Tom Huizenga

Tom Huizenga is a music producer, reporter and blogger for NPR Music. He hosts NPR's classical music blog Deceptive Cadence.

A regular contributor of stories about classical music on NPR's news programs, Huizenga regularly introduces intriguing new classical CDs to listeners on the weekend version of All Things Considered. He contributes to NPR Music's "Song of the Day."

During his time at NPR, Huizenga spent seven years as a producer, writer and editor for NPR's Peabody Award-winning daily classical music magazine Performance Today, and for the programs SymphonyCast and World of Opera. He produced the live broadcast of Gershwin's Porgy & Bess from Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center, concerts from NPR's Studio 4A and performances on the road at Summerfest La Jolla, the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival and New York's Le Poisson Rouge.

Huizenga's radio career began at the University of Michigan, where he graduated in 1986. During his four year tenure, he regularly hosted several radio programs (opera, jazz, free-form, experimental radio) at Ann Arbor's WCBN. As a student in the Enthnomusicology department, Huizenga studied and performed traditional court music from Indonesia. He also studied English Literature and voice, while writing for the university's newspaper.

After college Huizenga took his love of music and broadcasting to New Mexico, where he served as music director for NPR member station KRWG, in Las Cruces, and taught radio production at New Mexico State University.

Huizenga lives in Takoma Park, MD, with his wife Valeska Hilbig, a public affairs director at the Smithsonian. In his spare time he writes about music for the Washington Post, overloads on concerts and movies and swings a tennis racket wildly on many local courts.

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Deceptive Cadence
9:03 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Distinctive Voices: Three Must-Hear Violin Albums

Three of today's most fascinating violinists have new albums, including Augustin Hadelich, who pairs off with Spanish guitarist Pablo Sáinz Villegas.
Rosalie O'Connor Avie Records

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 10:01 am

The violin, though centuries old, remains a popular yet remarkably unwieldy instrument. Just squeezing the contraption between your chin and shoulder, then raising your bow arm to the proper height, is enough to induce a pinched nerve. Yet every day countless numbers of people try to make the instrument sing.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:03 am
Tue June 4, 2013

'Becoming Traviata': A Look At Opera From Behind The Curtain

Soprano Natalie Dessay, with tenor Charles Castonovo, in Philippe Béziat's documentary Becoming Traviata.
Distrib Films

It's easy to think of opera as little more than an affected flock of singers warbling onstage in lacy brocade with pancake makeup, chandeliers and champagne.

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Deceptive Cadence
6:03 am
Sat May 25, 2013

Leonard Bernstein's 'Rite of Spring' Thrill Ride

Leonard Bernstein leads the London Symphony Orchestra. He called Stravinsky's famously savage Rite of Spring "extremely tuneful and dancy, rhythmically seductive, beguiling."
Ian Showell Getty Images

If you think all the twitchy rhythms and random shards of melody flashing through Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring sound complicated, consider the poor musicians who have to learn it. And then there's the conductor, who needs to perfectly place every piccolo tweet and bass drum boom.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:41 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

The Cocktail Party Guide To Igor Stravinsky

Don't be caught "Stravinsky deficient" as the big centennial of his Rite of Spring approaches.
Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 24, 2013 4:21 pm

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Tiny Desk Concerts
9:56 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Imani Winds: Tiny Desk Concert

Imani Winds performs a Tiny Desk Concert in February 2013.
Marie McGrory NPR

Originally published on Fri June 13, 2014 9:49 am

Editor's note: We're sorry.The video has been removed from this page.

When Igor Stravinsky began composing The Rite of Spring, his ballet for vast symphonic forces, he could hear the music in his head but couldn't quite figure out how to write it down. It was just too complicated.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:50 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Henri Dutilleux, Leading French Composer, Dies At 97

Henri Dutilleux, a leading French composer and unique voice in new music, has died at age 97.
Pierre Verdy AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 2:54 pm

Henri Dutilleux, a leading French composer who wrote music of luminous perfection, died Wednesday in Paris at age 97. His family announced the death, which was reported by one of his publishers, Schott Music, and the Agence-France Presse.

