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

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.

Allison Vulgamore, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Orchestra, this week announced her plans to step down at the end of December, when her contract expires. During her tenure, she led the orchestra through bankruptcy proceedings and oversaw the expansion of community engagement initiatives, including its HEAR (Health, Education, Access and Research) program. This week on A Tempo (6/24), host Rachel Katz interviews Vulgamore about her legacy and the orchestra's next steps.

A Tempo: June 17

Jun 17, 2017

A Tempo begins an occasional series about challenges and opportunities facing young musicians. This week, host Rachel Katz speaks with Ed Yim, president of the American Composers Orchestra. Also on this show - an interview with Jonathan Palant, founder and conductor of the Dallas Street Choir, which recently made its Carnegie Hall debut, and choir member Carmelo Cabrera.

Since joining the Dallas Street Choir in April of 2016, Carmelo Cabrera has found a new source of hope as he struggles to navigate the challenges of being homeless.

"Singing - it allows me to say, hey, I really am somebody, and my voice does count, and I can be heard," said Cabrera, who along with other members of the choir made their Carnegie Hall debut this past Wednesday.

A Tempo this week begins an occasional series looking at some of the challenges facing emerging artists and as well as some of the resources available to help them launch their careers. This week, host Rachel Katz will speak with Ed Yim, president of the American Composers Orchestra, about its upcoming Career Development Workshop designed to provide young composers with some guidance on developing their career plans. Tune in Saturday at 7 pm.

The effort to keep Westminster Choir College intact and on its Princeton campus as Rider University seeks a buyer for the institution received a boost this week, as former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean Sr. stepped up as an honorary chairman of the movement.

Westminster Choir College Professor James Jordan presents some of the recent research about the science of the human voice and how it can be applied to choral singing and teaching in the new book, The Anatomy of Tone, written together with some of his colleagues, and this week on A Tempo (Saturday 7 pm), host Rachel Katz will chat with him about some of these findings. Jordan will also discuss two of his other upcoming books - The Conductor as Prism, and Inside the Choral Rehearsal.

Lyric Opera of Chicago

Enrique Mazzola conducts this performance of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor from Lyric Opera of Chicago, featuring Albina Shagimuratova (Lucia), Piotr Beczala (Edgardo), Quinn Kelsey (Enrico) and Adrian  Sâmpetrean (Raimondo). Join us Sunday at 3 pm.

Then stay tuned as Michael Kownacky brings you more music from Donizetti, including the one-act opera Rita and dances from Les Martyrs.

When Linda Grenis was diagnosed with breast cancer, one of the things that kept her going following surgery and through treatment was her yoga class. 

Two and a half years later, Grenis stands in tree pose on a yoga mat midstage with several dancers from Roxey Ballet, re-enacting that experience through music in an upcoming production of We Vs C: Personal Stories of Triumph, which weaves together the words, stories and emotions of 22 survivors through music, art and dance.

Vee Popat

Performers from 15 US high school jazz ensembles, and one from Cuba, came together last weekend to share performances and learn from mentors during Jazz at Lincoln Center's Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Competition and Festival. Among those bands coming out at the top was Newark Academy's (Livingston, NJ) Chameleon big band, which received honorable mention. The band was also honored for Outstanding Rhythm Section and Outstanding Reed Section, and several of its musicians received individual recognition.

Music schools and conservatories face constant challenges, from attracting students and offering relevant curricula to seeking out funding to support their endeavors. This week on A Tempo (5/13), host Rachel Katz takes a look at an upcoming leadership conference sponsored by the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, featuring a roundtable with some of the conference participants: Jamal J.

This week on A Tempo, host Rachel Katz interviews Theodore Ziolkowski, Princeton Professor Emeritus of German and Comparative Literature, about his new book, "Music into Fiction" (Boydell and Brewer). The book explores the relationship between the musical and literary arts as displayed by figures such as Robert Schumann, ETA Hoffman and Anthony Burgess, and also examines literary works whose structures were based on musical forms, or featured a musical work as its main theme.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library

Amy Beach was the first woman composer to have a piece performed by a major symphony orchestra. As organizations celebrate the 150th anniversary of her birth this year, A Tempo explores her career and her impact on American music. Host Rachel Katz speaks with Liane Curtis, president and founder of Women's Philharmonic Advocacy.

Carlin Ma

Music schools and conservatories are constantly facing new challenges in ensuring their students are prepared to create successful careers in the ever-changing world of music. A Tempo host Rachel Katz checks in with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, whose recent additions and innovations include a Roots, Jazz and American Music program. Rachel will interview SFCM President David Stull and Simon Rowe, executive director of the Roots, Jazz and American Music program.

Anne Sears

As students at Westminster Choir College rehearse Julia Wolfe's Pulitzer Prize Winning oratorio Anthracite Fields, A Tempo recently looked at how the performance at the Roebling Wireworks brings together the work's exploration of life in Pennsylvania coal mining communities and the industrial history of cities like Trenton.

A Tempo (April 8) explores the creation of the American Repertory Ballet's Pride and Prejudice by Artistic Director Douglas Martin. The work will be performed later this month at McCarter Theatre, with the score performed by the Princeton Symphony Orchestra. Host Rachel Katz speaks with Martin about how he chose the music and approached the libretto and choreography to bring Jane Austen's story to the ballet stage.

Rider University’s Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to find a buyer for Westminster Choir College that will enable the college to continue its musical and educational legacy, a decision that was music to the ears of students and alumni who feared that the college’s programs might be merged onto the main Rider campus or closed down completely.

(Update: Corrects name of director of choral activities)

Students, alumni, faculty and community members gathered on the campus of Rider University Tuesday morning to rally in support of  Westminster Choir College as Rider’s Board of Trustees met to vote on the future of the institution’s.

“I just learned, grew and thrived at this place, and to see this situation even being considered just breaks my heart,” said junior Jade Blocker, who stood with a sign that read “Hear Our Voices!  Keep Westminster in Princeton!”

Supporters of preserving Westminster Choir College’s Princeton, NJ home are making a final push to prevent Rider University from moving the college to its Lawrenceville campus in advance of a vote that might put the Princeton land up for sale.

A Tempo host Rachel Katz speaks with Ted Wiprud, Vice President of Education at the New York Philharmonic, and Barbara Haws, the Philharmonic's Archivist and Historian, about the orchestra's New World Initiative - a city-wide exploration of Dvorak's New World Symphony. The program includes news highlights from around the world of the performing arts.

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