• Ep. 7 – American Classical Music: Origins, Composers & Controversy

    Czech composer Antonín Dvořák made invaluable contributions to American classical music. He composed his famous “New World Symphony” in the United States, he taught many future American musicians, and he tried to win respect for certain forms of indigenous American folk music. There was only one problem:

    We forget that actual 19th century American composers were already doing that. And they didn’t appreciate the intrusion.



  • Ep. 6 – Czech, Please: Antonin Dvorak in America


    For the sixth episode of Backstage Podcast, join us as we explore the musical and cultural repercussions of Antonin Dvorak and his visit to the United States.

    Mrs. Jeannette Thurber, the founder of the National Conservatory of Music of America, was determined to bring the influential Czech composer to New York–she succeeded by offering him unprecedented influence and a huge paycheck.

    Dvorak sailed into Hoboken in 1892. In his wake came musical change, cultural reconsideration, and a group of very disgruntled American composers.

    We also invite you to read our guest article on the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society’s website.


  • 5-Ghosts of Hiroshoma


    In this episode we dive into one of Japan’s most iconic 20th century works, the Masao Ohki Hiroshima Symphony.

    The United States ended WWII by dropping the world’s first Atomic Bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and August 9, 1946, respectively. The bomb ended the worst conflict in human history and saved the lives of countless US soldiers in the Pacific Theater, but at what cost?


  • 4-Dancing Bones and Xylophones


    Join us as we explore the devilish imagery in the music itself and the dark history that gave birth to such a grotesque myth. Actually, the music itself is fun and playful. The history? Not so much.

  • 3-Muddle Instead of Music


    The year 1936 was a hard one for composers in the Soviet Union. Musicians who didn’t strictly adhere to “Socialist Realism” were maligned in the press, exiled, and worse. Join us as we explore one difficult year in the life of Dmitri Shostakovitch. Russian censorship limited his creativity–but we wouldn’t have his famous 5th Symphony without it.


  • 2-Brought to You by Satan


    On his deathbed, Guiseppe Tartini revealed the “devilish” inspiration behind his famous Sonata in G minor. Paganini, on the other hand, refused his last rites—then remained unburied for 36 years. What secrets do these famous musicians have in common? If you want to hear the Devil’s Trill Sonata for yourself, click here!



  • 1-Backstabber of Seville


    On this episode we explore the composition of Rossini’s Barber of Seville. The opera is beloved by many and performed often in today’s world. But should it be? We think Pasiello would have something to say about that! If you want to hear examples of the music, check out this article!