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» A guided tour of Beethoven's 9th on WNYC's Soundcheck
Live from Avery Fisher Hall
WNYC and NPR will once again ring in the New Year with the New York Philharmonic, live from Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. Before the ball drops, before you sing “Auld Lang Syne” with your nearest and dearest, before you pop the champagne, gather around the radio for the musical exultation of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, with its thrilling "Ode to Joy."
Music Director Emeritus Kurt Masur will conduct the performance, which will be his final engagement at Avery Fisher Hall this season. Mr. Masur performed the Beethoven's Ninth Symphony nine times during his tenure with the Philharmonic, including New Year's Eve, 1999. The soloists have sung with all the major orchestras in the U.S., and many more in Europe: Soprano Christine Brewer; Mezzo-Soprano Marietta Simpson; Tenor Thomas Studebaker; Bass-baritone Albert Dohmen in his Philharmonic winter season debut; and the New York Choral Artists under the direction of Joseph Flummerfelt.
WNYC's New Year's Eve Celebration
Hosted by WNYC's Margaret Juntwait and NPR's Fred Child, this live broadcast from Avery Fisher Hall is just one part of WNYC's New Year's Eve celebration. From 7pm to 8pm, Evening Music host David Garland will present an hour of "Auld Acquaintances," an enticing array of great vintage recordings, from classical chestnuts to early Bing Crosby and Duke Ellington. From 10pm to midnight, John Schaefer, of Soundcheck and New Sounds, once again hosts the NPR production of Paul Winter's annual Winter Solstice Celebration, this year with a decidedly Russian flavor, from New York's Cathedral of Saint John the Divine.
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Beethoven's Ninth Symphony
Beethoven's Ninth Symphony premiered in Vienna on May 17, 1824. Beethoven was long since deaf, but he stood on stage turning the pages of the music, while another man led the orchestra and chorus. When the symphony came to an end, Beethoven was so intent on the score that he remained hunched over the music until he was turned around to see the audience's wild appreciation of his masterpiece.
One hundred-eighty years later, Beethoven's Ninth remains an inspiration to the world, and is considered by many to be among the most powerful works in the western classical music canon. The final movement includes Beethoven's radiant setting of Schiller's poem, the "Ode to Joy." A celebration of universal brotherhood, the affectionately nick-named "kiss for all the world" has been played at pivotal moments in recent history, including a 1989 concert conducted by Leonard Bernstein to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall. The "Ode to Joy" melody has also been adopted as the official anthem of the European Union.
» Listen to a guided tour of Beethoven's compelling 9th Symphony by composer and conductor Robert Kapilow on Soundcheck.
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About Margaret Juntwait
Margaret Juntwait, the new announcer for the Metropolitan Opera's Saturday Afternoon Radio Broadcasts, is a classical music host for WNYC, New York Public Radio. A graduate of the Manhattan School of Music with a degree in voice and studies with Ellen Repp, her original hope of this lyric soprano was to sing opera. But plan B was radio and she went to work for WNYC in 1991.
As host of WNYC Radio's Evening Music with Margaret Juntwait, Ms. Juntwait can be heard on Saturday and Sunday nights on WNYC 93.9 FM and via live webstream at wnyc.org; she also hosts other music programs and specials for the station. For WNYC and NPR, she also regularly hosts live local and national radio broadcasts which have recently included an opening weekend concert of Carnegie's Zankel Hall, featuring the Emerson String Quartet with Emanuel Ax; New Year's Eve with the New York Philharmonic; and last spring's star-studded, Philharmonic broadcast of Candide. Upcoming projects include co-hosting BBC/WNYC Music Party, a joint production of WNYC Radio and the BBC World Service, which will feature the Ritz Chamber Ensemble and the Orion String Quartet and be heard internationally.
Ms. Juntwait is only the third regular announcer of the Metropolitan Opera's long-standing Saturday Afternoon Broadcasts series, launched in 1931, and is the first woman to hold the position. The series is heard on more than 360 stations nationally, and in many countries throughout the world, reaching an audience of 10 million listeners worldwide. Last year, Ms. Juntwait hosted a live national broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera's 2003 National Council Finals Concert, produced in partnership with WNYC. Prior to her appointment as successor to Peter Allen, she served as a cover announcer for the Metropolitan Opera for four years.
Margaret has also been heard on Sirius Satellite Radio on their Classical Voices and Sirius Pops channels, on many museum audio tours throughout the United States, and on The Met Celebrates Verdi on PBS. Margaret has three sons who play in a garage band and are beginning to show promise as potential opera patrons as well as a stepdaughter with a keen interest in rock music. She lives with her husband Jamie Katz, a magazine editor, in New York City.
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About Fred Child
Fred Child is the host of America's most-listened-to daily classical music radio show, NPR's Performance Today. The program reaches 1.5 million listeners every week on 250 stations around the country. Performance Today features classical music in concert across the nation and around the world, music in concert from the NPR studios, plus classical music news, interviews and issues.
Fred is also the host of NPR's “Creators @ Carnegie,” a program of wide-ranging performers in concert at Carnegie Hall, including the Kronos Quartet, Bill Frisell, Randy Newman, Dawn Upshaw, Youssou N'Dour, Caetano Veloso, Emmylou Harris, and others.
In recent years, Fred has hosted a series of important live national concert broadcasts, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic's first ever concerts from Walt Disney Hall, the 2003 season-opening concert at Carnegie Hall, the Berlin Philharmonic live at Carnegie Hall, the New York Philharmonic's world premiere of John Adams's "On the Transmigration of Souls," the Last Night of the Proms from the Royal Albert Hall in London, New Year's concerts by the New York Philharmonic, Seiji Ozawa's final concert with the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood, and James Levine's first concert as music director of the Boston Symphony.
Mr. Child's 9/11 cultural reporting was part of coverage that earned NPR a 2001 George Foster Peabody Award. His 2002 reading of the audio book “Getting to Know William Shakespeare” won an Audie Award from the Audio Publishers Association.
Fred's CD reviews appear on NPR's All Things Considered, his classical music reports appear on NPR's Morning Edition and Weekend Edition. He's been a contributor to Billboard magazine, and a commentator for BBC Radio 3.
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About the New York Philharmonic
Founded in 1842, the New York Philharmonic is the oldest symphony orchestra in the United States and one of the oldest in the world. Lorin Maazel became Music Director in September 2002, succeeding Kurt Masur, who was Music Director from 1991 until the summer of 2002. Other recent Music Directors include Zubin Mehta, Pierre Boulez, and Leonard Bernstein. Since its inception, the Philharmonic has played a leading role in American musical life, reaching out to audiences with touring that began in 1882; recordings beginning in 1917; radio broadcasts since 1922; and television appearances starting in 1950. As a champion of the new music of its time, the Orchestra has given the first performances of many important works, from Dvorák's Symphony No. 9, “From the New World,” (1893) to John Adams's On the Transmigration of Souls(2002). In February 2003, the Philharmonic was honored by The Recording Academy with a Trustees Award in recognition of the organization's outstanding contributions to the industry and American culture. On December 18, 2004 the Orchestra will perform its 14,000th concerta milestone unmatched by any other symphony orchestra in the world.
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Other WNYC New Year's Eve Offerings
» 2004 Holiday Specials
Other Recent WNYC Music and Culture Programs
» Music Party Specials
» "The Ring and I: The Passion, The Myth, The Mania"
» Bernstein's Candide
» WNYC celebrates the opening of Carnegie's Zankel Hall