Classical Music

WCBU's Classical Music Now Available On 103.5 FM

Aug 8, 2019
WCBU control board
WCBU

WCBU’s classical music service is now available on 103.5 FM in Peoria.

We're talking with David Commanday, Music Director of the Heartland Festival Orchestra. The HFO is closing its current season with an all-Tchaikovsky program tomorrow night. They'll be performing Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony, which Commanday describes as a "barn-burner." The composer's Piano Concerto No. 1.  features a return appearance by pianist Michael Brown; it's a technical challenge for the performer, and it's noteworthy among the Piano Concerto repertoire in the way it puts the orchestra and the solo instrument in opposition to one another. 

Our guest this week is George Stelluto, Music Director of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra. Their 121st season closes this week with the concert, "Great Cities: New York." Selections from Edward MacDowell and Samuel Barber reflect the Romantic tradition of the city; Broadway is represented by "West Side Story" and a "collage" of show tunes.

This week, we're talking with David Commanday, Music Director of Youth Music Illinois. YMI is hosting its annual fundraising event, "A Musical Masquerade" tonight. The event features performances by the YMI ensembles, silent auctions, and wine and craft beer tastings.

This week, we're talking with George Stelluto, Music Director of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra; and with Todd Kelly, about the PSO's concert this weekend. Stelluto says the concert is like a box of Valentine's Day chocoloates, offering a sampler of musical experiences. The Todd Kelly Quintet will present original jazz compositions toward the middle of the program; dancers from the Central Illinois Ballet will perform alongside the PSO to a handful of dances; and local jazz musicans will performa at an after-party following the concert.

HFO Greets 2019 with a Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald

Jan 11, 2019

This week, David Commanday is with us to talk about the Heartland Festival Orchestra's first concert of 2019. "It's called New Year's Greeting - A Tribute to Ella." Like some of the HFO's earlier New Year's concerts, Commanday says this one incorporates the music of Broadway, and highlights the joy, spontaneity and personality of Ella Fitzgerald. He also talk about what he looks for in selecting soloists for a program like this, and about how this program in particular allows his to bring an improvisatory element to the concert.

This week, we're talking about the annual "Sing It Yourself Messiah" with conductor John Jost, and with Russ Boulton from First Federated Church in Peoria. As in past years, the organizers are providing the soloists and orchestra; the chorus will consist of the attendees.

Jost says that this weekend's performance is a slightly scaled-down version of the three-hour oratorio. Boulton talks about how the work is a perfect choice for performance in the church. The performance is aimed at encouraging potential first-time singers to participate.

This week, our guest is Dr. Cory Ganschow, Director of Choral Activities at Bradley University. The Bradley Community Chorus and Bradley Symphony Orchestra will present a program that includes Mozart's Solemn Vespers and Lux Aeterna by American composer Morten Lauridsen.

This week, we're talking with guitarist Jason Vieaux and conductor David Commanday. The Heartland Festival Orchestra presents a concert this weekend called "Guitar Classic." Vieaux is the featured soloist in a performance of Joaquin Rodrigo's "Fantasy for a Gentlemen," and in a contemporary piece called "Six Sixteen."

This week, Nathan Irwin talks with George Stelluto, conductor of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra; and with violinist Catherine Cho. The PSO opens its new season with a concert that includes the "Scottish Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra" by Max Bruch, a piece that incorporates Scottish folk songs. The program also includes the Seventh Symphony by Antonin Dvorak. Stelluto says that the composers represent a trend in the late Romantic era, to draw on the influences of traditional folk music.

This week, we're talking with David Commanday, conductor of the Heartland Festival Orchestra. Their 10th season begins next weekend, with a concert that features Brahms' First Symphony, and violinist Rachel Barton returns to perform Barhms' Violin Concerto.

Commanday talks about the history of each piece. He says the Violin Concerto pushed the limits of the instrument (and the soloists who play the piece). The First Symphony includes deliberate homages and callbacks to the symphonies of Beethoven

This week, we're talking about the premiere of "Ruth: The Musical" with composer David Getz, and Courtney Huffman, who sings the role of Ruth. As Getz explains, the work has been seven years in the making; a crucial turning point came last year when he performed in a musical for the first time. The musical tells the Biblical story. Getz and Huffman say it's a story of emotional contrasts that lends itself well to a musical treatment.

