Local Music

Hear interviews with guests on music programs produced here at WMUK, as well as program news.

Michael Lutch, IMG Artists

Julian Kuerti says he developed his feeling of "what's right" in music as a child listening to his musician parents - concert pianist Anton Kuerti and cellist Kristine Bogyo - rehearse at home in Toronto. In an interview with Cara Lieurance, Kuerti talks about some of the reasons he became a conductor over becoming a mathemetician, and how his studies in Berlin helped focus his talent and energy.

Kuerti describes the two big works on the program - Beethoven's "Triple" Concerto and Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5 - in terms of their history, construction, and special features.

Peter Halstead

The Stulberg International String Competition will be turned into a"play-by-play" radio documentary by NPR's From The Top this year. According to host Christopher O'Riley, events like this one are best experienced immersively - and they are a great learning experience for the finalists, whether they win a prize or not. He talks to Cara Lieurance about covering the competition, which culminates today in a finals concert at the Dalton Center Recital Hall at Western Michigan University at 7:30 pm. More information on tickets and other events are at the Stulberg Competition website. The From The Top episode on the competition is expected to air this fall.

Craig Freeman

Violinist Ahmed Tofiq has become, by neccessity, a bridge between Eastern and Western musical traditions, and a bridge between cultures as well. The co-founder of a youth orchestra for children of Syrian refugees, Orchestra Rouh, he speaks Arabic and excels in playing traditional melodies in the styles he learned growing up in Kurdistan. But Tofiq has embraced life in Kalamazoo since moving here to earn his master's degree in music at Western Michigan University in 2014. He knows that music is one way to form connections, and a feeling of home, quickly.

In the Takeda studio, with his violin, Ahmed Tofiq tells his story and plays a few of his favorite maqamat as he speaks with Craig Freeman. 

halfrain, via flickr / creative commons

Horn player Ron Chase, oboist Wendy Mazer, and pianist Barbara Hong are friends and musicians who enjoy the chance to play music together with their colleagues four times a year at the Ladies Library of Kalamazoo. This Friday, they'll close the fifth season of the Arcadia Winds & Ensemble des Amis with a variety of works for winds and piano, including Carl Reinecke's Sextet for winds, Op 271; Mozart's Serenade, K375, and works by James Cohn and Jules Massenet. The concert and following reception are free and open to the public. Chase, Mazer and Hong discuss the works on the program and the pleasure of performing in the historic music hall at the Ladies Library.

helsingborgs konserhus, all creative commons license

The 43rd annual Stulberg International String Competition is a less intimidating event than it may sound. Executive director Margaret Hamilton explains that this Kalamazoo-based music competition for string players under the age of 20 is widely considered a friendly experience for both contestants and for audiences.

Between 9am and 4 pm on Friday, anyone can walk into the Dalton Center Recital Hall to hear the 12 semi-finalists play on the half-hour for the three experienced judges. At 7:30 pm, the remaining six finalists will perform again - and this year, they'll talk to From The Top's Christopher O'Riley, host of the popular radio showcase for young performers as they wait for the results at the end of the concert. On Saturday, the public is welcome to observe judges Anthony Ross and Scott St. John teach masterclasses, and judge Aaron Dworkin will give a presentation on entrepreneurship in the arts. In this interview, Margaret Hamilton and Cara Lieurance walk listeners through the event and celebrate past winners.