The cast of Season 3 of the worldwide smash series Downton Abbey. Carnival Film & Television Limited 2012 for MASTERPIECE/PBS hide caption

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Not mainstream enough to mark? A portrait of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau taken circa 1965. Erich Auerbach/Getty Images 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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In Minneapolis, the locked-out musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra are appealing for public support. /Courtesy of the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra hide caption

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Was 2012 The Year That American Orchestras Hit The Wall?

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The real Joyce Hatto, pre-scandal, with condutor Martin Fogel and composer Walter Gaze Cooper at the piano in 1954. Fred Ramage/Getty Images hide caption

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E.T.A. Hoffmann's original story, "Nutcracker and Mouse King," is darker and spookier than the ballet version most people know. iStockphoto.com hide caption

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No Sugar Plums Here: The Dark, Romantic Roots Of 'The Nutcracker'

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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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Whatever Happened To The Classical Christmas Album?

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Marin Alsop conducted the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra in a beachfront concert Sunday for 20,000 people in Santos, Brazil. Desiree Furoni hide caption

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Marin Alsop: A Utopian Musical Dream From South America

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Tenor Rolando Villazon: "I don't think you learn anything from blogs and reviews." Philippe Merle/AFP/Getty Images 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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Myrlie Evers-Williams leads her three children — Reena (from left), Van and Darrell — at the family piano, circa 1965. Courtesy of the Evers family hide caption

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A Civil Rights Figure's Long Road — To Carnegie Hall

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Andre Rieu's latest release is an album and DVD of Christmas music called Home for the Holidays. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Andre Rieu On The Allure Of The Waltz

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The late sitar master and Indian cultural legend Ravi Shankar performing in Bangalore in February 2012. AFP/AFP/Getty Images 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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Discussion: Top 10 Classical Albums Of 2012

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The late sitarist, composer and musical ambassador Ravi Shankar, who died Tuesday at age 92. Carolyn Jones/courtesy of EMI Classics 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

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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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