classical music | KALW

classical music

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Every day brings an avalanche of anxiety-inducing news: The spread of novel coronavirus, the reaction of the markets, the stress on the healthcare system, and the pending November elections.  Singularly, each event is worrying. Collectively, it is hard to take it all in. Where can we find a moment of respite from all the news? Host Grace Won talks with a group of authors, artists and experts to hear how they are using art, music and literature to cope in these challenging times. What are you listening to, reading or watching to calm your nerves?


Black Violin Breaks Boundaries, Challenges Stereotypes & Empowers Youth

Feb 26, 2020
Mark Clennon

On this edition of Your Call, we’re joined by Wil Baptiste and Kev Marcus, the incredible classically trained musicians who’ve infused hip hop and classical music to form Black Violin.


While there’s no doubt that Johannes and Clara were very close and loved each other, it was Clara who suffered the most from this triangle. 

Featured composition: J. Brahms' Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34


Explorations is a co-production between KALW and San Francisco Performances

Today we discover the source of Brahms' notorious mysogyniny and how that affected his relationship with Clara.

Featured composition: Brahms' Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op. 34

Explorations is a co-production between KALW and San Francisco Performances. Go to thier "Saturday Morning series" and experience how Explorations comes to life! 

After Robert's hospitilazation, Brahms immediately came to Dusseldorf and stayed with Clara, helping with the children and the Schumann house. Staying with Clara until Robert's death. But what would this mean for their relationship?

Featured composition: Brahms Quartet No. 2 in A Major, Op. 51 No. 2

 Explorations is a co-production between KALW and San Francisco Performances 

Robert Schumann was already unhealthy when the young Johanness knocked on his door in October of 1853, but no one knew just how bad it would get.

Featured music: R. Schumann String Quartet in A Major, Op. 41, No. 3  Explorations is a co-production between KALW and San Francisco Performances Go to thier "Saturday Morning series" and experience how Explorations comes to life!

 Clara’s father was jealously protective of her money making potential and he did everything in his power to keep her from seeing Robert Schumann. But Clara and Robert had other plans.

Featured music: Robert Schumann's Piano Quintet in Eb Major, Op. 44


Prog 3 of 8: Clara Weick

Oct 21, 2019

Clara was a mother of 8, wife to the famous Robert Schumann, a skilled composer and one of the most celebrated concert pianists of her time with a career spanning more than 50 years…. But before all that, she was Clara Wieck  from Leipzig. 

 Featured music: Clara Schumann's Piano Trio in G Minor, Op. 17___________________

After witnessing Brahms’ immense talent, Robert Schumann wrote a now infamous article that was supposed to praise Brahms. But young Johannes was not yet ready for the sudden fame.

Featured music: Johaness Brahms Quartet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 51, No. 1



Our 14th season, entitled “A Triangle for the Ages,” is all about the relationship between Robert and Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms.

In program 1 a young Johannes Brahms finally meets Robert and Clara Schumann, and life for all of them will never be the same.

In the mid 1850s a talented but not yet known Johannes Brahms would embark on a whirlwind concert tour through Germany that would place him at the door of the most influential composer and critic of the time. One Robert Schumann.

Several callers inquiring about the music I selected tonight prompted me to make this post.  From flutist Alice K. Dade's recording "Living Music - New Chamber Music for Flute" (on the Naxos label, 8.559831) I played "Air" by Aaron Jay Kernis, arranged for flute and string quartet, and "Pavanes and Symmetries" by Dan Coleman.  The rest of the program was given to guitarist Virginia Luque's interpretation of the "Goldberg Variations" by JS Bach (Iberia Productions, IPDC007).

On the June 4, 2017 edition of Work with Marty Nemko, I talk with (interesting) musicologist Robert Greenberg about what it's really like to be a classical musician: soloist, in an orchestra, and conductor.

Along the way, we'll play cuts from our favorite classical music that we think would be ideal introductions for people who haven't been exposed to or dislike classical music.

Bay Area Beats: Village Road Trio

Jan 26, 2017
Courtesy of Village Road Trio


The Village Road Trio reimagines classical music with folk influences. The trio shared some of their music in this edition of Bay Area Beats.

Holly McDede

All week long, we've been playing this sound and asking you to guess what exactly it is and where exactly in the Bay Area we recorded it.

A musician, going deaf, fights for a life in music

Jul 21, 2014
Rachel Wong



From the moment Sandy Mix wakes up in the morning, she is thinking about music. Over coffee, she plans the day’s lessons.

“I can’t believe how lucky I am, because everybody wants to do the thing that they love, and hardly anybody gets to do it,” she says.

The new name for "Then & Now" with host Sarah Cahill.  "Revolutions Per Minute" speaks to the musical revolutions of Beethoven, Stravinsky, and John Cage, among others, and evokes the 33 rpms many of us treasure, whether we're sentimentalists or audiophiles.

Then And Now

May 24, 2013

Kevin Vance sitting in for Sarah Cahill, will play guitar music of Fernando Sor, piano music of Robert Schumann, A Mozart string quartet and a Bach Cello suite.  We'll also hear some 20th century music from William Kraft and Philip Glass.

Photo by Steve DiBartomeo

This week on Open Air, host David Latulippe talks with Nicole Paiement, director of Opera Parallèle, which is presenting Ainadamar, the 2003 opera opera  by Osvaldo Golijov, inspired by the confrontation between poet Federico García Lorca and the Fascist regime during the Spanish Civil War, and with Andrew Whitfield, assistant conductor and chorus master of Opera San Jose, which is presenting Verdi's "Il Trovatore in a massive production inspired by Game of Thrones."  For the first Thursday of the month, SF Chronicle music critic Joshua Kosman offers a preview of the month ahead in

Spring into summer with the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony (BARS)!  Eric Jansen's guests on this live edition of Out in the Bay are BARS principal clarinetist Susan Barnes; and San Francisco Opera violinist and Oakland East Bay Symphony co-concertmaster Dawn Harms (pictured), who is featured guest soloist for BARS' March 24 concert. They'll play selections from upcoming BARS concerts and tell us about this four-year-old LGBT community orchestra that's been called "a breath of fresh air" in the Bay Area classical music scene.