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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.
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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 177: Sharon Isbin on Spanish Art Song, TM, and Everything Else

Hold on to your hats, people: This episode with multi-Grammy Award winning classical guitarist Sharon Isbin covers a lot. Because how often do you get to talk to Sharon Isbin?? Learn about everything from the David Lynch Foundation and Transcendental Meditation, to Spanish art song, to astronauts, and how Isbin got started playing guitar at the age of 9. It's a veritable cornucopia of information. (Side note: Are any cornucopias not "veritable"? Do fake, poser cornucopias exist?) Music in...


Classical Classroom, Episode 176: Composing Music for Film About Music with Jono Hill

Composer Jono Hill was given a unique task: to compose the score for a film about a classical musician. The movie As Far as the Eye Can See (directed by David Franklin and written by Paden Fallis) follows Jack Ridge, a now 40-year-old former Van Cliburn Competition winner who is more or less hiding out on his family's land in Texas. In this episode of Classical Classroom, Hill talks about the unique process of composing for film, and about the special challenges of composing for a movie with...


Classical Classroom, Episode 175: The Unsolved Mysteries of Women Composers with Angela Draghicescu

Pianist Angela Draghicescu never meant to become a classical music investigator. But a simple desire to play good music led her to an unavoidable conclusion: some very important composers were grossly underrepresented in classical music repertoire. But...why?, she wondered. Authorities seemed stumped and inquiries into the whereabouts of these composers' work turned up only dead ends. And thus began Angela's emotional journey to find answers. That search resulted in the creation of her...


Classical Classroom, Episode 174: Critiquing Anne Midgette

Anne Midgette, chief classical music critic at the Washington Post, recently wrote an article that caught our attention called, "A beginner’s guide to enjoying classical music. No snobs allowed." We figured that she must have been listening to Classical Classroom, so we invited her on to chat. In this episode, Midgette discusses the pointers in her article (gems such as, "Classical music can do things no other music can"), talks about her own circuitous path to classical music critic...


Raiders of the Lost Podcast: The Classical Classroom drama

The Classical Classroom is back! But from where?? Hear host Dacia Clay recount the epic, harrowing tale behind the show's hiatus in this teaser episode. New full, real episodes will be out any day now. Dacia will be asking even more, even dumber questions about classical music. Come learn with us. Again.


New Season of Classical Classroom Starting September 2018

Classical Classroom is finally coming back. Dacia Clay will be asking even more, even dumber questions about classical music to really smart people like Joshua Bell, Sharon Isbin, Hillary Hahn, Miro Quartet, Jono Hill, Anne Akiko Meyers, and many, many more.


Classical Classroom, Episode 64: RERUN - Journey To The Symphony’s Center

We just heard that Classroom guest Peter Boyer is up to some big stuff (go Peter, it’s your birthday…): First, the National Symphony Orchestra – that’s the orchestra in residence at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. – will be playing Peter’s work Rolling River (Sketches on “Shenandoah”) on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol on September 3, 2017; And also, on September 9th, in an “It’s a Small Classical Music World After All” moment, Classroom alum Brett Mitchell...


Classical Classroom, Episode 41: RERUN - Pretty Pattern Preludes With Karim Al-Zand

Greetings listeners! We’re rerunning this episode of the podcast in honor of Karim Al-Zand’s recent premiere of the new work, “The Prisoner,” at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, California. The piece was inspired by the writings of a Guantanamo Bay prisoner. This episode is about something else: pattern preludes. Pattern preludes are enigmas inside of conundrums wrapped in a warm flour tortilla. No – wait. That’s not right… Pattern preludes, according to composer...


Classical Classroom, Episode 48: RERUN - The Texas Tenors Teach Tenor Types

How, exactly, does one know that he is a “light lyric tenor,” or a “Spinto tenor,” or a “dramatic tenor”? Is there like, a Tenor Task Team? Two members of the Texas Tenors – JC Fisher and John Hagen – teach the types of tenor to us. We also learn about “classical crossover” music and why it is a gateway drug, turning innocent classical music newbies into addicts by the thousands. By the way, if you like this episode, check out the Texas Tenors on Houston Public Media TV 8 Monday August 7,...


Classical Classroom, Episode 63: RERUN - The Trumpet Lesson

This episode does double duty: teaches you all about the trumpet and trumpet playing, while carrying out the secondary mission of Classical Classroom, i.e., the humiliation of the show’s host. Trumpet players George Chase and Jason Adams of the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra teach former trumpet player Dacia a trumpet lesson. Along the way, they say all kinds of important things about the history of the instrument. Plus, there are duck calls! Music in this episode: Audio production by Todd...


