Classical Concerts

Marlboro 2015

Saturday, November 14, 2015
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Return to the warmth of summer and the spontaneity of chamber music at the Marlboro Music Festival. Alan McLellan brings you highlights from the 2015 season, on-demand from WCRB.


Marlboro sign

Whether a seasoned veteran or a busy young professional, the process of making great music has two sides. On one hand, there's the preparation, in which every detail and nuance of the music needs to be explored for the best possible performance. On the other, there's simple logistics and the realities of life that demand compressed schedules and a sense of never catching up.

In that light, the Marlboro Music Festival seems too good to be true:  a chance to work together with fellow musicians on chamber music of your own choosing, in a beautiful location, with unlimited rehearsal time for seven weeks in the summertime.  It's luxury unheard-of!

The results of that luxury are evident in the performances you'll hear on Sunday at 7pm, when Alan McLellan brings you several of the best moments from the summer of 2015.

Hear the program

The Marlboro Music Festival was established by Rudolf Serkin, with Adolf Busch, Hermann Busch, and Marcel, Blanche and Louis Moyse, in 1951 at an idyllic getaway in Vermont, two-and-a-half hours from Boston, and four hours from New York City.  Their aim, from the very beginning, was to take an egalitarian approach to music-making, mixing seasoned mentors with exceptional young professionals.

In addition to the summer program, now led by Artistic Director Mitsuko Uchida, there’s a Musicians from Marlboro Touring Program, now celebrating its 50th anniversary.  Musicians from Marlboro has been, and continues to be, a launching pad for the careers of some of today’s most sought-after soloists and chamber musicians.

Learn more about Marlboro Music

On the program:

Mozart: Piano Quartet in G Minor, K. 478
Mitsuko Uchida, piano
Elizabeth Fayette, violin
Rebecca Albers, viola
Marie-Elisabeth Hecker, cello

Richard Strauss: Suite in B flat Major, Op. 4
Marina Piccinini, flute
Brook Ferguson, flute
Mary Lynch, oboe
Joseph Peters, oboe
Gabriel Campos Zamora, clarinet
Michael Rusinek, clarinet
Steven Dibner, bassoon
Brad Balliett, bassoon
Radovan Vlatkovic, horn
Nicolee Kuester, horn
Lauren Hunt, horn
Laura Weiner, horn
Nathaniel West, double bass

Johannes Brahms: String Quintet in G Major, Op. 111
Robin Scott, violin
Siwoo Kim, violin
John Stulz, viola
Kim Kashkashian, viola
Jonah Ellsworth, cello

Maurice Ravel: Piano Trio in A Minor
Zoltán Fejérvári, piano
Tessa Lark, violin
Christoph Richter, cello

Felix Mendelssohn:  Selections from Six Duets, Op. 63
Sarah Shafer, soprano
Lauren Eberwein, mezzo soprano
Lydia Brown, piano

Upcoming WCRB Massivemuse Events

Tuesday, November 10, 2015
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December 3: Holiday Party with Handel and Haydn Society

7:30pm (doors open at 7)

photo credit Boston Globe

Eggnog, great music, good cheer – it’s the first ever WCRB Massivemuse Holiday Party! Join us in the Fraser Performance studio for the best holiday party in the city as we ring in the season with Corelli, traditional carols, a holiday sing-a-long, and more. RSVP here and use promo code "Groupmuse."


January 20: Lara St. John

photo credit Martin Kennedy

Violinst Lara St. John's has been described as "volcanic," "something of a phenomenon," and "high-powered." Read more about her latest projects here.
More coming soon! 


About WCRB's Massivemuse

A Massivemuse is a massive Groupmuse - a classical music "house party" where hosts can invite as many people as they want into their homes for a night of music. Luckily, WCRB has both the space and the connections to offer a Groupmuse that's not just massive in size, but in talent: WCRB's Massivemuses feature musicians from Boston's famed musical institutions or emerging artists just getting started with a record label. We've been lucky enough to bring in Conrad Tao, the Naughton Sisters, and New England Conservatory's Opera Department so far, and can't wait to bring you many more!

Each Massivemuse at WCRB is open to the public, ages 21+ (please bring a valid ID). Tickets are $10 at the door, and beer and wine can be purchased at the event (no BYOB).


To become a subscriber and receive two free tickets to each WCRB Massivemuse, click here.


WCRB's Massivemuse FAQ

What time is the event?

Unless otherwise noted, all Massivemuses at WCRB begin at 8pm. Doors open at 7:30. The events usually run until 10:00.

Where do I RSVP?

If you're a subscriber, RSVP on the Eventbrite page for each event so we know to hold the reserved spots for you. If you RSVP on Eventbrite, we'll count you in the "Reserved" spots on the Groupmuse page, so there's no need to RSVP in both places.

