Of Note Episodes

Alisa WeilersteinAmerican cellist Alisa Weilerstein has dreamed of playing Dvorak's cello concerto at concert halls the world over since age four. Her new recording for Decca documents this passion, with Weilerstein performing the lyrical work, accompanied by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra under Jiri Belohlavek. Katy Henriksen talks to Weilerstein about her early love for Dvorak, the importance of biographical details to understanding pieces and about how the concerto is a tone poem, with the cello as the hero.
Dmitri Ratser

Dmitri Ratser, Russian pianist and faculty member of the prestigious Moscow Conservatory of Music, visits the University of Arkansas music department to present a journey through the sonata form beginning with Haydn through the romantics, culminating with a modern sonata from Rosenblatt. His free recital is tonight at 8 p.m. in the Stella Boyle Smith concert hall on the UA campus in Fayetteville.

Avi AvitalGrammy-nominated mandolin virtuoso Avi Avital's new album Between Worlds explores the intersections of folk and classical through mandolin arrangements of both folk traditionals and classical pieces. I speak with Avital about the new release and how he was able to meld the two genres as well as his beginnings as a mandolin player as a member of a 40-piece all mandolin youth orchestra.
Leona MitchellLeona Mitchell The Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra celebrates the season with special guests the Ozark Bronze Handbell Choir, the University of Arkansas Childrens' Choir and Grammy Award-winning soprano Leona Mitchell in their final concert of 2013 on Dec. 21. Katy Henriksen talks to conductor Steven Byess and soprano Leona Mitchell about the festive offerings.
Mark O'ConnorGrammy-winning violinist, cross-genre composer and music educator Mark O'Connor wants to rethink our approach to strings. Katy Henriksen spoke to O'Connor prior to his "Appalachian Christmas" concert appearance in Fayetteville December 13 at the Walton Arts Center.
Ozarks ChoraleThe Ozarks Chorale has a goal to bring 1,000 voices singing the Hallelujah Chorus for the finale of their Christmas Concert December 14. Artistic Director Beth Withey elaborates on the plan and explains exactly why bringing so many voices together is such a magical experience.
QSFQuartet San Francisco founder and violinist Jeremy Cohen discusses the new album, "Pacific Premieres," and about what its like to work as an artist who doesn't fit easily defined roles. The album features a new string quartet from Gordon Goodwin who says he was well into his composing career before he "got the courage to dip into string quartet writing." In the liner notes he says "There is nowhere to hide in this genere, not for the composer or the musicians." Cohen elaborates on the form of string quartet writing as a scary format.
Symphony of Northwest Arkansas music director elaborates on the first concert of the season, featuring Schubert, Beethoven and Barber.
German pianist and composer Ratko Delorko stops by to discuss his MIDI sonata and more prior to his performance for the UA music department.Ratko DelorkoRatko Delorko
Helene GrimaudHelene Grimaud

Grace, passion and precision run throughout Helene Grimaud’s new recording of Brahms’ two piano concertos for Deutsche Grammophon.

Although Grimaud immediately embraced Brahms’ 1st (op. 15), as “intimate,” discovering it as a child and first recording the concerto in 1997, she reluctantly approached the 2nd out of duty in 2007. Then, in 2011 the piece came “knocking on the door from the inside,” as she explained, when her true connection was made.

In addition to her career as a musician, Grimaud founded the Wolf Conservation Center in upstate New York, is an active member of Musicians for Human Rights and continues to champion both environmental and human rights causes.

When asked about how her role as a musician connects with her role as an activist she explained: “One of the basic precepts of the German Romantic school is that nature is the ultimate muse we do not really invent anything, that we simply rediscover what is already there and that all disciplines take root in a global intuition.”

For Grimaud it makes a lot of sense to be at once a musician and an activist because they are intrinsically connected.

“It’s one of the ways one can give back. When you have the privilege of being able to do what you love doing, to live from what you love doing, it’s the ultimate luxury,” she explains. “So you of course are motivated to give back in any way shape or form you can.”