Holiday Programming

WWFM staff and hosts love sharing the sounds of the season throughout the year. We hope you enjoy all our holiday-themed programming. Please support our hosts' efforts by becoming a member today.

2018 Holiday Season

Sunday, Dec. 2

10 pm – The Lost Chord with Ross Amico: Celebrate Hanukkah, the eight-day Festival of Lights, with music on Jewish themes and by Jewish composers, including “Aspects of a Great Miracle” by Michael Isaacson, “Three Hassidic Dances” by Leon Stein,” and “The Klezmer Concerto” by Ofer Ben-Amots. 

Tuesday, Dec. 4

12 pm – Noontime Concert: A performance by Brooklyn-based Alkemie in a program entitled "Nowell Sing We: A Medieval Celebration,” organized around the theme of Twelfth Night and/or Epiphany, celebrated at the far end of the Christmas season, and illustrated through musical selections from the 11th through 16th centuries. Host Ross Amico will follow this up with a complete recording of Handel's oratorio, Judas Maccabaeus."

Thursday, Dec. 6

11 – Candles Burning Brightly: (American Public Media). Mindy Ratner hosts a new edition of this holiday favorite, in celebration of Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. "Candles Burning Brightly" explores Chanukah foods and traditional activities - and plenty of music. (This program will be rebroadcast Saturday at 8 pm)

Friday, Dec. 7

12 pm – Gloria in Excelsis: Christmas with the NJ MasterChorale: Carl Hemmingsen hosts this Noontime Concert, a holiday program from the NJ MasterChorale that includes John Rutter's Gloria, Christmas carols and William Gorton's Festive Te Deum.

Saturday, Dec. 8

1 pm – What Makes It Great with Rob Kapilow - Four Choruses from Handel's Messiah: Enjoy an encore of our live concert broadcast of What Makes it Great from Friday, Nov. 30, as host, commentator and author Rob Kapilow leads Princeton Pro Musica and the Monmouth Civic Chorus in four choruses from Handel's masterpiece, Messiah.
3 pm – Chanukah Celebration with Chicago a cappella: (WFMT) Join Jonathan Miller, artistic director of Chicago a cappella and a longtime champion of Jewish choral music, for an inspiring and informative show featuring choral music set to Chanukah texts. Familiar tunes include "I Have a Little Dreidel" (both in its original Yiddish form and in a neo-funk Hebrew/English setting), a swing version of "S'vivon" by Steve Barnett, and a lively setting of the traditional melody for "Al-Hanissim" ("For the Miracles") by Elliot Levine.
 7:30 pm – Inside Music: George Marriner Maull presents "Hallelujah!" featuring the music of Handel.
 8 pm – Candles Burning Brightly: (American Public Media). Mindy Ratner hosts a new edition of this holiday favorite, in celebration of Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. "Candles Burning Brightly" explores Chanukah foods and traditional activities - and plenty of music.
9 pm – Itzhak Perlman's Chanukah Radio Party: (WQXR) Join the superstar violinist as he tells the story of the Jewish festival of lights, and shares his favorite recordings for the holiday – some serious, some silly. This engaging one-hour special includes numbers from Itzhak Perlman’s radio-addicted childhood in Israel; evocative songs in Yiddish and Ladino; classical music that revolves around the Maccabee heroes of the story; and Chanukah gems by American folk singers.

 Tuesday, Dec. 25
10 pm – A Between the Keys Christmas Special: As Christmas Day winds down, The Classical Network’s Artist-in-Residence Jed Distler directs listeners to the piano, with seasonal fare by Dave Brubeck, Bruce Adolphe, Franz Liszt, Claude Debussy, Leroy Anderson and J.S. Bach. The featured work this hour is Godfrey Windham’s large-scale Variations on a Theme by James Pierpoint, performed by Alan Feinberg. Its theme, by the way, is none other than Jingle Bells, James Pierpont’s "greatest hit."  

Celebrate Hanukkah, the eight-day Festival of Lights, with music on Jewish themes and by Jewish composers, including “Aspects of a Great Miracle” by Michael Isaacson, “Three Hassidic Dances” by Leon Stein,” and “The Klezmer Concerto” by Ofer Ben-Amots.  Enjoy your fill of light and latkes, this Sunday at 10 pm.