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Deceptive Cadence
12:06 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Gods And Monsters: 5 Unforgettable Wagner Moments

The Valkyries, led by Brunnhilde (soprano Debra Voigt, lower left), are the warrior maidens of Richard Wagner's epic Ring cycle.
Ken Howard Metropolitan Opera

Originally published on Wed May 22, 2013 4:02 pm

  • William Berger on 'Parsifal'
  • William Berger on 'Das Rheingold'
  • William Berger on 'Die Walküre'
  • William Berger on 'Tristan und Isolde'
  • William Berger on 'Die Meistersinger'

How much do you know about Richard Wagner? Probably two unfavorable facts: He wrote very long, grandiose operas and was Hitler's favorite composer. As true as they are, those simple examples barely hint at the complexity of this endlessly creative and confounding artist.

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Deceptive Cadence
1:20 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Moms In Opera: Women On The Edge

Mozart's Queen of the Night (portrayed here by soprano Diana Damrau), in his The Magic Flute, is one of opera's more intense mothers.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 7, 2014 3:40 pm

We love mothers for all the Hallmark reasons: for their compassion and patience, not to mention giving birth. But some moms aren't exactly greeting card friendly — and none less so than those who live in the opera house.

This is opera, after all, so we expect the outrageous. But operatic moms seem to be disproportionately portrayed as murderers, harpies or generally women on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Your Normas, Medeas, Butterflies, Queens of the Night and Clytemnestras.

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Deceptive Cadence
10:44 am
Tue April 23, 2013

Music We Love Now: Three Must-Hear Piano Albums

Ingolf Wunder pays tribute to 300 years of keyboard music on his new album 300.
Patrick Walter

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 12:22 pm

The young Austrian pianist Ingolf Wunder shines in Mozart, Jorge Federico Osorio reintroduces an intoxicating Mexican concerto and Elisveta Blumina reveals the gentle side of Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov.

Deceptive Cadence
3:09 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

The Conductor Who Gained Power By Giving It Up

Colin Davis found power in humility later in his career — and one astonished music journalist.
Alberto Venzago

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Deceptive Cadence
11:47 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Maria Callas On The Move: A Diva Does D.C.

A diva on the town finds her way to NPR's new headquarters.
Anya Grundmann NPR

Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 12:02 pm

As one door closes, another opens. Last week, we shut down operations at our old Washington, D.C, headquarters; today, we walked into a brand-new building.

Making the move wasn't easy. In 14 years, I'd acquired an impressive amount of stuff, from LPs autographed by Placido Domingo and Tom Jones to books like The Essential Guide to Dutch Music. And did I really need three staple removers?

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Deceptive Cadence
2:29 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Can Yo-Yo Ma Fix The Arts?

Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Cristina Pato perform during Ma's Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy at Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center.
David Hathcox/Americans for the Arts

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 11:54 am

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Deceptive Cadence
8:37 pm
Sat April 6, 2013

Vespers, Habaneras And Early Morning Walks: New Classical Albums

The Attacca String Quartet's latest album celebrates John Adams.
Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

Originally published on Sun April 7, 2013 6:52 pm

Robert Frost's famous poem "The Road Not Taken" begins with the line: "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood." Frost's traveler must choose between them. But slide that metaphor over to the world of classical music and you will discover hundreds of paths to explore.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:29 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Marches Madness: Rubbing Aladdin's Lamp

Lukiyanova Natalia iStockphoto.com

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Deceptive Cadence
1:03 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

The Good Friday 5: Musical Passion Stories You Must Hear

This 1653 engraving by Rembrandt inspired composer Frank Martin to write his oratorio Golgotha in 1945.
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 6:17 pm

For Christians around the world, this week, leading up to Easter Sunday, is one of the most meaningful in the religious calendar. The dramatic story of Jesus' final days, as related in the four Gospels of the New Testament, has been meaningful for composers, too, and a rich source for many musical settings of the Passion story. J.S. Bach is still the benchmark when it comes to composing Passions. His St.

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Classics in Concert
2:29 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Carnegie Hall Live: Jonathan Biss And The Elias String Quartet

Pianist Jonathan Biss and members of the Elias String Quartet brought their Schumann: Under the Influence program to Carnegie Hall.
Melanie Burford for NPR

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 4:34 pm

In October, pianist Jonathan Biss set out on a vision quest, a season-long immersion in music by Robert Schumann. Biss and the members of England's Elias String Quartet have been exploring Schumann and associated composers in cities throughout Europe and North America, including a Carnegie Hall concert webcast live on this page (and at WQXR) Tuesday, April 2 at 8 p.m. ET.

