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

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. 

Having recently graduated from San Francisco Conservatory of Music, clarinetist Lotte Leussink and french horn player Craig Hansen are not just looking to perform with orchestras and other ensembles in their future - they hope to help change them for the better.

Cari Ann Shim Sham

Opera productions have long been transporting audiences emotionally into places and times both far away and familiar. Now, opera companies are beginning to explore the possibilities of taking this a step further by truly drawing audiences into the middle of the opera through virtual reality.

When the American Repertory Ballet kicked off its new season last month, it also welcomed its new Executive Director, Julie Diana Hench.  A Tempo this week speaks with Hench, as well as Princeton Ballet School Director Pamela Levy, who took on the post last Fall, and Artistic Director Douglas Martin, about ARB's future plans and expanded audience outreach programs.  That's this Saturday at 7 pm. 

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