Classical Music Conversations

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.

Sayaka Shoji and Ken Lam on Morning Cafe

May 9, 2017

Violinist Sayaka Shoji and conductor Ken Lam are in Honolulu for a pair of concerts May 13th and 14th with the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra. They joined HPR's Music Director, Gene Schiller to talk about their upcoming performances.

The Big Ears Music Club brings together young people, parents, and music educators across the state of Hawaiʻi.  In this segment, Host John Zak talks with music educator Louise King Lanzilotti about the benefits to young people of learning music.  And John shares an interview he did with high school cellist Abigail Austria. 

HSO Artistic Director JoAnn Falletta and Composer Anders Paulsson  were in the studio this morning to talk about their upcoming performance with the Hawaiʻi Symphony Orchestra featuring a new work by Paulsson titled "Kumulipo Reflections."

March17, 2017: Organist Joey Fala

Mar 17, 2017

For the past 12 years, the Hawaii chapter of the American Guild of Organists has chosen a rising star to present a special  concert at central union church in Honolulu.  This year they've chosen, Joey Fala, a graduate of Iolani  High who has been given that honor.  Gene Schiller talks with Joey about the concert and the honor of being selected.  

Frederica von Stade on Morning Cafe

Mar 16, 2017


Frederica von Stade makes her HOT debut as Madeline, in what the Houston Chronicle called, “the role of a lifetime" when she created it in 2008.  She spoke with HPR's Gene Schiller about her career and about her experience with HOT's production of "Three Decembers"  

Hawaii Opera Theatre will take this production throughout the islands and, with HPR, will be offering exclusive ticket packages including pre-show dinners.

Morning Cafe Host Gene Schiller talks with Joe Moore about his upcoming performance of "Salieri" with Chamber Music Hawaii.

HSO's Mark Votapek

Feb 1, 2017

Gene Schiller interviews HSO Cellist Mark Votapek for an upcoming concert featuring the Brahms Violin and Cello Concerto in A minor