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Essential Classics

Welcome to Essential Classics from 91.3, WUKY HD 2.

This is your home for the world’s greatest classical music, 24/7. Here we present full-length symphonies, concertos, and sonatas as they were meant to be heard: complete and without interruption. In addition you’ll hear both the best performances of our own time and the most remarkable recordings of the past – both stereo and mono – often played from the original vinyl LPs.

WUKY is announcing its recent partnership with the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington was not able to present its typical 10-day event celebrating chamber music. While CMFL is back for the 2021 season, the festival will be an abbreviated version offering three Mainstage concerts at the Pam Miller Downtown Arts Center on September 16th-19th, 2021. 

However, to offer listeners even more of the chamber music they love leading up to the festival, WUKY will re-broadcast highlights from past CMFL seasons handpicked by Artistic Director Nathan Cole -- complete with musical commentary from CMFL’s Executive Director Taylor Jewell, a master’s student in arts administration, and Sean Radermacher, a doctoral student in conducting, both of whom attend the University of Kentucky. 

The performances will air on WUKY’s HD-2 channel, Essential Classics. The first broadcast will be available Tuesday, July 13th and will feature performances of Schumann’s Piano Quartet in E-flat and Shostakovich’s String Quartet No.3 from the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington’s second season in 2008.

The broadcasts will continue for six consecutive weeks, on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. and again the following Sundays at noon. Visit www.wuky.org for more information as the schedule becomes available. 

WUKY General Manager, Tom Godell, said “The concerts of the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington are one of the most significant events in Lexington's musical life. The excellence of the performances and the diversity of the repertory are unquestioned. We are delighted to add these thrilling performances to the WUKY HD-2 broadcast schedule."

Listeners who do not have an HD radio or who live outside Central Kentucky can listen online via WUKY.org, with their smart speaker (say "Play WUKY HD Two") or with the WUKY phone app from the Play Store or iTunes.

Essential Classics is Central Kentucky's home for the world’s greatest classical music, 24/7. Complete, full-length symphonies, concertos and sonatas are presented without interruption. Selections include the best performances of our own time and the most remarkable recordings of the past — both stereo and mono — often played from the original vinyl LPs.

WUKY is a community-supported service of the University of Kentucky, which provides high-quality news, cultural and entertainment content through the use of existing and emerging media to create a more informed and engaged community.


When the core ensemble Nathan Cole, Akiko Tarumoto, Burchard Tang, Priscilla Lee, and Alessio Bax came together for the first festival in 2007, they were already among the most recognized musicians in their field. As we prepare for the 15th season, their resumes and accomplishments have multiplied. Even as they become ever more in demand on an international stage, they have continued to make the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington a priority, where they maintain a love for our community and the many friends they have made over the last 15 years.


The second broadcast will air July 20th and July 25th and features highlights from the 2009 season, including performances of Elgar’s Quintet for Piano and Strings in A minor, Enescu’s Sonata No. 3 in A minor of Violin and Piano, and the world premiere recording of Clancy Newman’s piece Dream Sequence, written as part of CMFL’s Composer in Residence program.

The third broadcast will air July 27th and August 1st and features highlights from the 2011 season, including performances of Dvorak’s Terzetto for Two Violins and Viola, Schubert’s Piano Quintet in A Major, and the world premiere recording of Daniel Kellogg’s Look up at the Sky, written as part of CMFL’s Composer in Residence program.

The fourth broadcast will air August 3rd and August 8th and features highlights from the 2014 season, including performances of Schubert’s Grand Duo, another world premiere recording of Adam Schoenberg’s composition Go, which was commissioned by CMFL as part of the Composer-in-Residence program, Salonen’s Homunculus for String Quartet, Gershwin’s Summertime, and Schnurr’s Of Mother and Daughter: Seven Ages, a Meditation.

The fifth broadcast will air August 10th and August 15th and features highlights from the 2017 season, including performances of Schubert’s “Rosamunde” String Quartet No. 13 in A minor, Shostakovich’s Quintet for Piano and Strings in G minor, and the world premiere recording of Matt Ulrey’s Become Giant, commissioned by CMFL as part of the Composer-in-Residence program.

The final broadcast will air August 17th and August 22nd and features highlights from the 2019 season, including WindSync’s performance of the Voyager Golden Record Suite, the CKYO All-Stars on Boccherini’s String Quintet No. 1, Moszkowski’s Suite for Two Violins and Piano, and Schumann’s Marchenbilder for Viola and Piano.



We are launching this service with the “100 Essential Classics” as selected by WUKY General Manager and long-time veteran classical music radio broadcaster Tom Godell. His list includes many of the “usual suspects” – symphonies of Beethoven and Mozart; concertos by Brahms, Vivaldi and Tchaikovsky – as well as a few surprises from William Grant Still and Clara Schumann. 

