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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 185: On Discovering Hidden Classical Gems with Marc-André Hamelin

Marc-André Hamelin is many things: a renowned pianist, a composer, an Officer of the Order of Canada, and a record collector of major proportions. The hands-on, no robots or algorithms, no safety net, digging in dusty bins in record shops variety. In fact, hunting for classical music diamonds in the rough is part of his creative process, and he loves bringing lesser-known works that he finds out into the light before audiences. In this episode, Hamelin talks about how (and why) he finds...


Classical Classroom, Episode 184: Working Hard with Hilary Hahn

Violinist Hilary Hahn has achieved more at just 39 years old than most of us will in a couple of lifetimes: multiple Grammy awards, 1594 concerts (so far), 20+ albums, 2 episodes of the Classical Classroom podcast, 2 kids, and a talking violin case. In this episode, Hahn talks about how much practice it actually takes to be her, her #100daysofpractice challenge on Instagram, and about how much work went in to her latest album, Hilary Hahn Plays Bach: Sonatas 1 and 2 Partita 1. Music in this...


Classical Classroom, Episode 183: All-Star Ashley Bathgate's Primer on New Classical Music

If you've ever wondered how playing bowls of water is related to traditional classical music, this is the episode for you. Cellist Ashley Bathgate (of Bang on a Can All-Stars fame) was classically trained at Yale University School of Music, educated in the structured musical worlds of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. But today, she moves in a tangent universe of the classical music world, filled with effects pedals, prepared instruments, living composers, and sometimes members of indie rock...


Classical Classroom, Episode 182: Fantastic Bell - Joshua Bell on Max Bruch's "Scottish Fantasy"

Sometimes composers just make stuff up. That is the lesson that Grammy-winning, super duper famous violinist Joshua Bell teaches in this episode of Classical Classroom. He also talks about how this is not just okay - it can be great, as it is in the piece "Scottish Fantasy" by composer Max Bruch. Learn about who Bruch was and where this piece came from (spoiler alert: not Scotland). Music in this episode: Special Thanks to Todd Reynolds for his music, Taskforce: Farmlab from...


Classical Classroom, Episode 181: The Magicians - Daron Hagen on Orson Welles

Composer, conductor, and librettist Daron Hagen recently created a new magic trick: An opera that's not an opera about the director Orson Welles (Citizen Kane) but not necessarily about Orson Welles which may be performed in a different way every time it's performed and, according the website, "may, in fact, not exist at all, except as a set of options." Hagen's opera Orson Rehearsed has a lot to teach us about the use and usefulness of operatic structure and about the creative process....


Classical Classroom, Episode 180: Icelandic Music History 101 with Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir

Cellist Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir is from the once-isolated island country of Iceland, a land of ice and snow and geothermal power and awesome music. In this episode, Sæunn tells the unique history of Icelandic classical music (or "music," as they call it there), including how the long-term relative isolation of the country lent to its unique approach to music, and tells what Bjork's favorite food is. Just kidding! But she does talk about Iceland's important composers and musical luminaries and...


Classical Classroom, Episode 179: The Miro Quartet on Beethoven's Opus 131, an Autobiography

Life isn't always puppies and kittens (she stated sagely). Sometimes, it can be downright tough - maybe your family is falling apart and you're a famous composer and you're going deaf. We've all been there, amiright? In this episode, John Largess and Joshua Gindele, members of the Miro Quartet, talk about Beethoven's Opus 131 string quartet and that it's one example of how composers use the string quartet to tell their own stories. They also talk about what was going on in Beethoven's life...


Classical Classroom, Episode 178: Anne Akiko Meyers on Working with Superheroes

Arguably, Anne Akiko Meyers is darn admirable herself. The violinist has scads of fans. She's been Billboard's #1 classical artist. I mean, she's been on Morning Edition AND All Things Considered. But in this episode, Meyers is the fan rather than the star. She tells stories about getting to work with composers she idolizes, and what happened when she did - and didn't - dare to ask them to do things differently. Valuable life lessons, people. Music in this episode: Special Thanks to...


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,...