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Café Concerts

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New York, NY




Preeminent classical artists recorded live in the WQXR café.




WQXR c/o New York Public Radio 160 Varick Street, 8th floor New York, NY 10013 (646) 829-4000


In-Studio: Alina Ibragimova Performs Bach and Ysaÿe

The Russian-born violinist Alina Ibragimova in recent years has developed a following in Europe, especially in the U.K., where she studied and came of age. She appears poised to have a bigger following in New York, too, after her recent performances at the Mostly Mozart Festival and in the studio at WQXR. She came to the WQXR performance studio to present two pieces, starting with Eugène Ysaÿe's Sonata No. 3. Watch the video below and listen to the full segment at the top of this page....

Duration: 00:23:28

The Jake Schepps Quintet's Classical Hoedown

Classical musicians have been mixing it up with fiddlers, banjo players and mandolin pluckers in growing numbers. The latest to explore this hybrid is the Jake Schepps Quintet.

Duration: 00:25:46

Café Concert: Zuill Bailey

VIDEO: Zuill Bailey Plays Selections from Bach's Cello Suite No. 3"Playing Bach – and I don't jokingly say this – is like public therapy," said the cellist Zuill Bailey, just after finishing several movements from Bach's Cello Suites in the WQXR Café. "You're feeling unbelievable one moment and you're feeling very insecure in the next. "When you play Bach well, or you feel that it's going well, there is no greater feeling, because it's a completion of your work and your emotions." If the...

Duration: 00:28:33

Café Concert: Anne Akiko Meyers

Anne Akiko Meyers plays a centuries-old Guarneri del Gesu violin once used by Itzhak Perlman, Henri Vieuxtemps and Yehudi Menuhin, but it doesn’t reveal its beauty easily. "It definitely doesn’t play itself,” Meyers said. “When you have such a powerful instrument you want to dig in deeper and soak in the juice. But with this instrument, almost less is more. It’s counterintuitive. “You have to really finesse it in a certain way,” she added, noting how she is learning how to find the sweet...

Duration: 00:12:30

Café Concert: Calmus Ensemble

Say Leipzig and classical music listeners may think of old, blue-chip institutions like the St. Thomas Boys Choir, the Gewandhaus Orchestra or the Bach-Archiv, which carries on the legacy of the German city’s most famous composer. Most may not think of a young a capella quintet that covers Irish airs and folk songs, jazz tunes and pop hits by Michael Jackson, Sting and Freddie Mercury. But over the years, the Leipzig-based Calmus Ensemble has developed such versatility, with a repertoire...

Duration: 00:14:32

Café Concert: Pacifica Quartet & Anthony McGill

The Pacifica Quartet Anthony McGill Play Mozart When a long-established string quartet brings in a fifth collaborator, questions inevitably arise: how will the four players interact with the newcomer? Who will call the shots in rehearsals, and how does the group dynamic change? When the Pacifica Quartet gave a performance of the Mozart Clarinet Quintet in the WQXR Café, that fifth member was Anthony McGill, the principal clarinetist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He recently...

Duration: 00:19:00

Café Concert: Imani Winds

Imani Winds was a novelty when it first arrived on the scene in 1997, a wind quintet that veered away from the customary European classical fare. Now they've reached a turning point.

Duration: 00:22:00

Café Concert: Conrad Tao

The pianist and composer Conrad Tao seemed remarkably relaxed when he sat down at the Yamaha to perform his Café Concert at WQXR. The calm demeanor might seem at odds with the heavy load Tao has been carrying. Having recently given a recital to a packed house at Le Poisson Rouge, on Tuesday, he inaugurates the Unplay Festival, a three-day event that he is organizing at the Powerhouse Arena, bookstore and art space in Brooklyn. Also on Tuesday, Tao releases "Voyages," his full-length debut...

Duration: 00:07:23

Café Concert: Richard and Mika Stoltzman

VIDEO: Richard and Mika Stoltzman play in the WQXR Cafe Richard Stoltzman really wants to feel that he's connecting with his audiences – even if it means resorting to nudity. In an interview with Naomi Lewin, the veteran clarinetist at first rebuffed a question about a mid-concert streaking incident from his past. But the interrogation began with a remark he made before his WQXR Café Concert, which featured jazzy duets with his wife, the marimba player Mika Stoltzman. In introducing the...

Duration: 00:15:01

Café Concert: Benjamin Verdery

Behold the many sides of Benjamin Verdery. Seated in the WQXR Café with his baritone guitar in hand, Verdery lets introspective pieces by Bach and Randy Newman spill forth with a hushed introspection. But speaking behind a microphone, Verdery becomes garrulous and animated, expounding on squeaky strings, the music of Elvis Presley and teaching in the age of YouTube. Verdery is nothing if not steeped in the world of classical guitar: he travels the globe appearing at specialized guitar...

Duration: 00:14:31

Cafe Concert: Brooklyn Rider

The four men of Brooklyn Rider arrived at the WQXR Cafe on a recent morning feeling groggy and jet-lagged, having returned three days earlier from a tour to Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau. But it was time to rally. Their set list would feature exuberant pieces inspired by the music of Eastern Europe, ancient Persia and beyond. Travel -- in a metaphorical sense -- has been an ongoing theme for this genre-bending string quartet, whose members cut their teeth in Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble....

Duration: 00:11:00

Cafe Concert: The Endellion String Quartet

When the members of the Endellion String Quartet were leaving the WQXR studios after their Cafe Concert, a curious question arose: Where could they find a Checker cab on the street? The iconic, boxy taxis, of course, have long been absent from New York City streets but the musicians could be forgiven for the oversight. The London-based quartet was in town for their first New York appearance since 1995. The longtime absence is something of a puzzle, as group has maintained an active...

Duration: 00:16:00

Cafe Concert: Jan Vogler

Jan Vogler Plays from Bach's Suite No. 3 Jan Vogler is often identified as a German cellist but in many ways, he’s a quintessential New Yorker: he lives on the Upper West Side with his wife and two daughters, enjoys jogging in Central Park and biking along the West Side Highway, and speaks impeccable English in an enthusiastic, rapid patter. He married his wife, the violinist Mira Wang, downtown at City Hall. Vogler, 48, has also infiltrated the city’s classical music institutions...

Duration: 00:11:00

Cafe Concert: Jennifer Koh

Somewhere along the way in her 20-some year career, Jennifer Koh jumped off the violin soloist treadmill in favor of less familiar pathways and creative back channels. She fashioned an ongoing series called “Bach and Beyond” that involves juxtapositions of Bach’s solo sonatas and partitas with contemporary works by composers like Phil Kline, Missy Mazzoli and Kaija Saariaho. She gives her New York Philharmonic subscription debut this week not with a beloved warhorse like the Tchaikovsky or...

Duration: 00:12:00

Cafe Concert: Maya Beiser

Maya Beiser performs in the WQXR Cafe. Maya Beiser has been pushing her cello to the edge of avant-garde risk-taking since the early 1990s. Composers as diverse as Steve Reich, Osvaldo Golijov and Tan Dun have written works especially for her, and she was a founding member of the Bang On A Can All-Stars. Her Twitter account is called "Cello Goddess" and one of her crossover successes has been an arrangement of the Led Zeppelin tune "Kashmir." Yet Beiser's biggest calling cards these...

Duration: 00:10:00