Tom Huizenga

Tom Huizenga is a music producer, reporter and blogger for NPR Music. He hosts NPR's classical music blog Deceptive Cadence.

A regular contributor of stories about classical music on NPR's news programs, Huizenga regularly introduces intriguing new classical CDs to listeners on the weekend version of All Things Considered. He contributes to NPR Music's "Song of the Day."

During his time at NPR, Huizenga spent seven years as a producer, writer and editor for NPR's Peabody Award-winning daily classical music magazine Performance Today, and for the programs SymphonyCast and World of Opera. He produced the live broadcast of Gershwin's Porgy & Bess from Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center, concerts from NPR's Studio 4A and performances on the road at Summerfest La Jolla, the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival and New York's Le Poisson Rouge.

Huizenga's radio career began at the University of Michigan, where he graduated in 1986. During his four year tenure, he regularly hosted several radio programs (opera, jazz, free-form, experimental radio) at Ann Arbor's WCBN. As a student in the Enthnomusicology department, Huizenga studied and performed traditional court music from Indonesia. He also studied English Literature and voice, while writing for the university's newspaper.

After college Huizenga took his love of music and broadcasting to New Mexico, where he served as music director for NPR member station KRWG, in Las Cruces, and taught radio production at New Mexico State University.

Huizenga lives in Takoma Park, MD, with his wife Valeska Hilbig, a public affairs director at the Smithsonian. In his spare time he writes about music for the Washington Post, overloads on concerts and movies and swings a tennis racket wildly on many local courts.

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Field Recordings
9:05 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Daniel Hope's Earth And Sky Expedition

Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 1:22 pm

When Daniel Hope was a boy, the only thing he loved as much as his violin was his telescope. Gazing into the night sky, he pondered the vastness of space. Now a grown man, Hope still has a penchant for wonder and discovery — especially when it comes to music.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:09 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Why Are American Orchestras Afraid Of New Symphonies?

David Robertson, a passionate champion of new music, conducts the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra on tour in Berlin.
Dilip Vishwanat St. Louis Symphony

Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 12:22 pm

  • The American Symphony: Music And Ideas With David Robertson

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Deceptive Cadence
5:55 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

Versatile Opera Star, Director, Teacher Regina Resnik Dies at 90

Regina Resnik as Ellen Orford in the Metropolitan Opera premiere of Benjamin Britten's Peter Grimes in 1948.
Metropolitan Opera Archives

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 1:11 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
8:18 am
Tue August 6, 2013

And in This Corner: A Baritone Fights For Opera On The BBC

Baritone Thomas Hampson takes his punches for opera on a BBC talk show.
Dario Acosta

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 5:32 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
12:53 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

5 American Symphonies You Should Know

Robert Spano, music director of the Aspen Music Festival and School, conducts the Aspen Chamber Symphony. He is a fan of the Third Symphony by Aaron Copland.
Alex Irvin

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 5:01 pm

It's not quite the quest for the Holy Grail, but we're in pursuit this summer of the "Great American Symphony." And in many respects, our journey is just as important as our destination.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
8:55 am
Sat July 27, 2013

Time For Three: Tiny Desk Concert

Time For Three performs a Tiny Desk Concert.
NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 6:20 pm

Pigeonholing the classically trained string trio Time for Three isn't easy, but that's also a blessing. The musicians — violinists Zachary De Pue and Nick Kendall with double bassist Ranaan Meyer — say they love a kaleidoscopic spectrum of music. "If we like it, we play it" is their motto.

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Deceptive Cadence
10:39 am
Wed July 24, 2013

Symphonic Music, American Style: 3 Must-Hear Albums

BMOP Sound

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 12:01 pm

Throughout the summer we're searching for the "Great American Symphony." It's not exactly a popularity contest. Instead, we're pondering American symphonic music from both the past and the present. Some composers like the young Kevin Puts and the veteran Martin Boykan, are labeling their pieces as symphonies. Others, like Michael Daugherty, can prefer more playful titles.

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Deceptive Cadence
12:44 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Licia Albanese: An Opera Diva Hits 100

Soprano Licia Albanese sang the title role in Puccini's Madama Butterfly 72 times at the Metropolitan Opera.
The Metropolitan Opera Archives

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 1:27 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
8:03 am
Tue July 2, 2013

In Search Of The Great American Symphony

Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony have been consistent champions of American music of all shapes and sizes. Are there — or will there be — American symphonies that stand with those of Mozart and Beethoven, Mahler and Shostakovich?
Bill Swerbenski San Francisco Symphony

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 1:53 pm

Critics and fans love a good debate over the great American novel or great American movie. But what about the great American symphony?

