Future episodes include Matthias Pintscher, Marc-André Hamelin, Jennifer Koh, the Artemis String Quartet, Claire Chase, Seymour Bernstein, Alex Klein , Gary Graffman, and many more exciting guests -- stay tuned!
A living legend, immortalized in Philip Roth's novel "The Human Stain": "He crushes it. He doesn't let that piano conceal a thing. Whatever's in there is going to come out, and come out with its hands in the air. And when it does, everything there out in the open, the last of the last pulsation, he himself gets up and goes, leaving behind him our redemption. With a jaunty wave, he is suddenly gone, and though he takes all his fire off with him like no less a force than Prometheus, our own lives now seem inextinguishable. Nobody is dying, nobody – not if Bronfman has anything to say about it."
“I don’t try to reel my audience in — I try to reel myself in.”
In one of our most emotionally revealing interviews, American operatic soprano Deborah Voigt opens up about her long and acclaimed career. She discusses performance psychology, acting, the difficulty of maintaining relationships while on the road, and speaks candidly about her struggle with addiction and weight loss.
“Composition is something you have to do because you can't imagine doing anything else.”
Lowell Liebermann is one of America's most frequently performed and recorded living composers. Called by the New York Times "as much of a traditionalist as an innovator," his music is known for its technical command and audience appeal. He has written over one hundred works, several of which have gone on to become standard repertoire for their instruments. His "Sonata for Flute and Piano" and "Gargoyles for Piano" have each been recorded at least twenty times.
“I don’t think performance ever becomes comfortable — we like that risk.”
Seldom are collaborators more sympathetically aligned. Christina and Michelle Naughton have been hailed by the San Francisco Examiner for their “stellar musicianship, technical mastery, and awe-inspiring artistry.” They made their European debut at Herkulesaal in Munich, where the Süddeutsche Zeitung proclaimed them “an outstanding piano duo.” After their Asian debut with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Sing Tao Daily said of their performance, “Joining two hearts and four hands at two grand pianos, the Naughton sisters created an electrifying and moving musical performance.” Their second album, Visions, was named "Editor's Choice" in 2016 by Gramophone Magazine.
“My career didn’t really start to take off until I was thirty. I was by no means a prodigy.”
Acclaimed worldwide for his profound musicianship and technical mastery, British cellist Steven Isserlis enjoys a distinguished career as a soloist, chamber musician, educator, author and broadcaster. The recipient of many awards, Steven Isserlis’s honors include a CBE in recognition of his services to music, and the Schumann Prize of the City of Zwickau. He is also one of only two living cellists featured in Gramophone’s Hall of Fame.
“The way that people build careers is mysterious and unique to each person.”
Jeremy Denk is one of America’s foremost pianists – an artist the New York Times hails as someone ‘you want to hear no matter what he performs’. Winner of a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship, the Avery Fisher Prize, and Musical America’s Instrumentalist of the Year award, he has recently appeared as soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, and the symphony orchestras of Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and London. Mr. Denk discusses his passions, daily work, and the challenges of touring, and he demonstrates at the piano examples of Beethoven, Byrd, Bach, and Verdi.
“Perfection is never the goal. It's about being special.”
One of the most in-demand singers around the world, Brownlee was recently nominated for “Male Singer of the Year” by the International Opera Awards. He has performed with nearly every leading international opera house and festival, as well as major orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Academia di Santa Cecila, Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, and the Bayerische Rundfunk Orchestra.
“Musicians are so incredibly well-equipped to be successful.”
The President of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music explains why trained musicians thrive in the business world. In a compelling discussion about what is required of conservatories to train the new musician of the 21st century and what students must do to cope with changing models of success, David Stull discusses what he did to raise funds and create a dynamic new curriculum, at a time when the cost of higher education has reached crisis levels — and why a classical musician is the best-equipped individual in any field.
“I realized, of all the places I'd played, the one that was most meaningful for me was the meat department.”
Nicholas King describes his unique path from childhood performances in a supermarket, through conservatory, to establishing his own philanthropy and performing around the world. He's won an impressive array of contests and awards, including the Congressional Medal of Recognition, and is living proof that, by helping others, you help yourself.
“We’re vulnerable: we need the approval of others in order to continue — we need the applause.”
Soprano Jennifer O'Loughlin shares a unique look into the world of a young opera singer who has received critical acclaim for her performances in Europe, America, and Japan. Her singing has been described as "a miracle of precision" and "bewitching, brilliant and theatrical." Nominated for the Best Female Lead by the Austrian Music Theater Awards, she also portrayed Amira in "La Sonnambula", winning the "AZ Stern des Jahres" for the best opera in Munich in 2015. O'Loughlin discusses making a pathway in a life in music, learning and preparing for a role, backstage routines, dealing with reviews, and the importance of a great vocal coach.
