Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

Acoustics Part 2

Nov 1, 2016

We’re talking about acoustics this week. Acoustics is the science of sound, but the word has another meaning, as well. When we ask about the acoustics of a concert hall, or of any room, we’re asking about qualities, about how things sound in that room.

Acoustics Part 1

Oct 31, 2016

Acoustics is the science of sound. More specifically, it’s the branch of physics that deals with sound waves and their properties—how sound waves are generated, how they behave in various circumstances, how they interact.

This 2003 Piano Jazz with guest Sir Roland Hanna (1932 – 2002) was recorded before a live audience at the 2002 Tanglewood Jazz Festival. A subtle and insightful pianist, he was a superb two piano partner, as evidenced when he and McPartland get together for “Blues in the Closet.” In this session, Hanna uses his solid sense of rhythm as a springboard into exciting explorations of melody and harmony. He shows off his skill as a composer with his “Portrait of John Lewis.”

News Stations: Sat, Nov 05, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Nov 06, 7 pm

Hillary Gardner
Courtesy of the artist

Vocalist Hilary Gardner made her debut on Broadway in Twyla Tharp’s musical Come Fly Away, singing solos and duets with Frank Sinatra to much critical acclaim. In 2014, she released her debut solo album, The Great City, a love letter to New York City. On this edition of Song Travels, Gardner evokes memories of another time and place with her take on Tom Waits’ ballad “Drunk on the Moon.”

News Stations: Sun, Nov 06, 2 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Nov 06, 6 pm

Original Piano Piece by 10-Year-Old Composer

Oct 28, 2016
David Kiser

Henry Sun is a 10-year-old piano student and composer from the upstate. Listen to his original composition based on music by Handel. Standing on the shoulder's of giants on this edition of Your Compositions a movement of On the Keys. 

Great Quotations 5

Oct 28, 2016

George Bernard Shaw began his career as a music critic, and in September of 1890 he wrote these words:

“People have pointed out evidences of personal feeling in my [reviews] as if they were accusing me of a misdemeanor, not knowing that a criticism written without personal feeling is not worth reading.

Great Quotations 4

Oct 27, 2016

Continuing this week’s series of things I wish I’d written… this is from a 1934 article by the great English music critic Ernest Newman:

“We know rather more now about the psychology of artists than we used [to], and so we no longer incline to the naïve belief that if a composer has quarreled with his wife his next symphony will be a Pathétique, or that if his liver happens to be functioning normally he will produce a Hymn to Joy at the next [Choral] Festival.

Great Quotations 3

Oct 26, 2016

Words today from the great writer and critic Jacques Barzun. I’ve combined several related passages:

“Music is a medium through which certain unnamable experiences of life are exquisitely conveyed through equivalent sensations for the ear…

Great Quotations 2

Oct 25, 2016

The words today of Hector Berlioz, writing about Beethoven:

“… the thousands of men and women… whom he has so often carried away on the wings of his thought to the highest regions of poetry…

Great Quotations 1

Oct 24, 2016

Quotations, this week, from great musicians and writers. This is from the composer Ernest Bloch:

“Real music goes beyond the intentions of its author for it nourishes itself from a much deeper and more mysterious source than mere intellect.  It represents a synthesis of all the vital forces, of all the hidden instincts of an individual...

Mario Grigorov
Courtesy of the artist

Born in Sophia, Bulgaria, Mario Grigorov studied classical music until he fell in love with jazz. As a child his parents performed in the Sophia Symphony Orchestra before moving to Iran, where his father played in the Shah’s symphony orchestra. Grigorov continued to study music intensively as his family moved to Austria and Australia before he settled in the United States in 1992. On this 1995 Piano Jazz, Grigorov’s stunning originality is evident on his own “Lost City.” He and McPartland duet on Jobim’s “Wave.”

News Stations: Sat, Oct 29, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Oct 30, 7 pm

Rob Schwimmer on Song Travels

Oct 24, 2016
Rob Schwimmer
Courtesy of the artist

Composer/pianist Rob Schwimmer has worked with top artists such as Simon & Garfunkel, Stevie Wonder, and Bette Midler. He has also penned scores for Oscar-winning short films and is a master of the theremin. This week, Schwimmer joins host Feinstein to discuss the endurance of standards and to perform a few of his favorites, including “My Funny Valentine.” He honors the legacy of theremin virtuoso Clara Rockmore with his composition for the instrument, “Waltz for Clara.”

