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Relevant Tones

A podcast about the most fascinating time in classical music history: right now. Hosted by composer Seth Boustead, Relevant Tones features interviews with and music by some of the most creative figures in contemporary classical music, themed shows exploring new trends in classical music and frequent live streamed shows featuring conversations and music performances.

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'Useless Machines' Live

The opening night of the Relevant Tones Tenth Anniversary Festival featured an exciting multi-media concert of music inspired by Rube Goldberg machines. We were joined by Rube’s granddaughter Jennifer George who is also the director of the Rube Goldberg Institute, and an all-star roster of musicians for an unforgettable evening.

53mins

18 Oct 2021

Rank #1

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Reena Esmail

Indian-American composer Reena Esmail works between the worlds of Indian and Western classical music, and brings communities together through the creation of equitable musical spaces.

56mins

11 Oct 2021

Rank #2

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Annie Gosfield

Annie  Gosfield, whom the BBC called "A one woman Hadron collider" lives in  New York City and works on the boundaries between notated and improvised  music, electronic and acoustic sounds, refined timbres and noise. Her music is often inspired by the inherent beauty of found sounds,  such as machines, destroyed pianos, warped 78 rpm records and jammed  radio signals. Stephen Rawson talks with her about her life in music and features  excerpts of several key works including her opera War of the Worlds. (photo by Paula Court)

56mins

6 Oct 2021

Rank #3

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Daphne Oram's Still Point

In 1949 a 23-year old composer named Daphne Oram wrote a pioneering new work for two orchestras, live electronics and turntables that was subsequently lost for decades.  Only vague references survived until composer and archivist James Bulley rediscovered the complete score in 2015. He enlisted composer and turntable artist Shiva Feshareki to help him realize the electronics using the technology that would have been available to Oram. In 2018 the work was finally premiered at the BBC Proms. It was the first work of its kind and it is a masterpiece.

51mins

14 Sep 2021

Rank #4

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Thirsty Ears Live 2021

ACM's Thirsty Ears Festival is Chicago's only classical music street festival combining stellar performances with great craft beer from Empirical Brewing. We did an intimate live broadcast the night before from the ACM School of Music featuring performances by Michael Hall, the Wurtz-Berger Duo and the Quijote Duo.

38mins

30 Aug 2021

Rank #5

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inti figgis-vizueta

Composer inti figgis-vizueta writes "magically real musics through the lens of personal identities, braiding a childhood of overlapping immigrant communities and Black-founded Freedom schools—in Chocolate City (DC)—with direct Andean & Irish heritage and a deep connection to the land."  Stephen Rawson talks with them about music, poetry, magical realism and more.

58mins

23 Aug 2021

Rank #6

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Feminist Retellings of Myth

We feature three works that recast age-old myths from a woman's perspective. Milica Paranosic's Penelope and the Geese reimagines the Odyssey from Penelope's point of view.  We talk with her about the opera and feature three key scenes. And Marisa Michelson's Naama's Ark tells the flood myth from the perspective of Noah's wife and Salvatore Sciarrino's La Nuova Euridice lets Orpheus' famous bride tells her own story. Photo by charis isis

44mins

10 Aug 2021

Rank #7

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Palimpsests

A palimpsest is a manuscript whose original text has been scraped or washed away and overwritten with a new one, often many times over.  The original text is still present but visible only in fragments. This concept has inspired composers to overlay music in similar ways to fascinating effect. We feature a small sample of musical palimpsests. Music by Kevin Ernste, George Benjamin, Paul Novak and Gabriel Kahane.

42mins

2 Aug 2021

Rank #8

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Texu Kim

Texu Kim writes music that's fun, often humorous yet sophisticated, detailed and connected to his South Korean heritage in fascinating ways. He's also the only composer we know to offer "major-league cuteness” (Broadway World) while also demonstrating “surprising scope.” (San Diego Story)

58mins

20 Jul 2021

Rank #9

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Sonic Walkabout 2021

Access Contemporary Music's Sonic Walkabout is a fun way to explore a neighborhood and see and hear it as never before. ACM commissioned composers to write music inspired by historic and cultural sites in Chicago's Wicker Park and Lakeview neighborhoods and combined their musical creations with narrative storytelling. Music by Amy Wurtz, Amos Gillespie, Seth Boustead, Kyle Gregory Price, Trevor Patricia Watkin and Jonathan Hannau.

52mins

12 Jul 2021

Rank #10