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Relevant Tones

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Chicago, IL


Hosted by Seth Boustead (Chicago-based composer and Director of Access Contemporary Music), Relevant Tones is a weekly exploration of a vibrant and continuing classical music tradition as it thrives in the 20th and 21st centuries. From up-and-coming firebrands to established artists, this program celebrates the dynamic, diverse, and incredibly germane output of modern-day composers.




WFMT Radio Network 5400 N St. Louis Avenue Chicago, IL 60625-4698 (773) 279-2020


Thirsty Ears LIVE Preview from the Levin

Relevant Tones' is highlighting the performers and works featured in the second annual Thirsty Ears Festival: Chicago’s only classical music street festival! This LIVE broadcast is coming straight from WFMT's Levin on Friday August 11th. Selected works: Gillespie Quartet Amos Gillespie, Trevor Watkin, Richard Zili, and David Keller "11/8" by Amos Gillespie "Pequeña Czarda" by Pedro Iturralde Black Oak Ensemble Desiree Ruhstradt, David Cunliffe, and Aurelien Pederzoli “Tapas” (mvmt V and VII)...

Duration: 01:01:00

Going Solo

There is perhaps no more intimate connection in music than when a composer writes a solo piece specifically for a gifted performer, crafting the piece for the player's specific strengths and musical tastes. We'll talk with several performers about solos that have been written for them and feature performances of the pieces recorded live in our Levin studio. Krzystof Penderecki: La Follia for Violin Solo (excerpts) Anne-Sophia Mutter, violin DG 479294 1:23, 5:02 Purchase Amy Beth Kirsten:...

Duration: 00:58:23

Composers Among Us: Angélica Negrón

Puerto Rican-born composer and multi-instrumentalist Angélica Negrón writes music for accordions, toys and electronics as well as chamber ensembles and orchestras. Her works Bubblegum Grass Peppermint Field and La Isla Magica are as whimsical as their names suggest. Leap into Negron’s mind and music in the latest installment of our Composers Among Us series.

Duration: 00:58:24

Late Night at National Sawdust III

Relevant Tones teams up for the third concert series with Open G Records and Access Contemporary Music to present new music broadcasting from Brooklyn.

Duration: 00:58:52

Balearic and Catalonia in New York

About this show: Ramon Llull was a leading philosopher, logician and writer in medieval Catalonia and the foundation that today bears his name works to export Catalonian culture and music throughout the world. Their most recent project in the U.S. is an exciting weekend of concerts and workshops in New York and a window into current trends in Catalonian music. Relevant Tones travels in the field to feature the music and interviews with the composers. Playlist: Luis Codera Puzo Aproximación...

Duration: 00:58:24


About this show: Something of a lost art, improvisation in classical music is making a comeback in a big way thanks to composers like Steven Snowden, Don Malone, and Aaron Johnson. Teaming up with fantastic performers, they prove that improvisation very much has a place in the modern concert hall. Playlist: Bach/arranged by Gabriela Montero Toccata in D Minor Gabriela Montero, piano "Bach and Beyond" Walter Thompson Song of Cerberus Jeffrey Agrell, french horn; John Manning, tuba; Laura...

Duration: 00:58:23

Memory Palaces

About this show: A Memory Palace is a technique for memorizing long lists of names or places by associating each list item with an object in your imaginary "memory palace". This is derived from the method of loci developed in ancient Greece and Rome. Many composers have been inspired by this technique and have written pieces with this title. In this episode, we feature these pieces. Playlist: Elizabeth Brown Memory Palace [Excerpt] Elizabeth Brown, flute; Greg Hesselink, cello; Margaret...

Duration: 00:58:24

Composers Among Us: Errollyn Wallen

About this show The next in our series spotlighting talented up and comers features versatile singer, pianist and composer Errollyn Wallen, who is creating a unique body of work and making an international name for herself along the way. Playlist: All pieces composed by Errollyn Wallen Dervish Dominic Harlan, piano; Matthew Sharp, cello Avie Records 7:24 Are you worried about the rising costs of funerals? song cycles In this program we feature: 1. Beehive 3. White Christine Patricia...

Duration: 00:58:23

Soundward: Rediscovery

About this show: It’s a format as old as time: two guys sit down to play music and talk about it. Soundward, a continuing collaboration between Relevant Tones and Q2 Music, features lively conversation, new releases from composers around the globe and interesting new discoveries. Playlist: John Luther Adams Canticles of the Holy Wind I. Sky With Four Suns The Crossing chamber choir, cond. Donald Nally Cantaloupe Records 4:07 Vytautas Germanavičius Byrančios Arkos/Crumbling Arches Trio...

Duration: 00:58:22

Deep Resonances: Modern Music for Bass

Thanks to virtuoso performers like Gary Karr, François Rabbath and Edgar Meyer, the double bass is leaping to the front of the concert stage and composers are taking note. This week we'll listen to some of the music written in the last few decades for this sonorous and incredibly versatile instrument. Adam Ben Ezra: Can’t Stop Running (excerpt) Adam Ben Ezra, bass 3:14 Frank Proto: Four Rogues, No. 1, Calm John Ebinger, bass; Roy Hakes, piano 3:25 Dave Anderson: Duets II- Parade of the...

