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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Tiny Desk
8:03 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Jason Vieaux And Yolanda Kondonassis: Tiny Desk Concert

Meredith Rizzo NPR

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 Tue May 12, 2015 9:38 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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Deceptive Cadence
7:23 pm
Mon April 20, 2015

Julia Wolfe Wins Music Pulitzer For 'Anthracite Fields'

Composer Julia Wolfe has won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for music for Anthracite Fields, an oratorio about coal miners and their families.
Peter Serling

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 11:03 am

Julia Wolfe, a composer associated with the New York music collective Bang on a Can, has won the Pulitzer Prize for music for Anthracite Fields.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:36 am
Tue April 14, 2015

The Hypnotic Groove Of Xenakis

Percussionist Kuniko's new album is devoted to music by Iannis Xenakis.
Linn Records

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 1:41 pm

Percussionists back in Beethoven's day could be forgiven for feeling a little bored, waiting for the infrequent roll of the kettledrum or the occasional cymbal crash. But as orchestras grew bigger, percussionists got busier — even more so after World War I, when a new generation of composers began writing specifically for percussion.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:43 pm
Fri April 3, 2015

Multifaceted Music Critic Andrew Porter Dies At 86

Critic and opera translator Andrew Porter directs singer Nikki Einfeld during a rehearsal of a Canadian Opera Company production of Mozart's Magic Flute in Toronto in 2005.
Tannis Toohey Toronto Star

Andrew Porter, a renowned music critic and scholar and translator of opera, died early today in London's Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. His twin sister, Sheila Porter, told NPR his death was the result of complications from pneumonia. He was 86.

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All Songs Considered
11:43 am
Tue March 31, 2015

Can You Name That Musical Prank?

Test your wits against these musical pranksters.
Douglas Grundy Getty Images

Each April 1st, practical jokers get their kicks pulling the wool over people's eyes. There are little white lies, cunning schemes and elaborate hoaxes. Pranksters are alive and well in music, too. Test your wits with these musical smart alecks who run the gamut from clever clowns to serious scam artists. Score high and feel a surge of superiority. Score low and fancy yourself a true April fool.

Tiny Desk Concerts
10:45 am
Sat March 28, 2015

Anonymous 4 With Bruce Molsky: Tiny Desk Concert

Tiny Desk Concert with Anonymous 4 on March 4.
Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 5:18 pm

It was December 1990 — more than a year before the first Anonymous 4 album was released — when NPR invited four slightly shy women into our studio to sing 13th-century Christmas music. Back then, we already knew the manifold beauty of their sound, its purity and accuracy, was something unique.

Now, some 25 years and 21 albums later, the a cappella vocal quartet is calling it quits at the end of 2015. But not before one final visit to NPR.

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Deceptive Cadence
12:49 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

The Sensuous Radical: Pierre Boulez at 90

French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez, photographed in Salzburg in 2011.
Martin Schalk Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 8:01 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
8:42 am
Thu March 19, 2015

The Tallis Scholars' Luminous Way With Arvo Pärt

The Tallis Scholars sing the music of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt.
Eric Richmond

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 2:10 pm

Arvo Pärt was saved by the bell. The Estonian composer, who turns 80 in September, hit a creative roadblock in 1968. After a hiatus of eight years he returned with a new sound inspired by the simple triad (a stack of three notes, an essential building block of Western music) and by bells. He called his new style tintinnabuli (from the Latin for bells).

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Deceptive Cadence
8:03 am
Thu March 5, 2015

The Bachelors Of Opera

Latvian bass-baritone Egils Silins portrays The Flying Dutchman, one of opera's most disturbing bachelors, in Orange, France in 2013.
Boris Horvat AFP/Getty Images

The Bachelor, the reality TV show poised to close out another nail-biting season (which young woman will Chris Soules choose Monday?), has nothing on opera. Over the past 400 years, composers have placed onstage any number of hot-blooded Romeos, sensible gentlemen and conniving psychopaths all looking for the perfect mate.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:27 am
Wed February 25, 2015

Bryan Hymel's Hefty High Cs

Tenor Bryan Hymel sings shining high Cs in the Rossini aria "Asile héréditaire."
Dario Acosta Warner Classics

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 4:33 pm

Pavarotti, roll over. There's a new king of the high Cs. His name is Bryan Hymel and he pops off no fewer than 10 of them in "Asile héréditaire," the Rossini aria that opens his new album Héroïque, released Tuesday.

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