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Ferde Grofe: The King of Jazz Won’t Shoot Your Eye Out! Latest Podcast.

In this month’s podcast, we highlight the life and music of American composer Ferde Grofe. Many aren’t aware of the enormous contributions Grofe made to classical music (and jazz!) in this country, but you’ll learn all about it here! His music was featured in one of the most famous scenes in the beloved film, “A Christmas Story.”

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Also Sprach Zarathustra: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

In honor of Richard Strauss‘ 150th birthday, we compiled a selection of tributes to one of his most famous works: Also Sprach Zarathustra! We know Also Sprach Zarathustra best from the opening sequence in Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, but did you know that Strauss’ music was originally intended to serve solely as placeholder sound until the film score was completed? Alex North, the successful Hollywood composer who was hired to write

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Classical Music at the Movies: Aaron Copland, Spike Lee and “He Got Game”

The year is 1998. Filmmaker Spike Lee is ten movies into his career but things have hit a snag.  The writer/director’s last three movies have all been adapted from other people’s material and have done so-so with both audiences and critics. The harsher among them say that Lee–successful, admired, and a long way from earlier films (like Do The Right Thing) which have his stamp on every frame–is now phoning it in. For his next

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Classical Bowl: 2013 Super Bowl (Classical) Ads Wrap-Up

Last year we were blessed with copious amounts of classical music in Super Bowl commercials. It was also our first year live-tweeting classical happenings during The Big Game, so of course we expected a similar amount of classical awesome during this year’s festivities. While the game was incredibly exciting, there was almost no classical music present in the mostly-lackluster commercial set. Good thing there were other fun things happening during the game (like, uh, *the

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Classical Music & Cinema: The “2001” Music

Imagine for a moment you’re Alex North. It’s summer 1968 and you’re an acclaimed composer for the movies. You’ve scored great films like A Streetcar Named Desire, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Dr. Strangelove. Your collaborator and friend Stanley Kubrick asked you a few years ago to create a score for his new film 2001: A Space Odyssey. He’s emphasized that 2001 will be a film with limited dialogue, to be experienced through the senses

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4.5 Ways to Explore Bach’s Goldberg Variations

For our March event in San Francisco, we held a group viewing of “32 Short Films About Glenn Gould.” The movie is an odd collection of vignettes and is very fitting for such an iconoclastic person. Prior to researching this film and Glenn Gould himself, I’d spent shockingly little time thinking about/listening to Bach’s Goldberg Variations, a collection that is commonly associated with Glenn Gould’s name and virtuosity. We discussed Gould’s life, the Goldbergs, and

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2012 Super Bowl Classical Music Wrap-Up

Each year the Super Bowl provides a bounty of entertainment for sports lovers, sports haters, and nerds alike. Particularly intriguing for the geek/nerd crew is a fun-filled “name that tune” extravaganza during the Super Bowl’s rapid-fire commercial sessions, aka the Ad Bowl. Along with some fellow web-based classical music nerds, I took part in this activity yesterday afternoon. So much fun! The Ad Bowl started off with lots of Bud Light and techno. Things weren’t

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Classical Music and Cinema: Mozart and “Trading Places”

Location isn’t usually important in film comedies the way say, Los Angels is vital to dramas like Chinatown or Chicago to action-thrillers like The Fugitive. Comedies trade in laughs and laughs come from people and situations and animals with digestive ailments. Places don’t crack us up. Then why do I never forget that one of my favorite comedies–Trading Places (1983)–takes place in Philadelphia? We can thank its unforgettable opening flipbook of the city’s icons next

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