Tom Huizenga

Tom Huizenga is a music producer, reporter and blogger for NPR Music. He hosts NPR's classical music blog Deceptive Cadence.

A regular contributor of stories about classical music on NPR's news programs, Huizenga regularly introduces intriguing new classical CDs to listeners on the weekend version of All Things Considered. He contributes to NPR Music's "Song of the Day."

During his time at NPR, Huizenga spent seven years as a producer, writer and editor for NPR's Peabody Award-winning daily classical music magazine Performance Today, and for the programs SymphonyCast and World of Opera. He produced the live broadcast of Gershwin's Porgy & Bess from Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center, concerts from NPR's Studio 4A and performances on the road at Summerfest La Jolla, the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival and New York's Le Poisson Rouge.

Huizenga's radio career began at the University of Michigan, where he graduated in 1986. During his four year tenure, he regularly hosted several radio programs (opera, jazz, free-form, experimental radio) at Ann Arbor's WCBN. As a student in the Enthnomusicology department, Huizenga studied and performed traditional court music from Indonesia. He also studied English Literature and voice, while writing for the university's newspaper.

After college 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, with his wife Valeska Hilbig, a public affairs director at the Smithsonian. In his spare time he writes about music for the Washington Post, overloads on concerts and movies and swings a tennis racket wildly on many local courts.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:03 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Guest DJ Angela Meade: Hitting The Big Time With Help From Verdi

Soprano Angela Meade made her professional debut in the role of Elvira in Verdi's Ernani at the Metropolitan Opera.
Marty Sohl Metropolitan Opera

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 1:23 pm

Most opera singers work their way to the big league by singing bit parts in regional opera houses. Not soprano Angela Meade. She landed on top instantly with her professional debut in the lead soprano role of Giuseppe Verdi's Ernani at New York's Metropolitan Opera in 2008.

It was a dream come true. The star soprano took ill and the understudy, Meade, was suddenly shoved into the spotlight. The press said she sang "like an old pro from start to finish."

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Deceptive Cadence
12:22 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

The Pianist Who Plays 'The Rascal And The Sparrow'

Antonio Pompa-Baldi's new album is a tribute to Francis Poulenc and Edith Piaf.
Steinway & Sons

How do you make a piano sing? Italian-born pianist Antonio Pompa-Baldi tackles the question on his new album, The Rascal and the Sparrow, a tribute to Francis Poulenc and Edith Piaf, two titans of French song who each died 50 years ago. Pompa-Baldi shared his thoughts on the project in this email chat with NPR Music's Tom Huizenga.

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Deceptive Cadence
5:33 pm
Sun September 8, 2013

Banjos, Bartók And La Belle Époque: New Classical Albums

Caleb Burhans debut album as a composer is called Evensong.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 12:34 pm

People ask why I thrive on classical music, and I tell them it's all about discovery. The possibilities for finding incredible music, both old and new, are endless as the oceans.

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Deceptive Cadence
9:12 am
Wed August 28, 2013

Singing And Sandwiches For A Tenor's Centennial

New York native Richard Tucker in the title role of Offenbach's The Tales Of Hoffmann.
Sedge LeBlang Metopolitan Opera Archives

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 10:21 am

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Field Recordings
9:05 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Daniel Hope's Earth And Sky Expedition

Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 9:33 am

When Daniel Hope was a boy, the only thing he loved as much as his violin was his telescope. Gazing into the night sky, he pondered the vastness of space. Now a grown man, Hope still has a penchant for wonder and discovery — especially when it comes to music.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:09 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Why Are American Orchestras Afraid Of New Symphonies?

David Robertson, a passionate champion of new music, conducts the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra on tour in Berlin.
Dilip Vishwanat St. Louis Symphony

Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 12:22 pm

  • The American Symphony: Music And Ideas With David Robertson

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Deceptive Cadence
5:55 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

Versatile Opera Star, Director, Teacher Regina Resnik Dies at 90

Regina Resnik as Ellen Orford in the Metropolitan Opera premiere of Benjamin Britten's Peter Grimes in 1948.
Metropolitan Opera Archives

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 1:11 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
8:18 am
Tue August 6, 2013

And in This Corner: A Baritone Fights For Opera On The BBC

Baritone Thomas Hampson takes his punches for opera on a BBC talk show.
Dario Acosta

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 5:32 pm

With an interview show named HARDtalk I suppose the host might be expected to come out swinging. And recently the BBC's Sarah Montague did not disappoint.

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Deceptive Cadence
12:53 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

5 American Symphonies You Should Know

Robert Spano, music director of the Aspen Music Festival and School, conducts the Aspen Chamber Symphony. He is a fan of the Third Symphony by Aaron Copland.
Alex Irvin

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 5:01 pm

It's not quite the quest for the Holy Grail, but we're in pursuit this summer of the "Great American Symphony." And in many respects, our journey is just as important as our destination.

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Deceptive Cadence
10:39 am
Wed July 24, 2013

Symphonic Music, American Style: 3 Must-Hear Albums

BMOP Sound

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 12:01 pm

Throughout the summer we're searching for the "Great American Symphony." It's not exactly a popularity contest. Instead, we're pondering American symphonic music from both the past and the present. Some composers like the young Kevin Puts and the veteran Martin Boykan, are labeling their pieces as symphonies. Others, like Michael Daugherty, can prefer more playful titles.