News Stations: Sun, Oct 30, 2 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Oct 30, 6 pm

It was a fad that brought the bass drum, cymbals, and triangle to Europe. The fad was for a kind of Turkish military music known as Janissary music. The Janissaries were the personal guard of the Turkish Sultans, and they were famous for their bands, which featured the bass drum, cymbals, triangle, and an instrument of bells and jingles called the Turkish crescent.

Carolina Live Program Listings

Oct 20, 2016

Jan 1st & 3rd

USC Symphony Orchestra
Donald Portnoy, conductor; Inbal Segev, cello

  • Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake Suite
  • Elgar: Cello Concerto in e-minor
  • Bach: Sarabande from Cello Suite in C

Charleston Symphony Orchestra

  • Brahms: Symphony No. 1 in c-minor

Jan 8th & 10th 
Winston-Salem Symphony: April 2015
Robert Moody, conductor; Benjamin Robinette, saxophone

  • Shostakovich: The Age of Gold Suite
  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 in A Major
  • Tomasi: Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra
  • Bernstein: Symphonic Dances from West Side Story

Lenoir Rhyne Concert Series: Lenor Sax Ensemble
[Works by various composers]

Jan 15th & 17th   
Greenville Symphony Orchestra: The Great Escape
Edvard Tchivzhel, conductor; Edwin McCain, narrator

  • Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 3 in D
  • Copland: Lincoln Portrait
  • Gershwin: An American in Paris

Jan 22nd & 24th  
Greenville Symphony Orchestra: Opening Spectacular
Edvard Tchivzhel, conductor; Andrew von Oeyen, piano

  • Ravel: Concerto for Piano in G Major
  • Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2 in E Minor

Bel Canto Company: From Darkness to Light
Welborn Young, conductor
[Works by various composers]

Jan 29th & 31st
Greensboro Symphony Orchestra: Hope Springs Eternal

Dmitry Sitkovetsky, conductor; Sergey Antonov, cello

  • Smetana: Overture to The Bartered Bride
  • Dvorak: Concerto for Cello and Orchestra
  • Bach: Sarabande
  • Schumann: Symphony No. 1 in B-flat – “Spring”

Feb 5th & 7th
Winston-Salem Symphony: All-Mozart

Edwin Outwater, conductor; John Hammarback, oboe

  • Mozart: Divertimento No. 2 in D
  • Oboe Concerto in C
  • Symphony No. 38 in D – “Prague”

The setting for this edition of Carolina Live  is Winston-Salem, with guest conductor Edwin Outwater leading the Winston-Salem Symphony in an all-Mozart concert.  The great Amadeus supplies his Divertimento No. 2 in D, the Oboe Concerto in C with guest soloist John Hammarback, and the Symphony No. 38 in D – “Prague.”  Brilliant composer, talented orchestra…a great combination on Carolina Live.

Feb 12th & 14th
Spartanburg Philharmonic: Romantic Preludes & Portraits

Sarah Ioannides, conductor; Dame Evelyn Glennie, percussion

  • Liszt: Les Preludes
  • Sean O’Boyle: “Portraits of Immortal Love,” Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra
  • Khatchaturian: Adagio from Spartacus
  • Tchaikovsky: Romeo & Juliet Fantasy Overture

Lancaster County Council Vivian Major Concert Series: If Music Be the Food of Love, Play On!
Andrea Moore, Jason Karn & Mimi Solomon

Two concerts from February, 2015 comprise this Valentine’s Day edition of the program. The first features the Spartanburg Philharmonic welcoming the exciting, internationally-renowned percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie for a contemporary concerto, and also includes a visionary symphonic poem by Liszt, and Romantic Russian themes by Khatchaturian and Tchaikovsky. Then it’s over to Lancaster County for highlights from a concert of romantic opera arias, duets and art songs.