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Deceptive Cadence
10:47 am
Mon March 25, 2013

Marches Madness: From Trash Can To Flagpole

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 11:55 am

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Deceptive Cadence
6:36 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Remembering Risë Stevens, A Star Of Opera And Pop Culture

The late American mezzo-soprano Risë Stevens in her signature role as Carmen.
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 10:59 am

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Deceptive Cadence
9:55 am
Thu March 21, 2013

Marches Madness: Mahler's Twisted Nursery Rhyme

Mahler's ironic funeral march, in his first symphony, was inspired by this woodcut of forest animals bearing the hunter to his grave.
wikimedia commons

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Deceptive Cadence
9:24 am
Tue March 19, 2013

Music We Love Now: New Albums Of Bach, Beethoven And Brahms

Lisa Batiashvili plays the Stradivarius used to help birth Brahms' great Violin Concerto in D.
Anja Frers DG

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 10:04 am

New albums of music by the "Three Bs," Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, prove that going back to basics has its advantages. Hear a sweet-toned violin concerto, an audacious piano sonata and a solo cello suite caressed by a lute.

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Deceptive Cadence
9:34 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Marches Madness: Freshly Squeezed Oranges In 4/4 Time

For his zany opera The Love for Three Oranges, Prokofiev wrote a little march that made it big.
Alexey Stiop iStockphoto.com

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Deceptive Cadence
12:44 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Tell Us: Are Ballet And Opera Elitist?

In an age when we are hearing more music than ever, are opera and ballet elitist?
Carolina K. Smith iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 1:10 pm

It's a question virtually as old as the art forms themselves: Are ballet and opera elitist?

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Deceptive Cadence
9:51 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Marches Madness: Walk Like An Egyptian

Verdi's opera Aida, set in the time of the Pharaohs, is known for its extravagance, yet its "Triumphal March" is surprisingly simple.
iStockphoto.com

Elephants, Egyptian palaces, politics and love triangles — now we're talking grand opera!

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Deceptive Cadence
9:27 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Marches Madness: Off With His Head!

In Hector Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, he imagines his own march to the guillotine.
Rischgitz Getty Images

It's Marches Madness! Throughout this month, we're posting some of our favorite marches — from the concert hall, opera stage and parade ground. Got one we should hear? Played any yourself? Let us know in the comments section.

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Deceptive Cadence
1:55 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

'Funeral March of a Marionette': Puppet Music Promoted By Hitchcock

Charles Gounod's quirky march about marionettes found new life as the theme music to Alfred Hitchcock's suspense show on TV.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 3:17 pm

It's Marches Madness! Throughout this month, we're posting some of our favorite marches — from the concert hall, opera stage and parade ground. Got one we should hear? Played any yourself? Let us know in the comments section.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:11 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

'Thank You For That Gift': Memories Of Van Cliburn From Medalists

Van Cliburn in concert in 1993.
Ron Jenkins

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 4:42 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
8:03 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Benedict And Beethoven: The Outgoing Pope's Musical Life

Pope Benedict XVI addresses the audience at Milan's La Scala opera house where he heard a performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 conducted by Daniel Barenboim.
Daniel Dal Zennaro AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 9:18 am

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Deceptive Cadence
4:45 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

The Operatic Potential Of DSK, A Modern Don Giovanni

Disgraced former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn leaves court in Paris Tuesday after attending a hearing regarding his seizure request for a new book by Argentinian-born Marcela Iacub detailing their liason.
Kenzo Tribouillard AFP/Getty Images

If I wrote operas, my next work would be called DSKNY. That's a snazzy abbreviation for Dominique Strauss-Kahn New York. The idea came last night when colleagues invited me for cocktails at the Sofitel Hotel, the site of DSK's alleged sexual assault of a hotel maid in 2011, and the beginning of his fall from grace.

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Deceptive Cadence
12:25 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Nordic Symphonies And A $100 Guitar: Music We Love Now

Conductor Colin Davis concludes his cycle of Carl Nielsen's symphonies with the London Symphony Orchestra.
LSO Live

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 12:08 pm

Turn your ears toward three albums now tickling ours: clever Nielsen, glowing Finland and one battered electric guitar.

Deceptive Cadence
12:08 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Measures Of Affection: Five Musical Love Letters

Composer Peter Lieberson wrote his Neruda Songs for his wife, mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson.
Johansen Krause Peter Lieberson

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 12:21 pm

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