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2011-2012 Classical Season Preview with Jeremy Eichler

Tuesday, October 11, 2011
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Boston Globe classical music critic Jeremy Eichler joins Brian McCreath of Classical New England to talk about some of the highlights of the 2011-2012 classical music season in Boston.

Jeremy Eichler (image courtesy of Boston Globe)

Boston and New England are home to a unique classical music concert life.  A cultural history measured in centuries, an unparalleled collection of colleges and universities, and a legacy of visionary individuals are only a few of the factors that have led to a yearly calendar of concerts and events that are impossible to comprehensively enumerate.

Jeremy Eichler and Brian McCreath talk through a few events that represent just the tip of the iceberg, divided into categories that, together, define New England's musical life and make up a wealth of concert possibilities.


For more information about the companies and performances mentioned and more, visit
Boston Lyric Opera
Opera Boston
Boston Baroque
Boston Early Music Festival

Listen to Zhou Long's Pulitzer Prize winning opera Madame White Snake on demand

Chamber Music

For more information about the ensembles and series mentioned and more, visit
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Boston Chamber Music Society
New England Conservatory's Professional String Quartet Training Program
Borromeo String Quartet
Muir String Quartet
Lydian String Quartet
Chameleon Arts Ensemble
Andover Chamber Music Series

Boston's Local and Regional Orchestras

For more information about the orchestras mentioned and more, visit
Discovery Ensemble
Boston Philharmonic Orchestra
A Far Cry
Boston Classical Orchestra
Boston Landmarks Orchestra
Orchestra of Indian Hill
Boston Civic Symphony
Atlantic Symphony Orchestra

Boston Symphony Orchestra

For more information about the BSO season, visit the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Hear the most recent BSO concerts and features on demand and see the broadcast schedule from Classical New England.

New Music

(music samples from Fragments with the Brentano String Quartet courtesy of the artists)

For more information about the specific events mentioned and more, visit

Boston Modern Orchestra Project
Boston Musica Viva
Collage New Music
Alea III
Chameleon Arts Ensemble
Radius Ensemble
Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble

Here is a video introduction to Fragments, to be performed by the Brentano String Quartet on Sunday, Oct. 16, presented by Rockport Music:

Early Music

To hear more from the Rosary, or Mystery, Sonatas with violinist Christina Day Martinson and harpsichordist Martin Pearlman, visit Live from Fraser.

For more information about the specific events mentioned and more, visit
Boston Camerata
Boston Early Music Festival
Handel and Haydn Society
Boston Baroque
Cambridge Society for Early Music
Musicians of the Old Post Road
Blue Heron Renaissance Choir

For Jeremy Eichler's full preview of classical music for Fall 2011, visit the Boston Globe.

(image of Boston skyline:  Boston Skyline At Night By Archon Fung (Arfung at en.wikipedia) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)


Welcome To Classical Late Night

By James David Jacobs   |   Monday, October 3, 2011
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Oct. 3

Tonight I'm very happy to take on a new role at Classical New England as your late-night host. I hope you’ll join me from 9pm until 1am, Monday-Thursday, for a chance to hear a wide variety of music, from classic orchestral and chamber works to off-the-beaten track surprises from our own time and centuries before.

We’ll begin with a favorite of mine whenever inaugurating a new show: Mozart's Horn Concerto No. 1, K. 412, in the classic recording by Dennis Brain with Herbert von Karajan conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra.

One small caveat: It's not really a concerto. It's two concerto movements, written several years apart, and many scholars think that the second movement was completed from Mozart's sketches by Franz Xaver Süssmayr, the same man who completed Mozart's Requiem. I've always loved this movement, which contains a bit of a Gregorian Easter Hymn and has contrapuntal passages that remind me of the Clarinet Concerto, also a product of Mozart's last year; I have a hard time believing it's not authentic, but I'd think it was great music no matter who wrote it.