Feb 19th & 21th
Greenville Symphony Orchestra: Secrets Behind Inspiration

Edvard Tchivzhel, conductor

  • Edward Elgar: Enigma Variations
  • Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 in d-minor

Rutherford Chamber Consort: Belle Perle di Primavera

  • Martinu: Madrigal for Violin and Viola
  • Gliere: Duets for Violin and Cello
  • Piazzolla: Oblivion for Clarinet in A
  • Williams: Air and Simple Gifts

You’ll find an interesting mixture of symphonic and chamber music on this program.  Edvard Tchivzhel leads the Greenville Symphony in the mysterious Enigma Variations of Edward Elgar and the powerful Symphony No. 5 by Dmitry Shostakovich.  Then it’s a chamber concert from the Rutherford Chamber Consort, with selections by Bohuslav Martinu, Reinhold Gliere, Astor Piazzolla and more.  A wealth of variety and excellent performances for you to enjoy…

Feb 26th & 28th
Greenville Symphony Orchestra: Oktoberfest 2015

Edvard Tchivzhel, conductor; David Gross, piano

  • Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B Flat
  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 1 in C Major
  • Brahms: Academic Festival Overture

Two of the “Three B’s” of classical music were represented in the first Chamber Classics program from the Greenville Symphony’s 2014-2015 concert season. The epic B Flat Piano Concerto by Brahms comprises the first half of the program. Then there’s a performance of Beethoven’s first symphony, before going back to Brahms for a big finish.

Mar 5th & 7th
Winston Salem Symphony: Tchaikovsky & Berlioz

Robert Moody, conductor; Lara St. John, violin

Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto in D, Op. 36
Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14
From a concert at the Stevens Center in September of 2015, the orchestra welcomes acclaimed violinist Lara St. John to perform Tchaikovsky’s beloved concerto. In the second part of the program maestro Robert Moody puts the orchestra through its paces in Berlioz’s landmark “fantastic symphony.”

Mar 12th & 14th
Greenville Symphony Orchestra: Legends, Mysteries, Miracles

[Originally broadcast in March of 2016]
Edvard Tchivzhel, conductor; Xiaoqing Yu, violin; Leslie Nash Kilstofte, cello; Amy Yang Hazlett, bassoon

Michael Daugherty: “Lex” and “Red Cape Tango,” from “Metropolis” Symphony
Christopher Theofanidis: Rainbow Body

Leslie Nash Kilstofte, cello; Virginia Metzger, oboe; Monica Hargrave, harp

Tchaikovsky (arr. Tchivzhel): Sleeping Beauty               Works by two celebrated contemporary composers open this program from the Masterworks Series in November 2015. They provide showcases for some of the orchestra’s musicians, as does the work in the second part of the concert: a “dramatic composition” by Maestro Tchivzhel arranged from one of Tchaikovsky’s immortal ballet scores.

Mar 19th & 21st
Greensboro Symphony Orchestra: French Masterpieces

[Originally broadcast in March of 2016]
Dmitry Sitkovetsky, conductor; Inna Faliks, piano

Ravel: Noble and Sentimental Waltzes
Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2 in c-minor
Liszt: Paganini Etude No. 3 in g#-minor
Debussy: La Mer
Ravel: Daphis and Chloe, Suite No. 2

The title of the concert featured on this edition of Carolina Live tells the story: French Masterpieces.  Vivid examples of favorite pieces by Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy are brought to life by the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra and conductor Dmitry Sitkovetsky.  In addition, Ukranian-born pianist Inna Faliks joins the orchestra for the dramatic Piano Concerto No. 2 in c-minor by Sergei Rachmaninov, plus a charming encore of a piece by Franz Liszt.

Mar 26th & 28th
Winston Salem Symphony Orchestra: Mighty Mahler
Robert Moody, conductor

Mahler: Symphony No. 1 in D “Titan”

Piedmont Wind Symphony: Gershwin Plus
Matthew Troy, conductor

Gershwin: Cuban Overture
Schoenberg: Theme and Variations
Gershwin: An American in Paris

Two orchestras from North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad provide the stirring music on this program.  The Winston Salem Symphony and conductor Robert Moody play the Symphony No. 1 in D “Titan” by Gustav Mahler,  then the Piedmont Wind Symphony offers the Cuban Overture and An American in Paris by George Gershwin, plus a piece by Arnold Schoenberg.  Interesting variety in both music and musicians on this Carolina Live.

