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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzHeWjW0ug0 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1-giVdjC58 A rambunctious 45-minute orchestral piece called Play , by American composer Andrew Norman, has been named the winner of the 2017 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition . The prize, which includes $100,000, was announced this evening by the University of Louisville, which sponsors the award. Former winners include Pierre Boulez , John Adams , Kaija Saariaho and Thomas Adès . Norman, 37, wrote Play for the...

Classical music observers say we're living in a golden age of string quartets. It's hard to disagree when you hear the vibrant young players in New York's Attacca Quartet. They revere the old school, having recently completed a performance cycle of all 68 string quartets by Joseph Haydn, the man who invented the genre. They also hunger for the new, exploring the music of three living composers each year in a project called Recently Added . One contemporary composer the group continues to...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaYcM_Gi398 Gianandrea Noseda wants to break down a few long-standing barriers to classical music. The next music director of Washington, D.C.'s National Symphony Orchestra thinks jeans and T-shirts at his concerts are fine. Confused about when to applaud? Noseda says that if the music moves you, go for it. "Music is a part of life," he says. "It's not in a mausoleum. Music is written to be shared." The 52-year-old Italian conductor was named the NSO's seventh...

Calling themselves "an accidental brass quartet," the members of The Westerlies , like the prevailing winds, blew east to New York from their hometown of Seattle, where they were childhood friends. Young musicians today routinely resist being pigeonholed into a single genre. Such is the case with this unconventional band, which, through its compositions and tight ensemble playing, reveals a built-in sympathy for improvised jazz, rigorous classical structures and sunshiny pop. Trumpeters Riley...

Do you believe in ghosts? The age-old question pops up this time of year when Halloween looms — the answer for opera composers seems to be a resounding "yes." Many of them, from Mozart to Corigliano , have given ghosts a few choice moments on stage. Operatic apparitions arrive suddenly in the middle of the night, crash dinner parties or do their ghostly duty simply by playing tricks on the minds of the living. While adding a palpable chill to opera, they may also tell us a little something...

Tim Page is no longer afraid of death. That's the one positive takeaway for him after surviving a traumatic brain injury. Last year, the University of Southern California music and journalism professor — who was also a child prodigy filmmaker, Pulitzer-winning critic, person with Asperger's and father of three — collapsed at a train station. He woke up in an ambulance speeding to the hospital. He's still recovering, still fumbling a bit with the jigsaw pieces of a life a now a little more...

When you stop to think about it, there really is no one like Barbra Streisand. There's Barbra the young Broadway legend , the movie star , the glass-ceiling-smashing movie director , the recording artist and now the venerated elder stateswoman of the showstopper. But amid all the richly deserved Oscars, Tonys, Emmys and Globes, there's that voice . Forget all her other talents, it's the voice alone that any entertainer would die to possess. Last night, Streisand gave a two-hour plus concert...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMu9PKWthLE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6ubiUIxbWE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpVV9jShEzU A new film starring Meryl Streep, which opens in the U.S. Friday, tells the improbable story of Florence Foster Jenkins, a real-life New York socialite who pronounced herself a coloratura soprano despite a distinct lack of talent. Who could've guessed that Jenkins, who favored elaborate costumes and strangled phrases with abandon, would resurface with such gusto...

The music of Johann Sebastian Bach is essential, like air and water, for many classical musicians. Pianist András Schiff starts every day with Bach — sometimes before breakfast. "It's like taking care of your inner hygiene. There's something very pure about it," he says. Cellist Matt Haimovitz notes that he's been playing and thinking about the Bach Cello Suites for more than 30 years. He even plays them in bars. Violinist Rachel Barton Pine began playing Bach in church at age 4. Ever since,...

The practice of lulling a child to sleep through music must be about the oldest tradition imaginable. All parents have wanted their children to sleep at some point, if only to have a little peace and quiet — and to plot strategies for getting their own shuteye. Pianist Alessio Bax knows all about sleep — and lack thereof. He's a first-time parent, and his 22-month-old daughter Mila is, like any child that age, a handful, not to mention impossibly cute. For Father's Day, we invited Bax and his...

In 1970, a young business school grad — and failed opera singer — named David Gockley landed a job as business manager of the Houston Grand Opera. After two years, at age 27, he moved up to general director. Over the next 30 years, Gockley transformed the company into a hothouse for new and revived American opera. During his tenure in Houston, Gockley presented 35 world premieres, including John Adams' Nixon in China , Stewart Wallace's Harvey Milk , Leonard Bernstein's A Quiet Place , Mark...

