Classical B T S season 2

Classical: BTS

There's more to classical than meets the ear.

Returning for an all new season, it’s Classical:BTS—our popular docuseries devoted to revealing the lesser-seen and -heard stories around classical music in central Illinois. For this new season, the series is focusing on each performer's personal journey and elevating the beauty of their music with in-depth portraits of six very different performers and classical craftspeople.

New episodes will drop monthly right here. You will also be able to catch them in between your favorite programs on WILL-TV and streaming anytime on the PBS Video App. Join the discussion online on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram any time using the hashtag #WILLclassicalbts.

Classical:BTS is produced by Illinois Public Media. Production was made possible with funding from the Barbara E. Barnes Fund for Illinois Public Media.  

Season 2

Holiday Special

This holiday season we’re bringing music back into our studio space with a few of the artists you have met through Classical:BTS and our American Portrait | Central Illinois specials.

Charmian Bulley, youth choral educator

Follow Charmian Bulley’s remarkable journey as one of the longest serving youth choral educators in Central Illinois. 

John Paul Buzard, pipe organ maker

Follow John Paul Buzard’s remarkable journey in becoming one of the premier organ makers in the United States – building each instrument right here in downtown Champaign.

Tonina Saputo, bass player and guitarist

Follow Tonina Saputo’s remarkable journey as a bass player and guitarist who is known for her unique sounds combining classical, folk, R&B, Spanish, and Latin styles.
Image of Dr. William McClain conducting with text over saying Dr. William McClain conductor Millikin Decatur Symphony Orchestra

Dr. William McClain, conductor

Follow Dr. William McClain's journey conducting across the country and performing at renowned venues such as Carnegie Hall and Sheremetev Palace in Russia.
image of Richard Brune playing guitar

Richard Bruné, luthier

Follow Richard Bruné’s journey—a local luthier who is almost entirely self-taught, both as a craftsman and as a guitarist.
image of Nomin Zolzaya

Nomin Zolzaya, cellist

Follow the journey, inspiration, and music of Acting Principal Cello for the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Nomin Zolzaya.

Season 1

Image of Stephen Taylor, professor and composer

Stephen Taylor, professor and composer

University of Illinois professor Stephen Taylor can trace everything back to hearing Stravinsky for the first time.
Sam Walder playing a violin

Sam Walder, innovator and violinist

Sam Walder felt the difficulty and stress sometimes associated with learning the violin firsthand.
Joseph Baldwin conducting an orchestra

Joseph Baldwin, conductor

Conductor Joseph Baldwin has worked with orchestras, choirs, and many indivduals as a teacher on his path to conducting. He's also a yogi. 
Charles Joseph Smith playing a piano

Charles Joseph Smith, pianist and composer

Pianist and composer Dr. Charles Joseph Smith was diagnosed with autism at the age of 4. 
Julia Kay Jamieson playing a harp

Julia Kay Jamieson, harpist and composer

Music has always been an integral part of harpist/composer/teacher Julia Kay Jamieson's life. 
Steve Schmidt

Stephen Schmidt, master piano restorer

Champaign-based Stephen Schmidt transferred his passion for playing music into a career restoring pianos.