Classical Music

Classical Tulsa Podcast: Catching Up with Barron Ryan

Apr 16, 2021
Courtesy Barron Ryan

On this Classical Tulsa Podcast, host Jason Heilman speaks via Zoom with pianist Barron Ryan. No stranger to Tulsa audiences, Barron has been performing extensively as both a solo artist and as one half of the Ryan & Ryan piano duo, together with his father, Donald Ryan.

Photo from Iowa Public Radio

Our guest is the renowned orchestral conductor Gerard Schwarz, who will lead the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra in a special broadcast-only concert to be aiared on our sister station, Classical 88.7 KWTU-FM, on Saturday the 27th at 8pm -- with a rebroadcast happening on Sunday the 28th at 4pm. (In both cases, the over-the-air concert can be live-streamed online at publicradiotulsa.org.) Schwarz has had a pioneering, quite remarkable career in music, which he tells us about.

Arnold Schönberg Center

A century ago, as Europe was coping with both the aftermath of World War I and the influenza pandemic, concerts were pretty far from most people’s minds. But amidst the chaos and uncertainty, one Viennese composer saw an opportunity. In the fall of 1918, Arnold Schoenberg and his students founded a bold, new organization – a Society for Private Musical Performances – to promote contemporary music by reinventing the concert experience altogether. 

Our guest on StudioTulsa is the well-regarded African-American composer Adolphus Hailstork, who is based in Virginia. His music will be part of the program for a special broadcast-only concert to be presented by the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra on Saturday (the 27th) at 8pm -- with a re-airing on Sunday (the 28th) at 4pm. This concert will be a celebration of Black History Month, and it will air on our sister-station, Classical 88.7 KWTU-FM. More details are posted here.

MW10: Dvorak's American String Quartet

Feb 18, 2021
Masterworks in 10 Minutes or Less
Max Oppenheimer/Classical Tulsa

When Antonín Dvořák came to America in the 1890s, he found a nation searching for its own musical language. He thought that Black spirituals and Native American songs would make an ideal source for that new language, and he set about to prove it in an evocative string quartet.

Classical Tulsa Podcast: New Music from Lara Downes

Feb 18, 2021
Courtesy Lara Downes

On this Classical Tulsa Podcast, Jason Heilman speaks (via Zoom) with pianist Lara Downes. One of America's most versatile and compelling recording artists, Lara had an especially busy 2020, releasing three albums, hosting an interview series for NPR Music, and founding a new record label, Rising Sun Music.

Courtesy Lara Downes

To call pianist Lara Downes “busy” is an understatement. In just the past year, she’s released three albums, including one of my favorite new releases of 2020, Florence Price Piano Discoveries. She also launched a new interview series for NPR Music, Amplify, where she hosts revealing conversations with compelling music makers, like clarinetist Anthony McGill and the multitalented Rhiannon Giddens.

It's Just a Fantasy

Jan 27, 2021
Pixabay

Every now and then on my show, I like to explore some of the genres and ideas we take for granted in classical music. I’ve covered subjects from rhapsodies to minimalism before, but on Classical Tulsa this week (Friday, Jan. 29, 2021 at noon on KWTU 88.7 FM), I’m taking a look at one of the most evocative of all musical forms: the fantasy.

Wikimedia Commons

What does it mean to be an American? And who gets to define the American experience? These are questions we often ask ourselves, particularly around the inauguration of a new president, but they’ve taken on a new urgency in light of recent events. 

Wikimedia Commons

Here’s a bit of trivia: no one knows when Ludwig van Beethoven’s birthday really was.

Our guest is Daniel Hege, the Special Guest Conductor for the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra. We're pleased to welcome Hege back to StudioTulsa as he'll soon conduct the TSO in a Radio Broadcast Concert that will air later this month on our sister station, Classical 88.7 KWTU-FM. The pre-recorded, broadcast-only concert will be heard on Saturday the 28th (at 8pm), with a replay on Sunday the 29th (at 4pm). The program will include works by Tchaikovsky, Haydn, Joan Tower, and more.

Masterworks in 10 Minutes or Less
Classical Tulsa

Beethoven dedicated his grandest piano trio to a generous benefactor – his student, the Habsburg Archduke Rudolph – but the challenging piece nearly ended his own musical career: Classical Tulsa host Jason Heilman introduces Ludwig van Beethoven's "Archduke" Trio in 10 minutes or less, just in time for Chamber Music Tulsa's 2020-21 streaming season.

Masterworks in 10 Minutes or Less
Max Oppenheimer/Classical Tulsa

Death was clearly on the composer's mind – and, sadly, it wouldn’t be too far away: Classical Tulsa host Jason Heilman introduces Franz Schubert’s Death and the Maiden String Quartet in 10 minutes or less.

Photo by Kim Matthai Leland - The Spectrum

On this edition of ST, we learn about the next Tulsa Symphony Orchestra concert, which happens on Sunday afternoon (the 18th) at 3pm at ONEOK Field in downtown Tulsa. (At this concert, masks will be required to attend, and social distancing will be in effect.) The concert will feature Mozart's Abduction from the Seraglio Overture, Max Bruch's Scottish Fantasy, and Brahms' Symphony No. 4 in E minor. Our guest will be the Guest Conductor for this concert, Sarah Hicks.

