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Classical Notes® - Classical MPR



Classical Notes®



Published: Thu, 27 Jul 2017 19:58:47 -0500

 



Composer Corner: Schumann

Thu, 08 Jun 2017 11:38:14 -0500

June’s composer of the month is Robert Schumann.   Born: June 8, 1810 Died: July 29, 1856   Five facts: • Schumann’s first known work was a piece for piano, written in 1830. • In an effort to be a better piano player, he built a device from a cigar box and wire that was meant to strengthen his fingers. Instead, … Continue reading Composer Corner: Schumann →



Composer Corner: Brahms

Mon, 08 May 2017 09:00:58 -0500

May’s composer of the month is Johannes Brahms.   Born: May 7, 1833 Died: April 3, 1897   Five facts: • As a young man, Brahms was required to play piano in area dance halls, inns, and brothels to make money for his family, as they were very poor. • The composer began writing his First Symphony in 1854, but it … Continue reading Composer Corner: Brahms →



Composer Corner: Prokofiev

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 08:34:16 -0500

April’s composer of the month is Sergei Prokofiev.   Born: April 23, 1891 Died: March 5, 1953   Five facts: • Prokofiev was a child prodigy, composing his first piano piece at age five and his first opera at nine. • He was an accomplished chess player, beating future world champion José Raúl Capablanca in 1914 (and later defeating fellow … Continue reading Composer Corner: Prokofiev →



New study shows benefits of music lessons in children

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 08:17:17 -0600

According to a new study from the Radiological Society of North America, “taking music lessons increases brain fiber connections in children.” In particular, these fiber connections increased in a part of the brain in which a decrease in connections has been linked to autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). “It’s been known that musical instruction benefits … Continue reading New study shows benefits of music lessons in children →



Classical music and popcorn help fuel PSAT preparation

Fri, 14 Oct 2016 08:40:09 -0500

According to a recent Kaplan survey of 400 teens preparing to take the PSAT this month, classical music is the most popular soundtrack for test preparation.  Mozart, in particular, was cited as the favorite composer to listen to while studying. “Depending on the individual, studying with music can be calming, motivating or distracting, so we recommend … Continue reading Classical music and popcorn help fuel PSAT preparation →



Minnesota Varsity Alum chosen for National Youth Symphony

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 04:41:59 -0600

Carnegie Hall has announced the roster for the 2017 National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, and Minnesota’s lone representative is 2016 Minnesota Varsity Showcase Artist Anders Peterson of Northfield, Minn. 116 outstanding musicians between ages 16 to 19 have been selected from across the country, and they’ll be performing in Mexico, Ecuador, and … Continue reading Minnesota Varsity Alum chosen for National Youth Symphony →



The world’s oldest musical instrument

Wed, 24 Aug 2016 11:51:26 -0500

Ever wonder what a 40,000-year-old instrument might sound like? Experimental archaeologist Wulf Hein was part of a 1992 excavation team that explored southwestern Germany — in particular, the Geißenklösterle cave. In Werner Herzog’s The Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Hein (dressed in reindeer fur and leather) explains what they discovered: “One of the most important finds we made in this cave was … Continue reading The world’s oldest musical instrument →



Composer Corner: Chopin

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 06:37:20 -0600

March’s composer of the month is Frédéric Chopin.   Born: March 1, 1810 Died: Oct. 17, 1849   Five facts: • Chopin was already composing at age six, and performed his first concerto at age eight. • As a child, he would play in the dark, blowing out the candles before sitting down to play. Even later in life, when … Continue reading Composer Corner: Chopin →



Brooklyn Duo covers a-ha’s ‘Take on Me’

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 05:55:49 -0600

Brooklyn Duo recently joined forces with members of Ensemble Connect to cover a-ha’s 80s hit, “Take On Me.” Check out video of their fun arrangement below. Performers Brooklyn Duo  — Marnie Laird, piano; Patrick Laird, cello Members of Ensemble Connect — Rebecca Anderson, violin; Maren Rothfritz, viola; Madeline Fayette, cello; Lizzie Burns, bass; Bixby Kennedy, clarinet; Rémy Taghavi, … Continue reading Brooklyn Duo covers a-ha’s ‘Take on Me’ →



$2.5M grant awarded to Philadelphia Music Alliance for Youth

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 09:36:51 -0600

It was announced this week that the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has made an unprecedented $2.532 million multi-year grant to the Philadelphia Music Alliance for Youth (PMAY) — a consortium of music education organizations serving students all over Greater Philadelphia. The grant will help prepare the most committed young musicians in the area, ensuring that they … Continue reading $2.5M grant awarded to Philadelphia Music Alliance for Youth →



