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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Arts & Life
10:14 am
Tue August 13, 2013

First Listen: Anna Netrebko, 'Verdi'

Anna Netrebko's Verdi comes out August 20.
Kristian Schuller DG

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 11:16 am

At the opening of Anna Netrebko's new album, Verdi, we find her in the role of Lady Macbeth, reading a letter confirming the fulfillment of a prophecy made by Shakespeare's (and Verdi's) infamous witches.

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Arts & Life
8:54 am
Wed August 7, 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 4:32 pm

With an interview show named HARDtalk I suppose the host might be expected to come out swinging. And recently the BBC's Sarah Montague did not disappoint.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:00 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 6:41 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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Arts & Life
9:26 am
Fri June 7, 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

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 7:03 am

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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Arts & Life
10:45 am
Mon May 27, 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

Originally published on Sat May 25, 2013 5:03 am

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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Arts & Life
7:37 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 5:52 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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Arts & Life
10:48 am
Tue March 19, 2013

Music We Love Now: New Albums Of Bach, Beethoven And Brahms

Lisa Batiashvili plays the Stradivarius used to help birth Brahms' great Violin Concerto in D.
Anja Frers DG

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 9:04 am

New albums of music by the "Three Bs," Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, prove that going back to basics has its advantages. Hear a sweet-toned violin concerto, an audacious piano sonata and a solo cello suite caressed by a lute.

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Arts & Life
12:12 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

'Funeral March Of A Marionette': Puppet Music Promoted By Hitchcock

Charles Gounod's quirky march about marionettes found new life as the theme music to Alfred Hitchcock's suspense show on TV.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 2:17 pm

It's Marches Madness! Throughout this month, we're posting some of our favorite marches — from the concert hall, opera stage and parade ground. Got one we should hear? Played any yourself? Let us know in the comments section.

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Arts & Life
9:00 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Benedict And Beethoven: The Outgoing Pope's Musical Life

Pope Benedict XVI addresses the audience at Milan's La Scala opera house where he heard a performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 conducted by Daniel Barenboim.
Daniel Dal Zennaro AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 8:18 am

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Arts & Life
9:02 am
Wed February 13, 2013

Classical Grammys 2013: Same Old Winners, Bold New Music

Members of eighth blackbird performing at the pre-telecast Grammy Awards Sunday.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 11:23 am

Ah, the joys of Monday morning quarterbacking, classical style.

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Arts & Life
9:01 am
Wed February 13, 2013

Subterranean Notes, The New Baroque And A Nod To Minnesota: Music We Love Now

Violist Nadia Sirota.
Samantha West courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed February 13, 2013 10:52 am

From Christopher Purves' bottomless bass voice and the soaring Sibelius Fifth to a violist's new take on the Baroque, it's this week's list of albums we can't stop listening to. Got a favorite album you've had on repeat lately? Let us know about it the comments section.

Arts & Life
9:07 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Cantus: Tiny Desk Concert

Cantus performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Dec. 3, 2012.
Ryan Smith for NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 5:43 pm

Is there some kind of weird vocal vortex in Minnesota? The state turns out so many excellent choral groups — at the school, church and professional levels — that it can arguably be dubbed the choral center of the U.S.

The members of the male vocal ensemble called Cantus, who huddled around Bob Boilen's desk to sing for us, hail from that vortex — specifically Minneapolis-St. Paul.

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Arts & Life
12:49 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Musical Google Earth: Composer Paul Moravec's Sense Of Place

The mountainside Montserrat monastery, north of Barcelona, inspired Paul Moravec to write a cello concerto.
Luis Davilla Cover/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 2:10 pm

"Location, location, location" is the mantra of real estate, but for centuries geographical locales have also been a boon to the imagination of many a composer. Think of Tchaikovsky, who mimicked the bugle calls he heard each morning while visiting Rome in the opening brass fanfare of his Capriccio Italien.

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Arts & Life
9:02 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Fond Farewells: Classical Musicians We Lost In 2012

Classical music lost many fine artists in 2012.
Dragan Trifunovic iStock.com

Originally published on Mon December 31, 2012 4:47 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
2:03 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Whatever Happened To The Classical Christmas Album?

A sampling of one listener's cherished classical Christmas albums from a few years back.
Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 1:38 pm

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