Is there one? If not, why? If so, which symphonies are good candidates for the title? (Check out our Spotify list for some contenders.) And in the land of the melting pot, what does it mean for a symphony to be "American" in the first place?

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Deceptive Cadence
5:00 am
Sun June 30, 2013

Revved-up Vivaldi, Persian Bamboo And Soaring Spirituals: New Classical Albums

album cover for Corps Exquis

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 7:41 am

It's a brave new musical world. Between downloads, iPods, music sharing websites and the good old CD, we have more easy access to the songs and symphonies we love than ever before.

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Deceptive Cadence
10:44 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Hit The Road And Hear Some Music: Summer Classical Festivals 2013

At the Moab Festival in Utah, patrons can hike to a secret spot to hear concerts.
Richard Bowditch Moab Music Festival

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 8:55 am

Summer is heating up and so are dozens of classical music festivals all around the country. We couldn't possibly list them all, but here's a sampling of some of the best events, from open-air venues and seaside spots to historic concert halls. Been to a great summer festival we've missed? Feel free to pass along your own reviews in the comments section.

EAST

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Deceptive Cadence
9:03 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Distinctive Voices: Three Must-Hear Violin Albums

Three of today's most fascinating violinists have new albums, including Augustin Hadelich, who pairs off with Spanish guitarist Pablo Sáinz Villegas.
Rosalie O'Connor Avie Records

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 10:01 am

The violin, though centuries old, remains a popular yet remarkably unwieldy instrument. Just squeezing the contraption between your chin and shoulder, then raising your bow arm to the proper height, is enough to induce a pinched nerve. Yet every day countless numbers of people try to make the instrument sing.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:03 am
Tue June 4, 2013

'Becoming Traviata': A Look At Opera From Behind The Curtain

Soprano Natalie Dessay, with tenor Charles Castonovo, in Philippe Béziat's documentary Becoming Traviata.
Distrib Films

It's easy to think of opera as little more than an affected flock of singers warbling onstage in lacy brocade with pancake makeup, chandeliers and champagne.

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Deceptive Cadence
6:03 am
Sat May 25, 2013

Leonard Bernstein's 'Rite of Spring' Thrill Ride

Leonard Bernstein leads the London Symphony Orchestra. He called Stravinsky's famously savage Rite of Spring "extremely tuneful and dancy, rhythmically seductive, beguiling."
Ian Showell Getty Images

If you think all the twitchy rhythms and random shards of melody flashing through Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring sound complicated, consider the poor musicians who have to learn it. And then there's the conductor, who needs to perfectly place every piccolo tweet and bass drum boom.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:41 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

The Cocktail Party Guide To Igor Stravinsky

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Don't be caught "Stravinsky deficient" as the big centennial of his Rite of Spring approaches.
Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 24, 2013 4:21 pm

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Tiny Desk Concerts
9:56 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Imani Winds: Tiny Desk Concert

Imani Winds performs a Tiny Desk Concert in February 2013.
Marie McGrory NPR

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 3:20 pm

When Igor Stravinsky began composing The Rite of Spring, his ballet for vast symphonic forces, he could hear the music in his head but couldn't quite figure out how to write it down. It was just too complicated.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:50 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Henri Dutilleux, Leading French Composer, Dies At 97

Henri Dutilleux, a leading French composer and unique voice in new music, has died at age 97.
Pierre Verdy AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 2:54 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
12:06 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Gods And Monsters: 5 Unforgettable Wagner Moments

The Valkyries, led by Brunnhilde (soprano Debra Voigt, lower left), are the warrior maidens of Richard Wagner's epic Ring cycle.
Ken Howard Metropolitan Opera

Originally published on Wed May 22, 2013 4:02 pm

  • William Berger on 'Parsifal'
  • William Berger on 'Das Rheingold'
  • William Berger on 'Die Walküre'
  • William Berger on 'Tristan und Isolde'
  • William Berger on 'Die Meistersinger'

How much do you know about Richard Wagner? Probably two unfavorable facts: He wrote very long, grandiose operas and was Hitler's favorite composer. As true as they are, those simple examples barely hint at the complexity of this endlessly creative and confounding artist.

