Cover art for podcast The Open Ears Project

The Open Ears Project

31 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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30. On Peace

October 9th, 2019


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. On Imperfection

October 8th, 2019


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

Keep listening after the …

28. On Patience

October 7th, 2019


Rapper Dessa discusses how the craft and emotion of Bach's Chaconne for Violin resonates through her life and work. 

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27. On History

October 6th, 2019


Actor Jesse Eisenberg talks about how a trip to Poland lead him to discover the music of Frédéric Chopin and find a particular connection with the …

26. On A Journey

October 5th, 2019

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

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25. On What Changed My Life

October 4th, 2019


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

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24. On Overcoming Adversity

October 3rd, 2019


WQXR host Terrance McKnight draws a common thread linking family, art, a late Beethoven piano bagatelle, and the poetry of Langston Hughes. 

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23. On Imagination

October 2nd, 2019


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. On Just Letting Go

October 1st, 2019


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. On Perspective

September 30th, 2019


Architect Daniel Libeskind talks about listening to the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by J. S. Bach, and how music, like architecture, creates a shared space — rooted in memory but looking ahead to eternity — that …

20. On Resolution

September 29th, 2019


WQXR’s Jacqui Cheng talks about how the Adagio from Bach’s Violin Sonata No. 1 helped her through an emotional journey from grief to comfort.  

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19. On Time And Consciousness

September 28th, 2019


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

18. On Nourishing The Soul

September 27th, 2019


Instagram’s Eva Chen talks about how a Mozart piano concerto helps her switch gears to work on her series of children’s books.

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17. On Elevation

September 26th, 2019


Comedian and actor Eddie Izzard talks about how the emotional pulse of Claude Debussy’s Clair de Lune takes him out of the flow of time, and connects …

16. On Forgiveness

September 25th, 2019


Opera singer J’Nai Bridges tells us what she learned about memory and forgiveness from Henry Purcell’s “Dido’s Lamet” — and talks about the lessons the song has for us all.

Keep listening after the episode to hear the …

15. On How We Listen

September 24th, 2019


When army reservist Joe Young needed direction, Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians gave him a new perspective on how to listen to more than just …

14. On A Quiet Kind Of Miracle

September 23rd, 2019


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

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13. On Empathy

September 22nd, 2019


Violinist Nicola Benedetti reveals what Beethoven’s Violin Concerto taught her about empathy and the ability for music to present the full range of …

12. On Finding Your Truth

September 21st, 2019


New York Public Radio’s Lee Hill talks about hearing Nicholas Britell’s “Little’s Theme” from the film Moonlight as part of the soundtrack of his own …

11. On American Beauty

September 20th, 2019


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

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10. On Happiness

September 19th, 2019


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. On Challenging Expectations

September 18th, 2019


Bandleader Jon Batiste talks about how Mickey Mouse sold him on Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, and what the piece taught him about challenging …

8. On Catharsis

September 17th, 2019


Opera singer Jamie Barton talks about Chopin’s Nocturne No. 21 in C Minor, and how it turned her teenage alienation into a powerful sense of …

7. On Vulnerability

September 16th, 2019


Conductor Eric Jacobsen discusses Franz Schubert’s Piano Trio No. 1 and how it connects him to his mother, who inspired him to become a musician.

6. On What Cannot Quite Be Said

September 15th, 2019


Author Ian McEwan recalls how J.S. Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins helped him deal with teenage longing and the loss of a beloved friend.

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5. On Finding Joy

September 14th, 2019


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

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4. On Being Home

September 13th, 2019


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

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3. On Making Grandma Proud

September 12th, 2019


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. On Conquering Fear

September 11th, 2019


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

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1. On Resetting Your Day

September 10th, 2019


Actor Alec Baldwin talks about how the soaring soundscape of the Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia from Khachaturian’s ballet Spartacus revives him whenever he needs to reset and re-energize.

Keep listening after the …

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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