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Classical Conversations

Intimate conversations with world-renowned musicians, here at the Classical WETA studios.

Classical WETA's on-air hosts interview prominent classical music performers, composers and artists in this series of intimate audio conversations recorded for

Eric Jacobsen, The Knights

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Washington Performing Arts are presenting SHIFT:  A Festival of American Orchestras.  Classical WETA's Nicole Lacroix speaks to Eric Jacobsen, co-founder and conductor of one of the featured ensembles, The Knights, about the SHIFT program and their Kennedy Center Concert Hall debut.  

Musical Hike credit Boulder Philharmonic

SHIFT: Dave Sutherland, Boulder Naturalist

Boulder naturalist Dave Sutherland, collaborator with the Boulder Philharmonic, talks with Marilyn Cooley about musical nature hikes.

Boulder Phil Music Director Michael Butterman

SHIFT: Boulder's Maestro Butterman II

Boulder Philharmonic Maestro Michael Butterman discusses the content of the orchestra's concert in the 2017 SHIFT Festival with Marilyn Cooley.

Boulder Phil Maestro Butterman

SHIFT: Boulder's Maestro Butterman I

Part One of a conversation with the Boulder Philharmonic's Maestro Michael Butterman.

Conrad Tao

Pianist Conrad Tao of JCT Trio

Pianist Conrad Tao talks about his piano trio, the JCT Trio, both its challenges and rewards, with Classical WETA's Marilyn Cooley.

Deborah Rutter & Jenny Bilfield

SHIFT: Deborah Rutter & Jenny Bilfield: I

Why do it?  Who benefits from it?

Deborah Rutter & Jenny Bilfield with David Ginder

SHIFT: Jenny Bilfield & Deborah Rutter: II

What is the SHIFT Festival?

Deborah Rutter & Jenny Bilfield

SHIFT: Deborah Rutter & Jenny Bilfield: III

The specifics of the four orchestras, and what they're each bringing to concerts and residencies.

JFK Bronze Bust in the Kennedy Center Grand Foyer

SHIFT: Deborah Rutter on JFK

Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter on the significance of the Center named for JFK being co-presenter, with Washington Performing Arts, of the SHIFT Festival.

Susan Graham

"I always say that Jake takes your heart out of your chest and sort of massages it and squeezes it and loves it and wrings it out and puts it back." That's an excellent description of how one feels at the conclusion of Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking now at Washington National Opera through March 11th. In 2000, renowned mezzo-soprano Susan Graham created the role of Sister Helen Préjean, the real-life nun whose memoir of her experiences with death-row convicts inspired a movie as well as this opera.  In the 17 years since its premiere, Dead Man Walking has been staged over 40 times.  This time around, Susan Graham plays the convicted killer Joseph De Rocher's mother.

Washington National Opera presents Dead Man Walking through March 11 at the Kennedy Center Opera House. Kate Lindsey plays Sister Helen Préjean; Michael Mayes is Joseph De Rocher; Susan Graham is Mrs. De Rocher. Francesca Zambello directs and Michael Christie conducts the Washington National Opera Orchestra. More information at