Composer Corner: Poulenc

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 08:11:10 -0600

January’s composer of the month is Francois Poulenc.   Born: Jan 7, 1899 Died: Jan 30, 1963   Five facts: • Poulenc was born into a rich family of pharmaceutical manufacturers. • At a time when he was relatively unknown as a composer, he was asked to write “Les Biches” by the great Serge Diaghilev. • Along with Georges Auric, Louis Durey, … Continue reading Composer Corner: Poulenc →



The Origins of Ballet

Wed, 29 Jun 2016 12:55:48 -0500

Can you imagine a party where every movement and every visual detail were governed by a complex system of rules and procedures? For centuries, such rituals were commonplace for European nobility. And while they’ve gone out of fashion, we recognize the components under a familiar label: ballet (from the balletto, or “little dance”). Dance instructors Jennifer Tortorello … Continue reading The Origins of Ballet →



‘Pipedreams’ host Michael Barone pulls out all the stops

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 08:28:14 -0600

Laura Caviani, jazz pianist extraordinaire, grew up idolizing Pipedreams host J. Michael Barone as her local church organist in the St. Cloud, Minn., area. On Wednesday, Dec. 14, as part of Classical MPR’s Pop-Up Classical series, Caviani came and played the grand piano in the sanctuary of Central Presbyterian Church in downtown St. Paul — … Continue reading ‘Pipedreams’ host Michael Barone pulls out all the stops →



Composer Corner: Berlioz

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 07:56:09 -0600

December’s composer of the month is Hector Berlioz   Born: Dec. 11, 1803 Died: Mar. 8, 1869   Five facts: • The composer’s father (a respected physician) wanted Hector to study medicine. He studied for a couple years but hated it — much to his father’s dismay — and began to study music. One of the final “straws that broke the … Continue reading Composer Corner: Berlioz →



The secrets of Mozart’s “Magic Flute”

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 08:58:48 -0600

Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” is widely regarded as one of history’s most influential and important operas. And in TED-Ed’s video, “The Secrets of Mozart’s ‘The Magic Flute’,” teacher Joshua Borths investigates the intentional symbolism found in the opera, and the relationship between the opera and Freemasonry. One of the symbolic elements of the opera that pops … Continue reading The secrets of Mozart’s “Magic Flute” →



Composer Corner: von Bingen

Wed, 16 Nov 2016 07:32:03 -0600

November’s composer of the month is Hildegard von Bingen.   Born: 1098 Died: Sept. 17, 1179   Five facts: • Von Bingen was born the 10th child to a noble family. As was custom at the time, she was dedicated to the church at birth. She became a nun at age 18. • She was known for having visions, claiming … Continue reading Composer Corner: von Bingen →



Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ and why you should listen to it

Fri, 28 Oct 2016 09:39:10 -0500

One of the most familiar pieces of early 18th century music (and perhaps classical music in general) is Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons.” But what makes it so memorable and significant? As teacher Betsy Schwarm notes in the Ted-Ed video “Why should you listen to Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’?”, part of its allure and importance lies in its use … Continue reading Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ and why you should listen to it →



Composer Corner: Reich

Tue, 04 Oct 2016 10:54:46 -0500

October’s composer of the month is Steve Reich.   Born: October 3, 1936   Five facts: • Reich’s music was not well-received initially, and he had to work as a taxi driver and social worker to earn a living. • In 1967, Reich formed a collective ensemble with fellow composer Philip Glass. They also formed a moving company — Chelsea Light … Continue reading Composer Corner: Reich →



Composer Corner: Schoenberg

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 12:00:26 -0500

September’s composer of the month is Arnold Schoenberg.   Born: September 13, 1874 Died: July 13, 1951   Five facts: • Schoenberg is most famous for ‘discovering’ the 12-tone method of composition, which involved taking the 12 notes of the musical scale and arranging them in a pre-determined order. • Composer Richard Strauss once said of Schoenberg, “He’d be better off shoveling snow than scribbling … Continue reading Composer Corner: Schoenberg →



A lesson in a-rhythm-etic

Tue, 23 Aug 2016 11:52:23 -0500

Clayton Cameron is a world-renowned percussionist, with a career spanning nearly four decades. He is particularly known for his skills with contemporary drumming and brushes — which is why he’s known as “The Brush Master.” In the TED-Ed video “A-rhythm-etic: The math behind beats,” Cameron demonstrates a number of different genres from hip-hop to Latin to … Continue reading A lesson in a-rhythm-etic →