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Holiday Programming on Classical WETA

US Army Band holiday concert

Holiday Music the Way It Was Meant To Be

During the weeks leading up to December 25th, Classical WETA will present Christmas-inspired classical music as well as the best classical arrangements of Christmas carols. We'll feature world and nationally renowned choral ensembles and dozens of instrumental and orchestral ensembles in beautiful arrangements of Christmas favorites.

In addition to the festive music throughout the daily playlist, we will also present a number of broadcast specials with musical celebrations from around the world. Tune in to Classical WETA with your friends and family throughout the holiday season for the best in classical holiday music!

Holiday Specials on Classical WETA 90.9 FM

Home for the Holidays Week

FM Holiday skater

Beginning December 15

Immediately following the annual "Beethoven Birthday Bash" (Dec 14th), Classical WETA turns its focus to presenting classical music-inspired renditions of Christmas favorites, around the clock. Join us for "holiday music the way it was meant to be," culminating in special programming on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

See playlist →

Christmas Eve Carolfest

Concert ensemble

Monday, December 24, 6am-5pm

Join us as we celebrate the Christmas holiday with some of the best loved carols performed by some of the world's top musical ensembles.

See playlist →

A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

Kings College

Monday, December 24 at 5pm

Held in the candlelit chapel of King's College in Cambridge, this annual service marks the beginning of Christmas for many people around the world. This year’s broadcast will be the last service for Stephen Cleobury, King’s College Chapel Music Director, who has conducted the chapel choir since 1982. Cleobury will retire from his King’s College post at the end of the 2019 school term.

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Front Row Washington: Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker

Stewart Goodyear. (Credit: Andrew Carn)

A special Christmas Eve broadcast of Front Row Washington features an arrangement of Tchiakovsky's The Nutcracker for piano solo, performed by Stewart Goodyear at the Phillips Collection.

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Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker

Nutcracker design from 1892

Tuesday, December 25 at 7am

What would Christmas be without The Nutcracker? Join us for the best-loved selections from the original orchestral score.

See playlist →

Christmas in Washington

Christmas in Washington

Tuesday, December 25 at 10am

Classical WETA's annual program featuring performances of holiday music by Washington, D.C.-area choral and instrumental ensembles.

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Christmas with The Washington Symphonic Brass

Washington Symphonic Brass (Credit:

A special Center Stage from Wolf Trap presentation of holiday favorites from a well-loved local ensemble.

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Handel's Messiah

George Frideric Handel

Tuesday, December 25 at 3pm

With its resounding “Hallelujah” chorus, Handel’s masterpiece is perhaps the ultimate classical music piece of the season.

See playlist →

Bach's Christmas Oratorio

J.S. Bach

Tuesday, December 25 at 9pm

Close out your Christmas Day with the complete Christmas Oratorio by J. S. Bach — all six cantatas, written for the major feast days of the Christmas season.

See playlist →

New Year's Day from Vienna

Christian Thielemann conducting during rehearsals at the Vienna State Opera. (Credit: Christian Michelides, used via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license)

Tuesday, January 1 at 8pm

It has long been a Philharmonic tradition at the New Year to present a program consisting of the lively and at the same time nostalgic music from the vast repertoire of the Johann Strauss family and its contemporaries. In this annual special, hear the hit tunes of the Strauss family and others -- polkas, gallops and waltzes, live from the Musikverein, on New Year's Day from Vienna. Christian Thielemann conducts.

Learn more on Vienna Philharmonic website →

ArkivMusic's CD Picks of the Season


Classical WETA's retail partner, ArkivMusic, carries many of the holiday music selections that you hear on-air. Check out the Arkiv website and make your selections. A portion of your purchase benefits Classical WETA!

Visit ArkivMusic website →

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