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.

Pages

Deceptive Cadence
3:04 pm
Sun December 9, 2012

A Bald Mezzo And Three Shades Of Violin: Classical Favorites From 2012

On Silfra, violinist Hilary Hahn improvises with prepared pianist Hauschka.
DG

Originally published on Sun December 9, 2012 7:09 pm

From mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli's ambitious revival of the early Baroque composer Agostino Stefani (and yes, she's got another outrageous album cover) to three very different roles for the violin, here's a clutch of classical albums I returned to again and again this year for sheer delight and aural inspiration. Bartoli lavishes extravagant attention on the music of a fascinating but forgotten link in the history of opera.

Read more
Best Music Of 2012
9:28 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Top 10 Classical Albums Of 2012

Pianist Jeremy Denk, whose album of Ligeti and Beethoven landed on our Top 10 Classical of 2012.
Michael Wilson courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 12:36 pm

  • Discussion: Top 10 Classical Albums Of 2012

At first glance, our top picks for 2012 may seem to range far and wide, from a fresh take on an epic late Beethoven string quartet to cellist Maya Beiser playing spaciously layered new music by Michael Harrison. What unites this diverse bunch is a spirit of discovery — not just in new music that we'll return to again and again but in the artistic energy that animates each of these projects.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
11:19 am
Wed December 5, 2012

A Choral Christmas With Stile Antico

The London-based a cappella choir Stile Antico brings a program of Christmas music to Cambridge, Mass.
Marco Borggreve

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:55 pm

Stile Antico is a 13-member a cappella choir based in London. Most of these fresh-faced singers are still in their 20s, but they've already racked up some impressive awards for their recordings — mainly of intricately woven music from the Renaissance.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
8:56 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Calculated Instability: The Pioneering Sonatas Of C.P.E. Bach

The special effects in Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach's music helped forge a new cutting-edge style.
De Agostini/Getty Images

If Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach wrote a dull piece of music, I've not yet heard it. And even if there is a workaday piece or two lurking within his 300 keyboard sonatas, you certainly won't find it on this new album by British pianist Danny Driver, who deftly uncovers the surprising restlessness of the music.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
8:58 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Don't Forget The Music: A Well-Seasoned Thanksgiving Soundtrack

Hunting and gathering music for your Thanksgiving holiday? Check out our playlist.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 10:41 am

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
10:50 am
Thu November 15, 2012

From Schubert To Hendrix: Guest DJ Matt Haimovitz

From coffeehouses to punk clubs, Matt Haimovitz has played his cello in some surprising places.
Steph Mackinnon

Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 7:49 am

  • Listen To The Session

These days it's not unusual to find classical musicians performing in unlikely venues — pubs, clubs and out-of-the-way places. But long before this trend took hold there was Matt Haimovitz. Ten years ago, the intrepid cellist lugged his instrument across the country, bringing music by J.S. Bach to barrooms, coffeehouses and even Manhattan's famous punk club CBGB.

Read more
Classics in Concert
9:26 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Belcea Quartet Takes Beethoven To Carnegie Hall: Live Nov. 7, 8 p.m. ET

The players in the Belcea Quartet played a series of late Beethoven string quartets at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall.
Melanie Burford NPR

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 4:30 pm

There comes a time in the life of most string quartets when, for better or worse, Beethoven must be confronted. For the acclaimed Belcea Quartet (named after its first violinist Corina Belcea), that time is now. The London-based group, founded at the Royal College of Music in 1994, is thoroughly steeped in Beethoven's 16 string quartets — pieces written throughout the early, middle and late stages of his career in an epic sweep of compositional mastery and imagination.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
3:50 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

Elliott Carter, Giant Of American Music, Dies At 103

Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 8:08 pm

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
11:50 am
Mon November 5, 2012

Pianist Gabriela Montero's Election Improv

Gabriela Montero takes ideas from audience members to create on the spot improvisations.
Colin Bell

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 12:36 pm

Few classical musicians these days are serious improvisers — aside from organists and early-music practitioners. But pianist Gabriela Montero is absolutely fearless when it comes to creating a new piece, right out of the air, right on the spot. At her concerts she takes requests from audience members. They can suggest a song for her to improvise on, or simply a topic of interest.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
8:56 am
Mon November 5, 2012

Requiem For Sandy: What Music Gets You Through?

