Classical Concerts

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.





Weilerstein and Barnatan in Concert

Wednesday, May 13, 2015
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Bach 330: the Passions

Tuesday, March 17, 2015
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WCRB continutes a celebration of the 330th anniversary of J.S. Bach's birth with concert performances of the St. Matthew Passion from the Handel and Haydn Society and the St. John Passion from Emmanuel Music.

No composer has had as deep and enduring an effect on music and wider culture than J.S. Bach. Born in the small town of Eisenach in the German region of Thuringia on March 21, 1685, each stage of his life resulted in timeless masterpieces that continue to speak to audiences today. Join us at 99.5 WCRB on Sunday, March 29, to celebrate that legacy with two of Bach's most monumental works of sacred music.

Sunday, March 29, 3pm: The St. Matthew Passion, live with the Handel and Haydn Society

Harry Christophers
WCRB takes you live to Symphony Hall for one of the signature events of the bicentennial season of the Handel and Haydn Society. Artistic Director Harry Christophers leads this pinnacle of Bach's musical achievement, a piece performed for the first time in the U.S. by the Handel and Haydn Society in 1879. Tenor Joshua Ellicott sings the role of the Evangelist, with baritone Roderick Williams in the role of Jesus. Additional soloists include

  • soprano Joélle Harvey,
  • mezzo-soprano Anna Stéphany,
  • tenor Matthew Long, and
  • baritone Sumner Thompson, with
  • the VAP Young Women's and Young Men's Choruses.

See a translation of the St. Matthew Passion


See Harvard University Bach scholar Christoph Wolff's introduction to the St. Matthew Passion:



listen buttonHear a guided tour of the St. Matthew Passion with Harry Christophers on The Bach Hour


Sunday, March 29, 7pm: The St. John Passion, in concert with Emmanuel Music

Ryan TurnerRyan Turner leads the chorus and orchestra of Emmanuel Music in Bach's St. John Passion, with tenor Matthew Anderson in the role of the Evangelist and baritone Dana Whiteside in the role of Jesus. Additional soloists include

  • sopranos Roberta Anderson and Brenna Wells,
  • altos Deborah Rentz-Moore and Krista River,
  • tenors Jonas Budris and Frank Kelley, and
  • bass soloists Bradford Gleim, Mark McSweeney, and Paul Max Tipton.

See a translation of the St. John Passion


Hear a preview of the St. John Passion with Ryan Turner and WCRB's Brian McCreath:


Hugh Wolff and the NEC Philharmonia, in Concert

Tuesday, February 24, 2015
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Hadelich Plays Sibelius

Tuesday, August 14, 2012
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H+H 200th Launches with Fireworks

By Cathy Fuller   |   Thursday, December 4, 2014
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Harry Christophers leads the Handel & Haydn Society in its bicentennial season opening concert, featuring Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks.

To hear the concert, click on "Listen" above.


Harry Christophers and Handel and Haydn Society

Harry Christophers conducts the Handel and Haydn Society on Oct. 10, 2014
(photo by James Doyle, courtesy of H+H)

When the crowd at Symphony Hall jumped to its feet to sing along with the Handel and Haydn Society’s chorus and orchestra, it was a collective goosebump moment at a birthday party that was already full of them. The Society had been looking forward to October 10, 2014 for a long time, counting down to the moment when the trumpets in the balconies would unleash the festivities. Even our microphones had a fabulous time at this party! They caught the fireworks on stage, and the excitement in the audience.

H+H Artistic Director Harry Christophers can pull a phrase of music through time like taffy. And his body can coil and uncoil with upbeats of infinite variety. You’ll hear it in the beginnings of every line in the two Handel Coronation Anthems that were offered.

When the chorus finally exploded in the anthem Zadok the Priest, critic David Wright of the Boston Classical Review thought that it must have loosened the Symphony Hall plaster! In Bach’s intricately woven motet Sing unto the Lord a new song, all of the warmly worked detail came through not just clearly, but with a glow.

Aislinn Nosky

Aisslinn Nosky and the Handel and Haydn Society in concert, Oct. 10, 2014
(photo by James Doyle, courtesy of H+H)

Intimate nuance and crackling fireworks were built into the design of the evening. In the wildness of Vivaldi’s violin concerto “Summer,” the extremes happen so close together that the whole thing comes off as downright hallucinatory.  

Concertmaster Aisslinn Nosky roused the audience to near frenzy with her solos. They even applauded her when she was simply taking her place back in the orchestra!

There’s so much to consider when you’re hearing this concert. Sir John Stevenson’s They play’d, in air the trembling music floats was done by the men’s chorus with organ to amazing effect. It had been performed on the Society’s very first concert in 1815.

When, at the end, Harry Christophers turned to the crowd and signaled for them to rise and sing Handel’s “Hallelujah” from Messiah, there were many who knew by heart every detail of the soprano, alto, tenor, and bass parts. What a joyful sound! 

It reminds us that Boston has a tremendous history of amateur singers coming together to create deeply meaningful music. It’s a history thanks in large part to the Handel and Haydn Society.

To hear the entire H+H bicentennial season opening concert, click on "Listen" above.















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