"Ruth: The Musical" will debut Saturday night at 7:00 at Grace Church in Morton.

John Jost is with us to talk about the Peoria Bach Festival. As in previous years, the festival presents an array of activities--lectures, recitals and concerts--over the next week. Jost talks about several of those events, about Bach's particular versatility as a composer, and about his enduring place in the world of music.

The Peoria Bach Festival opens with an organ concert, tonight at 7:30 at Westminster Presbyterian Church. More concerts and events continue through June 10th at Trinity Lutheran Church.

Peoria Symphony Offers Musical Visions of Rome

Apr 27, 2018

This week, we're talking with George Stelluto, conductor of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra, and soloist Naomi Louisa O'Connell about the PSO's upcoming concert. "Great Cities: Rome" features Mendelssohn's "Italian" Symphony, Respighi's "Pines of Rome," and "The Song of Memories" by Giuseppe Martucci.

They talk about the works on the program, and about O'Connell's earlier trip to Peoria last month, which included a number of appearances at local schools.

The Peoria Symphony Orchestra presents "Great Cities: Rome" Saturday night at 7:30 in the Peoria Civic Center Theater.

Heartland Festival Orchestra

David Commanday, Artistic Director of the Heartland Festival Orchestra, is with us again to talk about the HFO's next concert. "Jazz in Spring" features Mendelssohn's "Midsummer Night's Dream Overture" and Aaron Copland's "Appalachian Spring." The second half of the program includes two different interpretations of the music to "Peer Gynt:" Edvard Grieg's original compositions, and Duke Ellington's jazz interpretations of those same melodies.

Bradley University

Our guest this week is John Jost, with the Bradley University Music Department. He joined us to talk about this weekend's concert with the Bradley Community Chorus. It's a double milestone for the choir -- the ensemble is celebrating it's 60th anniversary, and this will be Jost's final concert as conductor.

The program consists of a selection of popular opera choruses, including the "Toreador Song" by Georges Bizet and Borodin's "Polovtsian Dance." Narration by Lee Wenger will introduce each of the composers and pieces.

Heartland Festival Orchestra

This week, our guests are David Commanday, Artistic Director of the Heartland Festival Orchestra; and soloist Sal Viviano. The HFO kicks off 2018 with a concert, "New Year's Greeting - That's Amore." Inspired by the Vienna Philharmonic's tradition of New Year's Day performances, this concert blends classical and popular repertoire. The musical traditions of Italy will be front and center -- represented by operatic works from Puccini and Rossini; and by the music of Italian-American singers Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.

Peoria Symphony Concert Offers "Winter Dreams"

Dec 15, 2017
Peoria Symphony Orchestra

Conductor George Stelluto and Concertmaster Marcia Henry Liebenow are with us this week to talk about the next concert with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra. The concert is called "Winter Dreams," and it offers musical reflections on the season by Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi, Max Bruch and others.

PSO Goes Hollywood With "La La Land"

Oct 20, 2017

This week, we're talking with George Stelluto, conductor of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra. Their next concert represents a departure for the orchestra; they will playing live to accompany a screening of the film "la La Land." Stelluto talks about what concert-goers can expect from the performance, and about the different demands this concert places on him and the orchestra. He also explains the "click track" which keeps the musicians and the film in sync.

The Peoria Symphony Orchestra presents its next concert Saturday night at 7:30 in the Peoria Civic Center Theatre.

Our guests this week are George Stelluto, conductor of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra; and Gary Roberts, President of Bradley University. The Peoria Symphony begins it's 120th season this weekend. They talk about the shared history of the orchestra and the university (which celebrates it's own 120th anniversary this year). The concert recognizes other notable anniversaries, of Johannes Brahms and Leonard Bernstein.

HFO Season Gets Underway with Beethoven's Ninth

Sep 1, 2017

David Commanday, conductor of the Heartland Festival Orchestra, is with us to talk about the concert that opens the orchestra's ninth season. Fittingly, the program includes Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Commanday says it's the culmination of Beethoven's symphonic works, and it includes the well-known "Ode to Joy," with its themes of freedom and universal brotherhood.

