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Classical Breakdown

Classical Breakdown

Join host John Banther for Classical Breakdown, a new podcast from Classical WETA that takes audiences behind the music, making the classical music world understandable and accessible, leading to a deeper appreciation of all things classical. From in-depth conversations with local musicians and touring artists to observations and analysis of well-known compositions, Classical Breakdown aims to share the fascinating and entertaining aspects behind the artistry.

Got a question or comment about something you've heard, or an idea for a future episode? Let us know!

Recent Episodes

23. Lawrence Brownlee on equality in classical music

June 16, 2020

Brownlee talks about equality in classical music, his experience as a black man in the world of opera, and what we can do to encourage positive change towards a more diverse future in classical music.

22. Haydn's lost cello concerto and its rediscovery

June 2, 2020

Haydn's 1st cello concerto was lost for 200 years and is now considered one of the greatest cello concertos of the 18th century. Dr. Greenwald tells us how music can go missing, we examine musical examples that set this concerto apart, and we enjoy a full performance!

21. NSO Principal Flute Aaron Goldman talks flute and shares his journey in music

May 19, 2020

When was the flute invented, how did it evolve, what does a bass flute sound like? Learn all this and more with Principal Flute of the National Symphony Orchestra, Aaron Goldman.

20. Debussy's La Mer - Part 3

May 5, 2020

Debussy's La Mer is as imaginative and playful as it was in 1905, and while the original audience wasn't as receptive, it's become an orchestra staple over the last century. The final movement is called "Dialogue du vent et de la mer" (Dialogue of the Wind and the Sea) and features a theme originating in the oboe. We'll hear from Nicholas Stovall, Principal Oboe of the National Symphony Orchestra, on what this passage means to him and why he had to play it during Principal Flute auditions.

19. Debussy's La Mer - Part 2

April 21, 2020

The trumpet shines through in Jeux de Vagues, (Play of the Waves), the second movement of Debussy's La mer. This is part 2 of our 3 part series on Debussy's enchanting orchestral work, La Mer.

18. Debussy's La Mer - Part 1

April 7, 2020

An orchestral staple today, this work about "the sea" wasn't well received at it's premiere. Audiences may have expected a Strauss-esque symphonic poem to bring the sea to life, but Debussy was more interested in the abstract. This is part 1 of our 3 part series on Debussy's enchanting orchestral work, La Mer.

17. Artist Relief Tree, supporting artists affected by cancellations due to COVID-19

March 24, 2020

The Arts community is severely affected by the current situation involving COVID-19. Artist Relief Tree was created by Morgan Brophy to give direct support to artists and musicians.

16. The Life and Music of Amy Beach, an American pioneer

March 10, 2020

She was America's first woman composer to have a symphony performed by a major orchestra and the first American composer fully educated in the United States. She was praised and recognized but her journey to success was an uphill battle with obstacles and challenges.

15. Haydn's final London Symphony

February 25, 2020

Let's go on a musical deep dive of Haydn's final symphony. With musical examples we can breakdown Sonata Form, hear influences of other composers, and folk song!

14. What is a Symphony? Part 2

February 11, 2020

Beethoven changed all ideas and expectations about the Symphony. Bill Bukowski joins me as we figure out what happened to the symphony after Beethoven through the 21st century.