Classical Classroom

Classical Classroom, Episode 38: Stringed Life – on being a quartet, with Enso String Quartet

Posted on · The Grammy-nominated Enso String Quartet puts the "class" in this episode of Classical Classroom. We discuss where string quartets come from, why the instruments in a quartet go together so well, what sets Enso apart from other string quartets, and what it's like to play live (which apparently sometimes includes hitting yourself in the face and dancing to get away from bees).

Classical Classroom

Classical Classroom, Episode 37: George Heathco on Louis Andriessen and Alt-Classical

Posted on · Louis Andriessen is one of the most important contemporary composers you've (probably) never heard of. His work isn't widely played because he's written many pieces for varieties of ensembles that don't exist. In fact, specially created ensembles have sprung up because of Andriessen's pieces, including the famous British ensemble, Icebreaker. Guitarist, composer, and co-founder of Liminal Space Contemporary Music Ensemble, George Heathco, teaches us all about Andriessen and his contributions to the alt classical movement. Or indie classical. Or whatever you wanna call it.  

Classical Classroom

Classical Classroom, Episode 36: Catherine Lu welcomes the Year of the Horse with the Butterfly Lovers’ Violin Concerto

Posted on · The Butterfly Lovers' Violin Concerto was written by two Chinese composers, Chen Gang and He Zhanhao, in 1959. In honor of Chinese New Year - which begins 1/31 - Houston Public Media's Catherine Lu has come back to the Classroom to teach us all about this gorgeous piece, which was based on possibly the most tragic opera ever.

Houston Matters

Houston Libraries Adapt for the Digital Age

Posted on · The Houston Public Library last week announced it’s making available thousands of audiobooks, movies and music titles for free borrowing and streaming online and on mobile devices. It’s a reminder that libraries are much different places today than they once were – or, at least, what we may have once perceived them to be. You […]

Classical Classroom

Classical Classroom, Episode 35: Percussionist Craig Hauschildt gets fresh with Golijov’s “Ayre”

Posted on · Osvaldo Golijov's "Ayre" - an amazing exercise in contrasts - is unlike any other piece you've ever heard on Classical Classroom. In fact, is it classical music?? Percussionist Craig Hauschildt (who works for a group called Da Camera that brings tons of classical music to Houston) answers that question, plus, we both try and fail at pronouncing a lot of words.

Classical Classroom

My Classical Music New Year’s Resolution

Posted on · Happy 2014 everyone! I feel like it's been ages. You all look great. Well rested. So, I don't know about you, but I have been busy making my New Year's resolutions [see pic above]. One of them is to go to more classical music concerts. But, I can't decide which to go to. So, I need your help! Want for me to come to your concert? Convince me! Here's how: - Submit a 1-2 minute recording of your classical music group/org/laptop-based experimental classical music project to this DropBox: a.soundcloud-dropbox:hover {color: #1896D1 !important; background-color: transparent !important;}*html a.soundcloud-dropbox {background-image: none !important; filter: progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.AlphaImageLoader(src='(', sizingMethod='crop') !important;}/* if you want to have valid HTML, please be so kind and put the style part in the head of your page */ Send me your sounds - Next, drop me a line at Make sure to include the following in the email: --- Your organization or group's name --- Details about the performance --- How to get in touch with you --- Why you think I should come to your show. If I'm going to come to your show, I'll be in touch! Looking forward to some good shows in the new year. I will make sure to bring my lighter and glow sticks.

Classical Classroom

Classical Classroom, Episode 34: Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with Keith Weber

Posted on · In honor of Beethoven's 240-something birthday, Keith Weber, Grammy-nominated Producer, Director of Music and Organist at Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Houston, and Artistic Director of Grace Song, Inc., talks about just who this "Beethoven" guy was, why he was officially excused from having manners at parties, and all about his "Missa Solemnis" mass.

Classical Classroom

Christmas-y Classical-ish Tunes for You!

Posted on · Silver & Gold by Sufjan Stevens I'm possibly overly into this album right now, and you guys might dig it, too. I thought I loved Christmas/the holidays a lot until I discovered Sufjan Stevens' Christmas music. Silver & Gold: Songs for Christmas, Vols. 6–10 is his second collection of Christmas tunes, and it is vast: 58 tracks. (Songs for Christmas, Vols. 1-5 weighs in at a meager 42 tracks.) The dude is absolutely nutty about Christmas. Nut. Ty. While Sufjan is not a classical musician in the strictest sense of the word (he has been called everything from "indie folk" to "baroque pop"), he clearly has an appreciation for it. He plays multiple instruments including the English horn and the oboe, and many of the tunes on Silver & Gold sound like (are?) early music. Stevens has also collaborated with classical musicians like Nico Muhly, which gives him classical music cred in my book. Anyway, take a listen to the track above, and let me know what you think. Early music, right? I love that this exists in this collection alongside tunes like "Christmas Unicorn". This album gives Christmas fresh, new sounds and reminds us of the lovely sounds of Christmas past. Happy holly jolly, everyone!  

Classical Classroom

Classical Classroom, Episode 33: Cracking “The Nutcracker” with Michael Remson and Shelly Power

Posted on · We all know The Nutcracker, right? Wrong! In this episode of Classical Classroom, Shelly Power (director, Houston Ballet Academy) and Michael Remson (executive director, American Festival of the Arts) blow your minds with the history of the ballet and a behind-the-scenes look at the massive undertaking that putting on the show entails every year.

Classical Classroom

Classical Classroom, Episode 32: The Making of Handel’s Messiah with Robert Simpson

Posted on · Handel's Messiah is a beloved Christmas favorite. But, as Robert Simpson, founder and artistic director of Houston Chamber Choir, tells us, it is oh-so-much more than the "Hallelujah" chorus. Like, 250 pages more. All of which we cover in this half-hour episode. Just kidding!

Classical Classroom

Classical Classroom, Episode 31: The Music of Hanukkah (Chanuka? Hanuka?) with Cantor Benjamin Matis

Posted on · Happy Thanksgivukkah everyone! That's right: the Julian and the Hebrew calendars have aligned this year to create a day even more amazing than Hanukkah and more delicious than Thanksgiving. There won't be another until the year 79811! To honor this rare occasion, Cantor Benjamin Matis of the Shelter Rock Jewish Center in Roslyn, NY in Long Island schools us on the history and music of Hanukkah.

Classical Classroom


Posted on · A little history on this one: Listener John S. has written in a couple of times wanting to know why we weren't covering Beethoven!? When we posted last week's episode, I had a feeling I might hear from him. :) Hey Dacia,   Congrats! I was so excited to find the Beethoven episode. And that was an excellent choice-- the 7th symphony 2nd movement is very famous, and rightly so I think! I'm glad you were able to get a sense of Beethoven's depth, or profundity. I hope there will be many more-- you have so much good music to get to know!!   Regards,   John S. Galveston, Tx PS-- too bad you didn't have more time. The whole 7th symphony is full of wonderful melodies and rhythms, and the last few seconds are like pure joy.

Classical Classroom

Classical Classroom, Episode 30: The Rite of Spring in Fall with Ana Maria Otamendi

Posted on · Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring was so revolutionary that its alien sounds literally incited a riot at its premiere. Dr. Ana Maria Otamendi, Venezuelan pianist and professor at the University of Houston tells us why! And btw, we are aware that it's Fall. But we don't even care!

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