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A Celebration of Woodwinds and Brass

The woodwinds and brass are the backbone of the symphony orchestra but they're often overshadowed when it comes the solo spotlight. But November is their turn on WQXR. We'll take a deep breath and introduce you to some of the leading performers on these instruments – from fabulous flutists to top-notch tuba players. Check back here regularly for updates.

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Great Sections

Monday, November 22, 2010

We are celebrating the Hot Air of the brass and winds this month, so Symphony Hall spends the week with greatest brass and winds sections of the greatest orchestras.

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I Was a Teenage Trombonist

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sounds like a horror movie, doesn’t it? As Jeff Spurgeon tell us, for family and friends, perhaps it was. But his trombone tale is very much a happy one.

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Alex Klein: Vivaldi Oboe Concertos

Friday, November 19, 2010

Oboist Alex Klein was struck at the height of his career by focal dystonia, a neurological affliction that impacted his left hand. Despite his struggle, he's remained a prominent name in the oboe world, as our Album of the Week demonstrates.

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Five Pieces that will Change Your Mind about the Bassoon

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Monica Ellis, the bassoonist in the Imani Winds quintet, shares five pieces that take the bassoon beyond its clichéd role as the jovial clown of the orchestra. "We do get to difficult things and it’s not just this big, clumsy, cumbersome instrument."

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The Woodwind Section

Monday, November 15, 2010

We are celebrating the Hot Air of the brass and winds this month, so Symphony Hall is spending the week with great woodwind parts from works by Mozart, Shostakovich, Ravel, Hadyn, and others.

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Ten Favorite Pieces for Oboe

Sunday, November 14, 2010

New York Public Radio's resident oboist picks his favorite works for the instrument.

Comments [9]

How the Oboist's Art is Like a Bad Marriage

Sunday, November 14, 2010

There are many conversations that go on between an instrumentalist and their instrument. For the oboist and the oboe, a good face in public masks constant bickering and drama behind the scenes.

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Top Five Fanfares

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hot Air, our month-long celebration of woodwind and brass sections on WQXR, might as well be called a fanfare for these instruments. Here are five notable fanfares, from Mouret to Verdi and Adams.

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Solo Works for Flute and Saxophone

Saturday, November 13, 2010

New recordings by flutist Robert Langevin and saxophonist Theodore Kerkezos show how their respective instruments were favored by French composers during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Weigh in and get a free download.

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Twelve Questions for Alison Balsom

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Blonde, slim and stylish, Alison Balsom is a far cry from the traditional image of brass players. As we feature her album of Italian Baroque concertos, we asked her about the culture of brass playing – and being more than a pretty CD cover.

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From Flugelhorns to Sousaphones

Monday, November 08, 2010

You have to love wind players. As a member of the string team myself, I must admit to some low-grade mocking of their obsession with reeds, swabbing and chapstick, but let's face it: when the turn of a phrase is mapped to the length of a breath, stunning things can happen.

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From Double Reeds to Double Scoops

Monday, November 08, 2010

Douglas Quint leads a double life. During the summer, he’s the face of the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, making soft-serve concoctions with some unlikely ingredients. Come November, he's a professional bassoonist.

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The Brass Section

Monday, November 08, 2010

In celebration of the Hot Air of brass and woodwinds, we're featuring some great brass parts in the works of Strauss, Haydn, Ravel, Brahms, Mahler, and others.

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Alison Balsom's Italian Concertos

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Alison Balsom is blonde, slim and stylish. But it's her performances of Italian Baroque concertos that make her an artist worth listening to. Check out her Album of the Week and get a free download.

Comments [18]

Richard Stoltzman's Clarinet Playing Hits New Notes

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Arguably the world's best-known clarinetist, Richard Stoltzman tells Jeff Spurgeon about his early days with the freewheeling chamber group TASHI, his idols including Benny Goodman, and some of his favorite works for the clarinet.

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Blame it on Pops

Thursday, November 04, 2010

My elementary school required that its students sing in the school choir or play an instrument. I chose trumpet. It was loud, shiny and, I thought, how difficult could it be?

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Calling All Marching Band Fanatics

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Midge Woolsey asks: Did you play in a marching band? Do you still play today? And, what makes being in one so much fun anyway? And are they different than they were – say – 20 or 30 years ago?

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Comments [74]

An Ill Wind Nobody Blows Good

Monday, November 01, 2010

"No one seems exactly sure who turned that phrase about the oboe, but it does seem to have happened long before my assault on the instrument," says our Naomi Lewin.

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Clarinet Concertos

Monday, November 01, 2010

As WQXR celebrates the Hot Air of the brass and winds this month, Symphony Hall is devoting this week to the great clarinet concertos of Mozart, Weber, Copland, Nielsen, and Stamitz.

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Jon Manasse: American Music for Clarinet & Piano

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The clarinet may forever be the mellow, melancholic instrument of Mozart and Brahms ­but a new recording featuring soloist Jon Manasse shows why it's just as adept at strutting its jazzier side. It's our Album of the Week.

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