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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!



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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. :)