The Growing World of Classical Music Podcasts

Jason Heaths List of Classical Music Podcasts

Blogmaster’s note: One of the most frequent questions I receive is which books or studies I recommend to those entering the field and for the most part, I don’t recommend any. However, I’m finding more and more value in podcasts. The field changes quickly enough that print material becomes outdated; podcasts are help marginalize the issue and make it easier to revisit topics with a fresh perspective. Having said all of that, I am far from an authority on everything that’s available but luckily for you, I’m connected with those in the know. To that end, I am enormously grateful to Jason Heath for compiling this extensive list. Jason sits at the center of the classical music podcasting universe and in addition to this list, you can learn everything you need to know about starting and maintaining a first class podcast  via a series of articles on the topic he wrote for ArtsHacker.com. ~ Drew McManus

The last few years have been big for podcasting.  Though podcasts have been around for over a decade old, the launch in 2014 of Sarah Koenig’s hit podcast Serial pushed the medium into the spotlight.  Serial received over 40 million downloads by the end of its first season, and the success of this show helped usher podcasting into mainstream life.  An estimated 46 million Americans listened to at least one podcast a month in 2015.

My podcasting journey began in 2007 with the launch of my Contrabass Conversations podcast.  The podcasting landscape was totally different at that point.  I spent much of my time explaining to potential guests what a podcast was and why they should be on a podcast.  The “Serial phenomenon,” the rise in popularity of smartphones, and the ability to listen to smartphone content in cars have all contributed to a surge in podcast popularity.

The Classical Music Podcast Explosion

After taking a few years off of full-time podcasting, I rebooted my show in late 2015.  I began to poke around online and see what else was happening in the classical music podcast world.

I was astonished at what I found.

I was pretty much the only person out there doing an independent classical music podcast in 2007.  There are now at least 20 podcasts in this space.  Most of them have appeared within the past year, and even more are set to launch in the coming months.

The List

Here’s a brief overview of the shows that I have discovered in the classical music space.  Some of them cater to a specific instrument, while others are geared toward a broader audience.  While most of them focus on classical music, some of them cater to jazz or folk music aficionados.  Many of them focus on music entrepreneurship, which is a current “hot topic” in music schools.

I’m including an iTunes subscription link since that’s the most popular way to listen to podcasts, but be sure to visit the podcast’s website for other subscription methods.

A Musical Life

  • Host: Hugh Sung
  • subscribe in iTunes
  • Description: Pianist Hugh Sung shares stories, songs, and interviews with musicians from a wide variety of genres, including Classical, Folk, Rock, Jazz, and beyond. Visit com for all episodes and show notes. New episodes coming every Monday.

A Noise From The Deep

  • Host: Dave Douglas
  • subscribe in iTunes
  • Description: Trumpeter Dave Douglas and bassist Michael Bates lead conversations with significant jazz artists on music, composition, improvisation, and concerts. Guests include Henry Threadgill, Miles Okazaki, and Jon Irabagon, among others. Presented by Douglas’ record label Greenleaf Music.

Backstage at The Enharmonic with Sean J. Kennedy

  • Host: Sean J. Kennedy
  • subscribe in iTunes
  • Description: Through my decades in the music business as a performer, composer, arranger, and/or educator I’ve accumulated a vast Rolodex of the world’s leading musical innovators. The goal of this project is to dispel misconceptions about their tastes, to surprise listeners and fans, to entertain and take listeners to an unexpected point of resolution and think differently about musical categorizations.

Between the Liner Notes

  • Host: Matthew Billy
  • subscribe in iTunes
  • Description: Between the Liner Notes is a documentary style podcast about music, why it is the way it is and how it got to be that way. We are a member of The Goat Rodeo podcast network.

The Brass Junkies

  • Hosts: Andrew Hitz and Lance LaDuke
  • subscribe in iTunes
  • Description: The Brass Junkies, hosted by former Boston Brass members Andrew Hitz and Lance LaDuke, features interviews with the best and brightest brass players in the world. Subject matter includes everything from the serious to the ridiculous, just like the music business.

Clarineat

  • Host: Sean Perrin
  • subscribe in iTunes
  • Description: The Clarineat podcast features weekly interviews with prominent members of the clarinet community and product manufacturers from around the world, product reviews, as well as exciting giveaways each episode! Past guests include esteemed artists such as Martin Fröst, Harry Sparnaay, and Lori Freedman, and manufacturers such as Legérè Reeds, Etymōtic Research. Giveaways have included signed CDs, 3D Printed Clarinet barrels and bells, synthetic Reeds, and much more.

