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Classical Classroom

Classical Music

Come learn with us. There's a rumor going around that classical music is hoity toity. At Classical Classroom, we beg to differ. Come learn with classical music newbie Dacia Clay and the music experts she invites into the Classical Classroom.

Come learn with us. There's a rumor going around that classical music is hoity toity. At Classical Classroom, we beg to differ. Come learn with classical music newbie Dacia Clay and the music experts she invites into the Classical Classroom.


Houston, TX


Come learn with us. There's a rumor going around that classical music is hoity toity. At Classical Classroom, we beg to differ. Come learn with classical music newbie Dacia Clay and the music experts she invites into the Classical Classroom.








Classical Classroom, Episode 207: Rachel Barton Pine Gets Folksy with Dvorak and Khachaturian

Violinist and Classical Classroom mascot Rachel Barton Pine is back to teach all about the violin concertos of Czech composer Antonin Dvorak and Soviet-Armenian Aram Khachaturian. Learn about their lives and music! Get lost with Dvorak in New York City! Hear about Khachaturian becoming a new father! Find out who threw shade at Dvorak and mucked up his whole concerto composing process, and how Khachaturian wrote his concerto in a blissed-out creative flurry. Also, learn about what makes...


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

No tickets to see The Nutcracker this year? No problem! Experience basically almost the entire thing in this episode from the Classroom Wayback Machine with musical expert Michael Remson (San Diego Youth Symphony, formerly of AFA) and dance expert Shelly Power (Pennsylvania Ballet, formerly of Houston Ballet Academy). Hear the music and the story and learn all about the history of dance and behind the scenes tricks of the trade as you listen. It's like four levels of entertainment at once....


Classical Classroom, Episode 206: John Luther Adams Walks Through "Become Desert"

With Become Desert, composer John Luther Adams is done "Become"-ing (learn why in this episode). First, there was the Pulitzer- and Grammy-winning Become Ocean. Then, there was Become River. Finally, in 2019, Adams put his feet on solid ground, in a terrain he's much more comfortable with. And now there's Become Desert. Here, Adams talks about what the deceptively simple pieces of the Become trilogy are, both musically and conceptually, about Desert in particular, and about why music >...


Classical Classroom, Episode 205: Nicholas McGegan on Rameau and Music that Stands the Test of Time

Conductor Nicholas McGegan, of San Francisco Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra fame (and so much more) is an expert in conducting Baroque music. To some of us at the podcast, this sounds as obscure as being a modern day village cobbler or ironing one's hair with an actual iron. But in this episode, McGegan explains his love for this music and why it - and other kinds of music - will continue to be relevant for centuries to come. He illustrates his point by teaching about an opera by the...


Classical Classroom, Episode 204: A Peculiar Harry Partch Primer, with John Schneider

Guitarist John Schneider is clearly obsessed. In the best, passionate-music-geek kind of way. And the thing is that the object of his obsession - Harry Partch and his work - just engenders that kind of response in people. It probably comes from the fact that Partch himself who was monomaniacally focused: he was so absorbed with the idea that music should be more than just the traditional twelve notes that he invented new musical notation, new notes, new instruments to play said notes, and...


Classical Classroom Special Assembly with Itzhak Perlman

Going to class is a major part of being a classical musician. But have you heard of a "master class"? One student at a time gets up and performs a piece in front of a class, and then the "master" leading the class critiques said performance. Sounds nerve-wracking (read: the stuff of nightmares) to us. Gather 'round for this special assembly in which Classroom's first substitute teacher, Maggie Molloy, talks to Maestro Itzhak Perlman about the history and importance of the master...


Classical Classroom, Episode 203: Jason Vieaux and Jonathan Leshnoff, Musical Frontiersmen

Jason Vieaux is not just a Grammy-winning classical guitarist - he's a pioneer, taking on new works that have never been performed or recorded before, like those of composer Jonathan Leshnoff. Leshnoff is an adventurer, too, writing virtuosic material for instruments he's never played, like the guitar. Find out how these fearless frontiersman find the fortitude to forge foreign... they make and play brand new stuff. The end. Special thanks to Todd Reynolds for his music,...


Classical Classroom, Ep 137: Summer Music – Music Academy Of The West! The Second Nature Of Matthew Aucoin (Rerun)

In our second annual Classical Classroom Summer Music Festival Series, we hit the (sound)waves at the Music Academy of the West in sunny Santa Barbara, California! The third installment of our MAW series features composer, conductor, and pianist, Matthew Aucoin. Aucoin is a resident at that Music Academy of the West, and a sort of serial residentialist elsewhere (like the Peabody Essex Museum and soon, the Los Angeles Opera). He talks about what a “residency” is, and how it informs a...


Classical Classroom, Episode 202: It Was All New Music Once, with Richard Scerbo and David Alan Miller

There's a reason that great works in classical music have stuck around for so long. Once upon a time, it was all music composed by groundbreaking artists, churning out new sounds and ideas never heard before. But at some point, it's like someone somewhere decided that the canon was complete. Why? In this episode, National Orchestral Institute director Richard Scerbo and recent GRAMMY nominee/past winner David Alan Miller (Albany Symphony Music Director) talk about the groundbreaking...