The show will continue with Brahms's Symphony No. 1. My cello teacher, Millie Rosner, declared the first ten measures of the piece to constitute the longest phrase ever composed. When it's performed correctly, you shouldn't be able to breathe during those measures. Let's see how Bernard Haitink and the Boston Symphony Orchestra affects your respiratory system.

A more intimate sound takes over in the 10pm. After Radu Lupu plays the Schubert Impromptu in A-flat, we’ll hear a string quartet by the 74-year-old Leos Janacek inspired by his fervent love for the much younger Kamila Stosslova. Janacek himself named the quartet "Intimate Letters," intended to reflect the character of their relationship that was never consummated physically, but thrived through the over 700 passionate letters they exchanged.

11pm is when we’ll turn to works of more recent vintage, and I can't think of a better way to begin than by celebrating the 75th birthday of Steve Reich, born in New York City on October 3, 1936.

To call Steve Reich the greatest of the Minimalists is to, well, minimize him; what is so extraordinary about his work is that, no matter how high-concept one of his pieces is, you come away from it feeling that you have experienced a piece of MUSIC. This is certainly reflected in the three works we will hear tonight.

Cello Counterpoint, from 2003, is the latest of his four "Counterpoint" pieces, each of which features one live performer accompanied by a tape of multiple tracks of that same performer. Reich says of this work that it is "the freest in structure of any I have written." (Some moments of it sound a little like Janacek!)

After this comes a performance you can only hear on Classical New England, in its first-ever broadcast. In November 2007, New England Conservatory presented a series of all-Reich concerts in Jordan Hall. From that series we'll hear members of NEC Wind Ensemble perform City Life, a 1995 composition which incorporates snippets of recorded sounds and speech, operated manually on sampling keyboards, into what is essentially a work for chamber orchestra. Among the recorded sounds are car horns, air brakes, door slams, and, in an eerie foreshadowing of his his most recent composition, actual field communications of the New York City Fire Department on February 26, 1993, the day the World Trade Center was bombed the first time. In its transformation of speech patterns into music the work is reminiscent of his early tape-loop pieces, It's Gonna Rain and Come Out.

The final work in our Reich celebration is a celebratory work indeed, Tehillim, a setting of texts from Psalms, 18, 19, 34 and 150. An exuberant work, it’s also widely acknowledged to be one of Reich's masterpieces, and a very appropriate one for the Jewish High Holy Days. K. Robert Schwarz said of this work that "Its tricky, syncopated, toe-tapping rhythms could only have come from the pen of a man who loves bebop and Stravinsky in equal measure."

As we enter the wee hours of Tuesday our new show will turn to two works about creation, the beginning of all things. Shortly after midnight is Jean-Fery Rebel’s ballet Les Elemens, a French Baroque ballet whose first note sounds as bracingly modern as Reich: all seven notes of the D minor scale sounded simultaneously, representing Chaos. Cosmos soon reigns, however, with a series of charming dance movements, rooted in the popular music of the time.

We then jump ahead nearly two centuries to end with another French ballet about the beginning of the world that combines bracing modernism with earthy populism: Milhaud's 1923 ballet La Creation du Monde. In the 1920s several classical composers incorporated jazz, or rather jazz-like elements, into their work. Leonard Bernstein said of this work: "I take the liberty of calling this work a masterpiece because it has the one real requisite of a masterpiece — durability. Among all of those experiments with jazz that Europe flirted with in this period, only The Creation of the World emerges complete, not as a flirtation but as a real love affair with jazz."

I hope you'll join me for our nightly love affair with music on Classical New England!

(image of Boston skyline:  By Luciof (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Classical New England Welcomes You To A New Weekday Lineup

Wednesday, September 28, 2011
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As the leaves burst into the colors of autumn, WGBH's classical music service moves into the new season and beyond with a new name:  Classical New England, reflecting a growing service that includes 99.5 Boston-NH, 89.7 HD-2 Boston, 96.3 Beacon Hill, 89.5 Nantucket, and, through a new relationship with Bryant University, 88.7 Providence. 

