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South Carolina Public Radio Partners With Spoleto Festival USA For 'Spoleto At Home' Initiative

William Struhs/Spoleto Festival USA

Beginning Friday, May 22, South Carolina Public Radio is proud to present special Spoleto Festival USA programming as part of a new “Spoleto at Home” initiative, featuring our weekday classical program Sonatas & Soundscapes and our Spoleto Backstage podcast. 

On March 24, Spoleto Festival USA made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s festival – a first in the event’s 44-year history. Throughout that storied history, the twice-daily chamber music concerts at Dock Street Theatre have been beloved cornerstones of each season, famous for their assemblage of leading musicians and eclectic programming. As such, the festival is partnering with South Carolina Public Radio to produce one of the most robust elements of “Spoleto at Home”: weekday radio broadcasts of 11 past “Bank of America Chamber Music” programs.

Sonatas & Soundscapes host Bradley Fuller
Credit South Carolina Public Radio
Sonatas & Soundscapes host Bradley Fuller

From May 22 thru June 5, tune into Sonatas & Soundscapes for 11 “Chamber Music from Spoleto Festival USA” performances from the past decade. All 11 performances are being selected by Geoff Nuttall, artistic director of the festival’s “Bank of America Chamber Music” series, who will also provide commentary regarding each selection and reflections on how he chose his favorite concerts with nearly ninety world-class performances to consider.

“There’s nothing like the energy and intimacy of being at the Dock Street Theatre during a ‘Bank of America Chamber Music’ concert at Spoleto Festival USA,” Nuttall says. “But these daily concert broadcasts on ‘Sonatas & Soundscapes’ will take you as close as possible to hearing the magic that happens live. While I absolutely wish we could all be there in person, choosing my top 11 programs of the last decade has been such a gift, and I am overjoyed to be able to relive these special musical moments with the Spoleto audience and SC Public Radio listeners.”

Sonatas & Soundscapes host Bradley Fuller will also have interviews with longtime chamber music performers such as clarinetist Todd Palmer and pianist Pedja Muzijevic, as well as conversations with musicians who were preparing to make their festival debuts. Among those who would have been newcomers to the festvial are chamber series composer-in-residence Jessica Meyer and Charleston-area native and pianist Micah McLaurin, who was planning to perform Franz Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 1 alongside the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra under Jonathon Heyward. Spoleto Festival USA General Manager Nigel Redden is also joining as a guest to share about the difficult decision to cancel the event for 2020 and to address future plans.

Sonatas & Soundscapes will have additional areas of focus, including: the celebration of the 350th anniversary of the founding of Charleston, featuring music composed and performed during that period; emphasis on the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth; and a recording of a 2019 Spoleto Festival USA orchestral concert featuring Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5, along with a previously-recorded interview with the conductor.

Also beginning May 22, the Spoleto Backstage podcast will return for 11 new episodes with performances from past festivals and behind-the-scenes insights. With new episodes released each Friday this summer, the podcast will be co-hosted by Bradley Fuller and Geoff Nuttall and will feature public-domain works from “Chamber Music from Spoleto Festival USA” as well as interviews and lively commentary on the performances.

You can stream Sonatas & Soundscapes live each weekday here on SouthCarolinaPublicRadio.org or on the SCETV app, available on all Android and Apple devices. You can subscribe to the Spoleto Backstage podcast in Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Fore more infomration about Spoleto Festival USA, visit their site here.

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Sean Birch brings his passion for engaging with listeners and delivering high-quality radio and podcasts to his role as Director of South Carolina Public Radio. Working with his team, he guides the creation of news and programming which informs, entertains and reflects the diverse population of the Palmetto State. He also chooses the national programming heard on stations and oversees the day-to-day operations of the radio network.