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Deceptive Cadence
12:44 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Licia Albanese: An Opera Diva Hits 100

Soprano Licia Albanese sang the title role in Puccini's Madama Butterfly 72 times at the Metropolitan Opera.
The Metropolitan Opera Archives

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 1:27 pm

It's not every day a great opera diva makes it to the century mark. So let's take a moment to cheer for Licia Albanese, the beloved Metropolitan Opera star, who celebrates her 100th today and who most likely would not care to be called a "diva."

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Deceptive Cadence
8:03 am
Tue July 2, 2013

In Search Of The Great American Symphony

Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony have been consistent champions of American music of all shapes and sizes. Are there — or will there be — American symphonies that stand with those of Mozart and Beethoven, Mahler and Shostakovich?
Bill Swerbenski San Francisco Symphony

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 1:53 pm

Critics and fans love a good debate over the great American novel or great American movie. But what about the great American symphony?

Is there one? If not, why? If so, which symphonies are good candidates for the title? (Check out our Spotify list for some contenders.) And in the land of the melting pot, what does it mean for a symphony to be "American" in the first place?

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Deceptive Cadence
5:00 am
Sun June 30, 2013

Revved-up Vivaldi, Persian Bamboo And Soaring Spirituals: New Classical Albums

album cover for Corps Exquis

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 7:41 am

It's a brave new musical world. Between downloads, iPods, music sharing websites and the good old CD, we have more easy access to the songs and symphonies we love than ever before.

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Deceptive Cadence
10:44 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Hit The Road And Hear Some Music: Summer Classical Festivals 2013

At the Moab Festival in Utah, patrons can hike to a secret spot to hear concerts.
Richard Bowditch Moab Music Festival

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 8:55 am

Summer is heating up and so are dozens of classical music festivals all around the country. We couldn't possibly list them all, but here's a sampling of some of the best events, from open-air venues and seaside spots to historic concert halls. Been to a great summer festival we've missed? Feel free to pass along your own reviews in the comments section.

EAST

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Deceptive Cadence
9:03 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Distinctive Voices: Three Must-Hear Violin Albums

Three of today's most fascinating violinists have new albums, including Augustin Hadelich, who pairs off with Spanish guitarist Pablo Sáinz Villegas.
Rosalie O'Connor Avie Records

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 10:01 am

The violin, though centuries old, remains a popular yet remarkably unwieldy instrument. Just squeezing the contraption between your chin and shoulder, then raising your bow arm to the proper height, is enough to induce a pinched nerve. Yet every day countless numbers of people try to make the instrument sing.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:03 am
Tue June 4, 2013

'Becoming Traviata': A Look At Opera From Behind The Curtain

Soprano Natalie Dessay, with tenor Charles Castonovo, in Philippe Béziat's documentary Becoming Traviata.
Distrib Films

It's easy to think of opera as little more than an affected flock of singers warbling onstage in lacy brocade with pancake makeup, chandeliers and champagne.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:41 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

The Cocktail Party Guide To Igor Stravinsky

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Don't be caught "Stravinsky deficient" as the big centennial of his Rite of Spring approaches.
Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 24, 2013 4:21 pm

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Tiny Desk Concerts
8:35 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Imani Winds: Tiny Desk Concert

Imani Winds performs a Tiny Desk Concert in February 2013.
Marie McGrory NPR

Originally published on Fri June 13, 2014 9:49 am

Editor's note: We're sorry.The video has been removed from this page.

When Igor Stravinsky began composing The Rite of Spring, his ballet for vast symphonic forces, he could hear the music in his head but couldn't quite figure out how to write it down. It was just too complicated.

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Deceptive Cadence
12:08 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Gods And Monsters: 5 Unforgettable Wagner Moments

The Valkyries, led by Brunnhilde (soprano Debra Voigt, lower left), are the warrior maidens of Richard Wagner's epic Ring cycle.
Ken Howard Metropolitan Opera

Originally published on Wed May 22, 2013 4:02 pm

  • William Berger on 'Parsifal'
  • William Berger on 'Das Rheingold'
  • William Berger on 'Die Walküre'
  • William Berger on 'Tristan und Isolde'
  • William Berger on 'Die Meistersinger'

How much do you know about Richard Wagner? Probably two unfavorable facts: He wrote very long, grandiose operas and was Hitler's favorite composer. As true as they are, those simple examples barely hint at the complexity of this endlessly creative and confounding artist.

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Deceptive Cadence
1:20 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Moms In Opera: Women On The Edge

Mozart's Queen of the Night (portrayed here by soprano Diana Damrau), in his The Magic Flute, is one of opera's more intense mothers.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 7, 2014 3:40 pm

We love mothers for all the Hallmark reasons: for their compassion and patience, not to mention giving birth. But some moms aren't exactly greeting card friendly — and none less so than those who live in the opera house.

This is opera, after all, so we expect the outrageous. But operatic moms seem to be disproportionately portrayed as murderers, harpies or generally women on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Your Normas, Medeas, Butterflies, Queens of the Night and Clytemnestras.

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