Interviews

The poetry of Walt Whitman lends itself well to musical settings, and as the Bicentennial of the great American poet on May 31 approaches, the list of tributes and celebrations includes a number of musical programs and concerts. Among those is a May 31 performance in New York by The Dessoff Choirs, which will feature premieres of settings of his works by Matthew Aucoin, Eve Beglarian and Ian Sturges Milliken. This Saturday on A Tempo (5/25 at 7 pm), host Rachel Katz will speak with The Dessoff Choirs Music Director Malcolm J. Merriweather about this tribute.

Carnegie Hall has been exploring the impact of immigration and migration on the development of American music this Spring, including concerts highlighting the influence of the Scots Irish, Jewish immigrants, and the migration of African Americans from the South to Northern cities after the Civil War. The series culminates May 19 with a concert performance, "Soul Mechanism," comprised of works written by participants in its Weill Music Institute's songwriting programs, and A Tempo this Saturday (5/11 at 7 pm) features conversations with some of the participants about their music.

Conducting superstar Gustavo Dudamel wound up his residency with Princeton University Concerts last week, participating in discussions about art and society, conducting the Princeton University Orchestra and Glee Club in two concerts, and stopping in to answer questions by young musicians attending a Seminario that brought together youth music programs from New Jersey and the region inspired by the El Sistema movement.

Princeton University Concerts and Princeton University’s Office of Religious Life have collaborated in creating a Live Music Meditation program, in which visiting artists will play musical selections as part of a guided meditation session on stage at Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall on the Princeton campus. A Tempo this Saturday (4/27 at 7 pm) drops in on a recent session.

Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Brillhart

The world watched in despair at the images of flames roaring through Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral this past Monday, worrying about the fate of this historic, architectural - and to the French, national - treasure. As the shock and disbelief settled in, thoughts turned to the magnificent works of art inside, and for those in the music world, to the Grand Organ. Built in the 1860s by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll using some parts from two earlier organs, the organ has undergone several modifications and restorations and now features more than 8,000 pipes.

A Tempo this week looks at how two upcoming performances reflect efforts to explore the impact of social, historic and economic trends on cities. Host Rachel Katz will speak with composer Derek Bermel and librettist Wendy S. Walters, whose Golden Motors is about the impact of the Detroit auto industry on those whose livelihoods depend on it. The New York debut of scenes from the work in progress will take place April 18 and 19 at Brooklyn’s BRIC House.

This Saturday (3/30 at 7 pm), A Tempo looks at one of the latest online learning resources available for those interested in exploring opera in more depth. The Metropolitan Opera Guild has just launched an online learning program, and host Rachel Katz will speak with Stuart Holt, director of school programs and community engagement, about the series and some of the Guild's other education initiatives and activities.

Irvine, California-based Pacific Symphony is exploring an Iranian musical tradition that it hopes to make an annual part of its season, part of its on-going efforts to offer engaging programs for audiences in its diverse community.

A Tempo this Saturday (3/2) features a conversation with conductor and musicologist Jane Glover, author of the new book Handel in London: The Making of a Genius. Rachel Katz is your host Saturday at 7 pm.

Carnegie Hall's 2019-2020 season includes a celebration of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth, including a multi-continent Ode to Joy project, and this Saturday (2/23 at 7 pm) A Tempo previews some of the highlights. Host Rachel Katz will speak with Executive and Artistic Director Clive Gillinson about the season, and also about the upcoming Migrations Festival, which kicks off next month and is devoted to exploring the impact and influence of immigrants on American culture.

Orchestras and opera companies have been seeking out ways to bolster diversity and inclusion in their ranks, and A Tempo this Saturday (2/16 at 7 pm) looks at two new initiatives. Host Rachel Katz will speak with Jesse Rosen, president and CEO of the League of American Orchestras, which recently announced its Catalyst Fund, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, that will provide grants to youth and adult orchestras to work with a consultant to create programs and strategies that promote equity, inclusion and diversity.

Tristan Cook

A Tempo this Saturday (2/2) previews highlights of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra's 2019-2020 season. Host Rachel Katz will speak with Music Director Xian Zhang and President and CEO Gabriel van Aalst about the musical and artistic line-up and other plans for the NJSO's future, including its commitment to diversity and inclusion.

As orchestras make efforts to reach new audiences, they are finding ways to incorporate traditions from non-Western traditions into their regular programming. In recent years, some have begun holding concerts celebrating the Chinese, or Lunar, New Year with a mix of works by Asian composers and traditional Western classics, and this Saturday (1/26 at 7 pm), A Tempo looks at some of the upcoming programs.

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.

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.

  

Kevin Leighton

For many across the world, it wouldn't be Christmas Eve without the annual broadcast of A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from the chapel at King's College Cambridge. First held in 1918, the festival of readings and seasonal music has evolved over the years, commissioning new carols that have expanded the choral repetoire and broadening its reach, first through radio and more recently via online streaming.

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.

The Classical Network salutes the great work being done by the many non-profit organizations in our community that work to lend a hand to others. We are glad to once again offer some of these organizations the opportunity to share some thoughts on their mission on our airwaves on Giving Tuesday, November 27.

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.

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.

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. 


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.)

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