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

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. 

New Jersey’s musical legacy reclaimed its place in Grammy lore Thursday with the opening of the Grammy Museum Experience in Newark’s Prudential Center, paying tribute to a history that includes musical greats like Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan and Whitney Houston.

This week on A Tempo, host Rachel Katz concludes her conversation with Jesse Rosen, president and CEO of the League of American Orchestras, about how orchestras are trying to reach a broader audience and younger listeners, including through support of music education and youth orchestra programs.

The Las Vegas Philharmonic will pay tribute to the victims of this past week’s tragic shooting and honor first responders at its October 14 concert to help heal the deep wounds being felt across the entire community.

When students returned to Princeton University this Fall, they were welcomed with brand new facilities for those in the creative and performing arts housed in the new Lewis Center for the Arts complex on Alexander Road. The public will be invited to explore these new rehearsal and performance spaces in early October when the University opens it up for a Festival for the Arts. 

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra at the Municipal Auditorium in 1967,
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Records, Special Collection and Archives, Georgia State University Library

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra last month announced that it had transferred its archives to Georgia State University Library's Special Collection and Archives. The collection includes programs, newspaper clippings, photographs, business documents and a host of other memorabilia tracing the orchestra's 73-year history.

Wandering around the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, composer David Hertzberg stares at the walls in wonder. He's been through the rooms many times, drinking in the works by Seurat, Modigliani, Renoir and other masters. It's not just paintings alone, or even the Asian and Egyptian sculptures and other artworks arranged around the rooms, or the doorhandles and other pieces of daily, everyday hardware that might have adorned a home a century ago. Rather, it's the way its all put together.

Opera Philadelphia's Inaugural O17 Festival opens this coming week, and in the first of  a two-part series, A Tempo (Saturday 9/9 at 7 pm) takes a look at some of the performances, including productions being held in city museums. Host Rachel Katz will interview Lembit Beecher, whose I Have No Stories To Tell You will be paired with Monteverdi's Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda in a performance at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Sounds Choral this week unveils a brand new format and panel of hosts that include some of the most accomplished and respected choral conductors and scholars across the country.

Houston's Theater District, the second largest in the U.S. in terms of seats in a concentrated area, is home to the Houston Symphony Orchestra, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Ballet and Alley Theater, and has faced severe flooding during Hurricane Harvey.  A Tempo this Saturday at 7 pm looks at some of the initial reports of damage to this area and these institutions, as well as how these organizations are looking ahead to their recovery.

PRINCETON – The legacy of The American Boychoir School may continue to reverberate through the Central New Jersey region, as the Princeton Girlchoir readies plans to launch a boychoir division of its own.

The Philadelphia Orchestra recently announced it had received a $5 million gift from the Wyncote Foundation to support programming that will highlight the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ in the Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall. The five-year initiative will include performances of concertos and other symphonic works featuring the pipe organ, recitals, special events and the commissioning of new music for pipe organ.

Where will you be during the eclipse today?

We'll be right here bringing you great classical music before, during and after. Get in a sublime mood with Bach at One at 1 pm from Trinity-Wall Street. Then, once the sun has returned to its full orb of light, host Ross Amico will provide a musical coda from 4 - 7 pm, playing music inspired by the sun, the moon and the heavens.

When the American Boychoir School abruptly announced its closing this past week, it sent shock waves through not only the local Princeton arts community, but the broader choral music world as well.  This week on A Tempo (Saturday at 7 pm), host Rachel Katz surveys some of the thoughts from around these worlds. 

Westminster Choir College may be one step closer to having a new owner, as Rider University announced it is set to begin negotiations with an interested “international partner” in its effort to sell the renowned choral institution.

The American Boychoir School, whose choir has performed with major orchestras and pop stars including Beyoncé, is closing its doors after 80 years as declining enrollment hampered its financial recovery.

In a statement posted Tuesday on its website, Rob D’Avanzo, chairman of the school’s Board of Trustees, said enrollment for the coming year fell unexpectedly, leaving the school with 19 to 21 students to start the semester in three weeks.

A six-year initiative by the Houston Grand Opera will explore human and universal themes in operas new and old, and this week on A Tempo (Saturday 8/12 at 7 pm), host Rachel Katz touches base with the opera company to learn more. She'll speak with HGO's Assistant Artistic Director, Paul Hopper, about the themes that will be covered in the initial years of "Seeking the Human Spirit", plans for new commissions, and community partnerships with hospitals, museums and other organizations to bring members of the broader community along on this operatic journey.

The New Jersey State Council on the Arts recently held its annual meeting, awarding more than $15 million to arts organizations around the state and outlining its plans for the coming year. A Tempo host Rachel Katz will speak with Nicholas Paleologos, executive director of the Arts Council, about the grants, the state of arts organizations and arts education in New Jersey, and the Council's plans as it sets about creating its next strategic plan. Tune in Saturday (8/5) at 7 pm.

A Tempo host Rachel Katz this week interviews Daniel Hsu, the bronze medal winner at the 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Hsu is a student at the Curtis Institute for Music, which is also the Alma Mater of this year's gold medalist, Yekwon Sunwoo. Hsu will talk about his experience in preparing for and performing during the competition, which is held every four years in Forth Worth, Texas. That's Saturday at 7 pm.

It's a rare opportunity when an emerging composer gets extended rehearsal time with a symphony orchestra to work through a new piece. So the chance to spend a week preparing a new work with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and hearing feedback directly from musicians offered an unusual learning experience for a select group of composers earlier this month. 

After developing its National Youth Orchestra of the USA and NYO2 programs, Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute has announced plans to launch NYO-Jazz next summer. This week on A Tempo (Saturday 7 pm), host Rachel Katz will speak with Douglas Beck, director of artistic training programs, about the new initiative, as well as this year's NYO-USA and NYO2 season, which began with a residency for both orchestras at SUNY-Purchase earlier this month.

Andrea Avery had just begun to entertain the possibility that playing the piano would figure prominently in her career path when, at the age of 12, she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

With graduation behind them, many young musicians and performers have begun heading out on their career paths, and this week, A Tempo looks at two books addressing some of the issues these aspiring artists will face. Host Rachel Katz (7/1 at 7 pm) will interview Bernhard Kerres, CEO and founder of Hello Stage and author of Be Your Own Manager:  A Career Handbook for Classical Musicians, and dancer and financial professional David Maurice Sharp, author of The Thriving Artist: Saving and Investing for Performers, Artists and the Stage & Film Industries.

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