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Sticky Notes: The Classical Music Podcast

Sticky Notes is a classical music podcast for everyone, whether you are just getting interested in classical music for the first time, or if you've been listening to it and loving it all your life. Interviews with great artists, in depth looks at pieces in the repertoire, and both basic and deep dives into every era of music. Classical music is absolutely for everyone, so let's start listening! Note - Seasons 1-5 will be returning over the next year. They have been taken down in order to be re-recorded in improved sound quality!

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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Brahms Symphony No. 3

Brahms' 3rd symphony is his most underrated symphony. It is a nearly perfect piece that transcends the traditional symphonic narrative over its 40 minute journey. So why doesn't it get performed as often as the other 3 symphonies? This week we dissect the symphonies' origins(hint: it has something to do with Clara Schumann), it's unique cyclical structure, and the motto that runs through the entire work. There are few symphonic hikes more satisfying than Brahms' 3rd symphony, so let's start up together!

1hr 1min

5 Mar 2020

Rank #1

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Beethoven String Quartet, Op. 132 (Part 1)

I’ve long hesitated to write a show about any of Beethoven’s late string quartets.  These are pieces that quartets spend the better part of their careers grappling with, struggling with, failing with, and much more rarely, succeeding with.  They are some of the most extraordinary pieces of art ever conceived of.  5 quartets, Opus 127, Opus 130, Opus 131, Opus 132, and Opus 135 - all written near or at the end of Beethoven’s life, these pieces represent the pinnacle of everything Beethoven achieved, yes, even far beyond his symphonies in this conductors opinion.  They explore not only every conceivable emotion, but they dig down into the core of those emotions, defiantly refusing to skim the surface and daring to ask and THEN ANSWER the fundamental questions of life and death.  Everyone has a favorite Late Beethoven Quartet, but mine has always been Opus 132, and so this week I’m taking the opportunity of getting a Patreon sponsor request from Maria for a piece of chamber music to take the leap myself into Late Beethoven.  We’ll discuss Beethoven’s situation as he recovered from a life-threatening illness which he was sure was going to be his end, the unusual 5 movement structure of the piece, and this week, the first two movements of the quartet, the first of which, to me, defines everything that Sonata Form can do to express emotion and a narrative in a piece of absolute music.

45mins

6 Jun 2019

Rank #2

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A Conversation w/ Itzhak Perlman (w/special guest Toby Perlman!)

He needs no introduction - one of the greatest artists of our time, Itzhak Perlman joins Sticky Notes to talk about teaching, playing, conducting, keeping things fresh, vibrato, style, taste, food, childhood, and so much more.  Then, at around 42:00, Toby Perlman joins us to talk about the Perlman Music Program, my introduction to the Perlmans, and an incredible place for musicians to learn and feel safe and supported.  Thanks again for listening!  

56mins

9 May 2017

Rank #3

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Shostakovich Symphony No. 7, "Leningrad"

I've been coming back to this symphony again and again over the past couple of weeks. The story of the composition and Leningrad performance of Shostakovich 7 is one of the most remarkable stories of human perseverance, symbolism, and collective action in history. This is a story I haven't told yet on the show, but it couldn't be more relevant today. It is a story about overcoming tragedy. It is a story about hope. It is a story that I think should inspire all of us as we go through this situation together.

40mins

26 Mar 2020

Rank #4

Most Popular Podcasts

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10 things to change about classical concerts

Join your host, conductor Joshua Weilerstein, as he welcomes Aram Demirjian, the Music Director of the Knoxville Symphony, and Matt Szymanski, the Founder and Music Director of Phoenix, to discuss an article that roiled the classical music scene just a few years ago: Baldur Bronnimann's "10 things to change about classical concerts."  The article caused a firestorm of criticism and comment when it was released, and we're here to discuss, mull over, turn inside out, and evaluate each idea, from whether the audience should be allowed to clap between movements, to whether you should be allowed to Tweet during performances.  This was a fascinating discussion and I hope you enjoy it!  Please consider going to Baldur's site to follow along as we discuss each idea: http://www.baldur.info/blog/10-things-that-we-should-change-in-classical-concerts/

1hr 4mins

23 May 2017

Rank #5

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Bartok Concerto For Orchestra, Part 1

In 1944, Bartok, dying of Leukemia and weighing only 87 lbs, was commissioned to write a new orchestral piece. He had not written any music for years, and was barely clinging to life. The commission sparked a creative resurgence for Bartok, resulting in his most beloved piece, the Concerto For Orchestra. This week, on Part 1, we'll talk about the first two movements of the piece, from the alternately brooding and exhilarating first movement, to the second movement, a genuinely funny and charming diversion.

42mins

2 Apr 2020

Rank #6

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How to Change the World w/ Yo-Yo Ma

Join conductor and host Joshua Weilerstein as he welcomes the legendary cellist and humanitarian Yo-Yo Ma for a full-length interview!  In the interview, we discuss what it means to be a musical citizen, how to create change through music, why Yo-Yo went down this path, how he discovered so many different styles of music, and much much more.  I really hope you enjoy this interview of such an amazing artist - thanks for listening!  

39mins

20 Sep 2017

Rank #7

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Opus 1s: The First Works of Great Composers, Part 1

Every great composer has an origin story. Every composer started somewhere. I’m fascinated with a composers first works because they tell us so much about who they are going to become. We can see in so many of these works a germ, a seed of an idea that will blossom into masterpieces. In some cases, composers were writing masterpieces before they turned 18. And some were late bloomers, giving some hope to the rest of us! Today we look at composers 1-5: Mozart, Rameau, Haydn, Mendelssohn, and Korngold.

