Tom Huizenga

Tom Huizenga is a music producer, reporter and blogger for NPR Music.

He is a regular contributor of stories about classical music to NPR's news programs and co-hosts NPR's classical music blog Deceptive Cadence.

Joining NPR in 1999, Huizenga spent seven years as a producer, writer and editor for NPR's Peabody Award-winning daily classical music show Performance Today and for programs SymphonyCast and World of Opera.

He's produced live concerts, including a radio broadcast of Gershwin's Porgy & Bess from Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center and NPR's first classical music webcast from the Manhattan club (Le) Poisson Rouge, featuring the acclaimed Emerson String Quartet. He's also asked musicians to play in unlikely venues, such as cellist Alisa Weilerstein playing Bach at the Baltimore Aquarium. He's written and produced radio specials, like A Choral Christmas With Stile Antico, broadcast on stations around the country.

Huizenga's radio career began at the University of Michigan, where he hosted opera, jazz, free-form, and experimental radio programs at Ann Arbor's WCBN. As a student in the Ethnomusicology department, Huizenga studied and performed traditional court music from Indonesia. He also studied English Literature and voice, while writing for the university's newspaper.

Huizenga took his love of music and broadcasting to New Mexico, where he served as music director for NPR member station KRWG, in Las Cruces, and taught radio production at New Mexico State University.

Huizenga lives in Takoma Park, Md. and in his spare time writes about music for the Washington Post and overloads on concerts and movies.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:03 am
Tue August 4, 2015

A Mahler Symphony Squeezed In A Squeezebox

William Schimmel distills Mahler's lengthy Ninth Symphony down to under seven minutes.
Illustration by Joan Chiverton

When Gustav Mahler said a symphony "must be like the world. It must embrace everything," I suppose he meant embracing accordions, too.

Gustav Mahler's sprawling Ninth Symphony is a 90-minute journey brimming with the joys of life, haunted by death and with a lot happening along the way. Accordionist William Schimmel has squeezed this immense musical canvas down to just 6 1/2 minutes. That takes some guts.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:03 am
Thu July 30, 2015

Sound Design: The Art Of The Album Cover

Denise Burt's album cover designs are as cutting-edge as the music they represent.
Denise Burt Dacapo

Calling all design geeks and fans of cool album art! Check out this thing we made.

It tells the story of graphic designer Denise Burt and her album covers. Read about her process, see the art — and hear the music that inspired her.

Shortly after Burt moved to Copenhagen in 2000, she landed a job creating album covers for Denmark's Dacapo Records. Trouble was, she didn't know a thing about the contemporary classical music the label specialized in.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:05 pm
Tue July 28, 2015

Unassuming Czech Pianist Ivan Moravec Dies At 84

Pianist Ivan Moravec was known for his lyrical playing and recordings of Chopin and Mozart.
Anost Nosek

Ivan Moravec, a Czech pianist known for his lyrical and selfless approach to music, died Monday in a Prague hospital, according to a management representative, Linda Marder of CM Artists in New York. Moravec had been treated for pneumonia. He was 84.

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Music
5:18 am
Tue July 28, 2015

What Does Music Look Like?

NPR

Originally published on Tue July 28, 2015 8:38 am

Look At This ---> apps.npr.org/lookatthis/posts/album-art/

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Deceptive Cadence
3:59 pm
Thu July 23, 2015

One Feisty Victorian Woman's Opera Revived

A rehearsal for the first fully staged U.S. production of Ethel Smyth's 1904 opera The Wreckers at the Bard Music Festival in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y.
Cory Weaver Bard SummerScape

Originally published on Thu July 23, 2015 7:19 pm

Ethel Smyth was not your typical Victorian lady. She defied her father, a stern army general, to pursue a career in music. She loved women, played sports and played an important role in the women's suffrage movement in Britain in the early 20th century. Along the way she composed chamber and orchestral music, an acclaimed Mass and six operas.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:03 am
Wed July 15, 2015

Songs We Love: Nordic Affect, 'Clockworking'

The Icelandic group Nordic Affect has commissioned new works for its forthcoming album, Clockworking.
David Oldfield

Originally published on Tue July 28, 2015 11:45 am

Iceland might be small and isolated but the country's music scene is substantial, resonating far beyond the island nation. One Icelandic group that thrives on both new and old classical music is Nordic Affect. Formed in 2005, the quartet of women is equally at home playing 17th century dance music and newly commissioned works like Clockworking, the title track from its forthcoming album.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:31 pm
Mon July 13, 2015

Jon Vickers, Intense Canadian Tenor, Dies At 88

Tenor Jon Vickers in the title role of Benjamin Britten's opera Peter Grimes at New York's Metropolitan Opera in 1983.
James Heffernan Metropolitan Opera Archives

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Deceptive Cadence
8:47 am
Tue July 7, 2015

Why Conductor Kirill Petrenko Fits The Berlin Philharmonic

Kirill Petrenko will become the next chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic in 2018.
Wilfried Hösl Berlin Philharmonic

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Deceptive Cadence
8:03 am
Wed June 10, 2015

'Tristan Und Isolde,' The Love Story That Changed Opera For Good

Ludwig Schnorr von Carolsfeld and his wife Malwina were Wagner's original Tristan and Isolde in 1865.
Joseph Albert Wikimedia Commons

Artistic revolutions are rarely born easy. They complained about cubism, they grumbled about the "talkies" — and boy, did they bellyache over Wagner's trailblazing operas, especially Tristan und Isolde, which debuted 150 years ago Wednesday.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:03 am
Tue June 9, 2015

Evenly Odd: Carl Nielsen's Distinctive Symphonies

Danish composer Carl Nielsen wrote six exuberant symphonies.
Royal Danish Library

Originally published on Tue June 9, 2015 10:50 am

"Quirky" is a descriptor that seems to have stuck to Danish composer Carl Nielsen, born 150 years ago on June 9, 1865.