Little Ferry, N.J., photographed here Oct. 30, 2012, was one of the cities greatly affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
3:13 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Symphonic Superstorms: A Puzzler

A satellite's view of Hurricane Sandy as it moves inland, Oct. 30, 2012.
NASA Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 5:20 pm

Call it what you want — superstorm, Frankenstorm, post-tropical cyclone — Mother Nature dished out something freakishly fearsome with Hurricane Sandy. It claimed more than 100 lives throughout the Northeast and the Caribbean, while causing what will surely be billions of dollars of damage in the form of washed-out businesses and flood-ravaged homes. It's a history-making hurricane that, alas, will not be soon forgotten.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
8:55 am
Tue October 30, 2012

Gidon Kremer's Bach Makeover

For violinist Gidon Kremer's new album, he commissioned 11 composers to rework and build on keyboard music by J.S. Bach.
Courtesy of ECM records

Perhaps no other composer's music has been dressed up (and down) in a wider variety of outfits than Johann Sebastian Bach's.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
12:35 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

The Politicians In Opera Puzzler

Bass Boris Christoff plays Philip II of Spain in Verdi's Don Carlo. Although the real Philip was a successful politician, he bankrupted his government four times.
Erich Auerbach Getty Images

As the presidential campaign heads into the homestretch, with binders, bayonets and a profusion of political ads, perhaps it's time to step back from the election hubbub.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
5:00 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

'Nixon In China': An American Opera Inches Toward Classic At 25

The original production of John Adams' Nixon in China (at Houston Grand Opera) celebrates the 25-year mark.
Jim Caldwell Houston Grand Opera

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
10:35 am
Thu October 18, 2012

Simone Dinnerstein's Bach Between The Notes

Simone Dinnerstein communes with the music of J.S. Bach at the NPR studio.
Doriane Raiman NPR

Originally published on Thu October 18, 2012 10:49 am

There's something about Johann Sebastian Bach's music that nourishes musicians. Pianist Andras Schiff and cellist Yo-Yo Ma have said that they play Bach almost every day — like having breakfast, it seems essential for them.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
12:29 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Esa-Pekka Salonen's Excellent Violin Adventure

Composer-conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen's award-winning Violin Concerto receives its debut recording.
Mat Hennek Deutsche Grammophon

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 11:42 am

After 17 years molding the Los Angeles Philharmonic into one of the smartest and most adventurous U.S. orchestras, music director Esa-Pekka Salonen called it quits in 2009. Among his reasons for leaving the ensemble was to devote more time to composing.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
9:27 am
Wed September 26, 2012

A Young Pianist Triumphs In Music From The Young 20th Century

Another solid album from Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz shows he's an artist of distinction.
Felix Broede DG

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 1:08 pm

Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz was just 20 years old when he swept all five top prizes at the 2005 Chopin Competition in Warsaw. His domination was so thorough the judges declined to award a runner-up.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
5:05 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

Cecilia Bartoli's Latest 'Mission' Rediscovers Agostino Steffani

Mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli uncovers the music of Agostino Steffani, a 17th-century composer who led a double life as a diplomat.
Decca

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 1:09 pm

Cecilia Bartoli has a passion for musical archaeology: "I am the Indiana Jones of classical," she says jokingly to All Things Considered host Robert Siegel.

