A Tempo with Rachel Katz

Saturday at 7 pm

A Tempo is devoted to issues, challenges and opportunities facing the performing arts. In addition to feature interviews with key people making a difference in the arts, the show also includes relevant news headlines from around the globe. 

Ways to Connect

Getting young people interested and involved in music, particularly classical music, has long been a goal of orchestras, and this Saturday (1/19 at 7 pm) A Tempo looks at two upcoming concerts designed along that mission. Host Rachel Katz will speak with Hunterdon Symphony Conductor Lawrence Kursar, whose own composition, Gingerbread Boy, designed to introduce young listeners to the brass section, will be premiered by the orchestra Saturday Feb. 2. The program will also preview the Capital Philharmonic's Youth Orchestra Festival on Saturday Jan.

Nick Donnoli/Princeton University Concerts

Gustavo Dudamel, music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, was back in Princeton this past week for his second round of panels, performances and activities as Artist in Residence with Princeton University Concerts, this time meeting with two groups of young local musicians to provide some feedback and inspiration.

When the Seattle Symphony set about modernizing its community and education wing at its home in Benaroya Hall, it decided to create a space that brings new technology and design together with creative and innovative programming, including a renewed commitment to new music and new artists.

A Tempo this week features an interview with neurologist and flutist Carl Ellenberger, whose new book Theme and Variations: Musical Notes by a Neurologist, explores the relationship between music and the mind, including some of the more recent findings about how music is linked to brain development and its healing qualities. Listen Saturday (12/29) at 7 pm.

  

Photo courtesy of John Hoffmeyer

As a student at Princeton University, John Hoffmeyer has been combining his love of literature with music, finding links between them and creating performance opportunities that have opened doors to classical music for new listeners. The founder of the Princeton Chamber Music Society, Hoffmeyer was recently named a 2019 Rhodes Scholar, and he is now looking forward to delving more deeply into these connections and providing more experiences that expand access for more people and communities to classical music.

Blair Miller was tired of feeling like she was always the youngest person in the audience when she attends orchestral concerts - something she's done ever since she was three years old and went to Philadelphia Orchestra concerts with her mother. Now, Miller is CEO and lead advocate at ConductAction, which is developing strategies to attract younger audiences to classical music performances by drawing connections between social action and important causes to the music and composers featured on concert programs.

When On Site Opera explored the idea of staging Amahl and the Night Visitors, General and Artistic Director Eric Einhorn set about finding a way to bring it to an appropriate venue to tell the holiday story of charity and giving. His solution was to bring it to the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen in New York - and to partner with Breaking Ground, which provides housing and other support to the homeless, to create a chorus comprised of those who have experienced homelessness in their lives.

Jessy Harmer (Fidelio Arts Ltd)

Princeton University Concerts (PUC) celebrates its 125th anniversary this year, and a major focus of the season will be Maestro Gustavo Dudamel, who was named as PUC's first Artist-in-Residence. His residency will be marked with performances and panel discussions on a variety of topics, including "The Artist in Society" and "The Arts and Faith." The programs kick off Dec. 1, and A Tempo this Saturday (11/24 at 7 pm) previews some of the events.

Houston Grand Opera is turning to a music-loving armadillo named Sandy in its efforts to cultivate the next generation of opera lovers.

The chiming of bells will ring out on Nov. 11 in communities across the United States and Europe in commemoration of the 100 anniversary of the end of World War I, much as they did that day a century ago following the announcement of the Armistice, signed at 11 am on Nov. 11, 1918.

The New Jersey State Council on the Arts last month unveiled its most recent Strategic Plan, and also announced the appointment of Allison Tratner as its new Executive Director. A Tempo host Rachel Katz will interview Tratner this Saturday (11/3 at 7 pm) about the goals of this new five-year plan, and about her expectations as she takes on the leadership of the Council, which distributes about $16 million annually to more than 700 New Jersey arts organizations.

Nathan Yan

Silicon Valley, with its array of technology companies, has become synonymous with creativity, and given the correlation between science nerds and music geeks, it was almost inevitable that someone would find a way to combine these two interests into a fun-filled and fulfilling venture. The result is Techapella, an annual concert showcasing the variety of a cappella ensembles that have sprung up at the region's tech companies, including Twitter's Songbirds, Facebook's The Vocal Network, and the Pintunes at Pinterest, just to name a few.

Antonia Terrizzano

A Tempo host Rachel Katz this Saturday (10/13 at 7 pm) speaks with Wall Street Journal opera critic Heidi Waleson about her new book Mad Scenes and Exit Arias: The Death of the New York City Opera. The book traces the history of the opera company, which declared bankruptcy in 2013 (and has since been revived in its latest incarnation under a new management structure), its artistic triumphs and fundamental challenges, and how these experiences are informing the direction of opera companies today.

A promising violinist in her teens, Jessica Stuart put aside her instrument in college as she struggled with a cascade of mental illness challenges. She never expected to play it again, let alone perform, until about 15 years later, when a doctor suggested she look into the Me2/Orchestra in Burlington, Vt., which was launched in 2011 to create a safe, warm and welcoming environment for musicians facing various forms of mental illness (and not to be confused with the more recent #MeToo movement protesting sexual assault and harrassment).

Daniel Gonzalez

Even after her marriage to Robert Schumann, Clara (Wieck) Schumann continued composing and performing. While her income from performing was crucial to her family's financial stability, she also continued because of the important role music played in her life.

