Rachel Katz

WWFM Production Manager and Host of A Tempo

Rachel Katz is the host of A Tempo which airs Saturdays at 7 pm.

From an early age, Rachel Katz earned a reputation in her family for both sharing stories (a “town-crier” of sorts) and also sitting back while older family members shared theirs, taking it all in as a quiet observer.  Rachel pursued degrees in history at The University of Connecticut and Russian/Soviet studies and journalism at the University of Michigan, which soon set her on the path as a foreign correspondent in the early and mid-1990s. She worked in St. Petersburg, Russia, for three years, writing for UPI, The St. Petersburg Press, AP and The Moscow Times, as well as a variety of other  US national and regional publications. Back in the US, she worked at The Connecticut Post and as business editor of The (Norwalk) Hour before moving to Bloomberg News, where she covered retail and other business news.

Interested in exploring radio, she took broadcast classes and landed a job at The Classical Network as a production assistant and the opportunity to produce her own public affairs program, Views and Voices. As host and producer now of A Tempo, she brings her storytelling and reporter experience – and her love of music - to the world of arts and culture, exploring the challenges and opportunities facing the music world today.

In addition to playing violin with the Westminster Community Orchestra, Rachel enjoys fencing, birdwatching and salsa/swing/ballroom dancing.

Ways to Connect

A Tempo this week continues its focus on accomplished musicians who are sharing their experiences and advice with the next generation of musicians. Host Rachel Katz will speak with two of the artists being honored this year by the Cleveland Institute of Music - harpist Ann Hobson Pilot, who became the first African American woman to hold a principal position in a major U.S.

We're celebrating the birthdays of Brahms and Tchaikovsky today - and hope that you will join us in membership, either by becoming a new member, renewing your membership or making an additional donation. Think of it as a birthday gift to all the great composers out there, past and present. And when you donate, you can cast your vote for your favorite of these two titans of the Romantic era.

Brahms and Tchaikovsky were totally B.F.F. – Best Frenemies Forever.

With graduation season underway, A Tempo this week begins a short series of conversations with accomplished musicians who are giving back to young artists or imparting their wisdom at Commencement ceremonies. This Saturday (4/5 at 7 pm) host Rachel Katz chats with Philadelphia Orchestra Concertmaster David Kim, who frequently performs with youth and community orchestras and will be the soloist in the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with West Windsor, NJ-based Sinfonietta Nova on Sunday May 6.

The 2018 New York Opera Fest gets underway May 1, and this Saturday (4/28) A Tempo offers a preview of its diverse productions and offerings - ranging from fully staged productions to immersive events in smaller venues to a downloadable podcast. Host Rachel Katz will speak with Peter Szep, co-founder and chair of the festival, about highlights and how the New York opera scene is expanding and evolving. Tune in Saturday at 7 pm. 

As the orchestral world strives for greater diversity among musicians, a variety of programs to support musicians of color, who face multiple challenges on their path to an orchestral seat, have been explored. Recently, three organizations that have been tackling some of these issues - The Sphinx Organization, The League of American Orchestras and the New World Symphony - have brought their expertise and experience together, joining in a partnership to launch the National Alliance for Audition Support.

Mark Garvin

When the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania opened in 1971, its goal was to serve the diverse and changing audiences of Philadelphia and the region. Executive and Artistic Director Christopher Gruits, who took the helm in September 2016, has kept that mission front and center in planning the center's programming.

Vera Herman Goodkin was just shy of her 9th birthday when her hometown in Czechoslovakia was occupied by Germany. She spent the next four years in hiding, until she was finally rescued and taken to freedom thanks to Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, and for many years now she has shared her story with young people to warn them of the dangers of hate and mistrust. Join Host Bill Zagorski as Vera tells her story.

Penn Libraries

The voice of Marian Anderson resonates not just with beauty, but also with a proud and historic legacy. She made history as the first African American woman to sing a leading role at the Metropolitan Opera in 1955, and about 16 years earlier, a refusal by the Daughters of the American Revolution to allow her to perform before an integrated audience at Constitution Hall in Washington DC led to an outdoor concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, supported by then First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. 

Heinz Weissenstein / Whitestone Photos

Tanglewood, home to one of the most iconic U.S. summer music festivals, is undergoing an expansion project that will add new performance, rehearsal and educational venues and enhance the landscaping on its bucolic campus. This Saturday, A Tempo (3/31) explores some of these plans, as well as this summer's tribute to Leonard Bernstein, with Mark Volpe, managing director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The program can be heard at 7 pm. 

Opera Philadelphia

With the successful launch of its new Fall festival format under with its belt, Opera Philadelphia this week announced its plans for its O18 Festival. The festival will run September 20-30, 2018, bringing two world premieres, two new productions and some other treats to opera audiences at a variety of venues.

Actor, author and theater director Simon Callow discovered a whole new side to composer Richard Wagner when he was asked to create a stage show to celebrate the bicentennial of Richard Wagner's birth in 2013, and now Callow has turned his discoveries into a book, Being Wagner, which was just released in the U.S.  This Saturday (3/17), A Tempo host Rachel Katz chats with Callow about his thoughts on this musical giant, including how his darker side, including his seemingly obsessive focus on anti-Semitism, has colored the way his music has been, and should be, received.

A Tempo this Saturday (3/10 at 7 pm) features an interview with Marshall Onofrio, Dean of Rider University’s Westminster College of the Arts, about Rider’s plans to sell Westminster Choir College to Beijing-based Kaiwen Education Technology Co. Host Rachel Katz will also speak with Constance Fee, a member of the Westminster Alumni Council, about hopes and concerns about the plans. 