Bartoli rummages through music history to uncover forgotten opera composers deserving of her detailed and dramatic performances. Her new album, Mission, introduces her most recent "find," the late-17th-century Italian Agostino Steffani.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
9:23 am
Wed September 19, 2012

Pop Goes Classical Puzzler

Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" isn't the only pop song to get the classical music treatment.
Mike Stobe Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 7:21 pm

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
3:52 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

William Duckworth, An Innovative Voice In Music And Teaching, Silenced At 69

Composer William Duckworth, photographed at Bucknell University, where he taught since 1973.
Bill Cardoni Bucknell Office of Communications

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 3:49 pm

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
9:09 am
Tue September 11, 2012

Gorecki's 'Miserere,' An A Cappella Oasis Of Calm

A new album of choral music by the late Polish composer Henryk Gorecki creates a calm and welcoming space.
Janek Skarzynski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 1:09 pm

Twenty years have passed since Polish composer Henryk Górecki became one of the most talked about figures in classical music. In 1992, his painfully beautiful Third Symphony, the "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs," shot up the charts and was played on the radio everywhere. A recording conducted by David Zinman and featuring soprano Dawn Upshaw sold more than a million copies — huge for a classical album.

Read more
Tiny Desk Concerts
8:03 am
Mon September 10, 2012

Avi Avital: Tiny Desk Concert

Michael Katzif NPR

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 10:02 am

Other than bluegrass virtuosos like Ricky Skaggs, players of the mandolin don't often get taken very seriously. But a young Israeli musician named Avi Avital is trying to change that. He's not a bluegrass star; instead, his mandolin sings with the sounds of Johann Sebastian Bach, Ernest Bloch and contemporary composers like Avner Dorman.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
9:23 am
Thu September 6, 2012

Why The Atlanta Symphony Matters: Five Recordings For The Lockout

Robert Spano conducts members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, who are currently in a lock out labor dispute.
J.D. Scott Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 3:50 pm

With just a month to go before opening its 68th season, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has gone silent. A bitter labor dispute between the ASO musicians and orchestra management has resulted in a lockout — meaning the players have literally been prevented from entering the Woodruff Arts Center and stripped of their salaries and health benefits.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
8:51 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Guest DJ: Decoding Debussy With Pierre-Laurent Aimard

Claude Debussy (1862-1918) ignored the old rules about how to write music and created a brave new world of sonic possibilities.
adoc-photos Corbis

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 3:55 pm

In the western suburbs of Paris 150 years ago today, a boy was born to an unassuming couple, proprietors of a china shop who had no great taste for music. But that little boy felt otherwise, and grew up to write music of bold color, timbre and harmonic daring.

Claude Debussy ignored the old rules about how to write music and in the process created a brave new world of sonic possibilities.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
1:04 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

How Slow Can You Go?

What happens when musicians slow the music way down?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 3:55 pm

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
2:19 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

Agitation In Atlanta, Luck In London And John Cage On The A Train

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is facing budget battles, and the shame of being silenced while backing a pop group.
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 1:27 pm

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
11:46 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Checking Opera's Pulse: A Conversation About The State Of The Art

Can opera survive in an era of shrinking budgets and aging audiences?
Torsten Blackwood AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 3:56 pm

  • Hear The 'Future of Opera' Discussion

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
1:28 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

We Asked For Six Songs, We Got Thousands

Music by the Beatles appeared on many "Six Songs of Me" lists.
istockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 11:00 am

Last week we asked you to do some musical soul-searching — and boy, did we get responses. In the first day, 250 people commented on the blog post "You Are What You Hear: What Your Favorite Music Says About You." Several thousand more comments have since rolled in via social media.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
12:54 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Making A Case For Massenet, The Misunderstood Sentimentalist

French composer Jules Massenet died 100 years ago, leaving the opera world with a wealth of elegantly composed dramas.
Topical Press Agency Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 11:07 am

Poor Jules Massenet. How could the most successful French opera composer of his generation fall so far out of fashion? Perhaps the new 23-CD box set of Massenet's music, marking the 100th anniversary of his death (yesterday), holds some clues.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
11:12 am
Thu August 9, 2012

You Are What You Hear: What Your Favorite Music Says About You

Why are your musical tastes a reflection of you?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 3:57 pm

Read more

Pages