Contrabass Conversations

  • Host: Jason Heath
  • subscribe in iTunes
  • Contrabass Conversations features interviews and performances from top leaders in the world of the bass. Podcast host Jason Heath dives deep into what makes these world-class artists tick. With 1.5 million downloads and counting, Contrabass Conversations is the most popular podcast for double bassists.

Creative Strings Podcast

  • Host: Christian Howes
  • subscribe in iTunes
  • Description: Interviews, performances and discussions with Creative String players and music industry professionals.

Crushing Classical

  • Host: Tracy Friedlander
  • subscribe in iTunes
  • Description: Crushing Classical podcast is an ongoing series of provocative interviews with musicians who are pioneering a new path in the classical music genre. I dig into musician’s lives who have made an often risky move towards forging a unique path and creating a different kind of music career for themselves. This is particularly challenging in a field where the conventional approach is seeking employment in an orchestra.

Divergent Paths

  • Host: Dan Dunford
  • subscribe in iTunes
  • Description: Dan Dunford is a NYC-based freelance trombonist who is fascinated by the new directions people are taking to find work and legitimacy in the music world of today. Every week he talks to people creating their own path as well as some amazing music.

The Entrepreneurial Musician

  • Host: Andrew Hitz
  • subscribe in iTunes
  • Description: The Entrepreneurial Musician, hosted by former Boston Brass member Andrew Hitz, features interviews with the best and brightest entrepreneurs in the music business today.

Great Composers Podcast

  • Host: Kevin Nordstrom
  • subscribe in iTunes
  • Description: The Great Composers Podcast will explore the history and lives of some of ‘Classical’ music’s most famous composers and musicians. more info at kevinnordstrom.com. Bibliography for all episodes found on the website.

Groove

  • Host: Mitch Joel
  • subscribe in iTunes
  • Description: Groove – The No Treble Podcast features interviews with bassists each month, discussing all things music, creativity and (of course) bass.

iCadenza’s Creative Careers Podcast

  • Host: Kelly Kasle
  • subscribe in iTunes
  • Description: iCadenza’s Creative Careers podcast features interviews with musicians, artists, entrepreneurs, and other creative professionals, exploring issues of what it means to create for a living, the challenges of managing you own time, and the opportunities that come from driving the direction of your career. For career advice, free resources, and job postings in arts administration, entertainment, and other creative industries, visit www.icadenza.com.

The Lean Musician Podcast

  • Host: Jack Vaughan
  • subscribe in iTunes
  • Description: Lean Musician is the platform that helps practicing musicians achieve all aspects of success, across the board. The Lean Musician Podcast, hosted by Jack Vaughan, features interviews with top level performers, creators and educators, across the whole spectrum of music practice, performance, music composition and audio production.

Marketing Music Education

  • Host: Kathleen Heuer
  • subscribe in iTunes
  • Description: This podcast helps music educators, parents and boosters work smarter—not harder—to take their music programs to the next level. If you’re looking to increase participation in and awareness of your music program so you can reach more students and improve their music education experience, you’re in the right place!

Music Publishing Podcast

  • Host: Dennis Tobenski
  • subscribe in iTunes
  • Description: Information, inspiration, and conversations on composing, self-publishing, marketing your work, and making a living with your music, with host Dennis Tobenski.

Per Service Podcast

  • Hosts: Michael O’Gieblyn, Anna Luce,Jessica Wiersma, Christian Liberty Marshall
  • subscribe in iTunes
  • Description: Too many classical musicians go through the difficult and demanding grind of music school or years of lessons, and find out: hmm, this isn’t what I thought it was going to be like, or think: why didn’t anyone talk frankly about what being a musician was really like? Well, that’s why we’re here. We’re four musicians who want to talk openly about what it’s really like, and invite you to join in the conversation too at perservice.co.

The Portfolio Composer

  • Host: Garrett Hope
  • subscribe in iTunes
  • Description: Writing music is hard work. Every day composers struggle against procrastination, doubt, fear, and the blank page. Many composers, due to the nature of their creative work, don’t recognize the need to develop skills in business, networking, selling, and promotion. Composers are actually small-business owners selling the fruit of their craft. More than that, composers are in the business of having to be creative every day. As a composer and a teacher I have personally struggled with these issues and have seen them in my colleagues, peers, and students. My goal is to help composers become the composers they have always dreamed of being.

