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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

26. The life of Beethoven

September 8, 2020

Discover the life and works of one classical music's greatest composers! His life was full of groundbreaking music, but it was also tragic as he dealt with family problems and hearing loss. We explore the details of his life and listen to samples of his music, from his first composition to his final Symphony No. 9.

25. Season 2 returns September 8!

September 1, 2020

Did Beethoven do celebrity endorsements? How many beans were in his cup of coffee? Was he cruel, or just misunderstood? Learn all about the life of Beethoven with John Banther and Bill Bukowski when Classical Breakdown returns September 8. Then on September 22 Linda Carducci joins John Banther for a deep dive into Rimsky-Korsakov's enchanting Scheherazade.

24. Recommended summer listening

June 30, 2020

Expand your musical palate with music found in an attic in 2009, new interpretations of Beethoven and Franck, and an instrument you've probably never heard before.

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.