“Nervousness is a threat to the self — but if it’s not about the self, there is no threat to it.”
Award-winning violin soloist, recording artist, and born motivational speaker Rachel Barton Pine has appeared regularly with the world's major orchestra's ever since her first appearance with the Chicago Symphony at age ten. Embodying her message of hope and passionate living, her appearance on Living the Classical Life begins with a performance of J.S. Bach's D Minor Partita and continues with a discussion about the art of practicing, overcoming adversity and motivational slumps, and the pursuit of all corners of the musical life.
“I never saw music as a career.”
Since his first solo appearance with The Cleveland Orchestra in 1977, Mr. Cohen has been featured as soloist in nearly 200 performances — at Severance Hall, Carnegie Hall, Blossom Music Center, and on tour throughout the United States, Asia and Europe. He has also been a featured artist with many of the world’s leading chamber groups. His former students hold principal positions in major orchestras in North America, Europe, Mexico and Asia.
“My first experience with music was using it to self-medicate.”
Pulitzer Prize-winning music critic, author, producer, and professor Tim Page recounts how he found music at an early age and went on to write for the New York Times and the Washington Post. He discusses his love of art and music, and what it takes to be a perceptive critic. He also examines his discovery of Asperger’s Syndrome as an adult, and how it has affected his life in often surprising ways, including his friendship with Glenn Gould.
“Chamber music was like a narcotic for me.”
Merry Peckham has toured extensively throughout the US and abroad, and won the overall string category as well as the cello division of the National Federation of Music Clubs Competition. She is a founding member of the award-winning Cavani Quartet, Director of The Chamber Music Workshop at The Perlman Music Program, and is on the cello and chamber music faculties at The Cleveland Institute of Music. She is also host of the radio program Offbeat, aired weekly on WCLV, 104.9 FM.
“My mother said, ‘I never wanted you to become a pianist.’"
Distinguished pianist, recording artist, and eminent Juilliard faculty member Jerome Lowenthal discusses the changing musical world, his legendary teachers William Kapell and Alfred Cortot, the positive side of participating in competitions, and the young musician's path to success through personal and musical well-being.
“I once had to stab at a bee with my bow during a performance of Prokofiev Second.”
After nearly three decades of performing, American violinist and top-selling recording artist Anne Akiko Meyers has seen it all. In this episode, she discusses her beginnings on major stages of the world, conquering stage fright, her passion for new music, and her relationship with audiences. She also tells a moving story of early struggles and doubts that led to renewed passion for performance.
“To prepare for a competition, you train like an athlete but you perform like a poet.”
President of the prestigious Cleveland International Piano Competition, pianist Pierre van der Westhuizen shares a unique look into the world of competitions. He discusses his own musical path to being the President, what it takes to successfully prepare for and win a competition, and how a competition can produce winners with staying power. He ends with a discussion on pianists who successfully built careers without competitions, and a revealing look at how the Cleveland Competition successfully avoids scandal.
“A musician who plays a work for twenty years has actually had a longer relationship with the piece than the composer had.”
Mark Ainley is a specialist in historical piano recordings and the great pianists of the past. He has written about Dinu Lipatti, Marcelle Meyer, Alfred Cortot, Egon Petri, and other legendary pianists for various magazines and CD booklet notes. His research about Lipatti resulted in the discovery of lost recordings and their 1994 publication won a German Music Critic's Award.
“I attracted what I was looking for. I exuded what I wanted to happen.”
Zuill Bailey is a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, professor, artistic director, and sometime actor (as seen on the HBO series Oz and NBC's Homicide). He talks with us about taking up the cello as a child; a transcendent and life-changing moment on stage; making a living as a musician; finding an instrument and artistic voice; and what he's learned from the recording process.
“I started with classical music and then got disillusioned nice and early, which is good because you get it out of the way and go back to having illusions afterwards.”
Hailed by the New York Times as “Opera’s Great 25-Year-Old Hope,” Matthew Aucoin shares his passion for opera with a heartfelt traversal of Mozart’s “Figaro,” and discusses unusual pathways to classical music via an early rock band ensemble.
Recent and upcoming performances of Aucoin’s orchestral and chamber works include performances by the Zürich Tonhalle Orchestra, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the SOLI Chamber Ensemble, and the Gramercy Trio.