How do I get there?

We recommend MBTA bus routes 70, 64, or 86. Directions can be found here.

How can I find out what's going to be played at upcoming Groupmuse events?

Tune in to WCRB Thursday evenings around 6:45pm to hear a preview of a piece that will be played at a Groupmuse this coming weekend.

Why can't I bring my own beer/wine/etc. like I do at other Groupmuse events?

Building policy does not allow BYOB. Beer and wine are sold at WCRB's Massivemuses for $5; subscribers receive 2 free drink tickets per event.

I have questions about WCRB/WGBH membership.

Being a subscriber to WCRB's Massivemuse also means you have become a member of the larger WGBH/WCRB family. For questions regarding your member benefits, or any of WGBH's radio, television, or online services, please call our Member Hotline at 617-300-3300, Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm ET. You can also write to us at We'd love to hear from you!

Mozart's Mass in C minor

Friday, October 23, 2015
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The Cantata Singers perform choral works by Mozart and Beethoven in concert, Sunday, Oct. 25, at 7pm on 99.5 WCRB

Bach's sacred cantatas may not be the most commonly performed works in the concert hall these days, but there was a time when they were positively rare. In 1964, a group of friends came together to explore this vast, remarkbly inventive body of work first-hand. The Cantata Singers were born.

By 1982, the group's repertoire had evolved well beyond those cantatas, never losing its roots, though, as it continued to place Bach's work next to music by composers of all generations. With conductor David Hoose (pictured), the ambitions of the ensemble took on new dimensions.

During the 2014-2015 season, one highlight was a performance that placed one of Mozart's most alluring and mysterious choral works, the Mass in C minor, left unfinished by the composer, on a program with Beethoven's short and beautifully evocative Elegiac Song.

In a way, these pieces allow us to experience Mozart and Beethoven defying their stereotypes.  We often think of Beethoven as edgy, pushing the emotional boundaries of music, and shaking his fist at the world.  But the Elegiac Song is something altogether different:  tender, emotionally vulnerable, and profoundly expressive.  He wrote it for a friend - his landlord, actually - whose wife had just died. 

Here’s the text, by Castelli:  
Gently as you lived, so have you died: too holy for pain!
Let no eye weep for the homecoming of this heavenly spirit.

Similarly we think of Mozart as charming, sensitive and suave. But in the C minor Mass, he’s passionate, determined, and emotionally committed. Surprisingly, he never completed it, but fortunately, others have since done it for him. David Hoose chose a completion by C. Robbins Landon.

Join us on Sunday, Oct. 25, at 7pm, on 99.5 WCRB, to hear a pillar of Boston's musical ecology, the Cantata Singers, in concert.

Hugh Wolff, NEC, and the Symphony at 8

Friday, September 18, 2015
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Hugh Wolff conducts the orchestras of the New England Conservatory in five symphonic masterpieces on the Symphony at 8.

Tune in to 99.5 WCRB, Monday through Friday at 8pm this week, for extraordinary performances by some of today's most exciting young musicians.



Each weekday, 99.5 WCRB brings you a symphonic masterpiece, providing a bookend to the day and a prelude to the evening. And as the academic year gets underway, our Symphony at 8 features performances from the New England Conservatory of Music and Director of Orchestras Hugh Wolff.

Hear Hugh Wolff's reflections on his work at NEC and each individual symphony in this series above, and for information about the coming season of free concerts, visit the New England Conservatory.

The five symphonies you'll hear represent not only the core of the orchestral repertoire, but also a range of particular emotional experiences for listeners. Those qualities, combined with the kinetically charged energy of the musicians of NEC, add up to create performances of unusual magnetism, all recorded in concert at NEC's Jordan Hall. The series includes

  • Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 (preview at 13:15 of the interview above),
  • Schubert's Symphony No. 9 (16:33),
  • Dvorák's Symphony No. 7 (19:54),
  • Sibelius's Symphony No. 1 (21:26), and
  • Mahler's Symphony No. 9 (23:47).


The Monteverdi Trilogy at the Boston Early Music Festival

Wednesday, September 2, 2015
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In a project of unprecedented artistic ambition, the Boston Early Music Festival performed groundbreaking operas by Monteverdi. Now WCRB brings you these performances, on-demand.

Every couple of years, the opera productions from the Boston Early Music Festival inevitably generate some of the most memorable moments on the concert calendar. For the 2015 festival, organizers multiplied the excitement by featuring not just one operatic centerpiece, but three: The Monteverdi Trilogy, including Orfeo, L’incoronazione di Poppea ("The Coronation of Poppea"), and Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria ("The Return of Ulysses to His Country").

