams: Christmas Carols in Classical Music

In celebration of the Christmas season, some classical compositions that have Christmas carols in them.

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.

Ralph Vaughan Williams: Musical Fantasies

Originally, a musical fantasy was a piece that instrumentalists made up as they went along. Eventually, fantasies evolved into pieces that composers built out of various melodies they liked -- like the Scottish folk tunes that Max Bruch put into his Scottish Fantasy for violin and orchestra.

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.

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.

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: 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.

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.

Franz Joseph Haydn: Firsts

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.

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.

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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Gustav Holst: English Composers Who Loved Folk Songs

Both Gustav Holst and Ralph Vaughn Williams loved using folk music in their music. They were inspired by a "folk song revival" started by an English musician named Cecil Sharp collected thousands of folk tunes from around England in the early 1900's.

Gustav Holst: Music for Students

St. Paul's Girls' School in London has a sign that says: "Gustav Holst wrote The Planets and taught here." Holst composed his St. Paul's Suite for the student orchestra at St. Paul's Girls' School. Many other composers wrote music for students to perform.

Gustav Holst: The Planets

Astronomy is the science that studies the sun, moon, planets, and other objects in the sky. Astrology is not a science - it tries to show how objects in the sky affect people's lives on earth. Gustav Holst loved astrology, and he composed his Planets to be musical pictures of human nature.

Gustav Holst: About Gustav Holst

Born into a family of composers, Gustav Holst wanted to follow in their footsteps. His career included playing in orchestras and serving as head of music at St. Paul's Girls' School for almost thirty years while also composing.

Modest Mussorgsky: Halloween Music
Appropriately spooky classical music for Halloween.

Modest Mussorgsky: Music from Russian Operas

Many pieces of music from Russian operas have become much more famous in the concert hall than on the opera stage. Some of these pieces include Tchaikovsky's Waltz and Polonaise from Eugene Onegin, Alexander Borodin's Polovstian Dances from Prince Igor, and Sergei Prokofiev's march from The Love for Three Oranges.

Modest Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition
Russian artist and architect Victor Hartman was a good friend of Modest Mussorgsky. When Hartman died at the age of 39, there was a memorial exhibit of his work. That inspired Mussorgsky to create his own tribute to Hartman -- a composition depicting ten pieces of art from the exhibit.

Modest Mussorgsky: The Mighty Handful
The Mighty Handful, also known as the Mighty Five, were group of Russian composers who all wanted to develop a distinctly Russian style of classical music. The Mighty Five composers were Mily Balakirev, Alexander Borodin, Cesar Cui, Modest Mussorgsky, and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.

Modest Mussorgsky: About Modest Mussorgsky
When he was a kid growing up, Modest Mussorgsky learned Russian fairy tales and folk stories from the family nurse. Those fairy tales put in an appearance in the music he wrote later on. Mussorgsky composed Pictures at an Exhibition in memory of an artist friend of his who died suddenly.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: What's a Rondo?
Rondo is an Italian word that means round. A rondo is an instrumental form with a refrain that keeps coming back. Unlike the verses of a song, though, the music in a rondo changes between each repetition of the refrain.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Janissary Music
In the 18th century, Janissary music became all the rage in Europe. Janissaries were the men who guarded the sultan of Turkey. They had wonderful bands that included instruments that sounded very exotic to European ears: cymbals, triangles and bass drums.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Mozart's Operas
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote his first opera when he was twelve, and opera continued to fascinate him throughout his life. Mozart had such genius for combining music and theater that he took opera to a whole new level. No other composer from Mozart's day still has so many operas performed all over the world.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: About Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
When Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart sat down at the keyboard at the age of three, it was clear to his father Leopold that he had a genius on his hands. From the first pieces he composed as a five-year-old, to the Requiem he was working on when he died, right before his 35th birthday, Mozart wrote an astonishing amount of beautiful music.

Ludwig van Beethoven: Roll Over Beethoven
For some reason, Beethoven has been the butt of many musical jokes over the years. You can find Beethoven references everywhere from disco, to the Beatles, to the Broadway musical.