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Tiny Desk
8:03 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Jason Vieaux And Yolanda Kondonassis: Tiny Desk Concert

Tiny Desk Concert with Jason Vieaux and Yolanda Kondonassis.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Sun May 31, 2015 7:52 pm

We rarely invite Tiny Desk alumni back to the confines of Bob Boilen's work space, but we couldn't resist this time. Harpist Yolanda Kondonassis and Grammy-winning guitarist Jason Vieaux have both given solo Tiny Desk performances. Since then they've paired up for concerts and a new album of works composed especially for their combination of instruments.

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All Songs Considered
8:03 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Drum Fill Friday, With Sō Percussion

The members of Sō Percussion will bang on almost anything.
Janette Beckman

May is international drum month! To celebrate, we bring you a discussion in percussion with a group of guys who will bang on almost anything (including a cactus). The members of Sō Percussion are the guest quizmasters for this week's Drum Fill Friday.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:26 am
Tue May 19, 2015

Bruce Brubaker's Flowing, Meditative Glass

Pianist Bruce Brubaker has been playing Philip Glass' music for more than 20 years.
Timothy Saccenti

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 9:11 am

In his new memoir, Words Without Music, Philip Glass tells the story of how he slugged a man in the jaw in Amsterdam. At a concert, a quarrelsome audience member climbed onto the stage and began banging on the composer's keyboard. That was in 1969, when Glass' repetitious, slowly evolving music fell on many ears like a needle stuck in the groove of a record.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
9:45 am
Fri May 15, 2015

Camané: Tiny Desk Concert

Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Fri May 15, 2015 1:24 pm

Great fado singers sound as if they carry the weight of the world's sadness. They don't just wear their hearts on their sleeves — they bare their souls.

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Classics in Concert
1:51 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Lang Lang In Concert At The Met Museum

Lang Lang brings a program of Chinese music, plus Chopin and Tchaikovsky, to the Met Museum in New York.
Stephanie Berger for NPR

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 4:59 pm

For more than half of his 32 years, Lang Lang has been in the spotlight, as an international star and arguably the most crowd-pleasing classical pianist on the planet. From venues as diverse as the Beijing Olympics and Brazil's World Cup to New York's Central Park and Stockholm's Nobel Prizes, Lang Lang routinely crisscrosses the globe playing to innumerable masses. Last month he filled London's cavernous Royal Albert Hall two nights in a row.

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Deceptive Cadence
9:09 am
Tue May 12, 2015

András Schiff's Confessional Schubert

Andras Schiff had a change of heart when it comes to the fortepiano.
Nadia F. Romanini ECM Records

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 4:10 pm

Twenty years ago, pianist András Schiff did not hide his disdain for the fortepiano — the smaller, quieter precursor to the modern grand piano. In the liner notes of five separate Schubert albums Schiff released in the early 1990s, he wrote: "Schubert's piano music has luckily not been discovered yet by specialists playing copies of Graf fortepianos."

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Deceptive Cadence
11:31 am
Wed May 6, 2015

Flower Songs: A Springtime Opera Puzzler

Mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili sings amid a massive field of poppies in a Metropolitan Opera production of Borodin's Prince Igor.
Cory Weaver Metropolitan Opera

Spring finally seems to have arrived with an abundance of flowers. In the old poem, it's April showers that bring May flowers. But in opera, flowers pop up for a variety of reasons, and not all of them are pretty. While operatic flowers can be enjoyed for their beauty, their allure can also spell trouble. This springtime fleurs de l'opéra puzzler includes some lovely blossoms you might not want to sniff. Score high and come out smelling like a rose. Score low and feel yourself wilt with inadequacy.

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Deceptive Cadence
5:15 pm
Tue April 28, 2015

Dazzling Trumpeter Rolf Smedvig Dies Suddenly

Trumpeter Rolf Smedvig, of the Empire Brass Quintet, was acclaimed for his lustrous tone and virtuosity.
Columbia Artist Management

Originally published on Wed April 29, 2015 4:39 pm

Trumpeter Rolf Smedvig, praised for his beautiful tone and virtuosic style, died Monday afternoon at his home in West Stockbridge, Mass. The cause of death, according to his long-time manager Mark Z. Alpert, was a heart attack. Smedvig was 62.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:03 am
Fri April 24, 2015

Bang On A Can Riffs On John Cage

On the Bang on a Can All-Stars' new album, Field Recordings, composers riff on a range of recorded sounds.
Peter Serling Bang on a Can

Originally published on Wed July 8, 2015 10:19 am

Life changed a lot after that day in 1877 when Thomas Edison spoke "Mary had a little lamb" into a contraption he called a phonograph and discovered he could reproduce sound. Back then, tinfoil cylinders captured just a few flickering moments. Today Wagner's entire Ring cycle fits on a 16GB flash drive.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:03 am
Wed April 22, 2015

Get Out And Hear Some New Music This Summer

Music director and conductor Marin Alsop leads the orchestra at the Cabrillo Festival, which has championed new music for 53 seasons.
R.R. Jones Cabrillo Festival

Originally published on Wed April 22, 2015 2:35 pm

Now that the weather, at least in much of the country, has turned from polar to pollen vortex, it's time to start mapping out musical road trips. This year bodes well for exploring contemporary work. There are new-music meccas like California's Cabrillo, where all the music is current. At other festivals, like New York's Mostly Mozart, the classics mingle with the contemporary — this year spotlights 55-year-old British composer George Benjamin. And still others, like the Bard Festival, offer rare glimpses into forward-thinking composers from the mid-20th century.

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