Cover art for podcast The Open Ears Project

The Open Ears Project

32 EpisodesProduced by WQXR & WNYC Studios Website

Part mix tape, part sonic love-letter, the Open Ears Project is a daily podcast where people share the classical track that means the most to them. Each episode offers a soulful glimpse into other human lives, helping us to hear this music—and each other—differently. The Open Ears Project is produce… read more

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BONUS: Tom Hiddleston on The Nutcracker

December 20th, 2019

5:06

Actor Tom Hiddleston reminisces about his childhood love of Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker and reveals that he still turns to the Russian Dance whenever he needs a shot of vitality in his day.

30. Esther Perel on Peace

October 9th, 2019

11:43

For the final episode in our opening season of The Open Ears Project, relationship therapist Esther Perel talks about the first time she heard Fauré’s Requiem as a young woman and how it seemed to “understand” an …

29. Krystal Hawes on Imperfection

October 8th, 2019

10:01

Project Coordinator Krystal Hawes explores the perfect imperfection of Maurice Ravel's Pavane pour une infante défunte.

Keep listening after the …

28. Dessa on Patience

October 7th, 2019

18:29

Rapper Dessa discusses how the craft, structure and emotion of Bach's Chaconne in D minor resonates through her life and work, revealing dynamic connections between classical and rap music.

27. Jesse Eisenberg on History

October 6th, 2019

5:27

Actor Jesse Eisenberg talks about how a trip to Poland led him to discover not only more about his family history and the holocaust, but the music of …

26. Christopher Wheeldon on A Journey

October 5th, 2019

Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon gives moving insight into his long and inspiring journey with the music of Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto.

25. Megan Reid on What Changed My Life

October 4th, 2019

12:58

TV producer Megan Reid talks about Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel helped spark a lifelong obsession with ballet.

Keep listening after the episode to …

24. Terrance McKnight on Overcoming Adversity

October 3rd, 2019

8:23

Broadcaster Terrance McKnight links family, art, a late Beethoven piano bagatelle, and the extraordinary poetry of Langston Hughes.

23. Justin Jackson on Imagination

October 2nd, 2019

5:42

New York City art teacher Justin Jackson talks about how Edvard Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King inspired him as a child to march around the living room, and how he shares that excitement with his young students …

22. Alison Stewart on Just Letting Go

October 1st, 2019

7:55

WNYC host Alison Stewart talks about how she gave up learning the piano when she was young after the sudden death of her piano teacher, and how the rocking ebbs and flows of Satie’s Gymnopédie No. 1 helped her come back …

21. Daniel Libeskind on Perspective

September 30th, 2019

13:45

Architect Daniel Libeskind reflects on the healing power of music and architecture and reveals his lifelong obsession with the dazzling Toccata and Fugue by JS Bach.

20. Jacqui Cheng on Resolution

September 29th, 2019

8:04

Digital strategist Jacqui Cheng shares how she discovered the music of Bach via her 1980s Atari 2600 habit, but it’s the Violin Sonata No. 1 that …

19. Wynton Marsalis on Time and Consciousness

September 28th, 2019

6:21

Jazz Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis discusses how Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 16 helped him understand the role of music — and musician — in connecting …

18. Eva Chen on Nourishing The Soul

September 27th, 2019

17:31

Instagram’s Eva Chen talks about how Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 17 helps her switch between gears as she moves from a busy life in fashion to being …

17. Eddie Izzard on Elevation

September 26th, 2019

8:42

Comedian and actor Eddie Izzard talks about how Debussy’s Clair de Lune became “comfort music” after his mother died when he was a child, and still elevates him from the noise and chaos of everyday life.

16. J'nai Bridges on Forgiveness

September 25th, 2019

10:32

Opera singer J'Nai Bridges discusses what she learned about forgiveness, memory and legacy from Henry Purcell's heartbreaking Dido's Lament.

15. Joe Young on How We Listen

September 24th, 2019

10:54

US Army reservist Joe Young talks about how Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians helped him through a period of deep depression when he was stationed …

14. Robert Macfarlane on A Quiet Kind Of Miracle

September 23rd, 2019

9:29

Writer Robert Macfarlane reflects on the transporting fragility and beauty of Frédéric Chopin's Berceuse heard in a time of war.

Keep listening after …

13. Nicola Benedetti on Empathy

September 22nd, 2019

14:48

Violinist Nicola Benedetti reveals what hearing Beethoven’s Violin Concerto as a child taught her about listening, empathy and vulnerability.

Keep …

12. Lee Hill on Finding Your Truth

September 21st, 2019

4:43

WNYC's Lee Hill recalls how "Little's Theme" from Nicholas Britell's score to Moonlight resonates with his own life experience as a queer black man …

11. Sam Mendes on American Beauty

September 20th, 2019

8:12

Director Sam Mendes explains how Carl Orff’s Gassenhauer helped him establish the mood for his first film, American Beauty.

Keep listening after the …

10. Rachel Strauss-Muñiz on Happiness

September 19th, 2019

8:23

Comedienne Rachel Strauss-Muniz discusses sharing Mozart’s First Piano Sonata with her babies, and reflects on how their joy at hearing Mozart reminds her of how so much of the music we listen to is rooted in classical …

9. Jon Batiste on Challenging Expectations

September 18th, 2019

8:48

Bandleader Jon Batiste talks about how Mickey Mouse sold him on The Rite of Spring and gives a scintillating insight into Stravinsky’s mind.

Keep …

8. Jamie Barton on Catharsis

September 17th, 2019

8:03

Queer opera singer Jamie Barton talks about how Chopin's Nocturne No. 21 helped her to find her identity in a world in which she did not fit in.

Keep …

7. Eric Jacobsen on Vulnerability

September 16th, 2019

16:06

Conductor Eric Jacobsen recalls losing his beloved mother at the age of 11 and how her favourite piece, Franz Schubert’s Piano Trio No. 1 inspired him to become a musician.

Keep listening after the episode to hear the …

6. Ian McEwan on What Cannot Quite Be Said

September 15th, 2019

12:17

Novelist Ian McEwan remembers how Bach's Concerto for Two Violins helped him first to navigate selfhood as a teenager, and, later in life, the sorrow …

5. Aminatou Sow on Finding Joy

September 14th, 2019

7:52

Podcaster Aminatou Sow talks about how the cheerful defiance of Florence Price’s Juba Dance helped her through a life-changing moment.

Keep listening …

4. Miloš Karadaglić on Being Home

September 13th, 2019

7:28

Guitarist Miloš Karadaglić discusses his deep connection to the longing for home expressed in Francisco Tárrega’s Lágrima.

Keep listening after the …

3. Connie Viglietti on Making Grandma Proud

September 12th, 2019

11:50

Yoga teacher Connie Viglietti tells us how she remembers her beloved Grandma Ginger by singing one of her favorite songs, Schubert’s “Ave Maria”, and contemplates the transporting power that music has to connect us to …

2. Rob Vogt on Conquering Fear

September 11th, 2019

10:51

New York City firefighter Rob Vogt talks about how Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries helped him cope in the tragic aftermath of 9/11.

Keep listening …

1. Alec Baldwin on Resetting Your Day

September 10th, 2019

13:32

Actor Alec Baldwin talks about how Aram Khachaturian's Spartacus Adagio revives and energizes him during the busiest days of his life.

Keep listening …

Introducing: The Open Ears Project

August 21st, 2019

Which piece of music speaks to your soul? Each bite-sized episode of The Open Ears Project introduces you to a new classical work and offers a brief …

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