Duration: 00:58:28

Wilco’s Glenn Kotche Goes Classical

Called one of the best drummers of all time by Gigwise magazine, Kotche is also a talented and multi-faceted composer who has worked with powerhouse groups like eighth blackbird, So Percussion and Kronos Quartet. Kotche: Anomaly, II, III, IV, V, VII Kronos Quartet; Kotche, perc. Cantaloupe 21098 2:32, 4:34, 9:24 Kotche: The Haunted (excerpts) Lisa Kaplan & Yvonne Lam, pnos.; Doug Perkins & Matthew Duvall, perc. Cantaloupe 21098 16:27 Kotche: Triple Fantasy Various artists Cantaloupe 21098...

Duration: 00:58:51


About this Show: Since the Mozarts and the Chopins, to Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland the composer-pianist is easy to trace through time. Now, in the 21st century, there is a resurgence in the tradition. Relevant Tones is examining the diverse composer-performer community from Philip Glass to Yiruma. Music Featured in this Show: Jed Distler Loose Changes Quattro Mani Kindred Spirits 10:00 Jed Distler Three Landscapes for Peter Wyer Margaret Leng Tan, Toy piano The Art of the Toy Piano...

Duration: 00:58:24

Music of Math

About this show: Though it’s definitely not true of all composers, many have a facility and fascination with math. We’ll talk to several composers who use math in their compositions and find out how this affects the resulting music. Is it all cerebral? What is the balance between emotional expression and mathematical precision? Music featured in this show: Tristan Murail Désintégrations Mark Bowden Sudden Light Mischa Zupko Love Obsession Timothy Takach As The Sunflower Turns on her God...

Duration: 00:58:24

Boulez Notations

In his Notations, Pierre Boulez composed twelve short piano miniatures that contain a cosmos of sound and potentiality. After decades at the helm of the avant-garde, Boulez has set to work unlocking those inner possibilities through thoughtful orchestration and elaboration. Click here for more information on Pierre Boulez Music Featured in this show: Olivier Messaien:Vingt regards sur l'enfant Jésus, Mvt. II Peter Serkin, Piano About Olivier Messiaen Purchase Anton Von Webern: Variations...

Duration: 00:58:23

Soundward: New Hits

About this show: Q2 Music’s Phil Kline joins us to chat about music that hits a chord. The newest recordings that are certain to become a classic. Music Featured on this program: Christopher Cerrone Double Happiness [EXCERPT] Dance Music 3:20 Meredith Monk Duet with Shifting Ground On Behalf of Nature 5:17 Meredith Monk Pavement Steps On Behalf of Nature 2:05 Meredith Monk Dark, Light 2 On Behalf of Nature 3:06 Marcin Bortnowski Expectancy 9:00 Anna Meredith Tassel Dance Music 8:25...

Duration: 00:58:24

Gabriel Prokofiev

London-based DJ, composer and entrepreneur Gabriel Prokofiev talks with Seth Boustead about composing and performing for a 21st century audience, family legacies, and the use of sampling in classical music. Prokofiev worked with hip-hop turntablist DJ Yoda on the piece Concerto for Turntable and Orchestra. Prokofiev talks about working with DJ Yoda and incorporating the live orchestra into hip-hop like samples. Music Featured in This Show: Concerto for Turntable and Orchestra (excerpts)...

Duration: 00:58:54

Composer Spotlight: Chinary Ung

Cambodian composer Chinary Ung came to the U.S. to study clarinet and composition but was forced to stay when the Khmer Rouge uprising broke out in his home country killing millions. Over the years he has helped many family members and friends escape that regime and has documented his struggles in music. Music Featured in This Show: Chinary Ung Oracle Da Capo Chamber Players; Lucy Shelton, soprano; Michael Adelson, conductor; William Anderson, guitar 14:24 Chinary Ung Singing Inside Aura...

Duration: 00:58:24

Extra Tones: Music of Migration

Extra Tones is a podcast that goes deeper into subjects covered on Relevant Tones. In The Accordion, Seth explored composers who are writing new music for the accordion. Traditionally thought of as a European folk instrument, The Music of Migration tells the story of how accordion music has evolved as it's traveled with immigrants to North America. Styles have blended and new genres have been born. We'll hear from Sean Colledge of Hey Chère!, a Cajun band that performs around Chicago,...

Duration: 00:05:25

Love and Heresy

About this show: We had the distinct pleasure of attending two recent opera premieres, the World Premiere of Heresy in Dublin by Roger Doyle and the Met’s premiere of L’Amour de Loin by acclaimed composer Kaija Saariaho. Both operas explore universal themes in strikingly different ways, from Doyle’s setting of the infamous heresy trial of Giordano Bruno, to Saariaho’s mythic setting of idealized love. We'll hear from Eric Fraad, the director of Heresy on what it's like to adapt to...

Duration: 00:58:24

Soundward: Old Faves New Raves

About this show: Soundward is a collaboration between Relevant Tones host Seth Boustead and Q2 music host Phil Kline in which the pair sit down and listen to new music releases. The show begins with a piece from the late New York composer, Julius Eastman. Although he was relatively unknown outside of the New York City music community in the 1970s, reissues of performances have sparked new interest in the composer. Recorded in 1974, The S.E.M. Ensemble premiered Eastman's piece Femenine...

Duration: 00:58:24

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