classical music

Andy Buchanan

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is celebrating its 75th anniversary with special events throughout the season. Next week, Thomas Søndergård returns to Atlanta to conduct music by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius.

Violinist Blake Pouliot will make his debut with the ASO, performing the "Violin Concerto." Sibelius' sixth and seventh symphonies are also on the program. And listeners can expect to hear his most famous piece: a tone poem called "Finlandia."

Jeff Roffman

"A psychological thriller draped in lust, incest, power and seduction."

That's the Atlanta Opera blurb for the company's new production of Salome, which runs Jan. 25 to Feb. 2. 

Set in King Herod's palace and culminating in a teenaged girl's kissing a severed head, the opera shocked when it was new. Even now it comes on strong. And it's not trivial to mount.

Music director Arthur Fagen sat down with GPB's Sarah Zaslaw to dish about the challenges of Richard Strauss's most scandalous opera.

(c) Brian Raphael Nabors

What a banner year for composer Brian Raphael Nabors. The 28-year-old Birmingham native just finished up his doctorate in Cincinnati, acted as a composing fellow at three organizations across the country and is about to head to Australia on a Fulbright scholarship. Also in 2019, as winner of the national Rapido! Composition Competition, he was commissioned to write a new piece for the Atlanta Symphony to premiere this week, “Onward.” Nabors sat down with GPB’s Sarah Zaslaw to talk about this time of growth.

In July, the Savannah Philharmonic announced its new, second-ever conductor. Keitaro Harada, or Kei, as he likes to be called, grew up in Tokyo, but he’s no stranger to Georgia: he studied at Mercer University and was assistant conductor of the late Macon Symphony.

More recently, Harada wrapped up four years as associate conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony. He takes the stage Sept. 14 as the Savannah Philharmonic's music director designate. He spoke with GPB’s Sarah Zaslaw about music, love, community and batons.

Jet-set conductor Donald Runnicles is all over the map, literally. In Berlin, he’s music director of the German Opera. In Wyoming, he heads the Grand Teton Music Festival. And he often visits Georgia as principal guest conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

It all began in Scotland, where Runnicles grew up the son of a church choirmaster and an amateur pianist. In May, between weekends of Debussy and Beethoven with the ASO, he sat down with GPB’s Sarah Zaslaw. She asked about his earliest musical experience.


Atlanta’s the college football center of the world on Monday night, as the University of Georgia Dawgs try to stem the University of Alabama’s Tide, in the National Championship game. A win for Georgia would be the first national championship victory for the team in more than 35 years. We get a preview from GPB’s senior sports correspondent Jon Nelson and University of Georgia sports journalism professor Vicki Michaelis.


Atlanta cellist Nick Ogawa, better known as "Takénobu," takes the cello beyond the orchestra. His latest album, “Reversal,” uses loops and percussive sounds to create thick soundscapes. We catch up with Takénobu ahead of a performance at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur this Sunday, November 19. 

Indigo Girls -- no “the” -- have been hits since their first release in 1985. One of the most successful and influential Georgia-formed groups, the folk rock pair have gone platinum and won a Grammy, too. They have a show tonight, Sept. 27, at Atlanta Symphony Hall with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. We revisit an interview with one half of the group, Amy Ray.

How To Diversify The Reach Of Classical Music

Sep 27, 2017
The Atlanta Music Project

American orchestras have a diversity problem. People of color make up only about four percent of the musicians in U.S. symphonies. The Atlanta Music Project is looking to change that. They provide free instruments and lessons to underserved kids in southwest Atlanta, in the hopes of getting them interested in classical music careers.

Mercer University

World-renowned violinist Robert McDuffie has opened a music conservatory at Mercer University in Macon. It not only focuses on musical talent, but also offers a broad-based education and teaches students how to survive financially as working musicians. He talks about the McDuffie Center for Strings and why some consider it to be the “Juilliard of the South.” 

An Atlanta composer has a new work that features the last words of unarmed black men killed by authority figures. We talk with Joel Thompson, whose piece, “The Seven Last Words of the Unarmed,” is being performed by students at the University of Michigan.