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
3:17 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Subterranean Notes, The New Baroque And A Nod To Minnesota: Music We Love Now

Violist Nadia Sirota.
Samantha West courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed February 13, 2013 11:52 am

From Christopher Purves' bottomless bass voice and the soaring Sibelius Fifth to a violist's new take on the Baroque, it's this week's list of albums we can't stop listening to. Got a favorite album you've had on repeat lately? Let us know about it the comments section.

Deceptive Cadence
12:23 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Classical Grammys 2013: Same Old Winners, Bold New Music

Members of eighth blackbird performing at the pre-telecast Grammy Awards Sunday.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Ah, the joys of Monday morning quarterbacking, classical style.

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Classics in Concert
11:53 am
Thu February 7, 2013

Max Richter In Concert: Reimagining Vivaldi

Composer-performer Max Richter (right) brings his revamped Vivaldi to Manhattan's Le Poisson Rouge.
Denise DeBelius NPR

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 1:08 pm

Can't take another moment of Vivaldi's ubiquitous Four Seasons? Neither could Max Richter, a London-based composer who deftly blurs the lines between the classical and electronic worlds.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
2:33 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Cantus: Tiny Desk Concert

Cantus performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Dec. 3, 2012.
Ryan Smith for NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 6:43 pm

Is there some kind of weird vocal vortex in Minnesota? The state turns out so many excellent choral groups — at the school, church and professional levels — that it can arguably be dubbed the choral center of the U.S.

The members of the male vocal ensemble called Cantus, who huddled around Bob Boilen's desk to sing for us, hail from that vortex — specifically Minneapolis-St. Paul.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:38 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

A Little Part Of Poulenc In All Of Us

French composer Francis Poulenc (photographed in 1960 in New York) is famous for his music and his many contradictions.
John Jonas Gruen Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 5:05 pm

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Classics in Concert
1:04 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Reneé Fleming And Susan Graham At Carnegie Hall

Reneé Fleming (right) and Susan Graham — two "cheerful Americans" often mistaken for each other — are planning an intimate evening of French song.
Craig T. Mathew/Mathew Imaging

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 10:05 am

No one would mistake Carnegie Hall's grand 2,800-seat Isaac Stern Auditorium for a cozy Parisian salon. But soprano Reneé Fleming and mezzo-soprano Susan Graham will do their best to conjure such an intimate space Sunday at 8 p.m. ET as they present an evening of French songs, webcast live on this page and at WQXR.

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Deceptive Cadence
12:45 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Musical Google Earth: Composer Paul Moravec's Sense of Place

The mountainside Montserrat monastery, north of Barcelona, inspired Paul Moravec to write a cello concerto.
Luis Davilla Cover/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 3:10 pm

"Location, location, location" is the mantra of real estate, but for centuries geographical locales have also been a boon to the imagination of many a composer. Think of Tchaikovsky, who mimicked the bugle calls he heard each morning while visiting Rome in the opening brass fanfare of his Capriccio Italien.

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Deceptive Cadence
7:03 am
Sat January 19, 2013

Obama's 'Hope And Virtue' Distilled In A Song

Martin Luther King Jr. waves to supporters during the 1963 March on Washington and President Barack Obama speaks at his first inauguration in 2009.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 12:51 pm

On Jan. 20, 2009, Barack Obama was sworn in as the first African-American president of the United States. And Monday, President Obama will be sworn in again — this time on a most auspicious day, the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

In King's most famous speech, he said, "In spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream."

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Deceptive Cadence
11:34 am
Thu January 17, 2013

Who Needs Drugs When You've Got Music?

"Music modulates levels of dopamine in the brain which is a chemical responsible for reward and pleasure," says author Daniel Levitin.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 9:09 pm

It happened again last Saturday. And boy, when it hit me it felt great — though it left me a little shaken.

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Deceptive Cadence
11:49 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Symphonic Resolutions: What's On Your Classical Music Wish List?

