Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

A scene depicting the French retreat from Russia in 1812, painting by Illarion Pryanishnikov (1874)
Illarion Mikhailovich Pryanishnikov (1840–1894) / This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 100 years or less

Airs Tuesday, July 16, 2019, at 7:45 a.m. This week commentator Gary Joiner looks at the history behind Tchaikovsky's famous 1812 Overture and the events that spurred its composition.

History Matters is made possible in part by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and Louisiana Cultural Vistas Magazine.

San Francisco Symphony On Stage
Stefan Cohen / San Francisco Symphony

Airs Monday, July 8, 2019, at 1 p.m. Michael Tilson Thomas leads the orchestra in a work that helped bribe Béla Bartók off his death bed. Also featured is ballet music by John Cage that mystified and outraged both music and dance communities. The symphony's principle tuba player Jeffrey Anderson performs in a North American premiere of a concerto based on an ancient legend.

San Francisco Symphony Onstage
Stefan Cohen / SFS

Airs Monday, July 1, 2019, at 1 p.m. Cellist Gautier Capucon joins Michael Tilson Thomas and the symphony for an all-Russian concert, featuring a concerto by Shostakovich from a serene time of his life but full of grim memories from the past. Also featured is Tchaikovsky's enigmatic final statement and a tribute to the Jewish music that influenced so many Russian composers.