With our new name, a new weekday schedule brings you more hours of local voices and music, and expanded Boston Symphony Orchestra coverage enlivens your weekends as never before.

Laura Carlo welcomes you to the day with a lively mix of classical music, beginning at 5am and now staying with you for the morning hours until 10am.  Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart continues to bring his own impressions and knowledge to Keith's Classical Corner each morning at 8:30.

Alan McLellan joins you at 10am with great classics for the heart of the day.  At noon, you'll hear a new segment we call Café Europa, with recent, unique, and commercially unavailable concert performances from Berlin's Philharmonie, Vienna's Musikverein, London's Barbican Center, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, and other great concert halls of Europe.

At 2pm Cathy Fuller brings you her signature warmth and charm, offering a perfect accompaniment to the late afternoon and early evening.  Members of Boston's vibrant musical community as well as visiting artists from around the world join Cathy in our Fraser Performance Studio each Friday for Drive Time Live, connecting you with the spontaneity of live performance.  In addition, listen for Cathy each Sunday at 6pm on Arias and Barcarolles.

At 7pm, Classical New England welcomes Performance Today to the airwaves.  Host Fred Child brings you concert performances from around the world, along with interviews and features that offer unique insight into the music and today's great performers.

James David Jacobs takes over the nighttime mic at 9pm, Monday-Thursday, with a unique blend of music old, new, and unexpected, and guaranteed to be an ideal late-night companion.  On Fridays at 9pm, enjoy the nation's only bilingual classical music program, Concierto, as host Frank Dominguez invites you into the world of classical music as reflected by Latin American composers and performers.

Our 60 year relationship with the Boston Symphony Orchestra continues and deepens, with live broadcasts of every Saturday evening performance by the BSO with host Ron Della Chiesa, now repeated on Sunday afternoons at 1pm, following New England Summer Festivals.  In addition, BSO concerts will be available for on demand listening at our BSO Tanglewood Channel, where you can hear the BSO 24/7.

On weekdays, listen for BSO broadcast producer Brian Bell in previews of upcoming concerts, and Brian's encyclopedic knowledge of BSO history as heard on BSO on Record can now be heard twice as much, with two episodes airing each Saturday night beginning at 10pm, following our live BSO broadcasts.

Brian McCreath continues to host The Bach Hour on Sundays at 6am and 5pm, and listen for his features, stories, and interviews in regular arts and culture reports from around the region, to be heard on weekdays and weekends.

The Classical New England staff also expands with the addition of Music Director Cheryl Willoughby.  A public broadcasting veteran, Willoughby comes to WGBH from Vermont Public Radio, where she served as Music Director and Director of Programming for VPR Classical.

See our complete schedule below:

Classical New England To Broadcast From Bryant University

Friday, September 23, 2011
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On October 6, public broadcaster WGBH and Bryant University will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony and live radio broadcasts to mark their collaboration in bringing full-time classical music to Rhode Island.

In early September, the University’s radio station, WJMF 88.7FM, began re-transmitting the signal from WGBH’s Classical New England, returning round-the-clock classical broadcasts to the Providence area.

“We are delighted that we can celebrate this collaboration in bringing classical music back to Rhode Island,” said Benjamin K. Roe, Managing Director of WGBH’s Classical New England. “Having the ability to broadcast live from Bryant University and celebrate this technology and education initiative is a proud moment for us and our listeners.”

Bryant’s student-run radio station now runs on several new technology platforms, including WJMF HD-2, smartphone applications, and uses one of WGBH’s mobile DTV channels. Bryant’s WJMF is the first student-run station in the region to be available on the groundbreaking new mobile service. Additionally, Bryant students now have the opportunity to learn from the best digital and broadcast technology experts in the business working alongside WGBH technicians.

“Our students could not be more excited over this technological overhaul of the station,” said Bryant University President Ronald K. Machtley. “This collaboration not only brings WGBH’s Classical New England to Rhode Island, but affirms Bryant University as a media technology leader in the region.”