Every year, WWFM The Classical Network is pleased to bring you a variety of holiday specials, including many that feature our musical partners. We hope that these special programs have become a part of your annual holiday tradition and wish you a joyous and bright holiday season. (We will update this list as new specials are scheduled). 

What better way to welcome the New Year than with your favorite classical hosts presenting a specially selected festive playlist? Join us New Year's Eve from 8 pm to midnight as Carl Hemmingsen, David Osenberg, Ross Amico and Alice Weiss bring you music to wind down 2017 and look forward to the New Year - complete with a countdown to midnight.

With much gift wrapping and cooking yet to be done, pause to reflect on the story of the first Christmas with Sir Hubert Parry’s “Ode on the Nativity” and Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Nativity play “The First Nowell.”  It’s pastoral music for a pastoral scene, this Sunday at 10 pm. 

Enjoy a medieval--renaissance Christmas on Friday's Distant Mirror.  Performances by New York Polyphony, A Celtic Christmas with La Nef and the Apollo Singers, the Martin Best Ensemble and, of course, Anonymous 4.  Join Allan Kelly at 10pm.

Take a break from the holiday hurly-burly to enjoy music from “The Gift of the Magi,” from the anthology film “O. Henry’s Full House” (Alfred Newman), “Little Women” (Thomas Newman), “Ben-Hur” (Miklós Rózsa), and “A Christmas Carol” (Richard Addinsell).  Settle in to a library of Christmas classics, Friday at 6 pm. 

Join us for the annual Christmas concert with The Bach Choir of Bethlehem, the oldest American Bach Choir, along with the Bel Canto Children’s Chorus of The Bach Choir of Bethlehem, and soloist bass-baritone, David Newman and Thomas Goeman, organ. 

Join us for the annual Christmas service at Trinity Church in Princeton conducted by Music Director Thomas Whittemore Monday from 8 am to 10 am.

Enjoy this Christmas Eve edition of Sounds Choral as Ryan James Brandau continues his exploration of the Christmas music of JS Bach this week on Sounds Choral, Sunday (12/24) at 2 pm.

Penna Rose directs the Princeton Chapel Choir in a special Advent program, made up entirely of music and readings for the season.  Among the featured highlights will be Daniel Pinkham’s “Christmas Cantata,” this Tuesday at 12 pm.

Westminster Choir College celebrated its 25th Anniversary Evening of Readings and Carols this year, and you can hear this annual tradition this on Christmas Day at 3 pm. You can also enjoy the webcast anytime! See the program on the link here.

The Lost Chord: Dec. 17 - Hindemith Branches Out

Dec 17, 2017

If you’ve ever had a nightmare about a grimacing nutcracker or found yourself profoundly disturbed by a Rankin-Bass Christmas special, then this one’s for you.  Paul Hindemith’s unusual Christmas fairy tale, “Tuttifäntchen, ” presents a wooden figure, carved from a fir by a master woodcutter, which springs to life and generates all sorts of havoc.  In a similar vein, we'll hear Ernst Toch’s “Pinocchio:  A Merry Overture” and Leroy Robertson’s “Punch and Judy Overture.”  Nothing says Christmas like malevolent puppets, this Sunday at 10 pm.

Host Ryan James Brandau begins a two-week series devoted to the Christmas music of JS Bach on Sounds Choral this week at 2 pm.

Brandau is a professor at Westminster Choir College and artistic director of Princeton Pro Musica.

Four years into his studies at Westminster Choir College, senior John Franek was still finding himself caught up in the emotions and spirit of the school’s annual Readings and Carols as he prepared to chime the “basso profundo” D2 bell that rings in Joy to the World, the final carol on the program.

Westminster Choir College's Readings and Carols is celebrating its 25th anniversary season, and Sounds Choral this Sunday (12/10 at 2 pm) looks back on this treasured Princeton musical tradition. Westminster Professor James Jordan, director of the Westminster Conducting Institute, is joined by Kathleen Ebling Shaw, director of the Westminster Concert Bell Choir, as they share recordings from past years.

The new Christmas show on Broadway is a musical revue called "Home for the Holidays" at the August Wilson Theatre. Hear Theater Critic Howard Shapiro's review this week on In a Broadway Minute Friday at 8 am and Saturday at 10 am.

The Lives of the Saints.