Masterworks in 10 Minutes or Less
Classical Tulsa

Napoleon's 1809 siege of Vienna left Beethoven completely unable to compose. What finally coaxed him back to productivity wasn't a turbulent exploration of his trauma – but rather the opposite: Classical Tulsa host Jason Heilman introduces Ludwig van Beethoven’s "Harp" String Quartet, Op. 74, in 10 minutes or less.

Masterworks in 10 Minutes or Less
Classical Tulsa

Charming and genteel may not be the first words to come to mind when you think of Beethoven, but they should be in this case: Classical Tulsa host Jason Heilman introduces Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Trio Op. 70, No. 2.

MW10: Beethoven's Ghost Trio in 10 Minutes or Less

Sep 27, 2020
Masterworks in 10 Minutes or Less
Classical Tulsa

Whenever Ludwig van Beethoven composed pieces in pairs, the two works typically took on opposite characters. Possibly inspired by Shakespeare’s Macbeth, this is the brooding and dark half of his opus 70 set of piano trios: Classical Tulsa host Jason Heilman introduces Ludwig van Beethoven's "Gassenhauer" Trio, as part of  Chamber Music Tulsa's 2020-21 streaming season.

Naxos/Courtesy

This week on Classical Tulsa, we’ll give the radio premiere of a new composition by Tulsa Opera Artistic Director Tobias Picker. Tobias has composed six operas to date, but this new piece represents his return to symphonic music – with an operatic twist. 

Masterworks in 10 Minutes or Less
Classical Tulsa

Following in the footsteps of his idol, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the next important composer of chamber music for the clarinet was Ludwig van Beethoven. His first major contribution was an especially tuneful trio: Classical Tulsa host Jason Heilman introduces Ludwig van Beethoven's "Gassenhauer" Trio, as part of  Chamber Music Tulsa's 2020-21 streaming season.

Tomorrow night -- Saturday the 19th, at 7:30pm -- the Signature Symphony will perform an outdoor, socially-distanced concert in downtown Tulsa at ONEOK Field. Beethoven's 5th will be on the program for this one-hour concert, along with music composed by Randy Newman for the popular 1984 film, "The Natural," as well as a piece composed in honor of Stephen Goforth, a long-time Signature musician who died earlier this year.

Masterworks in 10 Minutes or Less
Classical Tulsa

We all have to start somewhere, but when Ludwig van Beethoven chose three piano trios to be his first published opus, his erstwhile teacher Joseph Haydn didn't think they were ready. Needless to say, sparks flew: Classical Tulsa host Jason Heilman introduces Ludwig van Beethoven’s three Opus 1 piano trios, just in time for  Chamber Music Tulsa's 2020-21 streaming season.

Masterworks in 10 Minutes or Less: Season 2

Sep 10, 2020
Masterworks in 10 Minutes or Less
Classical Tulsa

Chamber Music Tulsa and Public Radio Tulsa present Season 2 of Masterworks in 10 Minutes or Less, with six new podcasts from musicologist and 

The Tulsa Symphony Orchestra will very soon -- as in, tomorrow night, Saturday the 5th, at 8pm -- begin its new season of concerts with an open-air, social-distanced, mask-mandatory performance at ONEOK Field. This performance, with limited seating, will celebrate the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven -- and the world-renowned classical pianist Yefim Bronfman will appear as a guest artist. He'll perform the Piano Concerto No. 3 in C-Minor (which was premiered by Beethoven himself, as the soloist, in 1803).

Tulsa Drillers courtesy

For classical music lovers, fall means the beginning of a new season and the promise of an exciting mix of new discoveries and familiar favorites. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has postponed most of Tulsa’s concerts, but the Tulsa Symphony has just announced a plan to kick off their 2020-21 season in a responsible way.

As you may have heard, 2020 marks an important anniversary in the classical music world: the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven. Naturally, Beethoven’s music is getting plenty of exposure, both on Classical 88.7 and in live concerts (whenever those resume). 

With COVID cases now spiking across Oklahoma, and indeed, across much of the nation, it seems unlikely that Americans will be able to safely gather in large numbers anytime soon to hear music in a concert hall, arena, or auditorium. But the show, as they say, must go on -- and thus many gigs are lately being performed on Facebook Live, while others are being presented at drive-in movie complexes. Or via YouTube, etc. On this edition of ST, we talk to two local arts administrators on how they're planning to offer concert/orcheestral music to their audiences this fall.

I’ve never considered classical music to be a harmless diversion, detached from the real world. On the contrary: I’ve always loved this music precisely for its ability to speak to the human condition and give meaningful emotional expression to even our darkest hours.

This is all to say that this Friday’s Classical Tulsa could have been just another hour of nice music. But after recent events, I thought I needed to do better.

With Memorial Day this weekend, and the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe earlier this month, I wanted to spotlight some American music from the war years on this week’s Classical Tulsa.

For nearly a month, the Public Radio Tulsa studios have been closed to everyone but the news team. This means that many of the local shows on 88.7 and 89.5 have been in reruns for the past few weeks. My own show, Classical Tulsa, was in that same boat – until now, that is: I’ve just finished setting up a home studio, so I can record new episodes while I shelter in place!

For nearly a month, the Public Radio Tulsa studios have been closed to everyone but the news team. This means that many of the local shows on 88.7 and 89.5 have been in reruns for the past few weeks. My own show, Classical Tulsa, was in that same boat – until now, that is: I’ve just finished setting up a home studio, so I can record new episodes while I shelter in place!

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