John Pitman’s CD Reviews blog spotlights recent recordings of classical music. As the music director, John auditions dozens of new releases every month, focusing on titles that stand out in terms of performance, repertoire or recording quality.

the singing guitar

July 8, 2021

John Pitman Review: Conspirare’s The Singing Guitar

The Austin, Texas-based choir, Conspirare, give voice to poets and writers from across the spectrum of nationality and gender in their latest recording, The Singing Guitar. Founder and director, Craig Hella Johnson, commissioned new works from composers such as Reena Esmail, Nico Muhly, and Kile Smith that highlight the words of the Sufi poet Hafiz,... More

June 25, 2021

Dialogo: Debut by cellist John-Henry Crawford

Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, cellist John-Henry Crawford has already made strides in the field of classical music, in one case as First Prize winner of the 2019 International Carlos Prieto Competition; and more recently with this debut release, Dialogo. Crawford chose the title after the unaccompanied cello work by Hungarian composer, György Ligeti. In it,... More

man playing the guitar with a forest in the background

June 8, 2021

Balkan Guitarist Miloš Debuts New Guitar Concertos

Montenegro-born, and London-based classical guitarist Miloš, celebrates his 10th anniversary with the recording label Decca by releasing The Moon and the Forest, which includes two concertos written for him. Miloš (whose full name is Miloš Karadaglić), asked two composers as famous for their film music as for their concert works: Joby Talbot (who has residences... More

painting of people on the subway

May 17, 2021

Simone Dinnerstein’s “An American Mosaic”

John’s latest conversation with American pianist Simone Dinnerstein on her second recording made at home during the pandemic: An American Mosaic. The title is for the multi-movement piece written for her by Richard Danielpour who, finding himself isolated during lockdown, found solace in Ms. Dinnerstein’s recordings. Each movement is a portrait of groups of people... More

collage of a man in a white suit

April 19, 2021

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor is “Uncovered”

Program Director John Pitman talks with violinist Karla Donehew Perez, of Catalyst Quartet, about the exciting new project they launched in January called “Uncovered”, focusing on underrepresented composers in classical music. Volume 1 sheds light on three beautiful works by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912), a British composer who was greatly admired by contemporary audiences, as well... More

four people standing in front of a black background

April 6, 2021

John Pitman Review: “Babel” Speaks Clearly Through the Language of Music

Program Director John Pitman discusses the second release by the Calidore String Quartet, which contemplates the intersection of music and language. Violinist Estelle Choi, one of the four founding members of Calidore, shares how “the desire to explore the innate human drive for communication,” became the focus of their new recording. Choi describes the inspiration... More


February 22, 2021

John Pitman Review: Osvaldo Golijov on “Falling Out of Time”

John interviews composer Osvaldo Golijov about the new album that features the Silkroad Ensemble. Falling Out of Time, which was written for the ensemble by longtime collaborator/composer Osvaldo Golijov, is an 80-minute tone poem based on David Grossman’s novel about parental grief and loss. In John’s interview with the composer, Mr. Golijov likened it to... More

chamber musicians in denim outfits

March 26, 2020

John Pitman Review: Miró Quartet complete their Beethoven cycle

The Miró Quartet, who visited Portland in February hosted by Chamber Music NW, is celebrating the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth with the release of the complete string quartets.  They began around 2005 with the Opus 18 (Beethoven’s first published set), recording them at the same age the composer was when he wrote them, in other... More

photo of man looking at camera with black background

February 12, 2020

John Pitman Review: Jonathan Biss completes Beethoven journey

As a part of the celebrations this year of the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig Van Beethoven, program director John Pitman is interviewing some of today’s top artists involved in the newest recordings of his music. American pianist Jonathan Biss has just completed a 9-year journey exploring the piano sonatas of Ludwig Van Beethoven.... More

gray traintracks with silenced voices in text

January 23, 2020

John Pitman Review: Silenced Voices

String Trio debuts with “Silenced Voices” (Black Oak Ensemble) 2020 (specifically, January 27) marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the WWII concentration camp that is symbolic of the persecution and murder of millions of Jews and other groups by the Nazi regime.  In addition to the handful of people who survived the... More