Interview

What has been life been like for Philadelphia-based composer Jennifer Higdon since the start of the pandemic? In this late May, 2020 TIME IN interview with WRTI’s Susan Lewis, Jennifer shares how the COVID-19 shutdown has influenced her writing and teaching, and prompted her to explore new activities, including listening to a certain podcast and driving the first car she's owned in 22 years!

Courtesy of Jeri Lynne Johnson

In 2008, African-American conductor Jeri Lynne Johnson founded Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, an ensemble of classically trained musicians from diverse cultures and ethnicities as a model for the 21st century. She shared with WRTI's Susan Lewis her thoughts about the possibilities for change in classical music culture.


Wikipedia Commons

Violinist Gil Shaham became enthralled by Beethoven's Violin Concerto as a child. Years later, he's still moved by its power. 

Ryan Donnell

Philadelphia Orchestra concertmaster David Kim, who has played Bruch’s First Violin Concerto as soloist many times, has his own routine to prepare for a performance with The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Our Daily Breather is a series where we ask writers and artists to recommend one thing that's helping them get through the days of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic. NPR Music's Tom Huizenga recently spoke with Pulitzer-winning composer Steve Reich, who has been keeping busy with the solitary act of writing a new piece from his winter getaway in Los Angeles.

Who: Steve Reich
Where: Los Angeles, Calif.
Recommendation: Keep on working

Born in Shanghai in 1990, pianist Haochen Zhang won the Van Cliburn Competition in 2009, which launched his career. He went on to win an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2017, and today he's an international star, receiving kudos from media outlets around the globe. “Such a combination of enchanting, sensitive lyricism and hypnotizing forcefulness is a phenomenon encountered very rarely," says The Jerusalem Post. Two of his favorite things: Rachmaninoff and Philadelphia.

Ever since he was a little boy, Yannick Nézet-Séguin knew he wanted to be a conductor. He likens the feeling to something "almost like a religious call."

"Making music in the group is what animates me," he says.

Photo by Brian McMillen / brianmcmillen@hotmail.com

Bob Dorough, who was famous for all of his beloved Schoolhouse Rock! compositions, was also a seasoned jazz musician for decades. He died on April 23, 2018 at age 94. WRTI's Bob Craig had the chance to chat with him in 2013 when he was in town.

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