Classical Classroom, Episode 173: Mozart’s Death Demystified (No Really!), With Robert Greenberg

The story of Mozart’s death has, over the years, taken on an awful lot of…story. Extant theories regarding how he died number in the hundreds and are still emerging. Even yours truly did an episode of Classical Classroom to try to get to the bottom of the whole thing. In this episode, Dr. Robert Greenberg, a music historian and bestselling creator of courses for the Great Courses and the Teaching Company (and now, for Robert Greenberg Music), explains the facts that we know that we know...


Classical Classroom, Episode 69: RERUN - The Kids Are Alright, With Missy Mazzoli

Classical music: the future frontier. These are the voyages of the podcast Classical Classroom. It’s mission: to explore strange new music – Sorry. I’ll stop. Where was I? Right! Composer, performer, and Mannes College of Musiccomposition faculty member, Missy Mazzoli talks to us about the future of classical music, from the future, aka, New York. Also talked about in this episode: Beth Morrison, Schoenberg, David Little, pillow fights, Lars von Trier, eighth blackbird, Richard Reed Parry,...


Classical Classroom, Episode 70: RERUN - Piano Vs. Orchestra, With Jon Kimura Parker

Pianist, Shepherd School of Music professor, and recording artist Jon Kimura Parker – or as we like to call him, Captain Jon Solo – talks about the hidden world of the guest soloist. From the singular experience of performing with an orchestra in one ear and a concert hall in the other, to rehearsal times that will give you stage fright just hearing about them, it’s a behind-the-scenes tell-all exposé of concertic proportions. (That’s a word. We swear.) Music in this episode was recorded...


Classical Classroom, Episode 172: Pine On Paganini

Violinist Rachel Barton Pine loves playing challenging music (and apparently, being on Classical Classroom, as this is her third time on the show). So it makes sense that she would want to play the musical equivalent of running a marathon for her latest album: Bel Canto Paganini: 24 Caprices. In this episode, Rachel talks about who Paganini was. As it turns out, he was much more than just a classical music proto-goth with what some thought was a supernatural ability to play the...


Classical Classroom, Episode 72: RERUN - You Don’t Know Fifth! With Emily Reese

This show is from the Wayback Machine, and Emily has done a lot since this. She currently does a podcast called Level with Emily Reese for one, and she runs a company called Joon Media. (I’ll post what she was doing at the time of our interview below.) What I remember most about this interview is 1) having my mind blown about Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, and 2) Emily’s laugh, which I think you’ll agree is pretty great. ———————————————————————————————- Beethoven’s Fifth. We’ve never done a...


Classical Classroom, Episode 171: Strange Loop, With Jessica Meyer

Violist, composer, and educator Jessica Meyer has a unique story in the classical music world; it starts with a viola, and ends with a viola, but goes a lot of unpredictable places in between. Hear the story of her creative journey from focused specialist to Renaissance woman, and hear some of her incredible music along the way. Music in this episode (all written and performed by Jessica Meyer): Audio production by Todd “Electrotodd” Hulslander with unplugging by Dacia Clay and assistance...


Classical Classroom, Episode 170: Fabien On Felix (Mendelssohn, That Is)

Conductor Fabien Gabel came to Houston to conduct the Symphony in a program of pieces by Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky. In this episode, he gives a primer on Mendelssohn, talks about what a “Fingal’s Cave” is, and gives the world’s first audible eye roll at the use of the term “Suicide Symphony” (re: Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique). Also discussed: the difference between love and obsession with regard to Mexican food. Music in this episode: Pathetique Audio production by Todd “Todd’s Cave”...


Classical Classroom, Episode 52: RERUN - Inside A Boléro With Howard Pollack

Ravel’s Boléro. Next to most of the soundtrack to Koyaanisqatsi, it’s possibly the most repetitive piece of music ever written, amiright (respect, Philip Glass)? As it turns out, I am wrong, so wrong. In fact, Boléro is a piece built entirely around change. Howard Pollack, professor at Moores School of Music, author, lecturer, and guest on BBC specials and NPR shows like Morning Edition and Fresh Air, is our tour guide through this amazing piece of music by a very subtle and sneaky...


Classical Classroom, Episode 169: MusicWorks - How Music Chased Down Gaelynn Lea

Violinist/fiddle player Gaelynn Lea came to Houston fresh off of performing at South by Southwest and spent some time with the Classical Classroom(and Skyline Sessions – check out her video performances!). She talks about how music has gradually become her life. From first finding an instrument that was right for her body as a kid (she has a rare condition called Brittle Bones Disease that means she’s got different physical challenges than others), to meeting and collaborating with Alan...


Classical Classroom, Episode 83: RERUN - Nico Muhly Speaks Volumes About Listening To New Classical Music

Note: This episode was originally posted on April 13, 2015. This week [see above], composer Nico Muhly is premiering a brand new work, How Little You Are, in Austin. He talks about the classical (or, concert) music world’s premiering process, and about how and why listening to classical music golden oldies is different than listening to a new work, about the inspiration for his new piece, and of course, about Prince. Music in this episode: Audio production by Todd “TIE fighter” Hulslander...