Tell us your hopes for classical music in 2013.
Lalito iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 9:13 am

Are you the type to make New Year's resolutions? They're easy to make, but tough to keep — at least when it comes to your own. So how about brainstorming a few resolutions that are a little less personal?

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Deceptive Cadence
4:19 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Echoes Of 2012: A Classical Music Quiz

Gustavo Dudamel conducts Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela at Carnegie Hall.
Ramin Talaie NPR

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 11:50 am

While the new year is still fresh, let's take a look in the rearview mirror at some of the noteworthy happenings in the classical music world. Were you listening last year? See if you remember the big, and not-so-big, stories from 2012 in our quiz.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Deceptive Cadence
4:57 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

In January's Drought, Three Albums Worth Waiting For

Classical pianist Simone Dinnerstein and singer-songwriter Tift Merritt have an album coming out in March.
Sony Classical

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 9:17 am

In high season, as many as two dozen albums appear in my mail bin each week. But in the first weeks of any new year, new releases are a rarity. That means patiently waiting for 2013's first intriguing albums to arrive. As a sort of appetizer, we offer three tracks from albums I'm really looking forward to. These artists (and their record companies) have generously allowed us these tantalizing tastes of what's to come.

Any releases you're impatiently awaiting? Let us know in the comments section.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:20 pm
Mon December 31, 2012

Fond Farewells: Classical Musicians We Lost in 2012

Classical music lost many fine artists in 2012.
Dragan Trifunovic iStock.com

Originally published on Mon December 31, 2012 5:47 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
11:06 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Whatever Happened To The Classical Christmas Album?

A sampling of one listener's cherished classical Christmas albums from a few years back.
Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 2:38 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
3:38 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Outspoken Russian Diva And Muse Galina Vishnevskaya Dies At 86

Soprano Galina Vishnevskaya was once caleld the "Russian Maria Callas" for her intense interpretations.
Capitol Records, Inc, courtesy of EMI Classics

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Deceptive Cadence
11:21 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Musicians Remember Elliott Carter

Prominent musicians remember American composer Elliott Carter (who would have turned 104 today) through his music. Carter died last month.
Erich Auerbach Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 11:39 am

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Deceptive Cadence
11:12 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Soprano Lisa Della Casa, Strauss And Mozart Specialist, Dies At 93

Swiss soprano Lisa Della Casa's sweet and silvery voice was perfect for the music of Richard Strauss.
Erich Auerbach Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 31, 2012 8:51 am

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Deceptive Cadence
3:04 pm
Sun December 9, 2012

A Bald Mezzo And Three Shades Of Violin: Classical Favorites From 2012

On Silfra, violinist Hilary Hahn improvises with prepared pianist Hauschka.
DG

Originally published on Sun December 9, 2012 7:09 pm

From mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli's ambitious revival of the early Baroque composer Agostino Stefani (and yes, she's got another outrageous album cover) to three very different roles for the violin, here's a clutch of classical albums I returned to again and again this year for sheer delight and aural inspiration. Bartoli lavishes extravagant attention on the music of a fascinating but forgotten link in the history of opera.

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Best Music Of 2012
9:28 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Top 10 Classical Albums Of 2012

Pianist Jeremy Denk, whose album of Ligeti and Beethoven landed on our Top 10 Classical of 2012.
Michael Wilson courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 12:36 pm

  • Discussion: Top 10 Classical Albums Of 2012

At first glance, our top picks for 2012 may seem to range far and wide, from a fresh take on an epic late Beethoven string quartet to cellist Maya Beiser playing spaciously layered new music by Michael Harrison. What unites this diverse bunch is a spirit of discovery — not just in new music that we'll return to again and again but in the artistic energy that animates each of these projects.