HFO Concert Crosses Musical Borders and Genres

May 19, 2017

This week, we're talking with cellist Patrice Jackson and David Commanday, Artistic Director of the Heartland Festival Orchestra. The HFO's next concert is called "New World." It features music by Dvorak, Carl Maria von Weber and American composer David Popper. Jackson is the featured soloist for this performance. She talks about her own arrangement of Bruno Mars' 24K Magic," which she'll perform with the orchestra. She also talks about her wide-ranging musical pursuits, and how she encourages a similar versatility in her students.

PSO Celebrates "Heroic Spirit" on Saturday

Apr 28, 2017

This week, we're talking with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra's George Stelluto, and with violinist Arnaud Sussman. The PSO is presenting a concert with music of Beethoven and Brahms this weekend. They talk about about the Brahms Violin Concerto, and Beethoven Third Symphony. Stelluto describes the Beethoven Symphony -- which was originally dedicated to Napoleon -- as a transition point between the Classical and Romantic Eras. Sussmann calls the Brahms "the king of all the Violin Concertos," one which treats the violin as an integral part of the orchestra.

HFO Concert Presents Music of Paris

Apr 21, 2017

This week, we're talking with David Commanday, Artistsic Director of the Heartland Festival Orchestra.

This week, we're talking with Marcia Henry Liebenow and Kyle Dzapo. They're two of the musicians featured in "Chamber Music by Candlelight." The concert - part of the Trinity Concert Series - features chamber music by composers ranging from Bach to Lukas Foss. They talk about selecting the works to include in the program, about what Trinity Lutheran Church offers as a performance venue, and about the unqiuely personal and intimate experience of performing chamber music.

"Chamber Music by Candlelight" will be presented Friday night at 7:00 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Peoria.

This week, Nathan Irwin is talking with David Commanday, Music Director of the Heartland Festival Orchestra. In their next concert, the orchestra is joined by three former finalists from "American Idol." Commanday talks about the three guest artists, and the different genres and vocal types they represent. He says the concert offers the orchestra an opportunity to present a different type of repertoire. And he talks about "American Idol" as a cultural and musical phenomenon.

CIYS Presents "A Musical Masquerade"

Mar 3, 2017
Central Illinois Youth Symphony

This week, we're talking with Jeff McSweeney, Executive Director of the Central Illinois Youth Symphony. They're presenting "A Musical Masquerade" tonight. It's a fund-raising event to support the CIYS and its programs for young musicians.

We talk about the CIYS, and the variety of orchestras and chamber ensembles it encompasses, and about some of the benefits young performers derive from participating in music. We also talk about what to expect from this this evening's event.

PSO Presents "Gershwin Matinee" on Sunday

Jan 20, 2017

This week, we're talking with George Stelluto, Music Director of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra. They're presenting a matinee concert this weekend, tailored to children and families. It opens with "Gershwin's Magic Key," a presentation that introduces us to George Gershwin and some of his best-known songs. It's one of several productions from  Classical Kids LIVE! which the PSO has featured. Stelluto talks about how it works to open the concert

HFO Rings in 2017 with "New Year's Greeting"

Jan 6, 2017
Heartland Festival Orchestra

This week, we're talking with David Commanday, Music Director of the Heartkand Festival Orchestra. Their next concert is "New Year's Greeting: Vienna to Broadway." The program blends opera favorites and music from the Broadway stage. Commanday talks about some of those pieces, the history of the HFO's New Year concerts, and about the two featured soloists - Sarah Jane McMahon and John Cudia.

The Heartland Festival Orchestra presents "New Year's Greeting: Vienna to Broadway" Saturday night at 7:30 at Five Points Washington.

Peoria Symphony Features "Russian Masters"

Nov 18, 2016
Peoria Symphony Orchestra

This week, we're talking with George Stelluto - Music Director of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra - and with cellist Richard Hirschl. The PSO presents a concert of Russian music in its next concert, including an overture by Mikhail Glinka, Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony,  and the Cello Concerto by Dmitri Shostakovich. Hirschl offers a performer's perspective on the Shostakovich work and it's historical context, and Stelluto describes how Tchaikovsky's symphony reflects the composer's emotional state.

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