“This ground-breaking collaboration gives us the unique opportunity to become pioneers in digital broadcasting by enabling a multiplatform approach,” said WJMF General Manager Ricky McLaughlin '12 of Hudson, N.H. “Although it moves WJMF’s traditional open-format student programming off of the analog FM dial, this phenomenal opportunity allows us to reach an increasingly national audience, especially as the technology continues to develop.”

On October 6, Classical New England will broadcast two live programs from the WJMF studios with classical hosts Laura Carlo (6-10am), and Cathy Fuller (2-6pm). At noon, WGBH and Bryant University leaders will gather for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on campus, followed by an evening reception in Providence marking the historic collaboration.

What's On WCRB

Thursday, August 21, 2014
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This Week On WCRB

In addition to great music, 99.5 WCRB brings you live broadcasts of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and     Boston Pops in addition to features, podcasts, and other conversations about the world of classical music.



6AM- The Bach Hour                                                           Available on-demand, this program features Bach's cantatas, instrumental masterpieces, as well as interviews and more.

7Am-2PM Boston Sunday Brunch                                     Join us for music programmed with your Sunday morning in mind. Take WCRB with you to the breakfast table, and out into your afternoon.

2Pm-5PM Tanglewood (Summer Only!)                              We broadcast live from Tanglewood with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

listen buttonHear Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops concerts on-demand

Sunday Night Specials?? Sunday Night at the Opera



CD of the Week                                                                    Beginning on Mondays, we feature exciting artists and thier new recordings! Music can be heard from Monday to Sunday on WCRB.

8AM: Cathy's picks?

12PM: Monday Masterpiece                                               We kick off your Monday afternoon with an extraordinary piece of music.  

4PM: Get Up and Dance                                                   Get up and Dance with Lynnsay Maynard 

8PM: Symphony at 8: The Boston Symphony Orchestra   A redux of the Boston Symphony Orchestra's live Saturday broadcast (except during the summer).



8:30 AM: Keith’s Classical Corner                              The Boston Pops' Keith Lockhart joins WCRB's Laura Carlo to share a classical music pick of the day.  >> Listen On Demand   

12PM: This Just In                                                                We get you excited about brand new recordings off a CD new to our library that we’re really excited about. 

4PM: Tuesday Trivia

8PM: Symphony at 8                                                              Each weeknight at 8PM, WCRB presents a symphony to acompany you as unwind for the evening.                                                             


8:30 AM: Classic Cooking Tip from America’s Test Kitchen                                                                            Join Chris Kimball for a classical cooking tip to make your life easier...and more delicious. 

12 PM: Deep Cuts – a feature of a work not commonly played, or a performer not widely known.    

?? Cathy's Picks (Lynnsay's show)

4PM Man on the Street 

8PM: Symphony at 8                                                             Each weeknight, WCRB presents a symphony to acompany you as you unwind for the evening.


8:30 AM: Arts with Jared Bowen                                           Host Laura Carlo sits down with Open Studio's Jared Bowen to chat about the classical music scene in Boston.

2 PM: What’s Happening                                                       A heads up about concerts and events happening around town this coming weekend.

4PM Movie Music with Lynnsay Maynard   

8 PM: Symphony at 8                                                           Each week night, WCRB presents a symphony to acompany you as you unwind for the evening.

10 PM: Groupmuse Preview                                                Join us for a preview of a piece being featured in one of this weekend's Groupmuse events.    


8:30 AM: Cathy's picks

12 PM: Friday Escape                                                           Get ready for your weekend with a piece of music that will transport you  away from your office.  

8 PM: Symphony at 8/ Tanglewood                                    Join us for our usual Symphony at 8  from September to June, and for our live Tanglewood broadcast during the summer months.

listen buttonHear Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops concerts on-demand


8 PM: Live broadcast of the Boston Symphony Orchestra or The Boston Pops from Symphony Hall [September-June] or Tanglewood [July and August.

listen button

Hear Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops concerts on-demand












Ceremony of Carols: A Benjamin Britten Holiday Celebration

Monday, November 18, 2013
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