Classical Music Conversations

As eloquent on mike as she is at the keyboard, noted piano virtuosa Olga Kern speaks her mind on today’s morning café…

Michael Titterton reveals the “secret” location of tonight’s ‘pop-up’ concert with the Hawaii Symphony, and discusses exciting plans for the future on Gene Schiller’s Morning Café.

World-renowned pianist Philippe Bianconi, in town for the Schumann Piano Concerto, discusses French styling v.s. playing with power!

Performance Today’s Fred Child and Young Artist in Residence Blake Pouliot join Gene Schiller to discuss the challenge of an “artist’s life,” as well as Blake’s upcoming visit to Maui. 

"Joseph Stepec, Director of Orchestras at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, talks with Evening Concert host, John Zak, about a May 2nd, 2018 performance of the University of Hawaii Symphony Orchestra at the Blaisdell Concert Hall. Stepec also shares thoughts about the future of classical music and muses on the universal elements that captivate and enthrall listeners and musical artists in equal measure.

Conductor Leonard Slatkin and violinist Elina Vahala, two superstars making their local debut with the Hawaii Symphony, join morning café’s Gene Schiller for a lively discussion.

For Hawaiʻi Public Radio’s 2018 Spring Fund Drive, listeners were invited to submit the names of their favorite conductors of classical music. The results were compiled and our classical music hosts, Gene Schiller, Judy Anderson, Ian Capps Craig De Silva, Howard Dicus, Louise King Lanzilotti, and John Kalani Zak, wrote and produced brief vignettes on the life and music of the Top Ten.  We’ve listed them here in the order they were revealed on HPR-2 during the ten-day drive.

10. Keith Lockhart 

9. George Szell

8. Eugene Ormandy

7. Arturo Toscanini

Iggy Jang, on his way to the Big Island for a concert with the Kamuela Philharmonic, stops off at the studio for a chat with Morning Café’s Gene Schiller.

A preview of Sunday’s concert with the Hawaiʻi Symphony:  Sarah Davis Buechner discusses Saint-Saens, while Victor Yampolsky expounds on the origins of Mendelssohn’s Scottish Symphony.

HPR Classical Music Host, John Zak talks story with guitarist, Ian O'Sullivan, and violinist, Wu Hung, about Chamber Music Hawaii's concerts that explore Tango music by Astor Piazzola. Both musicians discuss their early influences and inspirations including ice cream truck jingles and vintage LP's.

In town for a pair of concerts this weekend with the Hawaii Symphony, conductor Keith Lockhart (of the Boston Pops) and violinist Robert McDuffie stop by for an informal chat on Gene Schiller’s Morning Café.

This Sunday’s concert with the Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra features some exciting local talent.  Gene Schiller speaks with music director, Brian Dollinger.

Louise King Lanzilotti and John Zak explore the world of orchestral brass instruments.

This Sunday marks the 51st Anniversary Xmas Concert of the Honolulu Chorale.  Ian Capps and choral director Karol Nowicki talk it up on morning café.


Conductor Carl St. Clair speaks of Prokofiev, while guitarist Jeff Peterson demonstrates slack-key as opposed to other techniques.  Both appear this Sunday with the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra.

Chamber Music Hawaii

Ken Hafner and Julia Filson of the Honolulu Brass Choir with host Gene Schiller spread some holiday cheer on morning cafe. 

David Shifrin, in town for a concert with the Hawaii Youth Symphony, weighs in on his favorite subject: the clarinet.  Randy Wong, Executive Director of the Hawaii Youth Symphony joins in.

In this episode of The Big Ears Music Club, Louise King Lanzilotti and John Zak explore the world of classical wind instruments.

Early Music Hawaii presents “Music of Three Faiths” this weekend at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu and the Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity in Kailua-Kona.  Ian Capps of “The Early Muse” and the Peabody Consort’s Brian Kay discuss the merging of musical styles from this unique period in history.

Versatile conductor Joseph Swensen covers a broad range of topics, from Beethoven and Sibelius, to the effect of music on the “developing brain.”

Big Ears Club - 11/03/17

Nov 6, 2017

In this episode of the Big Ears Music Club, Louise King Lanzilotti and John Zak explore the world of stringed instruments.  

Joseph Stepec, the current music director of the UH Mānoa Symphony Orchestra (UHSO) at The University of Hawai‘i and the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra's Concertmaster sat down with John Kalani Zak yesterday to talk about the upcoming concert with the Hawai‘i Symphony Orchestra and the Hawaii Youth Symphony on November 2. 


Join piano virtuoso, Stephen Hough, Hawaii Symphony Orchestra Concert Master, Iggy Jang, and John Kalani Zak, host of HPR-2’s Classical Pacific for a lively conversation on topics ranging  from the complicated dynamics of  student-teacher-parent relationships, to a passionate discussion about the positive and negative pressures of recitals and competitions. The event was held with  a live audience of members of the Hawaii Music Teachers Association and was a collaboration with Hawai‘i Public Radio.

Pianist Stephen Hough joins Gene Schiller on Morning Cafe to talk about his upcoming novel along with playing Beethoven's Appassionata which he'll be performing during his travels around Hawaii. 

HPR's 10 Essential Composers

Oct 10, 2017

For Hawaiʻi Public Radio’s 2017 Fall Fund Drive, listeners were asked to vote on who they thought were the most essential composers of classical music.   The results were compiled and our classical music hosts, Gene Schiller, John Kalani Zak, Craig De Silva, Judy Anderson and Howard Dicus, wrote brief audio articles on the life and music of the Top Ten.  We’ve listed them here in the order they were revealed on HPR-2.

10.  Aaron Copland 


9.  Maurice Ravel



8.  George Gershwin

American classical pianist Grace Nikae joined Gene Schiller for a talk this morning about her career and recent move back home to Hawaii.

Rev. Dan Werning talks with Gene Schiller this morning about the renovated organ at St. Christopher's Episcopal Church in Kailua.

Big Ears Club - 8/25/17

Sep 13, 2017

John Zak and music educator, Louise King Lanzilotti, talk story with a talented young clarinetist from Punahou School. Louise also discuss why participating in musical theatre is a great way for young people to explore their creative side.

During his time in Hawaii, pianist Andre Watts joined HPR's Classical Pacific host John Zak and HSO's concert Master Iggy Jang in a discussion with a live studio audience.  

Guest Conductor Rick Benjamin talked with Gene Schiller about an upcoming performance celebrating the Clown Princes of silent films, Charlie Chaplain, Harold Lloyd, and Buster Keaton, at the Orvis Auditorium, U.H. Manoa.