Barry Douglas knows a few things about handing down traditions. In this Tiny Desk performance, he passes along the musical heritage of his Irish homeland in the form of old Celtic songs he's arranged for solo piano. Douglas has also been on the receiving end of tradition. If you set up a kind of Ancestry.com for pianists, Douglas could claim a pretty impressive pedigree. One of his teachers, Felicitas LeWinter, studied with a pupil of Franz Liszt . Another of his tutors, Maria Curcio, was...

Violinist Lara St. John has attitude in spades. It's in the sound of her playing and in the arc of her career. Her first album cover sparked controversy , prompting many classical-music observers to wonder about her motivations until they heard the passionate Bach performances that accompanied it. Willing to take risks, St. John was among the first to start her own record label in the 1990s. It's allowed her to call the shots on her recorded repertoire, which has been satisfyingly broad, from...

The Chicago new-music ensemble Eighth Blackbird is on a roll. Just after winning its fourth Grammy in February, the group received a MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions; the prize came with a $400,000 grant. Hand Eye — Eighth Blackbird's second album in seven months — just came out, and this season the group marks its 20th anniversary. The celebration includes an extensive tour, with world premieres of music by Bryce Dessner and David T. Little, as well as a gig as a ...

Late in 1968, it was astounding to me how one of the best-loved bands could create one of the least-liked songs. It was "Revolution 9," near the end of The Beatles' sprawling White Album . But then, I was only 7 years old and, frankly, those eight minutes of chaotic sounds and mumbled words were positively frightening. And who was that guy who kept intoning "number nine?" It would be years before I realized that The Beatles were actually emulating an established musical genre pioneered by...

Ane Brun recently turned 40, and she — like many of us who've reached that milestone — has been taking stock of her life. It's a life filled with music and success, but there have also been a few rough spots. Like the time we scheduled her to play a Tiny Desk concert in 2012 and she was forced to cancel an entire North American tour (with Peter Gabriel) due to a lupus flareup. Brun, a Norwegian native based in Sweden, was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease when she was 27. But after that...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCeh6amXyYE Prolific and multifaceted British composer and conductor Peter Maxwell Davies died Monday at age 81 at his home in the Orkney Islands, off the northern coast of Scotland. His death, from leukemia, was reported on the websites of both his publisher and his management company . Called the "harlequin of British music" for more than five decades in a tribute by author Paul Griffiths , Maxwell Davies leaves a trove of varied works. Within some 300 pieces,...

If we're relying on the younger generation to help boost interest in classical music, look no further than Teddy Abrams. The 28-year-old pianist, clarinetist, conductor and composer has just begun his second season as music director of the Louisville Orchestra and he's brimming with ideas on what to do with Bach , Beethoven and music made today. For his first week on the job in Louisville, Abrams played jazz piano in the streets and took his orchestra players into nightclubs and African...

The Brazilians call it saudade . It's an elusive, almost intoxicating mix of emotions suffused with longing, loss and memory, best evoked in music. Perhaps Ukrainians have their own word for it. But if not, it can surely be heard in Valentin Silvestrov 's Nostalghia , a solo piano work from 2001 that may just leave you a little lightheaded and yearning for something inexplicable. Nostalghia is music stripped bare. The fragments of melody, interrupted by profound stillness, float like hazy...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQhpWsRhQGs Harrowing tales of mountain climbing filled theaters this summer in such films as Meru and Everest . But exactly 100 years ago today, audiences took a different kind of climb when Richard Strauss premiered An Alpine Symphony , a majestic, musical depiction of a dawn-to-dusk hike up the Alps. We've rounded up two Alpine Symphony experts to be our trail guides up the mountain. Semyon Bychkov is conducting the symphony tomorrow night with Los Angeles...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e05vCys-0Ac http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgCA8zTeFOQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gs7IDSCqYyQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfAr_94c9OM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7EcT5YzKhQ Few musicians possess an appetite for diversity as voracious as Yo-Yo Ma 's. The renowned cellist, who turns 60 today, calls himself a "venture culturalist." His collaborations include making music for dancers (including Monday night's collaboration with American Ballet Theatre...

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. Smyth's music was as dramatic as her life, but today both are largely forgotten. Leon Botstein is doing his best to correct that. He's head of Bard...

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. A four-hour epic meditation on love and death, the opera was considered unperformable in 1860 when Wagner finished it. Slated for a debut in Vienna the following year, Tristan was ditched after 77 rehearsals. But Wagner never gave up. Finally, after...

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