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Deceptive Cadence
11:19 am
Wed December 5, 2012

A Choral Christmas With Stile Antico

The London-based a cappella choir Stile Antico brings a program of Christmas music to Cambridge, Mass.
Marco Borggreve

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:55 pm

Stile Antico is a 13-member a cappella choir based in London. Most of these fresh-faced singers are still in their 20s, but they've already racked up some impressive awards for their recordings — mainly of intricately woven music from the Renaissance.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:56 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Calculated Instability: The Pioneering Sonatas Of C.P.E. Bach

The special effects in Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach's music helped forge a new cutting-edge style.
De Agostini/Getty Images

If Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach wrote a dull piece of music, I've not yet heard it. And even if there is a workaday piece or two lurking within his 300 keyboard sonatas, you certainly won't find it on this new album by British pianist Danny Driver, who deftly uncovers the surprising restlessness of the music.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:58 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Don't Forget The Music: A Well-Seasoned Thanksgiving Soundtrack

Hunting and gathering music for your Thanksgiving holiday? Check out our playlist.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 10:41 am

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Deceptive Cadence
10:50 am
Thu November 15, 2012

From Schubert To Hendrix: Guest DJ Matt Haimovitz

From coffeehouses to punk clubs, Matt Haimovitz has played his cello in some surprising places.
Steph Mackinnon

Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 7:49 am

  • Listen To The Session

These days it's not unusual to find classical musicians performing in unlikely venues — pubs, clubs and out-of-the-way places. But long before this trend took hold there was Matt Haimovitz. Ten years ago, the intrepid cellist lugged his instrument across the country, bringing music by J.S. Bach to barrooms, coffeehouses and even Manhattan's famous punk club CBGB.

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Classics in Concert
9:26 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Belcea Quartet Plays Beethoven At Carnegie Hall

The players in the Belcea Quartet played a series of late Beethoven string quartets at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall.
Melanie Burford NPR

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 2:37 pm

There comes a time in the life of most string quartets when, for better or worse, Beethoven must be confronted. For the acclaimed Belcea Quartet (named after its first violinist Corina Belcea), that time is now. The London-based group, founded at the Royal College of Music in 1994, is thoroughly steeped in Beethoven's 16 string quartets — pieces written throughout the early, middle and late stages of his career in an epic sweep of compositional mastery and imagination.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:50 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

Elliott Carter, Giant Of American Music, Dies At 103

Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 8:08 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
11:50 am
Mon November 5, 2012

Pianist Gabriela Montero's Election Improv

Gabriela Montero takes ideas from audience members to create on the spot improvisations.
Colin Bell

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 12:36 pm

Few classical musicians these days are serious improvisers — aside from organists and early-music practitioners. But pianist Gabriela Montero is absolutely fearless when it comes to creating a new piece, right out of the air, right on the spot. At her concerts she takes requests from audience members. They can suggest a song for her to improvise on, or simply a topic of interest.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:56 am
Mon November 5, 2012

Requiem For Sandy: What Music Gets You Through?

Little Ferry, N.J., photographed here Oct. 30, 2012, was one of the cities greatly affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

When catastrophe strikes, when lives and livelihoods are lost, we hold tight to family, friends and our deepest beliefs for consolation. We also sometimes turn to music. With its inexpressible power, music can help channel memories, soothe the loss and salve the pain. And it can uplift, reminding us of our resiliency.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:13 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Symphonic Superstorms: A Puzzler

A satellite's view of Hurricane Sandy as it moves inland, Oct. 30, 2012.
NASA Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 5:20 pm

Call it what you want — superstorm, Frankenstorm, post-tropical cyclone — Mother Nature dished out something freakishly fearsome with Hurricane Sandy. It claimed more than 100 lives throughout the Northeast and the Caribbean, while causing what will surely be billions of dollars of damage in the form of washed-out businesses and flood-ravaged homes. It's a history-making hurricane that, alas, will not be soon forgotten.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:55 am
Tue October 30, 2012

Gidon Kremer's Bach Makeover

For violinist Gidon Kremer's new album, he commissioned 11 composers to rework and build on keyboard music by J.S. Bach.
Courtesy of ECM records

Perhaps no other composer's music has been dressed up (and down) in a wider variety of outfits than Johann Sebastian Bach's.

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