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Tom Huizenga

Tom Huizenga is a music producer, reporter and blogger for NPR Music.

He is a regular contributor of stories about classical music to NPR's news programs and co-hosts NPR's classical music blog Deceptive Cadence.

Joining NPR in 1999, Huizenga spent seven years as a producer, writer and editor for NPR's Peabody Award-winning daily classical music show Performance Today and for programs SymphonyCast and World of Opera.

He's produced live concerts, including a radio broadcast of Gershwin's Porgy & Bess from Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center and NPR's first classical music webcast from the Manhattan club (Le) Poisson Rouge, featuring the acclaimed Emerson String Quartet. He's also asked musicians to play in unlikely venues, such as cellist Alisa Weilerstein playing Bach at the Baltimore Aquarium. He's written and produced radio specials, like A Choral Christmas With Stile Antico, broadcast on stations around the country.

Huizenga's radio career began at the University of Michigan, where he hosted opera, jazz, free-form, and experimental radio programs at Ann Arbor's WCBN. As a student in the Ethnomusicology department, Huizenga studied and performed traditional court music from Indonesia. He also studied English Literature and voice, while writing for the university's newspaper.

Huizenga took his love of music and broadcasting to New Mexico, where he served as music director for NPR member station KRWG, in Las Cruces, and taught radio production at New Mexico State University.

Huizenga lives in Takoma Park, Md. and in his spare time writes about music for the Washington Post and overloads on concerts and movies.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzHeWjW0ug0 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1-giVdjC58 A rambunctious 45-minute orchestral piece called Play , by American composer Andrew Norman, has been named the winner of the 2017 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition . The prize, which includes $100,000, was announced this evening by the University of Louisville, which sponsors the award. Former winners include Pierre Boulez , John Adams , Kaija Saariaho and Thomas Adès . Norman, 37, wrote Play for the...

Calling themselves "an accidental brass quartet," the members of The Westerlies , like the prevailing winds, blew east to New York from their hometown of Seattle, where they were childhood friends. Young musicians today routinely resist being pigeonholed into a single genre. Such is the case with this unconventional band, which, through its compositions and tight ensemble playing, reveals a built-in sympathy for improvised jazz, rigorous classical structures and sunshiny pop. Trumpeters Riley...

Tim Page is no longer afraid of death. That's the one positive takeaway for him after surviving a traumatic brain injury. Last year, the University of Southern California music and journalism professor — who was also a child prodigy filmmaker, Pulitzer-winning critic, person with Asperger's and father of three — collapsed at a train station. He woke up in an ambulance speeding to the hospital. He's still recovering, still fumbling a bit with the jigsaw pieces of a life a now a little more...

When you stop to think about it, there really is no one like Barbra Streisand. There's Barbra the young Broadway legend , the movie star , the glass-ceiling-smashing movie director , the recording artist and now the venerated elder stateswoman of the showstopper. But amid all the richly deserved Oscars, Tonys, Emmys and Globes, there's that voice . Forget all her other talents, it's the voice alone that any entertainer would die to possess. Last night, Streisand gave a two-hour plus concert...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMu9PKWthLE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6ubiUIxbWE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpVV9jShEzU A new film starring Meryl Streep, which opens in the U.S. Friday, tells the improbable story of Florence Foster Jenkins, a real-life New York socialite who pronounced herself a coloratura soprano despite a distinct lack of talent. Who could've guessed that Jenkins, who favored elaborate costumes and strangled phrases with abandon, would resurface with such gusto...

Let The Games Begin: A Playlist For Rio

Aug 5, 2016

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJkxFhFRFDA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIG4h7lvj4Y http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzkSncB912A http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlMBOotx9mo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6bxA6eWWAw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_U-wKlnOe6A Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you know that a few little sporting events are about to begin in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil's "Marvelous City" (Cidade Maravilhosa), as the locals call it, is rightly celebrated for beautiful beaches ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gb3VJ_ILewY http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=De6PtkArQ1I Einojuhani Rautavaara, often hailed as Finland's finest composer since Jean Sibelius , has died at age 87. The Associated Press reports that Rautavaara died Wednesday in Helsinki after complications from hip surgery. A prolific artist, Rautavaara produced a wide range of works including nine operas, eight symphonies, numerous concertos, choral works and chamber music. He was also versatile. In the 1950s, he...