  1. Albinoni Adagio (Neville Marriner/ASMF)
  2. Bach Brandenburg Concerto 3 (St. Luke’s Chamber Orchestra)
  3. Bach Orchestral Suite 3 (Helmuth Rilling/Oregon Bach Festival)
  4. Bach Toccata and Fugue in d (Leopold Stokowski/Czech Philharmonic)
  5. Barber Adagio for Strings (Thomas Schippers/New York Philharmonic)
  6. Bartok Concerto for Orchestra (Leonard Bernstein/New York Philharmonic)
  7. Beethoven Symphony 3 (Leonard Bernstein/New York Philharmonic)
  8. Beethoven Symphony 5 (Serge Koussevitzky/Boston Symphony)
  9. Beethoven Symphony 6 (Leonard Bernstein/Vienna Philharmonic)
  10. Beethoven Piano Concerto 5 (Emil Gilels; George Szell/Cleveland Orchestra)
  11. Beethoven Violin Concerto (Henryk Szeryng; Bernard Haitink/Concertgebouw)
  12. Beethoven Egmont Overture (Adrian Boult/London Promenade Orchestra)
  13. Beethoven Moonlight Sonata (Dubravka Tomsic)
  14. Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique (Thomas Beecham/French National Radio Orchestra)
  15. Bizet Carmen Suite (Leopold Stokowski/National Philharmonic)
  16. Bizet L’Arlesienne Suites (Thomas Beecham/Royal Philharmonic)
  17. Bizet Symphony 1(Leonard Bernstein/New York)
  18. Borodin Polovtsian Dances (Loris Tjeknavorian/National Philharmonic)
  19. Borodin String Quartet 2 (Borodin Quartet)
  20. Brahms Hungarian Dances 1, 3, 10 (Claudio Abbado/Vienna Philharmonic)
  21. Brahms Violin Concerto (Nathan Milstein; Anatole Fistolari/Philharmonia Orchestra)
  22. Bruch Scottish Fantasy (Jascha Heifetz; Sargent/New Symphony of London)
  23. Bruckner Symphony 4 (Zubin Mehta/Los Angeles Philharmonic)
  24. Chabrier Espana (Paul Paray/Detroit Symphony)
  25. Chopin Polonaise Fantasie (Ivan Moravec)
  26. Copland Rodeo (Louis Lane/Atlanta Symphony)
  27. Debussy La Mer (Jean-Claude Casadesus/Lille National Orchestra)
  28. Dvorak Cello Concerto (Jacqueline Du Pre; Celibidache/Swedish Radio Symphony)
  29. Dvorak Symphony 9 (Kurt Masur/New York Philharmonic)
  30. Elgar Cello Concerto (Jacqueline Du Pre; Barbirolli/London Symphony)
  31. Elgar Enigma Variations (Eugene Ormandy/Philadelphia Orchestra)
  32. Enesco Romanian Rhapsody 1 (Leopold Stokowski/RCA Victor Symphony)
  33. Falla 3 Cornered Hat (Pierre Boulez/New York Philharmonic)
  34. Faure Pavane (Thomas Beecham/ORTF National Orchestra)
  35. Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue (Michael Tilson Thomas/Los Angeles Philharmonic)
  36. Glazunov The Seasons (Edo De Waart/Minnesota Orchestra)
  37. Glinka Kamarinskaya (Albert Coates/London Symphony)
  38. Grieg Holberg Suite (Morten Sorensen/Copenhagen Youth Strings)
  39. Grieg Peer Gynt (Thomas Beecham/Royal Philharmonic)
  40. Grofe Grand Canyon Suite (Erich Kunzel/Cincinnati Pops)
  41. Handel Water Music Suite 1 (Neville Marriner/ASMF)
  42. Hanson Symphony 2 (Gerard Schwarz/Seattle Symphony)
  43. Haydn Trumpet Concerto (Gerard Schwarz/Y Chamber Symphony of NY)
  44. Haydn Symphony 94 (Eugen Jochum/Dresden State Orchestra)
  45. Holst Planets (Zubin Mehta/Los Angeles Philharmonic)
  46. Hovhaness Symphony 2 (Fritz Reiner/Chicago Symphony)
  47. Kodaly Hary Janos (Jose Serebrier/SW German Radio Orchestra)
  48. Korngold Violin Concerto (Ulrike Mathe; Andrew Litton/Dallas Sym)
  49. Liszt Mephisto Waltz (Dubravka Tomsic)
  50. Mahler Symphony 5 (Leonard Bernstein/Vienna Philharmonic)
  51. Massenet Thais Meditation (Michael Rabin; Felix Slatkin/HBSO)
  52. Mozart Clarinet Concerto (Jack Brymer; Thomas Beecham/Royal Philharmonic)