Experiencing these three productions in performance was thrilling, almost like traveling back in time. Picturing the astonishment of those first audiences in Mantua and Venice, who had never seen nor heard such a combination of musical and dramatic genius, wasn't difficult. The emotional power of Monterverdi's vision resonated with an equal relevance for the BEMF audiences at the BU Theatre on Huntington Ave., the narratives and artistic expressions touching on aspects of humanity that have remained constant through the centuries.

Hear these stellar performances on-demand and a preview with BEMF Co-Artistic Directors Stephen Stubbs and Paul O'Dette and cast members:


Download program notes for the Monteverdi Trilogy


Watch a preview of The Monteverdi Trilogy at the 2015 festival:




Aaron Sheehan as Orfeo
Image courtesy of Boston Early Music Festival







Aaron Sheehan, Orfeo
Mireille Asselin, Euridice

listen buttonHear the performance on-demand

Orfeo was the first great opera. Not just Monteverdi’s first opera – the first great opera by anyone! Imagine a time when the very idea of actors singing their parts was a novelty, a brand new theatrical experience! That’s the way the audience saw things in 1607. It tells the age-old story of Orpheus, the greatest musician who ever lived, who endures the tragic death of his beloved Euridice, and travels to the underworld to plead for her return. Tenor Aaron Sheehan is Orfeo, and soprano Mireille Asselin plays Euridice.

Download cast and libretto for Orfeo


Colin Balzer as Ulysses
Image courtesy of Boston Early Music Festival



The Return of Ulysses to His Country



Colin Balzer, Ulysses
Mary-Ellen Nesi, Penelope

listen buttonHear the performance on-demand

The Return of Ulysses to His Country, first produced in 1640, tells the story of the Greek hero Ulysses and his return to Ithaca after the fall of Troy. His ever-faithful wife, Penelope, has been besieged by suitors, hoping to cash in when she finally concludes that he isn’t coming back. But, bad luck for them, he does return, and with a vengeance! Our BEMF performance features tenor Colin Balzer as Ulysses and Mary-Ellen Nesi as Penelope.

Download cast and libretto for Ulisse


Amanda Forsythe as Poppea
Image courtesy of Boston Early Music Festival




The Coronation of Poppea



Amanda Forsythe, Poppea
David Hansen, Nerone

listen buttonHear the performance on-demand

Monteverdi’s final opera, The Coronation of Poppea, has a convoluted plot that’s worthy of one of today’s political thrillers (think House of Cards), set in ancient Rome. The Emperor, Nero, is in love with the beautiful Poppea, and longs to marry her and put her on the throne. If only he could get rid of his wife, and Poppea’s pesky boyfriend, all would be well! Countertenor David Hansen plays Nerone and soprano Amanda Forsythe is Poppea in this stunning production.

Download cast and libretto for Poppea


See the complete Sunday Night Opera schedule.



The Shanghai Quartet at Rockport

Monday, June 8, 2015
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Join Alan McLellan for highlights of the opening weekend of the 2015 Rockport Chamber Music Festival. To hear the program on demand, click on "Listen" above.

The Shanghai Quartet performs masterpieces by Beethoven and Barber before joining forces with pianist David Deveau in music by Brahms.


David Deveau and WCRB's Cathy Fuller preview the entire 2015 Rockport Chamber Music Festival:


The 2015 Rockport Chamber Music Festival marks the fifth anniversary of the opening of one of New England's most stunning concert halls, the Shalin Liu Performance Center. Before 2010, festival concerts took place in the charming if cramped galleries of the Rockport Art Association. To say that the Shalin Liu is a step up as a concert space is to vastly understate its importance. With an on stage window looking out to Sandy Bay and its intimate acoustics, the hall has become an integral part of the cultural landscape not only of the North Shore but of the entire region.

This summer's festival began with a gala concert by Yo-Yo Ma, followed in quick succession by two appearances by the Shanghai Quartet, the second including a performance with festival Artistic Director David Deveau in the Piano Quartet in G minor, Op. 25, by Brahms. WCRB brings you highlights of those concerts on Sunday, June 14, at 7pm.

The festival continues through August 1, when pianist Benjamin Grosvenor visits Rockport with a program of works by Mendelssohn, Bach-Busoni, Ravel, and more. You can see Grosvenor in action below in a visit to WCRB's Fraser Performance Studio.

The festival also includes appearances by pianist

  • Marc-André Hamelin, performing Debussy, Schubert, and his own works on Saturday, June 20,
  • a program devoted to composer Matthew Aucoin on Tuesday, June 23,
  • Emmanuel Music, with pianist Andrew Rangell, in a program of works by Bach and Handel on Friday, June 26,
  • Anonymous 4, singing works from each of the ensemble's 25 recordings, on Thursday, July 9, and
  • the Escher Quartet in two concerts, featuring pianist Gilles Vonsattel on July 11 and flutist Carol Wincenc on July 12.


For complete information, visit Rockport Music.





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