Christopher Purdy

Classical Host

Host of Music in Mid-Ohio, Musica Sacra, Serenata and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra live broadcasts. Christopher also hosts Classical 101 By Request every Friday from 1-3 p.m.

Christopher Purdy remains a New Englander at heart, with strong ties to Manhattan where he lived for many years. But he has strong Columbus ties: his late father-in-law, Wayne Rittenhouse, was the football coach of Central and Northland High Schools in Columbus. Christopher met his wife, Linda Rittenhouse, while they were both working at a food kitchen in New York City. They married in 1989; their daughter Kerry Megan was born in 1990. The family moved to Columbus in 1991. They are still adjusting to the Midwestern lifestyle. A city boy, Purdy maintains that he would be happy to cement over his entire yard spare me the lawn mower and the weeds!”

His favorite composers are Monteverdi and Bruckner. An accidental encounter with a beat-up recording of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” at the age of eight changed Purdy’s direction from law school or the priesthood to one of classical music and public broadcasting. He was so captivated by the cover art, that he took the recording home, popped it on his battery-operated kiddy record player  and his life changed forever. He still has the recording.

Ways to Connect

euclidquartet.com

Mary Hoffman was program director of WOSU Radio in the days when WOSU-FM meant classical music at 89.7 on the dial.

During my time here, I've inherited offices and files originating with Mary. Reading about her music programming and her views informing what makes a tremendous music station made for a wonderful education.

clarinet in open case with red velvet lining
DrKssn / Wikimedia Commons

Classical 101 is collecting new and gently used musical instruments to put into the hands of local kids. Learn how you can help at wosu.org/replay.

I still vividly remember my first encounter with a musical instrument.

When you grow up next door to a junior-high school music teacher and your father is an amateur big-band singer rattling the walls with his LPs of Sing Along with Mitch, you either run away from the neighborhood screaming or you develop your own love of music.

Conspirare

Last fall, a recording of Considering Matthew Shepard, a beautiful oratorio by Craig Hella Johnson, was released.

The story of Matthew Shepard has moved and infuriated the world since his murder in 1998.

Columbus Children's Choir Facebook page

The New World Singers, a Columbus Children's Choir ensemble, join pianist Gilbert De Greeve in concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, July 16 in Capital University's Mees Auditorium.

The concert commemorates composer and music educator Zoltan Kodaly, 50 years after his death, and serves as a farewell to the New World Singers. The group of 55 teenage vocalists leaves for an 11-day concert tour in Austria and Hungary the following morning.

Pixabay

I have a close friend living in another state who is dealing with a serious illness.

It's not as if I can run over there to take care of his kids, as much as I'd love to. And I'm willing to bet he has a freezer full of casseroles. It's sad, though — with me being so far away that he'll have to miss out on my late mother's tuna fish-potato chip-mushroom soup slow bake that was a Friday night staple until the Pope changed his mind.

Still, he's someone I love a lot, for whom I'd like to do, well, something.

So I decided to send him music.

black-and-white photo of Maria Callas singing
The Ed Sullivan Show / CBS

A few weeks ago during Opera and More, I was remembering soprano Roberta Peters, who died earlier this year. I said that Peters had been Ed Sullivan's most-featured guest, more than Louis Armstrong, Judy Garland or Topo Gigio, the Italian mouse.

I went on to say, "And if you don't know Ed Sullivan, call me up on the phone."

Quite a few listeners did call, including a lovely plethora of 20- and 30-somethings for whom Ed Sullivan was not even in the history books.

A lithograph of Abraham Lincoln's funeral cortage in Columbus
Albert Edmenson / Columbus Metropolitan Library

Here's what happens when you clean your office — at least, in my case.

You find things you never knew you had, that are interesting in and of themselves and would also make great radio programs.

During a recent — and rare — burst of office cleaning, I found an envelope from my buddy Andrew MacGregor, recording engineer extraordinaire, marked, "St. Joseph Cathedral, The Music of A. Lincoln's Funeral."

Wikipedia

I suppose the reason Claudio Monteverdi is my favorite composer is that I've always enjoyed the combination and the tension of words and music.

I'm a little late getting on the Monteverdi birthday bus. He was born 450 years ago, on May 15, 1567.

Wikimedia Commons

It's not as if I've never heard of Ferdinando Paer.  