When the New York City Opera (NYCO) announced its final performances and imminent bankruptcy in September 2013, opera lovers, not just in Manhattan, were shocked. How could a 70-year-old company, dubbed "The People's Opera," which nurtured the careers of emerging stars like Beverly Sills and Plácido Domingo , fall so far and suddenly cease to be ? Almost as soon as the doors were shuttered, suitors lined up to try to reboot the company. Only in January did a victor emerge in the form of NYCO...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epT1_SbZgsE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xM9B-z53BBk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AE6aO1VrTo A Feb. 8, 1994 New York Times headline reads: " The Met Drops Kathleen Battle, Citing 'Unprofessional Actions' ." A Times headline from Monday reads: " You're Unfired: Kathleen Battle Is Returning to the Met After 22 years ." The Metropolitan Opera announced yesterday that on Nov. 13, Battle will sing a program of spirituals called Kathleen Battle: Underground...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8jjhHmbmkU This election season there's been a lot of talk about who and what are American. On Tuesday's edition of Stephen Colbert's Late Show, music replaced rhetoric in the form of Aaron Copland 's Fanfare for the Common Man , performed by members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. Copland wrote the piece in 1942 as a patriotic gesture during World War II. It was part of a larger commissioning project by Cincinnati Symphony...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCeh6amXyYE Prolific and multifaceted British composer and conductor Peter Maxwell Davies died Monday at age 81 at his home in the Orkney Islands, off the northern coast of Scotland. His death, from leukemia, was reported on the websites of both his publisher and his management company . Called the "harlequin of British music" for more than five decades in a tribute by author Paul Griffiths , Maxwell Davies leaves a trove of varied works. Within some 300 pieces,...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddkH5F6GcjU A 30-minute song cycle for soprano and orchestra called let me tell you , by Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen, has been named the winner of the 2016 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition . The prize, which includes $100,000, was slated to be announced Nov. 30 by the University of Louisville, which sponsors the annual award. But the after the classical music website Musical America accidentally leaked the information, the official statement was...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQhpWsRhQGs Harrowing tales of mountain climbing filled theaters this summer in such films as Meru and Everest . But exactly 100 years ago today, audiences took a different kind of climb when Richard Strauss premiered An Alpine Symphony , a majestic, musical depiction of a dawn-to-dusk hike up the Alps. We've rounded up two Alpine Symphony experts to be our trail guides up the mountain. Semyon Bychkov is conducting the symphony tomorrow night with Los Angeles...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e05vCys-0Ac http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgCA8zTeFOQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gs7IDSCqYyQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfAr_94c9OM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7EcT5YzKhQ Few musicians possess an appetite for diversity as voracious as Yo-Yo Ma 's. The renowned cellist, who turns 60 today, calls himself a "venture culturalist." His collaborations include making music for dancers (including Monday night's collaboration with American Ballet Theatre...

Welcome to the first day of fall — at least for us in the Northern Hemisphere. There's a noticeable chill in the air, the leaves are starting to shift color and perhaps you find yourself turning a little more inward in your mood and your musical tastes. Composers and songwriters have plenty to say about the changing seasons. To mark the Autumnal Equinox, try this fall music quiz stocked with songs of wistful introspection. Score high and revel in autumn's golden glow. Score low and feel the...

Mystical, monk-like, reclusive — those are a few words often used to describe Arvo Pärt . His music gets labeled as timeless, spiritual and meditative. The Estonian composer, born 80 years ago today, is perhaps all of these things ... and maybe none of them. Recently, Pärt allowed a film crew follow him for a year. The result is a new documentary by Günter Atteln called The Lost Paradise , an excerpt of which the producers at Accentus Music are sharing prior to its fall release . The excerpt...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsRr1syRXVM Ivan Moravec, a Czech pianist known for his lyrical and selfless approach to music, died Monday in a Prague hospital, according to a management representative, Linda Marder of CM Artists in New York. Moravec had been treated for pneumonia. He was 84. Although his repertoire was not vast — he stayed especially close to Mozart, Chopin and Debussy — and he never craved the limelight, Moravec was ranked among the greats of his generation. His...

Ethel Smyth was not your typical Victorian lady. She defied her father, a stern army general, to pursue a career in music. She loved women, played sports and played an important role in the women's suffrage movement in Britain in the early 20th century. Along the way she composed chamber and orchestral music, an acclaimed Mass and six operas. Smyth's music was as dramatic as her life, but today both are largely forgotten. Leon Botstein is doing his best to correct that. He's head of Bard...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWT0jsCbl28 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itB1UlPFln4 With the death of Jon Vickers, opera has lost one of its most intense voices. The Canadian tenor, often hailed as one of the greatest opera singers of the 20th century, died Friday in Ontario. In a note to London's Royal Opera House, Vickers' family said he lost a prolonged battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was 88. Vickers' voice was a force of nature — large, strong and well suited to heroic characters...

