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December 03: Los Angeles Guitar Quartet


November 19: Hahn-Zhu play Brahms, Bach, Debussy

Shining Young Star: Bill McGlaughlin welcomes one of the world's preeminent young violinists into the studio this week. At just 21, Hilary Hahn has already won comparison with such violin legends as Heifetz and Gramiaux, and her performances have dazzled audiences worldwide. This week with pianist Natalie Zhu she performs sonatas by Debussy and Brahms, as well as J. S. Bach's breathtaking solo violin sonata in a minor. Along the way we'll get to know one of classical music's shining young stars. (more)

November 12: Frederic Chiu, piano


November 05: King's Singers


October 29: Hugo Wolf Quartet


October 15: Imogen Cooper, piano


October 08: Eroica Trio


October 01: Christian Tetzlaff, violin; Tanja Tetzlaff, cello


June 04: eighth blackbird features David Schober, Zohn-Muldoon, Albert

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird: When American poet Wallace Stevens wrote his "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird", little could he have known that some 70 years later the enigmatic and beautiful lines of the poem's eighth stanza would be adopted, in spirit and name, by six brilliant young musicians. Happily, eighth blackbird—an Oberlin-trained sextet of violin, cello, flute, clarinet, piano, and manifold percussion—did just that. This week Bill McGlaughlin welcomes eighth blackbird into the Saint Paul Sunday studio for a program of three works composed especially for them. Movements from Thomas Albert's kaleidoscopic setting of the poem "Thirteen Ways" conclude the program with poignant evocations of Stevens's imagery and thought. (more)

May 21: OPUS ONE plays Dvorák, Hadyn, Hartke

For a taste of the congeniality, brilliance, and sheer joy of chamber music, listen in this week as guest host Jorja Fleezanis welcomes OPUS ONE, an ensemble of four soloists whose collaboration always yields astonishing performances. Violinist Ida Kavafian, violist Steven Tenenbom, cellist Peter Wiley, and pianist Anne-Marie McDermott will play the breathtaking "Gypsy Rondo" presto from Haydn's Trio G major (H. XV:25), the enchanting opening movement of Antonín Dvorák's Piano Quartet in E flat major (Op. 87), and living composer Stephen Hartke's sensually profound 1988 work The King of the Sun, including the imaginatively titled movements "Personages in the night guided by the phosphorescent tracks of snails" and "The flames of the sun make the desert flower hysterical." (more)

April 23: Saint Olaf Choir

For nearly a century, the St. Olaf Choir has enthralled audiences around the world with extraordinary musicianship, a poetic acumen for phrasing and text, and its own rich and distinctive sound. Bill McGlaughlin welcomes the celebrated ensemble and its conductor, Anton Armstrong, into the Saint Paul Sunday studio this week for a special Easter program spanning five centuries. We'll hear music of Palestrina, Billings, Gretchaninoff, Copland, and two of the choir's former conductors: founder F. Melius Christiansen and noted living composer Kenneth Jennings. (more)

April 09: Emerson String Quartet performs Shostakovich

Few composers fathomed the chaos and pathos of 20th-century life as forcefully as Dmitri Shostakovich. The grim pressures he navigated as an artist and Soviet citizen, and his wide-ranging means of surviving and commenting on them, find particularly vivid expression in his fifteen string quartets. This Sunday, the eve of the hundredth anniversary of Shostakovich's birth, the renowned Emerson String Quartet returns for a program devoted his string quartet cycle. As a form, the string quartet allowed Shostakovich a measure of freedom from official scrutiny and the license to voice extremes of a sensibility that was by turns exuberant, earthy, anguished, and, in its final years, beyond the reach of other means of articulation. (more)

March 19: Leif Ove Andsnes performs Debussy, Liszt, Brahms

At first blush, Leif Ove Andsnes's press kit lends the impression that he's an Olympic skier: one critic lauds his "steely nerves," while another places him "at the top of the tree, even in his hazardous profession." Then, too, Andsnes is from Norway, where skiing is second only to walking. But this week on Saint Paul Sunday we'll discover that the heights Andsnes masters with such breathtaking artistry aren't snow-capped —they're pinnacles of the piano repertoire. A regular soloist with the world's major orchestras and recipient of the Irving S. Gilmore Keyboard "genius grant," Andsnes will play a Brahms intermezzo, Debussy's Estampes ("Engravings"), and an excerpt from Liszt's "Years of Pilgrimage" cycle. (more)

February 06: Ahn Trio interpret Beethoven, Bernstein, Piazzolla

Sister Power: Chamber music got its start as "house music" -- performances at home, among family and friends. This week on Saint Paul Sunday, Bill McGlaughlin welcomes a brilliant threesome of sisters who began to perform together as children and have since shared their music with the world. Born in Korea, Ahn Trio -- comprised of violinist Angella Ahn and her twin sisters cellist Maria and pianist Lucia -- first caught America's eye when they were featured in a 1987 Time magazine cover story entitled "Asian-American Whiz Kids." In 1997, they appeared on MTV and went on to produce their own program special on the network called "Ahn-Plugged." This week on Saint Paul Sunday they'll perform music of Beethoven, Leonard Bernstein, and Astor Piazzolla. (more)