Recently I've gotten to know Paer's oratorio Il Santo Sepolcro (The Holy Sepulcher). I came across a new recording of this work in our wonderful music library

I've scheduled The Holy Sepulcher for Music in Mid-Ohio at 8 p.m. this Sunday, June 25.

black-and-white photo of Donald McGinnis
Ohio Music Education Association / omea-ohio.org

Music in Mid-Ohio returns to Classical 101 at 1 p.m. this Sunday, June 18. Through the end of September, the program will showcase performances in and around Columbus, "often by your friends and neighbors."

tableau.uchicago.edu

Let me just say that musicologists — those who study the history and performance practice of music — seldom have groupies.

Divas have groupies. Tenors have groupies. Even — God bless us and spare us — conductors have groupies. Musicologists? Not so much.

But I'm willing to bet that Philip Gossett had groupies.

Christopher Purdy and costumed character at the WOSU booth at the Columbus Arts Festival
Ray LaVoie / raylavoie.com

Live radio from the studio is great, but nothing beats live radio out in the community. For a ham like me, what could be better than presiding over Classical 101 by Request, live from the Columbus Arts Festival, from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday, June 9?

Wikimedia Commons

The Ordering of Moses is an oratorio by Robert Nathaniel Dett, written in 1932. The text, "from scripture and folklore," is a retelling of Moses leading his people out of captivity and into the promised land.

Certainly for Dett, an African-Canadian, the biblical parable resonated, and fed the drama and passion heard in the oratorio.

operacolumbus.org

The Metropolitan Opera broadcasts take a summer break, and I step in to bring you grand opera, both favorites and the unexpected. Opera and More returns to Classical 101 at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 20, followed by every Saturday afternoon through the fall.

Photoplayers Studio / Wikimedia Commons

Most people know the ditty about the toreador not spitting on the floor. 

Carmen, filled with tunes long made popular, has a foolproof story—sultry gypsy seduces clueless corporal and dumps him for a bullfighter. Wouldn't you? Unhappy corporal follows Carmen and the toreador to the bullring and stabs her to death while the crowd cheers on the the bull—the animal, I mean. Curtain. Applause.

But there's a lot more to it than that.

Recently I had the opportunity to observe music therapy classes at Columbus' Bridgeway Academy. Joining me for the visit were WOSU intern Sean Flynn and digital producer Emily Thompson.

In honor of National Autism Awareness Month, we created a series of posts and videos highlighting the work being done at Bridgeway, showing the positive effects music has on the lives and development of kids on the autism spectrum. This post is the last of three.

Socialization is an important goal for kids on the autism spectrum. The kind of connection to others that does not come naturally to them can be helped along, by music.

Recently I had the opportunity to observe music therapy classes at Columbus' Bridgeway Academy. Joining me for the visit were WOSU intern Sean Flynn and digital producer Emily Thompson.

In honor of National Autism Awareness Month, we created a series of posts and videos highlighting the work being done at Bridgeway, showing the positive effects music has on the lives and development of kids on the autism spectrum. This post is the second of three.

Here, we meet 12-year-old Tatum, who started at Bridgeway as a 3-year-old in 2008. Music therapists Tanya Corso and Liz Woolley encourage a young man who is already gifted musically and has perfect pitch to keep playing.

balletmet.org

"Too much of a good thing is wonderful," Mae West once said.

Can one city have too many performances of symphony, opera, ballet, theater and chamber music?

Absolutely not.

April has always been a busy month for the local arts calendar, but this month may be record-setting in the variety, quantity and sheer quality of local offerings. And it's just the beginning of what's to come this spring.

Garry Jones / Simon & Schuster Inc.

"Dorothy Day: The World Will be Saved by Beauty" is a new biography by Day's youngest grandchild, Kate Hennessy.

I spoke to Hennessy recently from her home in Vermont. Here's what she has to say about her grandmother, who may become the newest saint in the Catholic church.

Recently I had the opportunity to observe music therapy classes at Columbus' Bridgeway Academy. Joining me for the visit were WOSU intern Sean Flynn and digital producer Emily Thompson.

In honor of National Autism Awareness Month, we created a series of posts and videos highlighting the work being done at Bridgeway, showing the positive effects music has on the lives and development of kids on the autism spectrum. This post is the first of three.