  53. Mozart Piano Concerto 21 (Mitsuko Uchida; Jeffrey Tate/English Chamber Orchestra)
  54. Mozart Symphony 36 (Thomas Beecham/Royal Philharmonic)
  55. Mozart Symphony 38 (Thomas Beecham/Royal Philharmonic)
  56. Mozart A Little Night Music (Bruno Walter/Columbia Symphony)
  57. Mendelssohn Midsummer Night’s Dream Suite (George Szell/Concertgebouw)
  58. Mendelssohn Violin Concerto (Henryk Szeryng; Bernard Haitink/Concertgebouw)
  59. Mussorgsky Pictures At An Exhibition (Awadagin Pratt)
  60. Offenbach Gaite Parisienne (Leonard Bernstein/New York Philharmonic)
  61. Pachelbel Canon (Neville Marriner/ASMF)
  62. Prokofiev Lt. Kije Suite (Fritz Reiner/Chicago Symphony)
  63. Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet Suite (Erich Leinsdorf/Boston Symphony)
  64. Prokofiev Symphony 1 (Leonard Bernstein/New York Philharmonic)
  65. Rachmaninov Paganini Rhapsody (Gary Graffman; Leonard Bernstein/New York)
  66. Rachmaninov Symphonic Dances (Leonard Slatkin/Detroit Symphony)
  67. Ravel Daphnis & Chloe Suite 2 (Paavo Jarvi/Cincinnati Symphony)
  68. Ravel Piano Trio (Jacques Kantorow; Philippe Muller; Jacques Rouvier)
  69. Rimsky Russian Easter Overture (Paul Paray/Detroit Symphony)
  70. Rimsky Scheherazade (Fritz Reiner/Chicago Symphony)
  71. Rodrigo Concierto de Aranjuez (David Russell; Erich Kunzel/Naples Philharmonic)
  72. Rossini Barber Overture (Neville Marriner/ASMF)
  73. Saint Saens Symphony 3 (Paul Paray/Detroit Symphony; Marcel Dupre)
  74. Saint Saens Danse Macabre (Paul Paray/Detroit Symphony)
  75. Satie 3 Gymnopedies (Aldo Ciccolini)
  76. Schubert Rosamunde Suite (George Szell/Cleveland Orchestra)
  77. Schubert Unfinished Symphony (Charles Munch/Boston Symphony)
  78. Clara Schumann Piano Concerto (Michael Ponti)
  79. Schumann Piano Concerto (Martha Argerich; Nikolaus Harnoncourt/COE)
  80. Schumann Scenes from Childhood (Vladimir Horowitz)
  81. Shostakovich Piano Concerto 2 (Leonard Bernstein/New York Philharmonic)
  82. Shostakovich Symphony 5 (Leonard Bernstein/New York Philharmonic)
  83. Sibelius Finlandia (Horst Stein/Suisse Romande)
  84. Smetana Moldau (Rafael Kubelik/Boston Symphony)
  85. Still Afro American Symphony (Neeme Jarvi/Detroit Symphony)
  86. J Strauss Blue Danube Waltz (Leonard Bernstein/New York Philharmonic)
  87. Strauss Don Juan (George Szell/Cleveland Orchestra)
  88. Stravinsky Firebird Suite (Erich Leinsdorf/Boston Symphony)
  89. Stravinsky Petrouchka (Pierre Monteux/Boston Symphony)
  90. Suppe Light Cavalry Overture (Paul Paray/Detroit Symphony)
  91. Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto 1 (Roland Pontinen; Leif Segerstam/Bamberg Symphony)
  92. Tchaikovsky Swan Lake (Leonard Bernstein/New York Philharmonic)
  93. Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings (Leonard Bernstein/New York Philharmonic)
  94. Tchaikovsky Symphony 5 (Bernard Haitink/Concertgebouw)
  95. Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto (David Oistrakh; Eugene Ormandy/Philadelphia)
  96. Telemann Viola Concerto (Louise Schulmann; Orchestra of St. Lukes)
  97. Vaughan Williams English Folk Song Suite (Adrian Boult/VSOO)
  98. Verdi Aida Triumphal March (Oliver Dohnanyi/Slovak RSO & Chorus)
  99. Vivaldi Spring from 4 Seasons (Gil Shaham; Orpheus Chamber Orchestra)
  100. Wagner Ride of the Valkyries (Leopold Stokowski/London Symphony)

If we’ve left out one of your favorite classics, please let us know. Our list of the Second 100 Essential Classics is in preparation now. Send your suggestions to WUKY@WUKY.org, subject line: Essential Classics.