Classical Classroom

Classical Classroom, Episode 39: Conductor James Gaffigan on Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5

Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5 is dramatic, cinematic, erratic, sarcastic, and full of existential longing – according to Chief Conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, James Gaffigan. Why is it important to listen to this symphony, the musical expression of Shostakovich's depression and anxiety as he lived under Stalin's thumb? Listen to this episode and find out!

Audio production by Todd "Taller than Necessary" Hulslander with inspired napping from Dacia Clay.

Music in the episode includes:

– Dmitri Shostakovich, Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47, New York Philharmonic Orchestra led by Leonard Bernstein

PS, I found a really cool article and video on this symphony from PBS's Keeping Score. Check it out here.

To find out more about conductor James Gaffigan, go to

To find out more about hilarious comedian Jim Gaffigan, go to a different website. :)


Dacia Clay

Dacia Clay

Web Editor, Arts & Culture; Host/Producer, Classical Classroom

Dacia began her career in public radio as the Audio Librarian for Houston Public Media (then KUHF) in 2009. She earned her Master of Library Science from the University of North Texas' School of Library and Information Science, where she focused on special collections (thanks to the sage advice of...

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