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"Centennial Sounds," hosted by Brad Turner, spotlights contemporary classical music performed in Colorado and features exclusive sessions from the CPR Performance Studio as well as live recordings taken from concert venues and summer festivals around the Centennial State.
 
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Composer David Rakowski loves to write piano etudes. He’s created 100 of them. Etudes developed in the 19th century as short practice pieces . They help musicians focus on a technique or build strength or dexterity. Many -- like the etudes of Frederic Chopin -- were also beautiful. David has carried the tradition into the 21st century, writing etud…
 
Composer Benjamin Park felt exhausted during the 2016 election. He remembers the nonstop political coverage and the growing tension within the United States. He decided to write music that embodied the disconnect -- and addressed the division. Ben used portions of the melody from "America the Beautiful" to write a piece about the harsh political di…
 
Composer Paul Lansky was a pioneer in computer music -- sounds generated and manipulated by a computer. And then, after decades as an innovative composer of computer music, Paul stopped. He switched his focus to writing for live musicians. He's particularly fond of working with percussionists. This is the story of Paul's journey from the frontier o…
 
?Composer Jessica Meyer recently had the kind of experience that gives musicians nightmares. She traveled to the desert in northwestern Colorado to perform a new piece in concert on her viola. It was built on layers of electronic loops. But the unique acoustics at the venue -- known simply as The Tank -- caused those loops to dissolve into a squall…
 
Daniel Kellogg, who teaches composition at the University of Colorado, loves the string quartet. Some of history's greatest composers wrote their most extraordinary music for two violins, a viola and a cello. So Daniel took the job seriously when he set out to write a big statement that he ultimately called String Quartet No. 1. He had worked up to…
 
Composer David Ludwig wrote his piece "Pangaea" as a "prehistoric 'Carnival of the Animals.'" It's about a time in Earth's history when there was one supercontinent, a vast ocean and a frightening die-off that wiped out most species on the planet. Hear the haunting "Pangaea," performed at the Bravo! Vail music festival by Anne-Marie McDermott, Cald…
 
Centennial Sounds -- a podcast about modern classical music, and what inspires some of today's most talented composers -- returns soon for its second season. The series, hosted by Brad Turner, features exclusive recordings of music by 21st century composers and stories about what inspires the music. The new season features a twist: It's a musical r…
 
Composer Nathan Hall is fascinated with the huge, vibrant paintings of abstract painter Clyfford Still. Nathan recently set out to compose music about about Still, and combed through the painter's writings to set some of the colorful passages to music. Hear "Notes From Clyfford Still," performed by the Playground Ensemble in the CPR Performance Stu…
 
Composer Michael Ippolito tried an unusual approach when he wrote a piece for the Altius Quartet. He sat down with a cello, instrument he'd barely played since middle school. His experiments with an instrument he’d largely forgotten how to play took his music to surprising places. Hear Michael Ippolito’s String Quartet No. 4 performed by the Altius…
 
Composer Julia Wolfe lives in Lower Manhattan, just blocks from where the Twin Towers once stood. She and her family watched 9/11 unfold around them, and dealt with the aftermath. She wrote one of her most stark, concise works as a response. She called it “Compassion.” Hear the piece performed in concert by pianist Conrad Tao at the Aspen Music Fes…
 
Composer Loretta Notareschi remembers early motherhood as one of the hardest moments of her life. She felt completely in love with her infant daughter but she also grappled with a frightening postpartum mood disorder. She decided to use music to tell her story, and start a conversation with others going through the same thing. Hear Loretta’s piece,…
 
Composer Kevin Michael Olson used to work in a lab that developed military technology. And he wrote about that experience in his music. It sounded pretty dark. So one day, he wanted to write something that sounded less heavy. The piano music that came out sounded more complicated than he intended. It’s filled with stark contrasts. He called it “Dic…
 
Composer Egemen Kesikli spent last summer in his home country of Turkey. He was waiting to return to the United States, where he studied composition at the University of Colorado. Then Egemen heard about the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. Forty-nine people died at the popular gay club. Egemen, who is gay, felt horrified. He dealt with the sho…
 
The contemporary chamber ensemble yMusic set out to make a different kind of classical record with its latest release. The group enlisted one of its favorite collaborators, Son Lux, to compose an album of compositions with the feel of a rock LP. The result is called "First." Hear a CPR Performance Studio recording of two pieces from the album, and …
 
A few years ago, composer Carter Pann heard the saxophonists in the Capitol Quartet in concert. The music blew him away. He convinced the group to collaborate with him, and the resulting piece -- called "The Mechanics" -- made Carter a Pulitzer Prize finalist. Hear a CPR Performance Studio recording of the piece by the up-and-coming Black Diamond S…
 
Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw writes music for the voice that catches you off guard. The singers in Roomful of Teeth talk over each other, break into huge chords and use stunning vocal techniques from all over the world. Caroline has a new piece for Roomful of Teeth, called "This Might Also Be a Form of Dreaming." Here's a live reco…
 
She’s a composer in Los Angeles who blends her favorite sounds from Indian and Western classical music. He’s a musician in Boulder who plays the 14-string viola d’amore -- a unique instrument that captivated composers more than 300 years ago. Their collaboration created an extraordinary piece of music called “Nishani.” Hear an exclusive recording o…
 
Welcome to "Centennial Sounds" -- a new podcast from CPR Classical and Colorado Public Radio that spotlights contemporary classical music performed in Colorado. The podcast, hosted by Brad Turner, features exclusive sessions from the CPR Performance Studio as well as live recordings taken from concert venues and summer festivals around the Centenni…
 
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