San Juan Bautista Mission in California, the inspiration for Kevin Puts' Symphony No. 4.
July 24, 2013 Hear excerpts from three new albums, each telling a distinctly different American story — from a Toscanini-obsessed symphonic fantasy to a special preview of a majestic symphony of clashing cultures.
Soprano Natalie Dessay, with tenor Charles Castonovo, in Philippe Béziat's documentary Becoming Traviata.
June 4, 2013 For a film built almost completely from rehearsals on a bare stage, there's a surprising amount of drama — especially between a stage director and his charismatic star, French soprano Natalie Dessay.
Ingolf Wunder pays tribute to 300 years of keyboard music on his new album 300.
April 23, 2013 The young Ingolf Wunder shines in Mozart, Jorge Federico Osorio reintroduces a Mexican classic and Elisveta Blumina reveals the gentle side of Valentine Silvestrov in three compelling new piano recordings.
Conductor Colin Davis concludes his cycle of Carl Nielsen's symphonies with the London Symphony Orchestra.
February 20, 2013 Turn your ears toward three albums now tickling ours: clever Nielsen, glowing Finland and one battered electric guitar.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/172428381/172482610" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
Violist Nadia Sirota.
Samantha West/courtesy of the artist
February 12, 2013 From Christopher Purves' bottomless bass voice and the soaring Sibelius Fifth to a violist's new take on the Baroque, it's this week's list of albums we can't stop listening to.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/171740912/171800850" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
Composer Mohammed Fairouz, whose hour-long chamber opera Sumeida's Song recently appeared on recording and on stage.
Samantha West/courtesy of the artist
February 5, 2013 A intense but modestly scaled new opera called Sumeia's Song, written by rising young Arab-American composer Mohammed Fairouz, offers clues into how chamber-sized presentations can be successfully both financially and artistically. And Philip Glass' new Walt Disney opera streams for free Wednesday.
The mountainside Montserrat monastery, north of Barcelona, inspired Paul Moravec to write a cello concerto.
Luis Davilla/Cover/Getty Images
January 22, 2013 The Pulitzer Prize winner has written pieces inspired by places as far flung as Venice, New Hampshire and a monastery in the mountains of Northern Spain. These dramatically diverse locations spawned picturesque musical ideas ranging from classical to jazz to klezmer.
Vissarion Shebalin's music, like that of his compatriots Shostakovich and Prokoviev, was denounced by Soviet officials.
January 15, 2013 Like his friend and compatriot Dmitri Shostakovich, Soviet composer Vissarion Shebalin swayed with the dictates of the regime, from grand success to humiliating condemnation. A new album of orchestral suites puts the lighter side of Shebalin's music into focus.
Violinist Leonidas Kavakos.
courtesy of the artist
January 8, 2013 Hear an excerpt from a new recording of Beethoven's violin sonatas by the violinist and his collaborator, pianist Enrico Pace, that keeps the spotlight on the compositions, not the soloist. A musician's musician, Kavakos focuses on more than just the pretty sounds his instrument can make.
Classical pianist Simone Dinnerstein and singer-songwriter Tift Merritt have an album coming out in March.
January 3, 2013 January is a slow month for new albums. To tide curious listeners over, we offer an exclusive sampler of musical treats soon to come — ranging from opera star Jonas Kaufmann in Wagner to the unlikely pairing of a Bach pianist and a rising singer-songwriter.
On their new album, cellist Steven Isserlis and pianist Thomas AdÃ¨s guide the listener to far-flung locales, conjured by an odd assortment of composers.
December 18, 2012 Cellist Steven Isserlis and pianist-composer Thomas Adès play together with uncommon instinct and energy. They shine in a recital of disparate pieces, culminating in a world-premiere recording of an eclectic new work by Adès.
A 1910 portrait of King George V in procession. A new album of choral works by Hubert Parry features music he wrote for the king's coronation one year later.
December 4, 2012 At a time when British music needed a boost, Victorian era composer, teacher and scholar Hubert Parry came to the rescue. A new album of his neglected works by the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales and conductor Neeme Järvi swells with English pride.
Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato.
Josef Fischnaller/courtesy of the artist
November 27, 2012 Hear a celebrated mezzo-soprano sing an aria from her exceptional new recording of Baroque opera selections, ranging from Handel and Haydn to nearly forgotten — but fiery and fabulous — arias by composers including Orlandini and Giacomelli.
The special effects in Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach's music helped forge a new cutting-edge style.
/De Agostini/Getty Images
November 20, 2012 The quirky musical habits of J.S. Bach's most impressive son would later become standard practice for composers of the next generation. British pianist Danny Driver uncovers the impetuous mood swings, curious key changes and whiplash stops and starts that define Bach's leading-edge style.
Cellist Alisa Weilerstein.
Gerardo Antonio Sanchez Torres/courtesy of the artist
November 6, 2012 Hear an excerpt of MacArthur "genius" cellist Alisa Weilerstein's excellent pairing of the Elgar Cello Concerto — recorded with Daniel Barenboim, whose late wife Jacqueline Du Pre's name was synonymous with this piece— and the cello concerto by Elliott Carter, who died yesterday at 103.
For violinist Gidon Kremer's new album, he commissioned 11 composers to rework and build on keyboard music by J.S. Bach.
Courtesy of ECM records
October 30, 2012 Over the centuries, the durable music of J.S. Bach has withstood almost every type of makeover — sounding unscathed on anything from a banjo to a Japanese shamisen. Violinist Gidon Kremer's new album features fresh arrangements of the master's music and new works by 11 contemporary composers.
The vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, founded and directed by Brad Wells (left).
Stephen Spinelli/Courtesy of the artists
October 23, 2012 Hear this youthful group bring a 21st-century spin to a capella singing on their debut album, featuring new music by Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs and other exciting contemporary composers. Their joyful sounds range from Mongolian throat singing to the Moonglows' doo-wop — in just one piece.
Composer-conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen's award-winning Violin Concerto receives its debut recording.
Mat Hennek/Deutsche Grammophon
October 16, 2012 The composer-conductor's award-winning Violin Concerto makes a stunning CD debut with violinist and McArthur "genius grant" fellow Leila Josefowicz. The exceptionally vivid music says farewell to the LA Philharmonic, which he led for 17 years and turned into a model of innovation.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/163000365/162999663" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
The Budapest String Quartet in 1919.
October 16, 2012 Among the most central pieces of the classical-music repertoire are the 16 string quartets Beethoven composed over the course of his career. For critic Lloyd Schwartz, these quartets, especially as recorded by the Budapest String Quartet, were crucial to his own musical upbringing.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/163009901/163016935" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
Vagn Holmboe is considered Denmark's finest composer of symphonies after Carl Nielsen.
Jesper Hom/Dacapo records
October 2, 2012 The brilliant and rigorously built chamber symphonies by Vagn Holmboe have finally made it to disc. Love Nielsen? Give this other Danish composer a try.
Another solid album from Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz shows he's an artist of distinction.
September 26, 2012 With a new album, Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz proves his multiple wins at the 2005 Chopin Competition were no fluke.
Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov — a once-in-a-generation artist at just 21?
Roger Mastroianni /courtesy of the artist
September 18, 2012 A blazingly talented young Russian pianist and prizewinner records the concerto that's become his calling card.
Septuagenarian conductor Neeme Järvi brings youthful vigor to an album of brilliant pieces by Saint-Saëns.
Simon van Boxtel/
September 4, 2012 A new album, energetically conducted by Neeme Järvi, captures old chestnuts and new surprises by Camille Saint-Saëns in spectacular sound.
Pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim captured in a 2006 photo from Berlin.
MIGUEL VILLAGRAN/AFP/Getty Images
August 28, 2012 Hear an excerpt of a brilliant new set of Beethoven concertos featuring pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim.
French composer Jules Massenet died 100 years ago, leaving the opera world with a wealth of elegantly composed dramas.
Topical Press Agency/Getty Images
August 14, 2012 A new 23-CD set explores the suave elegance of one of the most successful opera composers.
NPR thanks our sponsors
Become an NPR sponsor