Ludwig van Beethoven: Music that Imitates Inanimate Objects
The beginning of the second movement of Beethoven's 8th Symphony imitates a metronome -- a mechanical device that ticks steadily to help musician keep to the beat of the music. Other composers wrote music that ticks, or that imitates other inanimate objects -- including a doll and a typewriter.

Ludwig van Beethoven: Beethoven's Symphonies
Plenty of composers wrote more symphonies than Beethoven, but few did more to change the way the symphony sounded. Beethoven's First Symphony reflects the fact that he learned from Mozart and Haydn.

Ludwig van Beethoven: Beethoven the Pianist
Beethoven was a pianist. During his lifetime, the piano changed quite a bit, and those changes were reflected in the music Beethoven composed for the instrument. William Black, who was head of the piano department at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, talked with Naomi Lewin about how Beethoven's music followed the development of the piano.

Ludwig van Beethoven: About Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a uniquely talented composer and musician. But by the time Beethoven was 30, his increasing deafness put an end to his career as a pianist. That did not stop him from continuing to compose some of the most beautiful music the world has ever known.

George Gershwin: Jazz in Classical Music
George Gershwin was just one composer who used jazz in music that was written for the classical concert hall. So did Leonard Bernstein, Igor Stravinsky, Dmitri Shostakovich, and others.

George Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue
George Gershwin wrote his Rhapsody in Blue in a big hurry, after he saw a newspaper announcement saying that he was writing a jazz concerto for a concert taking place in less than a month! Everyone loved the piece at its first performance, and at age 25, Gershwin became a musical celebrity.

George Gershwin: 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.

George Gershwin: About George Gershwin
George Gershwin was an American composer who combined classical music and jazz to create his own unique style. Gershwin wrote music for Broadway shows, movies, the concert hall, and opera. One of the people he liked to work with was his brother Ira, who wrote wonderful lyrics (words) for George Gershwin's songs.

George Frederick Handel: Music by Royalty and Nobility
Handel wrote his Water Music for the King of England. Lots of aristocrats hired composers to write music for them. But some kings and nobles wrote music themselves, including King Henry VIII; Alfonso X; Frederick the Great and others.

George Frederick Handel: Other Composers' Water Music

The Water Music that Handel composed may be the most famous classical music associated with water, but there are lots of other composers who wrote watery pieces.

George Frederick Handel: The Story of Handel's Water Music
As soon as Handel got his first job of court composer to a German prince, he headed for England. Through a bizarre twist of royal succession, that prince ended up becoming king of England. Instead of staying angry at Handel for leaving Germany, King George I asked him to compose music for a huge party he held on barges on the River Thames.

George Frederick Handel: About George Frederick Handel
1685 was a very good year for German composers. Within the space of a month, two of the greatest were born: Johann Sebastian Bach, and George Frederick Handel. Handel spent most of his career in England, where he wrote and produced both operas and oratorios.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: 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.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: The Bees and the Birds

There are many pieces of classical music -- besides "The Flight of the Bumblebee" -- that are about bees, birds, and other winged creatures. Composers use various instruments to imitate insects, and to create all kinds of bird calls.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: Russian Operas

Many pieces of music from Russian operas have become much more famous in the concert hall than on the opera stage. Some of these pieces include Tchaikovsky's Waltz and Polonaise from Eugene Onegin, Alexander Borodin's Polovstian Dances from Prince Igor, and Sergei Prokofiev's march from The Love for Three Oranges.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: The Tale of Tsar Saltan

The Flight of the Bumblebee comes from an opera called The Tale of Tsar Saltan, which is based on a story by the famous Russian poet Alexander Pushkin. In the opera's complicated plot, Prince Gvidon is separated from his father, Tsar Saltan, and ends up ruling an island full of enchanted objects and animals -- including an enchanted swan, whom the prince marries once she gets turned back into a princess.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: About Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov became a navy officer in order to follow in his older brother's footsteps. But his real talent lay in music. After leaving the navy, he became a teacher at the St. Petersburg Conservatory -- even though he had little formal music education himself.

Antonio Vivaldi: Spring Music

Vivaldi is not the only composer who wrote music about the seasons, or about spring. Many other composers wrote springtime music.

Antonio Vivaldi: Violin Concertos Through the Ages

Concertos got their start in 17th century Italy. The history of violin concertos follows the history of great violinists.

