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Bill explores five great conductors and opens the magic music box weeknights at 7pm in July


Week of July 3, 2023 - William Schuman (1910-1992) Leonard Bernstein said the human qualities of American composer William Schuman's work were "compassion, fidelity, insight, and total honesty." In the 1960s, the New York Times called William Schuman the most powerful figure in art music. Born in 1910, Schuman wrote eight symphonies, concerti, and even a baseball opera, Casey at the Bat. Winner of the 1943 Pulitzer Prize for Music, he taught at Sarah Lawrence College, and was President of The Julliard School from 1945 to 1961. Schuman was responsible for founding the Juilliard String Quartet, shaping the creation of Lincoln Center, and he was everyone’s best friend! This 4th of July week of Exploring Music is guided by Joseph Polisi’s book “American Muse: The Life and Times of William Schuman.”

Week of July 10, 2023 - Beethoven and the Piano  Ludwig van Beethoven wrote five piano concertos during his lifetime - the first at the age of 13, and the last at 39. These concertos are majestic, daring, and considered part of the classical piano canon to this day. One can see Beethoven’s transition from a Classical to a Romantic style when they are heard side by side. In fact, side by side is exactly how we will be listening to these wonderful concerti. Join us for one Beethoven piano concerto a day, plus some of his more intimate works for the instrument, played by the likes of Leon Fleisher, Murray Perahia, and Martha Argerich.

Week of July 17, 2023 - Five Great Conductors, Part 1 Welcome to the first installment in a two-week celebration of the artistry of five conductors born between 1927 and 1930 — German Kurt Masur, Dutch Bernard Haitink, Italian Claudio Abbado, American Lorin Maazel, and Hungarian István Kertész. Their recordings define a great era in orchestral music making. Bill opens the week by featuring Kurt Masur with Mendelssohn’s own orchestra, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and our playlist will continue with Bernard Haitink, conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. The inspiration for this program came from a listener at the University of Illinois, in Champaign-Urbana.

Week of July 24, 2023 - Five Great Conductors, Part 2 This week we continue our celebration of great conductors by featuring Maestro Claudio Abbado and two wonderful artists that vied for Maestro George Szell’s podium when he retired from the Cleveland Orchestra. Hungarian Maestro István Kertész, a musician’s musician from the same heritage as George Szell, and American conductor and violinist Lorin Maazel. Bill says about Lorin Maazel and István Kertész, “no one can deny Maazel’s position among the significant conductors of this time. For Kertész, by contrast, I felt an immediate puppy love the first time I played for him in Philly — his reading of The Miraculous Mandarin sealed the deal.”

Week of July 31, 2023 - Music from the Magic Box — An Excess of Pleasure We've borrowed the title from one of our favorite albums from the Palladian Ensemble, playing consort music of the Elizabethan and Restoration periods. However, the true inspiration comes from a time when Bill was digging deep into the back of his hall closet, and he came upon a mysterious box. This is what happens when your favorite classical music radio host tackles spring-cleaning, we reap the benefits of his discoveries. He wondered, he reached, he opened, and he found a treasure trove of wonderful recordings: András Schiff playing Beethoven Op. 111 and the Diabelli Variations, Martha Argerich playing Mozart Concerti with Claudio Abbado, and many more. We will get to discover them all, right along with Bill. Truly an excess of pleasure!