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Thomas Hampson stands tall as ‘Ambassador of American Song’

Though Walt Whitman declared it first — “I hear America singing” — if the poet were still alive, he’d agree…

Pianist Simon Trpčeski waves the flag for his homeland, Macedonia

The Republic of Macedonia, one of Europe’s newest additions with about 2 million inhabitants, is probably little known to most…

Britain’s Bramwell Tovey declares a passion for American music

American conductors, as expected, tend to be the most ardent champions of American music. Think Leonard Bernstein in past decades…

Conductor Matthew Halls never tires of Handel’s ‘Messiah’

Matthew Halls has been primarily known as an early-music specialist for much of his career, serving as music director of…

Tenor Nicholas Phan takes the message of Handel’s ‘Messiah’ to heart

When tenor Nicholas Phan appears in Handel’s Messiah later this month, it won’t be his first engagement with the Chicago Symphony…

Benedetti on Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2: It’s ‘straight out of the wild’

Since 2000, the classical music world has witnessed an influx of talented young women into the international ranks of violin soloists,…

Edward Gardner finds Nielsen work ‘completely intoxicating’

The fortunes of British conductor Edward Gardner keep rising. Music director of the English National Opera from 2006 to 2015,…

Verdi’s Requiem, says soprano Vittoria Yeo, requests ‘peace for all of us’

Riccardo Muti has played an integral role in the career of South Korean soprano Vittoria Yeo. In 2015, she made…

Opera-themed programs take a leading role at Symphony Center this season

Opera isn’t just for the opera stage. Symphony orchestras in the United States and abroad have long performed operatic overtures…

Barenboim returns to a former home with ‘Má vlast’ (‘My Homeland’)

For more than 30 years, Daniel Barenboim was a major presence at the Chicago Symphony, first as a superstar pianist…

Before moving to the podium, Thomas Søndergård trained on the timpani

Instrumentalists turned conductors tend to be pianists or violinists. Think of Daniel Barenboim or Pinchas Zukerman. But Danish maestro Thomas…