Classical Breakdown

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85 reviews
This podcast has
68 episodes
Date created
Last published
Average duration
40 min.
Release period
14 days


John Banther takes classical music fans behind the scenes with interviews, deep dives, and analysis. Episodes released bi-weekly on Tuesdays. Produced by WETA Classical in Washington, D.C.

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Podcast episodes

Check latest episodes from Classical Breakdown podcast

Grieg’s Piano Concerto: The Heart of Norway
Enjoy a full recording of this concerto after Linda and John discuss its origin, Norwegian influences, and what to listen for. Support Classical Breakdown: See for privacy information.
An Unsung Heroine: The Life and Music of Fanny Mendelssohn
She was a composer whose music was wrongfully neglected and was sometimes attributed and published under her brother's name. Join Evan Keely and John Banther as they discuss the unique challenges she faced, her letters, late success in publishing, and more.  Support Classical Breakdown: See for privacy information.
Under Pressure: What is an Oboe with Nick Stovall, NSO's Principal Oboe
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Ravel's Bolero with Joshua Weilerstein: A conductor's insight
It seems simple on the surface, but there is a lot to discover in Ravel's most famous work (much to his dismay!). Joshua Weilerstein, one of today's in-demand conductors, joins John Banther to offer his perspective on the music and all the details that need to be addressed to pull it off in performance. Support Classical Breakdown: See for privacy information.
Piano Transformed: The Life and Music of Frederic Chopin
He was a different kind of composer than Mozart and Beethoven, and he transformed how we hear the piano. John Banther and Bill Bukowski talk about Chopin's early life, relationships, new styles of music he wrote, what set him apart, and more! Support Classical Breakdown: See for privacy information.
All about that bass! With NSO Principal Bass Robert Oppelt
The Bass is one of the largest and lowest instruments in the orchestra. Learn how it evolved and was used over the centuries, how it can play solos just like any other instrument, and more! Support Classical Breakdown: See for privacy information.
Louise Farrenc's Symphony No. 3: A hidden gem!
Her final symphony is one that deserves your attention and is now performed more often. John Banther and James Jacobs discuss the challenges she faced with sexism and the French attitude towards symphonies at the time, what to listen for, influences, and her unique orchestration.  Support Classical Breakdown: See for privacy information.
Clara Schumann: A story of stardom, passion, and courage
She was a composer, prodigy, and was considered one of the greatest pianists of the 19th century. Linda and John discuss various aspects of her compositions, education, and complicated career. Also, we share a heroic story of Clara you likely haven't heard before! Support Classical Breakdown: See for privacy information.
Florence Price Symphony No. 1: An American Symphony
It was the first symphony of an African-American woman to be performed by a major US orchestra. John Banther and Nicole Lacroix talk about how she found time to write, a hidden motif to listen for, Americana aspects of the symphony, and more.  Support Classical Breakdown: See for privacy information.
George Walker: He wants you to play his music
DC native composer, George Walker, was one of the great American composers of the 20th and 21st centuries. His close friend and colleague, Dr. Mickey Terry, joins John Banther to discuss his life, challenges, and three works you need to listen to. Support Classical Breakdown: See for privacy information.
Dvorak's Cello Concerto, 5 things to listen for!
There is always something new to discover, no matter how many times you've heard a piece. Our resident cello player, James Jacobs, joins John Banther to give you 5 things to listen for in this masterpiece that you've either missed or could experience differently.  Support Classical Breakdown: See for privacy information.
How an orchestra creates a year of concerts, with NSO's Nigel Boon
Have you ever wondered how an orchestra puts a full season of concerts together? Nigel Boon, Director of Artistic Planning shows how he juggles multiple seasons of concerts involving many conductors, soloists, commissions, programs, and more! Support Classical Breakdown: See for privacy information.

Podcast Reviews

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4.8 out of 5
85 reviews
Climb the Tree and Break A Leg 2022/03/05
I love it. I play flute and saxophone and it was incredible to listen to your flute episode—I learned so much and it allowed me a new perspective. I r...
skinnyjul 2022/01/10
I Iove this podcast!
I am an amateur musician and have listened to classical music since I was a child. I love this podcast!!The topics are interesting and the guests are ...
Gigi Musique 2021/12/06
A True Music Education
I have learned so much from this podcast, far more than merely classical music appreciation. I am absorbing music theory from real examples, compositi...
Alaska ALS Guy 2021/11/26
Alaska Classic Music Lover
Sure glad thanksgiving weekend I stumbled into your podcast. Bravo. Five stars and if I could give ten I would.
BB_UVE 2021/10/07
Thanks so much for making me understand better why I like what I like! Your explanations are wonderful, particularly for those of us with no formal mu...
classical an 2021/09/02
Tank you
Thank you for premiering Classical Breakdown, I really Enjoying the program. I am learning new things that I didn’t know before, I always had a love a...
Ellen Qian 2021/03/08
Make my day! Look forward to more episodes
As a classical music fan and piano gang, happy to discover this podcast , a new resource that MAKE NY DAY after listening to the”the great composer “ ...
Love KXT 2021/02/24
Informative and entertaining
As a classical music neophyte, this podcast is a gift. My appreciation for music has deepened greatly since subscribing.
EllieKID57 2020/12/29
I love the presentation.
Excellent way to learn and understand the meaning of the music and biographies . Great job!
Bonnie20096 2020/09/02
I am looking forward to the fall season! This Podcasts is one of my very favorites and I always learn so much. Hope it never run out of music to talk...


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