The Las Vegas Philharmonic’s 20th-anniversary season replays on radio this summer


Perhaps you missed Las Vegas Philharmonic’s stellar 20th-anniversary season. We get it. In a city of ongoing celebrity residencies, it’s easy to overlook one-off cultural events.

But here’s your redemption. This summer, Nevada Public Radio will broadcast recordings of the Phil’s 2018 and 2019 performances on KCNV 89.7 FM, Sundays at 2 p.m. It’s a great way to while away a hot afternoon as you wait for the Philharmonic’s 21st season to begin on September 7.

“There’s something [special] about a broadcast of a live performance,” music director Donato Cabrera says. “You hear the clapping. You hear the energy of the audience, which you can’t find on a studio recording.”

Cabrera and KNPR Director of Programming Dave Becker introduce each concert with an educational discussion. “Dave Becker really gets to the point as to why these pieces matter and how they fit together as a concert,” Cabrera says. “I talk about what’s important about the piece and what to listen for.”

Even though you’ll get a second chance for these concerts, don’t expect a third. Contractual agreements prevent them from being broadcast more than once. To get the most out of your one shot, here are some of Cabrera’s musical insights:

July 7: Opening Night, Celebrating Bernstein (performed September 15, 2018). Cabrera says the opening concert was “super fun” because he set out to re-create the type of concert Leonard Bernstein brought to the stage when he was alive.

July 14: Glass, Mozart & Bach, with Simone Dinnerstein (performed November 3, 2018). The Phil was part of a consortium that co-commissioned a new piano concerto by Philip Glass, and was among the first to perform it.

July 21: The Music of John Williams (performed January 12, 2019). Cabrera says he was surprised how much the music of John Williams resonated with the community when the Phil performed the composer’s music three years ago. So the group played another Williams concert, with completely new music.

July 28: An Evening of Brahms (performed February 9, 2019). “It’s fun to choose music by the same composer [that sounds] entirely different,” Cabrera says. “These three pieces might as well have been composed by three different composers.”

August 4: Dvořák in America (performed April 6, 2019). This concert is all about “the influence that the composer had on the culture of the United States and the history of music,” Cabrera says. “Dvořák played a crucial role in the development of what would become the American School of Music making. … It took a foreign composer to let us know that it was OK to use music from here, rather than [Europe].”

August 11: Season Finale, Ode to Joy (performed May 11, 2019). “This concert was the bookend to our 20th-anniversary season, and I can’t think of a more appropriate piece to celebrate that than Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.”

Las Vegas Philharmonic Concert Broadcasts Begins July 7, Sundays, 2 p.m. Classical 89.7 FM, knpr.org/ classical-897-kcnv.

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