 Apr 2nd & 4th  
Greensboro Symphony: War & Peace Reimagined
Dmitry Sitkovetsky, conductor

University of North Carolina at Greensboro Symphony
Kevin Geraldi, conductor; Dmitry Sitkovetsky, violin

Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 1 in D
Shostakovich:  Symphony No. 8 in C minor

Major works by two Russian greats are performed by two separate orchestras in this program.  Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 is played by the Symphony of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, with Dmitry Sitkovetsky playing violin.  Then Maestro Sitkovetsky leads the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra in the marvelous Symphony No. 8 by Shostakovich.  Hear some of the North Carolina Triad’s finest musicians on this Carolina Live.

Apr 9th & 11th 
St. Paul’s Episcopal, Winston-Salem: Locklair’s Requiem

John Cummins, conductor; Emily Albrink, soprano; Emily Hull-McGee, mezzo-soprano; Jeffrey Ollarsaba, tenor; Richard Ollarsaba, bass-baritone

Dan Locklair: Requiem (World Premiere)

Bel Canto Company: Eternal Light
Wellborn Young, conductor

J. S. Bach: Magnificat
Dan Forest: Requiem for the Living

This edition of the program features a world premiere from a North Carolina-based composer whose music is performed the world over. Dan Lockair’s choral music is especially highly-regarded, and the work in this concert from Winston-Salem showcases his writing for voices with orchestra. The second part of the program changes locations to nearby Greensboro where the Bel Canto Company performs a work by another contemporary composer from the Carolinas as well as Johann Sebastian Bach.

Apr 16th & 18th 
Winston-Salem Symphony & Chorale: Brahms Beloved Requiem
Robert Moody, conductor; Christopher Gilliam, choir director; Twyla Robinson, soprano; Philip Cutlip, baritone
Winston-Salem State Choir: D’Walla Simmons-Burke, director

Bach: Komm, susser Tod
Dan Forrest:  In paradisum…
Brahms: Ein deutsches Requiem

Johannes Brahms’ A German Requiem is the foundation piece of this concert with the Winston-Salem Symphony and Chorale, Winston-Salem State Choir and guest soloists lending their talents to the monumental work.  There’s also a piece by Johann Sebastian Bach on the program, as well as contemporary composer Dan Forrest’s beautiful In paradisum.  It’s a massing of great musical forces on this Carolina Live.

Apr 24th & 26th
South Carolina Philharmonic: Beethoven and Blue Jeans 2015

Morihiko Nakahara, conductor; Miles Hoffman, viola

Rossini: Overture to William Tell
Beethoven: Symphony No. 4 in B-flat
Berlioz: Harold in Italy for Viola and Orchestra

The Koger Center in Columbia was the site of this concert from 2015 which welcomed musician and NPR classical music commentator Miles Hoffman. He joined the orchestra for a Berlioz work based on an epic poem by Lord Byron and commissioned by none other than Paganini. The concert opens with one of the most famous opera overtures of all, followed by a popular Beethoven symphony.


Oct 20, 2016

Operetta is light opera...or opera light.  Its goal is to amuse: to be witty, charming, funny, not serious either in style or substance. Operetta includes lots of spoken dialogue and eye-catching dance numbers, and the musical material is usually appealing, tuneful…uncomplicated.

Sonata Form 2

Oct 19, 2016

"Sonata” and “sonata form” are not the same thing, and that—in any kind of piece, not just sonatas—a  movement composed in sonata form consists of three primary sections: an exposition, a development, and a recapitulation.

Sidney Foster
Courtesy of Justin Foster

Sidney Finkelstein (changed later to Foster) was born in Florence and lived on West Evans Street. He attended the famed Curtis Institute of Music and played at Carnegie Hall numerous times. 

Sonata Form 1

Oct 18, 2016

“Sonata form” and the musical form known as the sonata are not the same thing. A sonata is a piece—usually for piano or for piano and one other instrument—that’s composed of several distinct sections called movements.

Dmitri Shostakovich

Oct 17, 2016

Dmitri Shostakovich's political views have long been subjects of controversy. Was Shostakovich a loyal Communist, or was he a secret rebel who suffered for years under oppressive conditions and yet contrived time and again to encode powerful subversive messages into his music?

