NEPR CLASSICAL

Liza Voll Photography / BOSTON LYRIC OPERA

Boston Lyric Opera opened its 2017-2018 with a terrific production of Puccini's Tosca at the Cutler Majestic Theatre in Boston.

Joyce Skowyra / NEPR

Fall finds organist Christopher Houlihan taking up new duties as the John Rose College Organist and Directorship Distinguished Chair of Chapel Music at Trinity College in Hartford, CT.  

Duo Orfeo guitarist Joseph Ricker (left) & NEPR's John Nowacki (right)
Joyce Skowyra / NEPR

Guitarists Joseph Ricker and Jamie Balmer comprise the Duo Orfeo. They've been described as "brilliant" and "wild-thinking artists," and are known for bringing to life an eclectic and relevatory classical guitar repertory. 

John Perkell and John Nowacki
Joyce Skowyra / NEPR

What do you do after a 35-year career as an orchestral librarian for symphony orchestras? For John Perkel, the answer was simple, if not a little daunting. You start a chamber music series in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. John Nowacki talks with Perkel about how it all came about…

Credit Ken Howard

A year ago the Berkshire Opera Festival brought its first production, Madama Butterfly to the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, restoring fully-staged opera to the region after a hiatus of almost a decade. It was a very promising beginning to what we can only hope will become a tradition lasting many more decades.

John Nowacki and Paul Mealor
NEPR

Welsh composer Paul Mealor is one of the most popular choral composers today. His sacred motets, songs and cycles have been performed, broadcast and recorded by artists in the UK, USA and much further afield.

Dr. Mealor stopped by the NEPR studios recently to talk about his music with John Nowacki.

John Nowacki and Mark Singleton
Joyce Skowyra / NEPR

The choral ensemble VOCE, founded in 2006 and based in Hartford, CT, champions new music, especially of composers in the early stages of their careers. Their conductor and founder Mark Singleton is a renowned conductor, composer and guest speaker, and he has worked with choirs and orchestras of all ages and styles. His energetic and magnetic leadership has made him one of the most sought‐after conductors in New England.  

T Charles Erickson© / T Charles Erickson Photography

On our way home from Boston Sunday we listened to American Routes on New England Public Radio. Host Nick Spitzer asked Blues musician Jimmy Duck Holmes why so many of his songs were along the lines of "the devil must have been in you to make you leave me." Holmes said that despite such lyrics no one is really led astray by diabolic forces; they were following their own desires.

Yannick Nezet-Seguin conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra
Ryan Donnell

I dare say that, with the state of classical music in this country, ie: seemingly on a steady decline, no matter how much we’d like to believe otherwise, it doesn’t help matters when it comes to disagreements between musicians and symphony orchestra management when it comes to pay.

My wife and I have been going to the Met pretty much annually since the NEPR travel program began a couple of decades ago with a series of weekends at the Met. 2016 has stood out for history making adventures for us. In the fall of 2015 we bought tickets for a trip at spring break of this year.  As it happened we had excellent seats for James Levine’s final performance as Music Director. he conducted Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio and we were part of the tremendous ovation which followed, at least 20 minutes’ worth. I wrote about it at the time.