Classical 91.5

Deutsche Welle Festival

Seasonal, 8 to 10pm on WXXI-FM 91.5, WXXY 90.3, WXXI-FM/HD 91.5-1, WITH-FM/HD 90.1-2 and online at
  • Hosted by Rick Fulker

Germany has more symphony orchestras and music festivals than the rest of Europe combined.  There are those festivals that take place in the cities where the composers were born or worked and thus stake a special claim to authenticity: the Handel Festival in Halle, the Bach Festival in Leipzig and of course the Beethoven Festival in Bonn. Others capitalize on the beautiful surroundings or special atmosphere, like Heidelberg Spring and Tensions in Heimbach. But whatever the backdrop, the performances are all of electrifying artistry and the recordings of superb "made in Germany" quality. Rick Fulker loves nothing more than sharing the wealth, which includes the artists' own voices.

Credit Beethovenfest Bonn -

This season we’ll hear from the Schwetzingen Festival, Schumannfest, Weinberg, Bachfest Leipzig, Mozart in Wuerzburg, a Petrenko Premiere, the National Youth Orchestra of Germany, Beethoven Week and much more.

We've all heard the saying that creativity is the father of invention, and 2020 bore this out when the Young Euro Classic re-invented itself from a youth orchestra festival into a youth chamber festival. We'll hear the results, June 16th at 8pm

Monika Rittershaus

Early on in the pandemic, the mighty Berlin Philharmonic went ahead with a concert it had scheduled before the coronavirus outbreak - a livestreamed performance in an empty hall. According to New York Times writer Anthony Tommasini, "It was uncanny, and intensely moving, to realize that the only audience was us watching in our homes around the world." We'll hear that concert on May 19th at 8pm.

Bedrich Smetana wrote Ma Vlast drawing inspiration from the history, legends and countryside of Bohemia. Smetana has since been regarded as the father of Czech music. His writings are often nationalistic, including this set that celebrates the beauty of Bohemia. Tune in to learn more on 3/2.

17th Century German poet Heinrich Albert had a hut covered in squash foliage in his garden. It became a hub for German literature of the time, as poets would gather under its roof to discuss ideas about art and music, sometimes even using the squash as an artistic medium. Albert himself and many other composers transformed the poems written in this squash hut into music. We feature this music on Deutsche Welle (2/17).

The new music director and principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, Kirill Petrenko, the seventh in the orchestra's venerable history, has promised a return to its core repertory and competence. Audiences, and notably, orchestra members, are thrilled. We have his inaugural concert in the Berlin Philharmonie. (1/13)

The parody of Jacques Offenbach takes center stage on the 12/9 broadcast.

12/2      Beethoven: Twelve Variations for piano and violin from The Marriage of Figaro, Archduke Trio Tchaikovsky: Trio Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto (Alexander Sitkovetsky, v; Isang Enders, c; Wu Qian, p; Dinorah Varsi, p; Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra; Michael Hofstetter, cond)

The Deutsche Welle Festival concerts return to Classical 91.5 in November, taking us to the Schwetzingen Festival, the Schumannfest, and we'll enjoy the National Youth Orchestra of Germany. (Mondays at 8pm)

Celebrating its centennial next summer, the Salzburg Festival has been chosen Festival of the Year for the 2020 Musical America International Directory of the Performing Arts.