Published by
WQXR Features

Claude Debussy and the Piano

Email a Friend

Claude Debussy was born 150 years ago this month. To mark the occasion, WQXR is presenting a week of programs dedicated to Debussy’s works for piano hosted by David Dubal.

The works Debussy created for the piano demonstrate all the qualities that make him one of the most influential composers of the 20th century. The pieces are, by turns, iconoclastic, playful, challenging and accessible.

Each day at 6 pm from Aug. 20-24, join Dubal, a distinguished pianist, author and teacher at Juilliard and Manhattan School of Music, as he interweaves snippets from Debussy’s letters with observations about the artists who have brought the music to life over the years. Dubal also offers comparative performances of Debussy’s composition, showing how each soloist infuses the music with something new.

Program details (Audio & Playlists):

Monday, Aug. 20: Highlights include a vintage recording of Debussy playing from the “Children’s Corner Suite,” an explanation of why Debussy wasn’t a fan of Beethoven, and an exploration on how France and French culture influenced his aesthetic.

Tuesday, Aug. 21: Highlights include exploration of Debussy’s piano music that deals with pictures of the natural world, and Dubal also reveals Debussy was a man of difficult ways.

Wednesday, Aug. 22: Highlights include performances of Debussy’s piano music, and a comparative performance of “The Dance of Puck” with a performance by the composer.

Thursday, Aug. 23: Highlights include an examination of the composer’s life through his correspondences with patrons and colleagues.

Friday, Aug. 24: Highlights include a deep dive into the personal life of the composer during the period spent composing his greatest works.