Violinist and conductor Scott Yoo’s PBS television series had begun airing before the pandemic started. But with everyone spending more time at home, there couldn’t be a better escape than the second season of Now Hear This, Yoo’s classical-music travelogue/documentary. In normal times, Yoo balances his duties as chief conductor of the Mexico City Philharmonic, music director of California’s Festival Mozaic, and conductor at the Colorado College Summer Music Festival in Colorado Springs. Now he’s busy hosting Now Hear This, which launched in 2019 on PBS’s Great Performances. In each episode, Yoo travels to concert halls and architectural landmarks to explore music from places like Italy, France, Germany, Spain, and Morocco. In the second season’s “Haydn: King of Strings” episode, set in Austria, Yoo investigates the composer’s “Emperor” Quartet, and he and violinist and chamber-music expert Geoff Nuttall discuss how Haydn created the string quartet form. In “Becoming Mozart,” partly filmed during the pandemic, Yoo and pianist Stewart Goodyear improvise a Mozart cadenza and delve into the art of performing while conducting. A third season focusing on American music is planned.
Caption: In his PBS series Now Hear This, violinist Scott Yoo (second from left) explores classical music; in photo, he performs a Haydn string quartet in Austria. Photo by Arcos Film + Music /PBS Great Performances.