Local Music

Hear interviews with guests on music programs produced here at WMUK, as well as program news.

Andrew J. Swan

The Kalamazoo Bach Festival will open its 2018 Bach Fest Week on Saturday, June 2 at 8 pm in Chenery Auditorium with two visceral, all-hands-on-deck works for voices and orchestra: William Walton's Belshazzar's Feast and Yevhen Stankovych's Requiem For Those Who Died Of Famine. The Kalamazoo Bach Festival Chorus and Kalamazoo Philharmonia are the first to perform the Requiem outside Europe.

In an interview with Cara Lieurance, Ludwa talks about some of the big attractions of Belshazzar's Feast, and Koehler explains the circumstances that brought his attention to the Requiem, honoring the victims of Holodomor (an artificially engineered famine orchestrated by the Soviet leadership in Ukraine in 1932-33). Koehler learned about the Requiem when he was put in touch with the director of the Ukranian Genocide Famine Foundation. Koehler was "blown away by the raw power, the immediacy of communication" upon hearing it, and agreed to give the Requiem For Those Who Dies Of Famine its first performances in North America.


Hans vander Woerd

In the new Fontana season, jazz, art song, and classical music will fill a season spanning October 28, 2018 - May 11, 2019. Executive director David Baldwin joins Cara Lieurance to discuss each of the 8 concerts in detail. 


Michael Lutch, IMG Artists

Julian Kuerti says he developed his feeling of "what's right" in music as a child listening to his musician parents - concert pianist Anton Kuerti and cellist Kristine Bogyo - rehearse at home in Toronto. In an interview with Cara Lieurance, Kuerti talks about some of the reasons he became a conductor over becoming a mathemetician, and how his studies in Berlin helped focus his talent and energy.

Kuerti describes the two big works on the program - Beethoven's "Triple" Concerto and Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5 - in terms of their history, construction, and special features.


Peter Halstead

The Stulberg International String Competition will be turned into a"play-by-play" radio documentary by NPR's From The Top this year. According to host Christopher O'Riley, events like this one are best experienced immersively - and they are a great learning experience for the finalists, whether they win a prize or not. He talks to Cara Lieurance about covering the competition, which culminates today in a finals concert at the Dalton Center Recital Hall at Western Michigan University at 7:30 pm. More information on tickets and other events are at the Stulberg Competition website. The From The Top episode on the competition is expected to air this fall.


Craig Freeman

Violinist Ahmed Tofiq has become, by neccessity, a bridge between Eastern and Western musical traditions, and a bridge between cultures as well. The co-founder of a youth orchestra for children of Syrian refugees, Orchestra Rouh, he speaks Arabic and excels in playing traditional melodies in the styles he learned growing up in Kurdistan. But Tofiq has embraced life in Kalamazoo since moving here to earn his master's degree in music at Western Michigan University in 2014. He knows that music is one way to form connections, and a feeling of home, quickly.

In the Takeda studio, with his violin, Ahmed Tofiq tells his story and plays a few of his favorite maqamat as he speaks with Craig Freeman. 


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