Bridgeway is housed in the former Medary Elementary School building, off East Hudson Street, not far from the Ohio State University campus. The school, formerly Helping Hands Center for Special Needs, was founded by Erin Nealy and Abigail David in 2005.

National Archives and Records Administration / Wikimedia Commons

I want you to buy this CD.

On Easter Sunday 1939, contralto Marian Anderson (1897-1993) sang a concert from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., to a crowd of an estimated 75,000.

Elena Urioste with her violin
Alessandra Tinozzi / elenaurioste.com

Classical 101 has been the broadcast home of the Columbus Symphony since long before I got here in 1991. I was delighted to inherit responsibility for these broadcasts about 20 years ago. The recordings are made by Ed Thompson, and the broadcast preparation is by WOSU's own Kevin Petrilla and Eric French.

Join me and your orchestra (and chorus) Sunday afternoons at 1 on Classical 101, beginning this Sunday, April 2. You can also stream the broadcast online.

Wes Kroninger / Columbus Dance Theatre

Tim Veach is one of my favorite on-air guests. Veach is the founder and artistic director of Columbus Dance Theatre. He's a complicated mass of creativity, brilliance and charm.

He has plenty of political passion that warms the heart of this old leftie from Boston. I've had to caution Veach before air time. Thankfully, I need do no such thing—quite the contrary—in admiring his onstage work.

Columbus Dance Theatre's production of Courage​ opens this weekend at CDT's Theatre, 592 E. Main St. Showtimes are at 8 p.m. Friday, March 31, and 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday, April 1.

The Ohio State University Opera and Lyric Theatre presents Giacomo Puccini's s La Rondine "The Swallow" in Mershon Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 31 and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 2. Mark Lane Swanson conducts. The production is staged by Opera and Lyric Theatre director A. Scott Parry.

Allan Warren / Wikimedia Commons

Mary Rousculp Hoffman became program director of WOSU-FM in 1966.

By the time she retired over 20 years later, Mary had interviewed many of the world's finest classical artists during their visits to Central Ohio. The Mary Hoffman Archive includes interviews with Thomas Schippers, Maria Callas and Vladimir Horowitz.

In May 1972, Joan Sutherland was in Columbus for a concert at Mershon Auditorium.

A scene from Mozart's Idomeneo opera
Marty Sohl / The Metropolitan Opera

The Metropolitan Opera's next performance of Mozart's Idomeneo will be seen Live in HD in cinemas all over the world at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 25.

Opera Abbreviated presents a 10-minute podcast, giving you my take on this great opera seria.

Travis Anderson / jakerunestad.com

This month, Capital University is hosting Minneapolis-based composer and conductor Jake Runestad for a residency that culminates in a March 25 performance. The concert marks the premiere of Runestad's latest choral work, Please Stayinspired by stories of overcoming depression and choosing life over death—as well as the first annual Young Choral Artists Festival.

black-and-white photo of Isaac Stern playing a violin
Rob Bogaerts/Anefo / Wikimedia Commons

Mary Rousculp Hoffman became program director of WOSU-FM in 1966.

By the time she retired over 20 years later, Mary had interviewed many of the 20th century's finest musicians. Elsewhere on this blog you'll find Mary's interviews with Vladimir Horowitz, Maria Callas and Thomas Schippers.

newalbanysymphony.net

The New Albany Symphony Orchestra presents Casey at the Bat and concert favorites in a 45-minute sensory-friendly performance, perfect for anyone wanting a more relaxed concert environment. Young families, persons on the autism spectrum and those with dementia or Alzheimer's will find a comfortable and welcoming environment.

Arrive early, dressed in your favorite team jersey, for hands-on activities, Cracker Jacks, an instrument petting zoo and communication cards in the lobby. The show starts at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 11 at the McCoy Center for the Arts, located in New Albany.

cover of Halévy: La Juive CD release from Sony Classical/RCA
amazon.com / Sony Classical/RCA

Sony Classical has just released a CD of a recording more famous for being out of print than available: selections from Fromental Halévy's La Juive "The Jewess," recorded in London in 1974, with Richard Tucker, Martina Arroyo, Anna Moffo and Bonaldo Giaiotti. Antonio de Almeida conducts.

These were marquee names to music lovers and record buyers in the 1960s and 1970s. They are all heard with great pleasure 40 years later.

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