45mins

16 Apr 2020

Rank #8

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Beethoven String Quartet, Op. 132 (Part 2)

This week we're diving into one of the great movements ever written in Western Music with the slow movement of Beethoven's Op. 132 quartet. This is a movement that explores Beethoven's contradictory religious beliefs, his core optimism despite all that happened to him during his life, and his fascination with religious music. We'll then look at how Beethoven concludes this epic piece, using sketches of music that started out as being part of his 9th symphony, but not in the way you might expect. Enjoy!

44mins

13 Jun 2019

Rank #9

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Classical Music Changemakers Week: Aubrey Bergauer + Lorenzo Brewer

This week, I'm interviewing 3 people who are making real change in the classical music business. Today, I talk with Aubrey Bergauer, the former Executive Director of the California Symphony, and Lorenzo Brewer, the founder of Nkoda, the Spotify of sheet music. We'll talk about the simple yet radical changes Bergauer made during her tenure, and Brewer's belief in the accessibility of sheet music. I think these interviews will appeal to anyone interested in change, the future, and music itself.  https://medium.com/@AubreyBergauer nkoda.com

55mins

22 Oct 2019

Rank #10

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How to Be A Film Composer, with Christopher Willis

This week I was joined by the wonderful composer Christopher Willis for a wide ranging and fascinating conversation.  Willis, who wrote the music for The Death Of Stalin, Mickey Mouse Shorts, Veep, and the new movie the Personal History of David Copperfield, divulged many secrets about the film composing world in this fascinating interview. How does music correspond to actions on screen? What is the process of how film music is created? All these questions and more are answered today!

40mins

6 Feb 2020

Rank #11

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How to Build an Orchestra w/Joshua Roman

I was thrilled to be joined by Joshua Roman, cellist, composer, and curator. The core of our discussion centers on building an orchestra from the ground up. That is, not taking over an existing orchestra, but starting one completely from scratch. How would this look in 2019? Joshua has been thinking about this for years so it was fascinating to hear him discuss this and many other topics. Thanks again for all of our support and here's to another 100 episodes!

51mins

25 Jan 2019

Rank #12

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A Conversation w/ Mezzo Soprano Sasha Cooke

Welcome to the Week of the Voice!  Join conductor and host Joshua Weilerstein, back from a brief illness-inspired hiatus(!), as he welcomes in the amazing Mezzo-Soprano Sasha Cooke for a chat about Mahler, about singing opera versus recitals, preparation, text, traveling, contemporary music, and improv comedy!  This is the first of TWO interviews this week, so please stay tuned for an interview with the incredible bass-baritone Eric Owens, coming out on Thursday!  Thanks for listening!  

47mins

17 Oct 2017

Rank #13

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Deborah Borda, President of the New York Philharmonic

Of all the interviews I've done this year on Sticky Notes, this might be my favorite.  I sat down a few weeks ago with Deborah Borda, the new CEO and President of the New York Philharmonic, to talk about the future of not only the New York Philharmonic, but also classical music in general.  We also talked about the connections between the artistic and social imperative of a classical music organization, Gustavo Dudamel, and the importance of listening to our communities.  This was a truly inspiring conversation, so I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

49mins

21 Feb 2018

Rank #14

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A Conversation w/ Bass-Baritone Eric Owens

Part 2 of The Week of the Voice is here with the incredible bass-baritone Eric Owens!  We talk about the joy of getting to play bad guys in opera, his professional-level oboe playing(!!), conducting, the future of classical music, and the art of getting into character.  If you've never heard Eric Owens sing before, you're missing out, but it's also a treat to hear him speak on any topic.  Thanks for listening!  

39mins

19 Oct 2017

Rank #15

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Classical Music Changemakers: Garrett McQueen

Garrett McQueen hosts the nationally syndicated radio show Music Through the Night, is a bassoonist, and also hosts his own podcast, called Trilloquy. If you’ve ever wondered how radio playlists are created, this is the episode for you. In this conversation we also discuss Garrett’s tireless advocacy on behalf of diversity in classical music. We also gently debated Garrett’s disdain for Brahms and Gershwin, two of my favorite composers. I hope you find this conversation as fulfilling and thought-provoking as I did.

45mins

24 Oct 2019

Rank #16

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What is Historical Performance? w/Augusta McKay Lodge

Have you ever wondered what the real differences are between modern and historical performance? Why do historical performances sound so different from modern ones? This week, we take a deep dive into historical performance with the baroque violinist Augusta McKay Lodge. We talk the differences in the sound worlds between modern and historical performance, and also try to resolve the "Cold War" between modern and historical performers. This was a truly fascinating interview, so I hope you'll enjoy it!

41mins

20 Apr 2020

Rank #17

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Debussy Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun

We're taking a brief detour from Mahler 2 today to discuss Debussy's legendary Afternoon of a Faun, a piece written in the same year as Mahler's 2nd symphony. It's easy to forget how revolutionary this piece was at the time, but composers from Stravinsky to Schoenberg to Boulez to Messiaen were galvanized by this 10 minute masterpiece which Boulez said "breathed new life into the art of music." This is a piece that changed musical history for good, and today we'll find out exactly why it had such an impact.

35mins

4 May 2020

Rank #18