© 2022 South Carolina Public Radio
Radio Website Header-Waves 6 3.0.jpg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
WEPR-FM, 90.1, Greenville/Spartanburg, will be operating at low power during tower maintenance. The transmitter may also be taken off the air periodically. Streaming is not affected.
A Minute with Miles
All Stations: Mon-Fri, 6:43 am and 8:43 am

How did the piano get its name? Why can’t you “reach” a crescendo? Who invented opera—and why—and how do you pronounce “Handel”? These and countless other classical music questions are answered on South Carolina Public Radio’s A Minute with Miles. Hosted by longtime NPR commentator Miles Hoffman, the segments inform and entertain as they provide illuminating 60-second flights through the world of classical music. 

Stay Connected
Latest Episodes
  • A scientist I know was talking about great works of literature the other day, and she said that what characterized them was the “density of brilliance.” What a wonderful phrase. And how perfect, too, for great works of music.
  • Claude Debussy was a great composer, but like many other famous composers, he was also a wonderful writer.
  • Everyone makes progress at his or her own pace, and what’s crucial is where you eventually arrive, not how fast you get there.
  • Some years ago I had the privilege of appearing as viola soloist with the United States Marine Band, “the Presidents Own,” and I can tell you it was a great experience. Like the members of the other premier service bands, the bands of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard, the Marine Band players are graduates of some of the nation’s top conservatories, and they’re terrific musicians.
  • And what about those musicians—Beethoven being only the most famous of many—who can hear combinations of pitches in their heads—chords, harmonies—and can invent, just in their heads, sequences of harmonies that have never been heard before?
  • "There are two kinds of geniuses, the ‘ordinary’ and the ‘magicians.’"
  • Vincenzo Bellini—the composer of Norma, La Sonnambula, and I Puritani, to name a few of his best-known operas—is famous for the beauty of his melodies, but also for his ability to use melody to define character, express passion, and advance dramatic action.
  • It occurs to me, when considering the history of music, that the endlessly recurring and often bitter fights over musical styles and trends have actually been quite productive, if only because they’ve acted as spurs for composers in supposedly opposing camps to produce their best work.
  • Mozart, they say, could compose music while he was playing billiards. Rossini wrote that he had once composed an overture while standing in the water fishing and listening to his fishing partner discuss Spanish finance.
  • In The Barber of Seville and his many other operas, Gioacchino Rossini gave singers plenty of opportunities to show off their talents. But in a letter he wrote in 1851, Rossini made it clear that he didn’t have much patience for the cult of the great singer.