Reneé Fleming (right) and Susan Graham — two "cheerful Americans" often mistaken for each other — are planning an intimate evening of French song. Craig T. Mathew/Mathew Imaging hide caption

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The mountainside Montserrat monastery, north of Barcelona, inspired Paul Moravec to write a cello concerto. Luis Davilla/Cover/Getty Images hide caption

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Martin Luther King Jr. waves to supporters during the 1963 March on Washington and President Barack Obama speaks at his first inauguration in 2009. Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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"Music modulates levels of dopamine in the brain which is a chemical responsible for reward and pleasure," says author Daniel Levitin. iStockphoto.com hide caption

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Tell us your hopes for classical music in 2013. Lalito/iStockphoto.com hide caption

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Classical pianist Simone Dinnerstein and singer-songwriter Tift Merritt have an album coming out in March. Sony Classical hide caption

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A sampling of one listener's cherished classical Christmas albums from a few years back. Mito Habe-Evans/NPR hide caption

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On their new album, cellist Steven Isserlis and pianist Thomas Adès guide the listener to far-flung locales, conjured by an odd assortment of composers. Hyperion hide caption

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Pianist Jeremy Denk, whose album of Ligeti and Beethoven landed on our Top 10 Classical of 2012. Michael Wilson/courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Soprano Galina Vishnevskaya was once caleld the "Russian Maria Callas" for her intense interpretations. Capitol Records, Inc, courtesy of EMI Classics hide caption

itoggle caption Capitol Records, Inc, courtesy of EMI Classics

Prominent musicians remember American composer Elliott Carter (who would have turned 104 today) through his music. Carter died last month. Erich Auerbach/Getty Images hide caption

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Swiss soprano Lisa Della Casa's sweet and silvery voice was perfect for the music of Richard Strauss. Erich Auerbach/Getty Images hide caption

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