Antonio Vivaldi: Poetry and Sound Effects in Vivaldi's Spring Concerto

Vivaldi based each of his The Four Seasons concertos on a set of sonnets -- poems. The music in each of the Four Seasons describes exactly what's going on in the poems. "Spring" includes birds, brooks, breezes and thunderstorms. See how many of those you can hear in Vivaldi's music.

Antonio Vivaldi: About Antonio Vivaldi

Antonio Vivaldi was the oldest of six (some say nine) children. His father was a barber, baker and violinist. Vivaldi inherited his father's musical talent, and his flaming red hair. Vivaldi became a priest, but he spent most of his life composing and teaching music.

Johann Sebastian Bach: The Story of the Brandenburg Concertos

When Johann Sebastian Bach sent a set of six concertos to the Margrave of Brandenburg -- a German official -- the Margrave probably never even looked at the music. Bach called his pieces "concertos for a variety of instruments," because each one calls for a different instrumental combination.

Johann Sebastian Bach: What's a Concerto?

A concerto is a piece of music in which one or more solo instruments get to shine in front of an orchestra. A concerto can be written for any instrument. A "concerto grosso" is a concerto for two groups of instruments -- a smaller group of soloists alternating with a larger group.

Johann Sebastian Bach: The Sons of Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach was married two times, and had a grand total of 20 children! All of Bach's ancestors were musicians, and his sons were expected to follow in his musical footsteps. Some of them became famous composers, too.

Johann Sebastian Bach: About Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach was born into a musical dynasty. The Bach family had over 300 years' worth of professional composers and musicians, but Johann Sebastian was the most famous of all of them. In addition to being one of the greatest composers the world has ever known, Bach was also an excellent organist and violinist.

Gioachino Rossini: Famous Finales
A Finale is the end of a piece of music. Here's a look at some famous finales.

Gioachino Rossini: Weather in Music
Depicting a thunderstorm in music was one of Rossini's specialties. Here are some more examples of musical thunderstorms.

Gioachino Rossini: Overtures
Usually, an overture is a piece of music played at the beginning of a play, opera or ballet in order to set the mood. But there are also other kinds of overtures.

Gioachino Rossini: The Story of William Tell
The William Tell Overture was written to open an opera by Gioachino Rossini. The opera is based on a legend about the Swiss hero William Tell. According to the legend, William Tell was an expert with a bow and arrow who shot an apple off his son's head. You can hear the political turmoil in William Tell's Switzerland in Rossini's music.

Gioachino Rossini: About Gioachino Rossini
Italian composer Gioachino Rossini was born in 1792 and died in 1868, so you might think that he celebrated 76 birthdays. But Rossini was born in a leap year, on February 29th, so he only had 18 official birthdays! Rossini was the most successful opera composer of his day.

Sergei Prokofiev: The Story of Lt. Kijé

Lt. Kijé is the story of an imaginary soldier, created when the Russian Tsar misread a smudged name on a list of his men.

Sergei Prokofiev: How Suite It Is

In music, a suite is a specific collection of pieces. Here are some examples of various kinds of musical suites.

Sergei Prokofiev: Musical Sleigh Rides

Prokofiev was not the only classical composer to paint a musical portrait of a sleigh ride on a snowy day. Listen as we take you through several other examples of this frosty form of transportation.

Sergei Prokofiev: About Sergei Prokofiev

Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev lived and traveled around the world, but found that he was most at home in Russia. This look at his life takes you on his travels and highlights some of his music, including Peter and the Wolf, which he wrote for the Central Children's Theatre in Moscow.

Ralph Vaughan Williams: Christmas Carols in Classical Music

In celebration of the Christmas season, some classical compositions that have Christmas carols in them.

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.

Ralph Vaughan Williams: Musical Fantasies

Originally, a musical fantasy was a piece that instrumentalists made up as they went along. Eventually, fantasies evolved into pieces that composers built out of various melodies they liked -- like the Scottish folk tunes that Max Bruch put into his Scottish Fantasy for violin and orchestra.

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.

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.

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: 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.

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.

Franz Joseph Haydn: Firsts

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.

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.

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.

 

Classics for Kids® is supported by:

Dater Foundation
Naxos
Dater Foundation
Naxos