As part of its Festival devoted to the cultural and social legacy of the 1960s, Carnegie Hall will celebrate the art of the protest song in an upcoming concert that will feature both protest songs of that era and contemporary songs that explore some of today's campaigns for social justice. 

In celebration of the centenary of Leonard Bernstein's birth, the Curtis Institute of Music, Opera Philadelphia and the National Museum of American Jewish History have teamed up to examine how Bernstein explored questions of identity through his late opera A Quiet Place.

A Beijing-based company that runs bi-lingual K-12 schools in China and has been expanding into sports and arts training is seeking to buy Westminster Choir College from Rider University for $40 million.

The announcement by Rider this week of the non-binding agreement with Beijing Kaiwen Education Technology Co. was the first time the university has revealed the name of the interested party or a price tag. No further time line was detailed, and additional details of the agreement were not made public.

As part of its commitment to supporting new American music, Opera Philadelphia next week will premiere Cycles of My Being, a song cycle that delves into the realities and facets of life as a black man in America. Composed by Tyshawn Sorey with lyrics by poet Terrance Hayes, the work will have its world premiere Feb. 20 in a performance by bel canto tenor Lawrence Brownlee, who has been tapped as an artistic advisor to Opera Philadelphia.

Jan Regan

The Philadelphia Orchestra and Carnegie Hall recently announced their 2018-2019 season plans, and this week on A Tempo (Sat. 2/10 at 7 pm) host Rachel Katz provides a look at what's in store. 

Fred Stucker

When the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra takes the stage for its 2018-2019 season, its musical selections and performers will reflect the themes of diversity, community and the ability to convey thoughts, ideas and stories through music. 

During this year’s Grammy Awards, the televised program Sunday will include a tribute to Leonard Bernstein, just one of the many ways the music world this year is marking what would have been the 100th anniversary of his birth in August 1918. 

Raul Zbengheci

Innovation is alive and well in the opera world, particularly at smaller and more creative opera companies and festivals. This week, A Tempo spotlights the sixth annual Prototype Festival in New York City, which runs Jan. 7 - 20. This year's Festival presented seven productions, including several world and U.S. premieres.

The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra

There was a particular sense of relevance when Brian Owens, a recording artist and Artist in Residence with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra's IN UNISON program was putting together plans for the concert this Friday entitled "Keep Pushing! The Music of Curtis Mayfield."

"I think, especially in the times we live in now, the music that was written back then is so well-suited to speak to, address issues, bring hope, all of those kinds of things that I think we need right now," said Owens, reflecting on Mayfield's emphasis on civil rights in his music.

The Vienna Philharmonic is wrapping up its 175th Anniversary Year. To mark this milestone, the Philharmonic has put out a new book (A Sound Tradition) surveying its history - from its artistic and cultural highpoints to its darker historic moments during World War II. This week on A Tempo (Saturday 12/30 at 7 pm), host Rachel Katz speaks with Christoph Wagner-Trenkwitz, author of the book and Chief Dramaturg of the Vienna State Opera, about the book and the Philharmonic's history. Joining in the conversation will be John Hargraves, who translated the book's English edition. 

Joanna Bergin

Robert Schumann wrote his Advice to Young Musicians in 1848 to share his thoughts and inspire the next generation of musicians. Now, cellist Steven Isserlis has revisited this collection of aphorisms and practical advice, presenting them in an updated form and adding his own thoughts in an effort to reach today's aspiring musicians. This Saturday on A Tempo (12/23 at 7 pm), host Rachel Katz interviews Isserlis about this endeavor, and some of his other children's books on musical themes. 

Four years into his studies at Westminster Choir College, senior John Franek was still finding himself caught up in the emotions and spirit of the school’s annual Readings and Carols as he prepared to chime the “basso profundo” D2 bell that rings in Joy to the World, the final carol on the program.

With allegations of sexual abuse beginning to ripple through the classical music world, what roles and responsibilities do performing arts organizations have? A Tempo explores that theme Saturday at 7 pm in a conversation with arts consultant Drew McManus, author of the blog Adaptistration.com.

Melissa Fitzgerald

Shelly Power, who takes over as Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Ballet in February, has several priorities on her to-do list, such as strengthening the Philadelphia-based ballet company's financial foundation and continuing to expand its facility on North Broad Street. But she is particularly looking forward to exploring ways the organization can provide opportunities for the city's youth who may not have adequate exposure to dance and the arts. 

Giving Tuesday, which this year falls on November 28, provides an opportunity to support non-profits  and give back to community organizations. This week on A Tempo (Saturday 11/25 at 7 pm), host Rachel Katz highlights one such initiative by NPR's From the Top. For each dollar, composer and From the Top alum J.P. Redmond will add a note to a work to be performed by two other From the Top alumni. Guests this week will be From the Top's Marketing and Communications Director Austin Boyer and Senior Development Associate Shirley Barkai.

Contemporary ballet company Ballet X celebrated the groundbreaking of its new Center for World Premiere Choreography this week, announcing plans to commission 40 new works by 25 choreographers in the next decade and promising to provide opportunities for young people in the neighborhood of its new South Philadelphia home. 

A Tempo this week explores the life and legacy of Venezuelan composer and arranger Aldemaro Romero. Hired by RCA in 1951, his career included the popular Dinner in Caracas album, collaborations with Dean Martin and Tito Puente, and the development of the Onda Nueva sound. His musical works spanned jazz, big band and classical genres and often brought in Venezuelan melodies and styles. 

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