May is international drum month ! To celebrate, we bring you a discussion in percussion with a group of guys who will bang on almost anything ( including a cactus ). The members of Sō Percussion are the guest quizmasters for this week's Drum Fill Friday. Eric Cha-Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Silwinski and Jason Treuting perform the classics of the percussion repertoire while actively commissioning works from today's masters, such as Steve Reich , David Lang and Paul Lansky. Although this list,...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSd11-CZinA Trumpeter Rolf Smedvig, praised for his beautiful tone and virtuosic style, died Monday afternoon at his home in West Stockbridge, Mass. The cause of death, according to his long-time manager Mark Z. Alpert, was a heart attack. Smedvig was 62. Perhaps best known as one of the founding members of the widely acclaimed Empire Brass Quintet, Smedvig enjoyed a busy career as a soloist with major orchestras, including those in Boston, Chicago and...

Julia Wolfe, a composer associated with the New York music collective Bang on a Can , has won the Pulitzer Prize for music for Anthracite Fields . The Pulitzer jury described the piece as "a powerful oratorio for chorus and sextet evoking Pennsylvania coal-mining life around the turn of the 20th century." The hourlong work was commissioned by the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, which gave the world premiere, along with the Bang on a Can All-Stars, April 26, 2014 in Philadelphia. Wolfe, a co...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccyvqR5hEnU Andrew Porter, a renowned music critic and scholar and translator of opera, died early today in London's Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. His twin sister, Sheila Porter, told NPR his death was the result of complications from pneumonia. He was 86. Among an unusually wide range of pursuits, Porter is perhaps best known in the United States for a two-decade stint as music critic of The New Yorker that concluded in 1992. He often took readers on...

Each April 1st, practical jokers get their kicks pulling the wool over people's eyes. There are little white lies, cunning schemes and elaborate hoaxes. Pranksters are alive and well in music, too. Test your wits with these musical smart alecks who run the gamut from clever clowns to serious scam artists. Score high and feel a surge of superiority. Score low and fancy yourself a true April fool. Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vugqRAX7xQE Sometimes great things are born from happy accidents. Fifty years ago today in San Francisco, composer Steve Reich premiered It's Gonna Rain , his first official piece. The music, made by manipulating a recording of a Pentecostal preacher, opened a door to a new way of composing for Reich and helped launch his career. He says the creation of the work came about by chance as he was fiddling with two identical tape loops of the preacher that got out of...

In November 1814, Col. Andrew Jackson marched on Pensacola, taking the Florida city away from Britain and Spain, while the Congress of Vienna was busy drawing new boundaries after the Napoleonic Wars. And 200 years ago today, in a little 10th-century town south of Brussels, Adolphe Sax was born. Sax learned instrument-building from his father and soon was inventing new instruments of his own, including the one that bears his name. He patented the saxophone in 1846. Originally intended for use...

Where would Halloween be without ghosts — those wispy spirits either friendly or fiendish in disposition? They've haunted our consciousness for ages, thanks to appearances in visual art, literature, film and music. And now they've overrun this puzzler. From country and classical to rock and jazz, ghosts glide through these songs. Some are nice, others nefarious. Score high and allow yourself to be treated today. Score low and consider yourself tricked. Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit...

Today is Mexican Independence Day . On Sept. 16, 1810, the Grito de Dolores ("Cry of Dolores") was delivered in the town of Dolores near the city of Guanajuato, marking the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence that ended Spanish rule. To celebrate, we've got a few gritos of our own, in the form of a Mexican music puzzler. Try identifying the songs that embody the country's eclectic musical traditions, from Pre-Colombian sounds to hip-hop. Score high and get your holiday grito on....

Alas, it is déjà vu all over again for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. At midnight Saturday, the ASO musicians and management failed to meet the deadline to agree on a new contract after eight months of negotiations. That means the players, while still employees of the orchestra, are effectively locked out of the Woodruff Arts Center (the orchestra's home) and will not receive paychecks until a new agreement can be ratified. ASO musicians demonstrated outside the hall Tuesday. A similar labor...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reOP2Tx8yPk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_PiUSRsQrE One of the last great Italian divas, and one of opera's most thrilling voices, has finally gone silent. Soprano Magda Olivero died in Milan, Italy today, according to multiple media organizations including the newspaper La Repubblica . She was 104. Olivero never had a glitzy recording career, but she did have something her contemporaries didn't: longevity. She sang in public for more than seven decades. I...

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