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Classical Californians: Althea Waites


Photo by Michael Owen Baker

Pianist Althea Waites is our next Classical Californian – Based in LA, she’s the Stein Resident Artist for pianoSpheres this season. She’s had a long career as a concert soloist, chamber musician and collaborative artist, and has recorded several albums, most recently Reflections in Time, which includes works by Margaret Bonds, Jeremy Siskind, Samuel Coleridge Taylor, and Curt Cacioppo. The selections she’s chosen to share this week include a performance that reminds her of a brush with greatness she had on a cold night in the 1960s, a fateful symphony by Tchaikovsky that helped save her life, a late work by Beethoven that she waited to learn, and a Verdi selection that’s both operatic and reflective.

A memorable Chopin performance begins the playlist, with an artist she was able to meet when he gave a performance at Yale. Click the play button to hear the introduction!

Classical Californians: Althea Waites

Here’s Artur Rubinstein in a performance for a 1956 TV special:

Then it’s some fateful Tchaikovsky, a reminder of a concert she attended as part of a memorable festival at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.

Classical Californians: Althea Waites

Sometimes there’s value in waiting to learn repertoire that requires a lot of life experience to fully understand…

Classical Californians: Althea Waites

And finally, the dramatic – even operatic – music of Verdi, in the closing movement of his Requiem, as sung by the incomparable Leontyne Price.

Classical Californians: Althea Waites

Here’s Leontyne Price performing the “Libera Me” movement with Herbert von Karajan conducting at La Scala:

Written by:
The Classical Team
The Classical Team
Published on 10.25.2023