This Week in Classical Music 12/10/17

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Levine Suspended From Met; Holiday Music and the Brain.

It’s “This Week In Classical Music”, an Update on what’s happening in the classical music world; I’m Randy Kinkel.


The Metropolitan Opera Has suspended longtime Conductor James Levine and cancelled his appearances over sexual misconduct accusations, and has opened an investigation into his behavior.

Met officials scrambled to deal with a handful of accusations from former students; and also criticism for not investigating Levine after learning about a sexual abuse report against him in 2016.

Following three others, A fourth man came forward saying that Mr. Levine had sexually abused him decades ago, when the man was a student attending the Meadow Brook School of Music, a summer program in Michigan where Mr. Levine was on the faculty.

In a Tweet, the Met wrote “We are suspending our relationship with James Levine, pending an investigation, following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct by Mr. Levine that took place from the 1960's to the 1980's, including the earlier part of his conducting career at the Met.”


It’s the most wonderful time of the year, or the worst depending, in part, on whether you’re a fan of Christmas songs.

“Our response to Christmas songs depends on the association,” says Dr. Rhonda Freeman, a clinical neuropsychologist.

 “Many of us associate this music with childhood and a happy time of presents and traditions and all the specialness that happens around that time of year. When the brain makes these associations with something positive and pleasurable, the rewards system is…activated [which triggers] a number of chemicals including dopamine.”

 “Some people had abusive childhoods, or they experienced a loss of some kind or a person someone passed away,” says Freeman, For that population, Christmas songs can be very painful to hear.”

“If you don’t want to hear a song, or are hearing it on repeat for three hours [with no say in the matter], your prefrontal cortex is working hard to filter it out so you can focus… that’s stressful because your brain has to work harder to focus.”


For more on these and other items and events, go to the website,; be listening each week at this time for another update; find us on Facebook and follow us on twitter; and join US every Weekday at noon with Linda Cassidy for “The Most Wanted Hour”, playing your top 100 picks in Classical Music…I’m Randy Kinkel, for This week in classical music.