VPR Classical

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French composer Camille Saint-Saens had a long and successful career as a pianist, organist and composer. Over the course of his life he saw music change dramatically as the world moved from one century to another. Yet, his music stood grounded and his style remained consistent. Claude Debussy called Camille Saint-Saens, “The musician of tradition”.

Our first Bach & Brews was a success, so let's have another round!

Missed the first one? Here's what we're doing: Classical music often gets a bad rap for being too stuffy and formal, but what if it didn’t have to be? VPR Classical is setting out to break down those walls with our new series of chamber music reading parties, Bach & Brews.

Courtesy of Music-COMP

Each month, VPR Classical highlights the work of talented young composers from across the region for our Student Composer Showcase. For August, we'll meet a recent graduate of North Country Union High School, Jonathan DeRoehn.

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In 1865 the 13th amendment of the constitution was ratified, abolishing slavery in the United States forever. As a result an entire population of citizens was now free to pursue their education and their artistic dreams. The next generation saw the development of new musical styles; the American art-forms of blues, ragtime and jazz.

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When Dvorak arrived in New York City in 1892, he wasn’t just listening to the music made in the conservatory halls. He turned his attention to the tapestry of sound and expression from ethnic groups all across America. These influences came together in his 9th Symphony which he named The New World.

Dennis Bathory-Kitsz

Jul 19, 2016

Dennis Bathory Kitsz, a Northfield Falls composer and teacher, has written a new book that highlights the accessibility and common humanity of classical music.

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The musical challenge of the 19th century composer was finding the balance between the traditional styles and forms of the past while embracing their own heritage and homeland. The Bohemian composer, Antonin Dvorak, was extremely successful at walking this fine line.  Many consider Dvorak to be the greatest Czech nationalist composer of all time.

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In the ballrooms of Vienna in the 19th century, if you heard a waltz it was highly likely that it was written by a member of the Strauss family; either the father, Johann, or one of his three sons, Johann Jr., Josef or Eduard.

Susie Francy is a recent graduate from Leland and Gray, and July’s featured composer for VPR Classical's Student Composer Showcase.

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Although he wasn’t part of the so called “Russian Five” circle of composers, Pyotr Llyich Tchiakovsky stands as one of the most beloved and most talented Russian composers of all time.

Bach & Brews: A Chamber Music Sight Reading Party

Jun 27, 2016

Classical music often gets a bad rap for being too stuffy and formal, but what if it didn’t have to be? VPR Classical is setting out to break down those walls with our new series of chamber music reading parties, Bach & Brews.

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In the 19th century there were two seemingly opposing influences in the world of music. First, the growing tide of Romantic Nationalism was sweeping the Western world as each people group sought ways to express and preserve their cultural identity. Second, the power of the music from the 18th century, especially of the German masters Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, had been burned into the collective consciousness. In Russia, these two forces met in the music of Mikhail Glinka and a group of composers we call “The Russian Five”.

Music is one of the ways that we define ourselves.

Beginning around the 19th century, we’re able to think about composers not along lines of genre or form but along lines of nationality. 


Reuben Jackson returns to VPR Classical to host Where Have We Met Before?, featuring composers whose musical versatility, courage and lyricism embodies American originality.

Broadcast Saturday, July 2nd at 11 a.m. and Monday, July 4th at 9 p.m.

Credit David Finlayson

Every summer in Vermont, musicians come together to find the quiet, space and time to explore the meaning and magic of chamber music. For the next month leading up the Marlboro Music Festival you can hear the Magic of Marlboro Sundays at noon and Monday evenings at 8 on VPR Classical.

Timeline: Viva Verdi

Jun 13, 2016
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A month after Giuseppe Verdi’s death in January of 1901, there was a public procession as his remains were delivered to the “House of Rest” in Milan. Around 300,000 mourners gathered to pay tribute to an opera composer and to hear a rousing version of “Va, pensiero” from Nabucco sung by a choir of 820 voices lead by legendary conductor Arturo Toscanini. Verdi’s music had struck a chord in all of Italy, becoming the soundtrack for a political movement called the Risorgimento.

Scoppettone family

Anna Scoppettone graduates from Montpelier High School this month, and will head to the University of Connecticut Honors College in the fall. Her piece Where Do We Go? premiered in April, and tells the story of a Syrian refugee family.

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Early 19th century Italian opera was dominated by the works of the three “E’s”; Bellini, Donizetti and Rossini. But if there is one composer whose work stands on par with Mozart and Wagner in the operatic repertoire, it’s Giuseppe Verdi.

Sara Baker

Last year, Danielle O'Hallisey found herself amidst a coming-together of unrelated events, the result of which led to the composition of an exciting new work.

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Johannes Brahms was first introduced to the world through the writings of Robert Schumann who praised his gifts so highly that many expected Brahms to be Beethoven’s natural successor. Brahms spent the better part of his career under the shadow of his hero. This pressure wasn’t just external. Brahms was his own worst critic and often wrote his friends about his desire to live up to the music of Beethoven. As a result, Brahms’ “1st Symphony” took over 20 years to complete.