Classical Classroom, Episode 75: The Democracy of Chamber Music with Cantus (Rerun)

One of the distinguishing characteristics of chamber music is its inherent “democracy” – each part is of equal importance. Aaron Humble and Paul Rudoi of the Cantus Vocal Ensemble explain how it works when everyone involved in making the music is a special snowflake. Audio production by Todd “Sir Toddsalot” Hulslander with unflagging devotion to somethingerother by Dacia Clay. Music in this episode, all by Cantus: From A Harvest Home – From On the Shoulders of Giants:


Classical Classroom, Episode 201: Practicing Rachmaninoff in Public with Tiffany Poon

There's a good chance that you've heard of Yale School of Music grad student and rising classical pianist, Tiffany Poon. Her YouTube vlogs have over 11 million views. In them, she talks casually with fans as she travels to gigs and invites them into the practice room. Her openness about her musical life and process has tapped into something for which fans are hungry. In this episode, Tiffany talks about Rachmaninoff 3 and about the community she created by prepping publicly for a...


Classical Classroom, Episode 84: JoAnn Falletta Shares Scheherazade (Rerun)

JoAnn Falletta is celebrating her 20th anniversary as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, so we've gotta give her a shout out with this old gold from the Classroom vault! By the way, did you know that a 2014 survey found that in a list of the 150 top conductors in the world, only five were women? New episode topic? --------- Who was Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and why does he have two last names? And why would a 19th century Russian composer write a symphonic poem based on...


Classical Classroom, Episode 200: Top 10 Countdown!

It's been nearly six years since we started the Classical Classroom podcast in a small shed that also housed producer Todd's lawn mower. Since then, a lot has happened. We've learned so much from our amazing guests, traveled to music festivals, had parties and game show quizzes, talked to the dead, had trumpet lessons, and we moved into a storage unit behind KING FM in Seattle. Todd also got a new lawn mower. In this episode, we'll revisit some of our favorite moments from the last 200...


Field Trip to the Opera: Carmen in 3D

When you think of opera, words like "grandiose," "extravagant," and "whoa" come to mind. Those words all describe Georges Bizet's Carmen. Singing, dancing, costumes, sets, orchestras, fight scenes, wigs, drama! How on Earth does something with so many moving parts even get to the stage? Much less, successfully and entertainingly?! We wanted to know. And as it happens, the Seattle Opera was staging Carmen right down the street. So, we went on a field trip to see the show and - because we're...


Classical Classroom, Episode 16: From Schubert to Gaga, the Unfinished Symphony with Jade Simmons (Rerun)

We love celebrating our alumni here at Classical Classroom, and Jade Simmons is one of our faves. This episode is from way back in 2013 when Jade was merely a very successful woman. Now, she's the host of iTunes #1 music podcast, Decomposed. A podcast rock star. We couldn't be more stoked for her. And we're kind of riding on her coattails by posting this rerun. Just a little. -------------- Artists as entrepreneurs, Lady Gaga, horror movies, and Schubert! In this episode, concert...


Classical Classroom, Episode 89: Awadagin Pratt on Brahms, Brunge, and Beards (Rerun)

We're rerunning this episode with Awadagin Pratt basically because we felt like it. But we don't think you're going to mind, as he is awesome. Let his dulcet tones wash over you as Pratt teaches you all about why Brahms is one of the Big Daddies of classical music, what it has to do with Edith Bunker, and how the beard made it all possible. All music in this episode from Awadagin Pratt and Zuill Bailey’s CD “Brahms Works For Cello And Piano”. Audio production by Todd “Are You There Todd?...


Classical Classroom, Episode 79: The Women of Classical Guitar with Valerie Hartzell (Rerun)

April is International Guitar Month! In honor of that, we're bringing back this episode with one of our fave guitarists, Valerie Hartzell, creator/director of the Classical Minds Festival and Competition. Valerie talks about the ladies of classical guitar. Who are they? Why did their numbers diminish over time? And what can we do about it?? Audio production by Todd “Not Tony Danza” Hulslander with editing by Mark DiClaudio and bossing by Dacia Clay. Music in this episode: Special thanks...


Classical Classroom, Episode 199: Jack of All Emotions - the Music of Elliott Carter with the JACK Quartet

"Classical music is relaxing." "I listen to classical music because it's soothing." "I turn on classical music when I want to concentrate." These are all things we're guessing very few people have said about the composer you're going to learn about in this episode. Elliott Carter's music is about something much more vast and complex than chillaxing: it's about the full range of human experience. If you've been alive for long enough to read this, you know that being a person is not always...


Classical Classroom, Episode 198: Music Education Month - Idyllwild Arts

In the beautiful San Jacinto Mountains, southeast of Los Angeles, is a place that is basically the ultimate experience in music and arts education: Idyllwild Arts Academy. It's a residential arts high school where young people are immersed in their chosen practice every day. Here, music students learn alongside peers studying visual arts, dance, and more, and collaborate with them. One hundred per cent of Idyllwild grads go off to college. What does the dream of music education look like?...


Classical Classroom, Episode 197: Music Education Month - The Village School

Neither Sarah Perkins nor Michael Barber ever intended to become music and arts educators. No, they both had their sights set on the Big Time - performance and Broadway. But life presented each with opportunities to teach music to young people, and before they knew it, they Sarah and Michael were hooked. Now they're both staffers at a unique school in Houston, Texas called the Village School. In this episode, learn about what makes teaching music and the arts so rewarding, and about a school...