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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

11. Tchaikovsky's The Seasons

December 31, 2019

Get into the new year with a work that has music for every month! Tchaikovsky's The Seasons also includes poetry and gives us a glimpse into Russian life, month by month in 1876.

10. What does a conductor do?

December 17, 2019

Waving a baton is just a small part of being a conductor. Michelle Merrill tells what it's like to prepare a concert with an orchestra, from the year before to the downbeat of the concert.

9. Handel's Messiah, from swords, hidden meanings, to theft!

December 3, 2019

Here's everything you wanted to know about Handel's Messiah but were afraid to ask.

8. What is a Symphonic Poem?

November 19, 2019

Discover one of the more colorful genres of classical music, the Symphonic Poem, which can depict animals, landscape, literature, and even football players!

7. Reading between the notes - making a score come alive

November 5, 2019

Liz demonstrates musical terms on the violin, we talk about bringing sheet music to life and a special guest joins for an experiment with foreign language.

6. The Abeo Quartet performs Moonshot

October 22, 2019

The Abeo Quartet performs Moonshot, a new work by Alistair Coleman. Alistair talks about the inspiration for this piece, and after the performance, we talk with the quartet about putting this piece together, new playing techniques, and space travel!

5. Kian Soltani, cellist, talks tempo, karate, and his debut album "Home"

October 8, 2019

Kian talks about bringing people together in music, changing tempos, karate, and more. He is one of today's most celebrated young cellists and has risen the ranks as one of today's great cello soloists. His collaboration with conductor Daniel Barenboim has taken him around the world, he's performed with some of the worlds greatest orchestras. and records for Deutsche Grammophon.

4. What is a Symphony? Part 1

September 24, 2019

The Symphony has been one of classical music's biggest genres. But, have you ever wondered what makes a symphony, a symphony? The origins take us back to the 17th century with symphonies that lasted only a few minutes, and we explore its development up to Beethoven's blockbuster Symphony No. 9.

3. The Four Seasons, how Vivaldi depicts the world in sound

September 10, 2019

Poetry, falling on the ice, and a barking dog, there is so much to hear and discover in Antonio Vivaldi’s masterpiece, The Four Seasons. In this episode, we get into the details and musical examples with a recording that brings a fresh perspective to this work published nearly 300 years ago.

2. Wu Han, pianist and cultural entrepreneur

September 10, 2019

She might be the busiest chamber musician in the United States. Wu Han is in charge of several music festivals worldwide, has an intense performing schedule, and manages a record label. In this episode, she tells us about her early musical inspirations in Taiwan, how tragedy led her to another career path, where chamber music is headed, and even how to fix wardrobe malfunctions with a stapler.