Music

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. 

Morton Civic Chorus Presents "Encore 2019" Next Week

May 17, 2019

Our guest this week is Denise Adams, director of the Morton Civic Chorus. The Chorus is presenting its spring fundraising concert, "Encore 2019" next week. It's also celebrating Adams' 35-year anniversary at the podium.

Adams talk a bit about the history of the Chorus: It grew out of a fundraising event to raise money for someone who needed a kidney transplant. Now, proceeds from the spring concert go to the Central Illinois Memorial Kidney Fund, which provides services to patients with chronic kidney disease.

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 Jimmy Bridgeman, the owner of Rock Solid Studios in Dunlap; and with musician David McDonald. Bridgeman says he started his studio in an affort to provide a quality recording facility for local musicians. They've since expanded to add songwriting workshops amd open-mic nights, and their "Coffeehouse sessions." Those combine elements of a recording studio and a small performance venue.

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 Jerry Kolb from public television station WTVP. The station is holding a CD release party with the bands The Deep Hollow and UpState. Both groups have been featured on WTVP's program "State and Water," and both are now out with their second albums.

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.

This week, we're talking with singer-songwriter Barry Cloyd. He's presenting a concert Saturday night at the Forest Park Nature Center. He has a long history with the venue; he considers his annual performances there as a kind of "home concert," an opportunity to share his music with some of his most loyal fans. This concert reunites Cloyd with some of his longtime musical collaborators, who have performed together under the name, "Celtricity."

This week, we're talking with Clifford Clark, Assistant Director of Peoria Players' production "West Side Story." It's one of his favorite shows -- this is the fifth time he's been involved in a production.

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

Erin Feis Returns to Peoria Riverfront This Weekend

Aug 24, 2018

This week, we're talking about Erin Feis, the annual Peoria Irish festival, with Kate Kenny.

The festival offers an impressive lineup of music, with bands performing on three different stages throughout the weekend. Also on offer: The Highland Games, featuring traditional athletic contests like the Caber Toss and the Braemar Stone.

Kenny tells us about the planning that goes into scheduling the entertainment for the festival -- it usually starts a year ahead of time. She also reflects on how Erin Feis has grown over the years.

We're joined this week by Kelleen Nitsche and Joe Spanier, to talk about Ignite! Peoria. The annual event spotlights the range of artistic and creative opportunities in central Illinois. Along with booths for artists and performing groups, the event includes two stages with performances throughout the day; and creation stations, where attendees can engage in hands-on activities.

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.

This week, we're talking with Leigh Ann Brown and Rachel Berchtold about the Fourth Friday Tazewell Art Loop. Like First Fridays, these monthly events are intended to showcase local artists and musicians; however, the Tazewell County effort also includes a partnership with local small businesses. Berchtold and Brown talk about the value of building partnerships between the business and arts sectors, and about some of the special events on tap for tonight. There's also a scavenger hunt that runs all summer.

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.

WTVP Presents "State and Water" Live Concert

Mar 9, 2018

Our guest this week is Jerry Kolb, from public television station WTVP. They're hosting a concert, "State and Water 'Spring String' to Benefit WTVP" tomorrow night. We talk about their program "State and Water," which spotlights local musicians and bands and is now gearing up for its third season. The concert features performances by four bands who have appeared on the program. It's also the first event being held in the Monarch Music Hall (the former Limelight Eventplex).

Barry Cloyd

Our guest this week is singer/songwriter Barry Cloyd. He's presenting a concert tomorrow night at 7:00 at the Forest Park Nature Center. It's part of their "Songs from the Woods" concert series.

This has become an annual event for Cloyd - he refers to it as his "home concert," and uses it an as opportunity to reunite with other musicians he's worked with for years. He says this concert will include plenty of new songs. He also talks about why he values the Forest Park Nature Center, both as a performance venue and as a source of inspiration for his music.

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.

Our guest this week is jazz vocalist Judy Page. She's the featured performer in this month's "Jazz Night in the Heights" event, sponsored by the Central Illinois Jazz Society. Page talks about some of the ensembles she's been associated with, about being drawn to the jazz standards of the 1920s and 1930s, and the advantages of working with many of the same musicians over a long period.

"Jazz Night in the Heights" begins Sunday night at 6:00 at the Trailside Event Center, at 4416 North Prospect Road in Peoria Heights.

There’s another new effort to honor the memory of Chief Illiniwek during this week’s University of Illinois homecoming celebration -- a decade after the U of I retired the Chief. However, it's meeting opposition from Native American groups on the Urbana campus.

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.

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