Airs Monday, December 24 at 11:00 a.m. No holiday season is complete without Handel's stunning oratorio, and one of Boston's most cherished holiday traditions: Music Director Harry Christophers leads the Handel & Haydn Society Period Instrument Orchestra, Chorus, and internationally-acclaimed soloists in Handel's complete dramatic masterwork, in the acoustic splendor of Boston's Symphony Hall. Canadian superstars soprano Karina Gauvin and countertenor Daniel Taylor, British tenor extraordinaire James Gilchrist, and Boston's own premier baritone Sumner Thompson offer this season's unique rendition of this Boston tradition, hosted by longtime Boston broadcast voice Ron Della Chiesa.
Airs Saturday, December 22 at 8:00 p.m. Once again on the darkest night of the year, NPR Music presents the illuminating tradition From New York's Cathedral of St. John the Divine: the 32nd annual Paul Winter Solstice Celebration, featuring gospel singer Theresa Thomason, Mbira Master Chris Berry and The Paul Winter Consort with Paul McCandless, Eugene Friesen, Paul Sullivan, Eliot Wadopian, Jamey Haddad, Tim Brumfield and the glorious Cathedral Pipe Organ.
Airs Thursday, December 20 at 11:00 a.m. Born from the trauma of the Second World War, Edinburgh's unique combination of festivals is a triumph of international shared storytelling. Encompassing classical music, theater, literature, popular and folk music, science, visual art and a city-wide sharing of culture, this radio series will give listeners a first-hand experience of being in one of the world's most creative and cosmopolitan cities during a period when over 600,000 visitors experience the "annual cultural equivalent of the Olympics" during which over 4,000 performances take place in hundreds of venues ranging from exquisite concert halls to site-specific fringe spaces.
Airs Thursday, December 13 at 9:00 p.m. Tune in to hear banjoist Bela Fleck with pianist Marcus Roberts and his trio, live from Savannah in their debut performance together. The history of the banjo in jazz dates back to the earliest ensembles of the 20th century in New Orleans, when banjo players were occasionally the star of the band. Over the next 100 years, however, the banjo changed within American musical culture, gradually falling out of favor as a primary instrument within a jazz band. In the spring of 2011, the Savannah Music Festival premiered a project featuring banjoist Bela Fleck with pianist Marcus Roberts and his trio. The results proved that the banjo has always been a wonderful solo instrument in jazz, particularly in the hands of a great improvisor like Bela Fleck. Tune in to hear Marcus Roberts on piano, Jason Marsalis on drums, Rodney Jordan on bass and Bela Fleck on banjo, live from Savannah in their debut performance.
Air Saturday, December 1 at 12:00 noon The ultimate blend of action, music, scene and dramatic expression was Richard Wagner's goal in his "total work of art." Deutsche Welle brings you another performance from the Festspielhaus, which Wagner designed explicitly for his music dramas. This year the festival, still in the hands of Wagner's descendents, currently led by his great-granddaughters Eva Wagner-Pasquier and Katharina Wagner, begins with a new production of Der fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman) as staged by Jan Philipp Gloger and conducted by Christian Thielemann. Deutsche Welle's Rick Fulker is there, introducing you to the production team and soloists and looking forward to sharing the Wagner fun with those who can't make it to the festival. With the demand for tickets exceeding the supply by a factor of ten, they are not lacking in numbers and have responded warmly to the radio transmissions, which convey the sense of event.