© 2024 South Carolina Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations


A Minute with Miles
Mary Noble Ours
SC Public Radio

Classical music lovers tend to worry about correct pronunciation, so here are a few refreshers that I hope will be helpful.

In America, people who play the flute call themselves flutists, not flautists, and we who play the viola, which looks like vie-ola, are called violists.

Handel’s Messiah was written by Handel, not Hondle, and though you can say Haendel if you’re feeling German, Handel himself changed it to Handel, so I’d stick with that. 

Mozart is Mozart, not Moe-zart, but before we get too snooty about it, we might remember that the French, for example, don’t say Motzart, they say Mo-zahr. And speaking of the French, do go ahead and pronounce the Z’s in Berlioz and Boulez, and don’t be fooled by the letters e-n-c: Francis Poulenc is Pou-lank, not Pou-lonk. Penderecki is Penderetski, not Pender-ecky, but otherwise I’m afraid when it comes to Polish and Czech you’re on your own.

A Minute with Miles is a production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the J.M. Smith Corporation.  

Stay Connected
Miles Hoffman is the founder and violist of the American Chamber Players, with whom he regularly tours the United States, and the Virginia I. Norman Distinguished Visiting Professor of Chamber Music at the Schwob School of Music, in Columbus, Georgia. He has appeared as viola soloist with orchestras across the country, and his solo performances on YouTube have received well over 700,000 views.