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As a music historian, Ted Gioia seeks out the stories of musical outsiders. His new book, Music: A Subversive History, explores the impact of music’s concealed influences and the power that music holds over us.

Thursday, we’re telling stories of legendary Utah Symphony conductor Maurice Abravanel. The Maestro led the symphony for 32 years with the philosophy that good music should be available to everyone. He created a pioneering education program and built the orchestra into an internationally renowned recording powerhouse with some 120 albums. Former associate conductor Ardean Watts and retired cellist Carolee Baron will join us to talk about the life and musical passions of Maestro Maurice Abravanel.

This weekend, the Utah Symphony continues its Mahler Cycle with the composer’s Fifth Symphony. Gustav Mahler’s works have a long tradition in Utah. His friend Bruno Walter was a mentor to the Symphony’s own Maurice Abravanel, who introduced the emotional and technically challenging works to the Beehive state. So Thursday, we’re joined by former Associate Conductor Ardean Watts and by scholar Paul Banks to talk about Mahler’s life, his connection to Utah, and to hear some of the Fifth Symphony.

Best Music of 2012

Dec 19, 2012
Katie Burk/NPR

Bob Boilen of NPR's All Songs Considered joins us on Thursday to run down his list for the best music of the past year, the records he comes back to over and over again, the songs he loves to sing along with. There are some canonical artists on his list – Leonard Cohen and Neil Young – and some critically-acclaimed indie acts – Cat Power, Grizzly Bear, Dirty Projectors – but the band that came out on top debuted their first album this year. Tune in to hear that band and a lot of other great tunes.