Esperanza Spalding
Courtesy of the artist

Bassist Esperanza Spalding is one of the most talked about artists in jazz today. She scored a surprise win for Best New Artist at the 2011 Grammy Awards and went on to win three additional Grammy Awards. On this Piano Jazz from 2008, bassist and vocalist Spalding brings her neo-soul style to a set of standards with the aid of pianist Leo Genovese. McPartland’s piano provides a perfect accompaniment to Spalding’s bass and vocals in Duke Ellington’s “Prelude to a Kiss.”

News Stations: Sat, Oct 22, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Oct 23, 7 pm

Nick Waterhouse

Vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter Nick Waterhouse has been called “the young man who makes old R&B” (LA Weekly). His first single, “Some Place,” was recorded in an all-analog studio and released on vinyl. Although his records recall the sound of the 1950s, his style is all his own. On this Song Travels, Waterhouse shares his love of 45 rpm records and raw, live rock 'n' roll. Joined by Jay B. Flatt on piano, the session includes his original songs “Sleeping Pills” and “Hands on the Clock.”

Overture 5

Oct 14, 2016

Miles Hoffman concludes this week's discussion about popular overtures.

A Minute with Miles - a Production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the JM Smith Corporation.

Overture 4

Oct 13, 2016

Miles Hoffman continues his musings about the history of the overture.

A Minute with Miles - a Production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the JM Smith Corporation.

The Cantaloupe Thief

Oct 12, 2016

In the new novel, The Cantaloupe Thief (2016, Lion Fiction), protagonist Branigan Powers decides that too many people are staying silent about a ten-year-old murder case. Powers, an journalist, knows a good story when she sees one—and the ten-year-old cold case of wealthy Alberta Grambling Resnick's murder definitely makes the cut. Now Branigan must do some serious digging to get her story.

Music and Memory: Katharine Norman's Fuga Interna

Oct 12, 2016
photo by Carla Rees

  Composer and writer Katharine Norman's piece is about aging and memory loss. 

It comes from a set of pieces influenced by a Bach Fugue, "a compositional teacher," as Katharine Norman puts it. 

Her mother was her first piano teacher and now she is a suffering from Alzheimers. In the piece, Katharine Norman is remembering her first piano lessons with her, because her mother can't remember them any longer. The pianist is Xenia Pestova.

Overture 3

Oct 12, 2016

Miles Hoffman talks about the most popular types of overtures.

A Minute with Miles - a Production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the JM Smith Corporation.

Overture 2

Oct 11, 2016

Miles Hoffman continues his discussion about the birth and evolution of the overture.

A Minute with Miles - a Production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the JM Smith Corporation.

Roy Kral (1921 – 2002) was working in Chicago with the George Davis Quartet when he met Jackie Cain (1928 – 2014). They formed a duo, Jackie and Roy, and the rest is history. The vocal and piano duo blended witty lyrics and unusual melodies with a light modern jazz feeling. These dear friends of McPartland’s were her guests for Piano Jazz in 1992. A sophisticated and charming pair, the husband and wife team play Alec Wilder’s “While We Were Young” and join McPartland for a trio of “Joy Spring.”

Chucho Valdés
Francis Vernhet/International Music Network

At one time, pianist Jesus “Chucho” Valdés was banned from performing in the United States. Today, he enjoys performing and teaching here as well as in his native Cuba. Valdés is a world-class innovator in Latin jazz. In 1973 he founded Irakere, a group that introduced a new fusion of African traditional music with Cuban jazz. On this Piano Jazz from 2000, Valdés and host McPartland share a love of pianist Bill Evans, and in tribute they create their version of “Waltz for Debby.” Valdés treats listeners to his composition “Claudia.”

Sharon Isbin on Song Travels

Oct 10, 2016
Sharon Isbin
Sony Classical

Renowned classical guitarist Sharon Isbin has released more than 25 albums, toured worldwide, and premiered some of the finest new guitar works of the last century. Trained by the legendary Andrés Segovia, Isbin is the first and only female guitarist to win a classical Grammy, and she is the founder and Director of the Guitar Department at the Juilliard School of Music. On this Song Travels, her mastery is on display as Isbin shares notable recordings of her work and plays from her classical repertoire.

News Stations: Sun, Oct 16, 2 pm | Classical Stations: Sun, Oct 16, 6 pm