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Deceptive Cadence
1:20 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Moms In Opera: Women On The Edge

Mozart's Queen of the Night (portrayed here by soprano Diana Damrau), in his The Magic Flute, is one of opera's more intense mothers.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 2:43 pm

We love mothers for all the Hallmark reasons: for their compassion and patience, not to mention giving birth. But some moms aren't exactly greeting card friendly — and none less so than those who live in the opera house.

This is opera, after all, so we expect the outrageous. But operatic moms seem to be disproportionately portrayed as murderers, harpies or generally women on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Your Normas, Medeas, Butterflies, Queens of the Night and Clytemnestras.

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Deceptive Cadence
10:44 am
Tue April 23, 2013

Music We Love Now: Three Must-Hear Piano Albums

Ingolf Wunder pays tribute to 300 years of keyboard music on his new album 300.
Patrick Walter

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 12:22 pm

The young Austrian pianist Ingolf Wunder shines in Mozart, Jorge Federico Osorio reintroduces an intoxicating Mexican concerto and Elisveta Blumina reveals the gentle side of Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov.

Deceptive Cadence
3:09 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

The Conductor Who Gained Power By Giving It Up

Colin Davis found power in humility later in his career — and one astonished music journalist.
Alberto Venzago

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Deceptive Cadence
11:47 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Maria Callas On The Move: A Diva Does D.C.

A diva on the town finds her way to NPR's new headquarters.
Anya Grundmann NPR

Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 12:02 pm

As one door closes, another opens. Last week, we shut down operations at our old Washington, D.C, headquarters; today, we walked into a brand-new building.

Making the move wasn't easy. In 14 years, I'd acquired an impressive amount of stuff, from LPs autographed by Placido Domingo and Tom Jones to books like The Essential Guide to Dutch Music. And did I really need three staple removers?

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Deceptive Cadence
2:29 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Can Yo-Yo Ma Fix The Arts?

Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Cristina Pato perform during Ma's Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy at Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center.
David Hathcox/Americans for the Arts

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 11:54 am

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Deceptive Cadence
8:37 pm
Sat April 6, 2013

Vespers, Habaneras And Early Morning Walks: New Classical Albums

The Attacca String Quartet's latest album celebrates John Adams.
Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

Originally published on Sun April 7, 2013 6:52 pm

Robert Frost's famous poem "The Road Not Taken" begins with the line: "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood." Frost's traveler must choose between them. But slide that metaphor over to the world of classical music and you will discover hundreds of paths to explore.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:29 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Marches Madness: Rubbing Aladdin's Lamp

Lukiyanova Natalia iStockphoto.com

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Deceptive Cadence
1:03 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

The Good Friday 5: Musical Passion Stories You Must Hear

This 1653 engraving by Rembrandt inspired composer Frank Martin to write his oratorio Golgotha in 1945.
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 6:17 pm

For Christians around the world, this week, leading up to Easter Sunday, is one of the most meaningful in the religious calendar. The dramatic story of Jesus' final days, as related in the four Gospels of the New Testament, has been meaningful for composers, too, and a rich source for many musical settings of the Passion story. J.S. Bach is still the benchmark when it comes to composing Passions. His St.

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Classics in Concert
2:29 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Carnegie Hall Live: Jonathan Biss And The Elias String Quartet

Pianist Jonathan Biss and members of the Elias String Quartet brought their Schumann: Under the Influence program to Carnegie Hall.
Melanie Burford for NPR

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 3:28 pm

In October, pianist Jonathan Biss set out on a vision quest, a season-long immersion in music by Robert Schumann. Biss and the members of England's Elias String Quartet have been exploring Schumann and associated composers in cities throughout Europe and North America, including a Carnegie Hall concert webcast live on this page (and at WQXR) Tuesday, April 2 at 8 p.m. ET.

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Deceptive Cadence
10:47 am
Mon March 25, 2013

Marches Madness: From Trash Can To Flagpole

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 11:55 am

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Deceptive Cadence
6:36 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Remembering Risë Stevens, A Star Of Opera And Pop Culture

The late American mezzo-soprano Risë Stevens in her signature role as Carmen.
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 10:59 am

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Deceptive Cadence
9:55 am
Thu March 21, 2013

Marches Madness: Mahler's Twisted Nursery Rhyme

Mahler's ironic funeral march, in his first symphony, was inspired by this woodcut of forest animals bearing the hunter to his grave.
wikimedia commons

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