Andy Aitchison

A Tempo this Saturday (9/22 at 7 pm) features a conversation with author Judith Chernaik, whose book, Schumman: The Faces and the Masks, was published this month. Host Rachel Katz will speak with Chernaik about the way Schumann expressed and wove these various personas through his music, critical writing and personal correspondence, as well as how his relationship with Clara - and his struggle with Clara's father - are reflected in his music. 

Opera Philadelphia's annual Fall Festival, O18, opens September 20, continuing Opera Philadelphia's mission of presenting new works that explore diverse voices and themes, along with more traditional productions, and this week's A Tempo (Saturday 9/15 at 7 pm) provides a preview of one of the festival's centerpieces, "Sky on Swings" by Lembit Beecher.

Maryland Lyric Opera this month kicks off its 2018-2019 season, which will include its first fully-staged production since its founding in 2014. The season includes a concert performance of La Fanciulla del West in September and a staged production of Lucia di Lammermoor in January, as well as expanded opportunities to young singers through its Young Artist Institute. A Tempo this Saturday (9/8 at 7 pm) features a conversation with Music Director Louis Salemno about these programs and Maryland Lyric Opera's mission. 


Photo by David DeNee

A Tempo this Saturday (8/25) follows up on The Orchestra Now (TON), a Masters program launched at Bard College three years ago to train orchestral musicians, encourage them to explore new and overlooked repertoire, and enable them to blaze their own trails in the music world by creating new and innovative ensembles and education programs.

Chris Lee

A Tempo this Saturday (8/18 at 7 pm) concludes its conversation with Barbara Haws, archivist and historian for the New York Philharmonic, who is retiring this month after 34 years in the position. Haws next plans to pursue her Doctorate at Oxford, focusing on Ureli Corelli Hill, who founded the Philharmonic in 1842.

Host Rachel Katz will speak with Haws about some of the Philharmonic's iconic leaders, including Gustav Mahler and Leonard Bernstein, as well as her plans to study Hill's diary and what can tell us about music and musicians in 19-century America.

Barbara Haws is retiring this month after 34 years as Archivist of the New York Philharmonic, and this Saturday (8/11) on A Tempo, host Rachel Katz will speak with Haws about what attracted her to this role, some of the historical highlights she has come across, and her accomplishments, including the digitization of much of the collection's materials to make them accessible online. Tune in Saturday at 7 pm. (Part two of this conversation will air next week.)

Todd Rosenberg Photography

Carnegie Hall's National Youth Orchestra program launched its first-ever jazz program this summer, and this Saturday (8/4 at 7 pm) A Tempo takes a look at this new opportunity for young musicians. Host Rachel Katz will chat with pianist Brooke Wyatt from Houston, TX, and Wyatt Forham, a bass trombonist from St. Louis, MO. She will also speak with Joanna Massey, Director of Learning and Engagment Programs at Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute.

A Tempo this week (7/28 at 7 pm) highlights the upcoming Classical Bridge Festival, Academy and Conference in a conversation with pianist Klara Min, founder of the festival and New York Concert Artists and Associates. Host Rachel Katz will speak with Min about the inaugural season of the festival, which runs Aug. 4 through Aug. 11 at Merkin Concert Hall at the Kaufman Music Center and features performances, master classes and panel discussions. 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art earlier this year unveiled some of the main components of its renovated musical instrument galleries, and this Saturday A Tempo (7/21 at 7 pm) takes us on a tour through some of the highlights.

NJSO

A Tempo this week (7/14 at 7 pm) visits with the four young composers participating in this year's New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Edward T. Cone Composition Institute, held this past week on the campus of Princeton University.

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the performing arts organizations located in the city's deluged arts district faced some difficult challenges as they sought to keep their planned seasons intact. This Saturday on A Tempo (7/7 at 7 pm), host Rachel Katz checks in with the Houston Symphony and Houston Grand Opera about how the hurricane impacted their plans, and how these organizations rebounded and worked around the challenges thrown at them throughout the season.

NASA

Now in its seventh season, Off the Hook Arts' SummerFest in Fort Collins, CO, brings together music, visual arts and multimedia together with researchers and scientists to delve into a variety of timely topics, and this year's festival heads into the cosmos for "Mission Earth." A Tempo this Saturday (6/30 at 7 pm) looks at the highlights as host Rachel Katz speaks with composer Bruce Adolphe, who serves as Artistic Director and will premiere his work, I saw how fragile and infinitely precious the world is, based on the words of astronaut and meteorologist Dr. Piers Sellers.

Rider University this past week announced that it had signed a purchase and sale agreement to sell Westminster Choir College to a group of three entities affiliated with Beijing-based Kaiwen Education. This Saturday (6/23 at 7 pm) A Tempo looks at what the new agreement adds to ongoing discussions over the possible sale of the school and its future. Westminster this week was inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame. 

Fred Stucker

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra announced Sunday that Music Director Xian Zhang has extended her contract by four years, which will enable her to lead the Newark, NJ-based orchestra through its 100th anniversary and beyond. This Saturday on A Tempo (6/16 at 7 pm), host Rachel Katz will speak with Zhang about her decision to commit through the 2023-2024 season, as well as with NJSO President and CEO Gabriel van Aalst. The program will also feature a conversation with José Luis Dominguez, who was named Artistic Director of the NJSO Youth Orchestras.

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