The Scott’s Bass Lessons Podcast

  • Host: Scott Devine
  • subscribe in iTunes
  • Description: If you’re a bassist — you’re in the right place. World renowned bassist and educator Scott Devine in conversation with some of the best and most well respected bass players around the world.

Tim Topham TV – Piano Teaching Podcast

  • Host: Tim Topham
  • subscribe in iTunes
  • Description: Teacher, presenter and blogger Tim Topham shares all of his piano teaching resources, guides, training and ideas so that you can keep your students inspired and motivated all through the year. Discover news ways of teaching, find out about the latest music releases, get connected with your local community via online events and training and listen as Tim interviews composers, teachers, bloggers and presenters as they share their ideas about piano teaching in 21st century.

TimePoint Ensemble Podcast

  • Host: Matthew James
  • subscribe in iTunes
  • Description: Timepoint Ensemble talks music, culture, and whatever else happens to come up.

Trumpet Dynamics

  • Host: James Newcomb
  • subscribe in iTunes
  • Description: The Story of the Trumpet, in the Words of Those Who Play It

Trumpet Dynamics host James Newcomb will be launching a new podcast called MusicPreneur at the beginning of 2017, and numerous other podcasts are in the development stages as well.

The Future of Classical Music Podcasting

The podcast medium is advantageous for classical music content providers for several reasons.  First. there is no length restriction on a podcast.  An episode could be 10 minutes long or three hours long.  Hosting and delivery is cheap for podcasts, and shows can distribute audio, video, and even PDF files through a podcast.

Even though the classical music podcast space is relatively new, networks are beginning to emerge.  Andrew Hitz runs Pedal Note Media, which distributes The Entrepreneurial Musician, The Brass Junkies, and iCadenza’s Creative Careers Podcast.  Hugh Sung has begun to organize many of these independent podcasters with his A Musical Life Mastermind.  More and more of the above podcasters are appearing on each other’s shows, and a coalescing of the community appears to be occurring.

A Critical Mass?

Sean Perrin just announced that his Clarineat podcast is nearing it’s 20,000th download in less than 10 months.  Hugh Sung’s podcast A Musical Life passed a quarter million downloads in just over 7 months.  Contrabass Conversations has passed 1.5 million downloads, with over one million of the in the past year.

While these numbers pale in comparison to commercial radio, classical music has for decades attracted a small percentage of overall listenership.  The hyper-targeted nature of these shows offers up interesting possibilities for organizations looking to engage with highly engaged groups of musicians.

Break into the Scene author Seth Hanes focused his recent book launch on this group of podcasters, appearing on at least eight of these podcasts.  His book landed at #1 in the music business category on Amazon within the first few days of its launch, displacing a New York Times Bestseller that had held the top spot in this category for months.

Clearly, podcasting has gained traction in the classical music world.  With so many shows in their infancy, the future remains unclear, but if the rapid growth numbers of A Musical Life and Clarineat are indication, the future of classical music podcasting appears to be bright indeed.

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5 Responses to The Growing World of Classical Music Podcasts

  1. Barry Green Mon, Oct 24, 2016 at 3:07 pm #

    Great article and exploration of this cyber world sharing artistry. It’s also inspirational because frankly I’m thinking about this myself -but a general forum for the ‘performing arts world’ -consciousness-mind -body and spirit. You have captured the secret as you know we all learn and grow from our colleagues!

  2. Sean Perrin Mon, Oct 24, 2016 at 3:13 pm #

    Thank you so much for including me (Clarineat) on this list Jason. I love your show and I look forward to checking out some of these other ones as well!

  3. Stephen P Brown Tue, Oct 25, 2016 at 12:29 pm #

    Thanks for sharing, Jason. I’m intrigued by this specific topic, and look forward to perhaps a less specialized podcast that can help bridge the gap between us specialists, and those dipping their toe into the Classical Music waters.

  4. Michael O'Gieblyn Wed, Oct 26, 2016 at 9:53 am #

    Thanks for adding us on the list as well. So cool to see so many other great podcasts about Classical music and musicians.

  5. Mathew James Thu, Oct 27, 2016 at 10:14 am #

    Thanks for including us on the list (What’s Happening). Will be awesome to be able to check out some other shows, and this list makes it nice and easy.

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