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

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 /

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.

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 / 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.

Can you play the ocarina?

I'm supposed to know about these things, but I admit I had to go online and find out more about the ocarina.

Why? Well, I can't play the ocarina.

But Sean Flynn can play the ocarina, and it all began with his love of Nintendo video-game series The Legend of Zelda.

Here, Sean plays his three ocarinas of varying sizes, shapes and sounds in the Classical 101 music library:

black and white photo of Orlay Alonso

Musica Cubana returns to Classical 101, Sundays in March at 1 p.m. The first broadcast is this Sunday, March 5.

The four-part series of one-hour programs is curated and co-hosted by local pianist Orlay Alonso. We received great responses from its initial run last fall. During the four Sundays in March, Alonso will present the sounds and rhythms of Cuban music on Classical 101.

Recently I was reminded that Mozart wrote his final opera, Die Zauberflöte "The Magic Flute," as entertainment for a suburban theater outside Vienna. He expected the audience to be engaged, energetic and joyful. After all, those elements are clear in Mozart's music, and Emanuel Schikaneder's Theater auf der Wieden included a tavern and a casino. Between wine, billiards and Mozart, a good time was had by all.

No wine and no billiards, but Opera Columbus did a smashing job last week with an abridged Magic Flute adapted for kids.

color photo of Mohammed Fairouz in front of ivy
Samantha West /

My taste in music is probably the only area of my life that can be described as "conservative"—I tend to be a questioner, muckraker and troublemaker. But when it comes to music, I think we can't study or listen to Mozart and Beethoven enough.

Sadly, this predisposition means I can sometimes be dismissive of young artists working today.

Don't be like me. Take a few minutes to meet Arab-American composer Mohammed Fairouz and listen to his oratorio Zabur.

photo of ticket stub from 1973 Washington Cathedral concert, conducted by Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein Facebook page

Richard Nixon's second inauguration, on Jan. 19, 1973, featured a starry concert at the then-new Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The Philadelphia Orchestra—then and now among the world's finest—conducted by Eugene Ormandy, performed Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto in a minor, with Van Cliburn, and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture.

screencap of the National Endowment for the Arts' Opera Honors interview with Leontyne Price
National Endowment for the Arts / Wikimedia Commons

The magnificent American soprano Leontyne Price celebrates her 90th birthday Feb. 10.

Classical 101 by Request invites you to a birthday celebration. We'll be playing your favorite performances by the great lady from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10.

To get in on the party, go to, and let me know what you'd like to hear.

Opera Columbus

Opera Columbus presents Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio in an updated staging, complete with James Bond, dry martinis, beautiful people and villains just waiting to be vanquished.

Showtimes for Mission: Seraglio include 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27 (Mozart's 261st birthday) and 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29th at the Southern Theatre.

The opera is sung in German, with English-language dialog.


New Netflix original series The Crown is earning critical hosannas and wicked-high TV ratings internationally.

The series traces the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, from her early dewy days as a bride, to a monarch thrust into the position by her father's premature death, which was blamed in part on the selfishness of Edward, Duke of Windsor, who preferred marriage to a American divorcee than life as King of England.

Wikimedia Commons

The world just got a little sadder. The New York Times, Opera News and a variety of print and online screeds are reporting the death of soprano Roberta Peters, at her home in New York, at the age of 86.

Ken Howard/The Metropolitan Opera

Charles Gounod's opera Roméo et Juliette was first performed in Paris in 1867. This year, The Metropolitan Opera is staging a new production of the opera, with Diana Damrau and Vittorio Grigolo in the title roles. 

Marty Sohl/The Metropolitan Opera

Giuseppe Verdi's Nabucco will be transmitted live from the stage of The Metropolitan Opera in New York to movie theaters around the world at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7. James Levine conducts, with Plácido Domingo in the title role.

Courtesy of Ohio State University

Concerts at Ohio State is a collaboration between WOSU Classical 101 and the School of Music at Ohio State University. The radio series presents performances by OSU students and faculty, mostly at Weigel Hall on campus, recorded by Mark Rubinstein.

Artist page, credit Maarit Kytoharju

The Metropolitan Opera present L'amour de Loin (Love from Afar) live in HD from the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in New York to movie theaters worldwide on Saturday, December 10 at 1:00 PM. This is the Met premiere of Saariaho's opera, which has become one of the most popular musical works of the 21st century, and is the first opera composed by a woman to be staged at the Met in 113 years. album cover

What's your favorite recording of Christmas music? We've all got them. I'll share a few of mine, and you can share yours in the comment section below!

Eighty years ago, conductor Arturo Toscanini could rail at the musicians of the NBC Symphony "You are all pigs! I will leave music for shame! I will open a whore house! And not one of you cretini stupidi will be allowed in the door!

High5ive Photography

The political news this week has made it harder to process the death of Bill Conner, the President and CEO of CAPA, who died after a two-year battle with cancer on October 28.

We were hardly close friends. But the phone would ring every few months with a summons to a sumptuous lunch and a few hours of shop talk and dish.  We would sit together at Columbus Symphony concerts (the first time he wasn’t here was for the Verdi Requiem of all nights!) I can’t claim to have known him well. I can say we were friends and to me he was nothing but warm, kind, smart and supportive.


There's some unusual programming on this Sunday's Musica Sacra, heard at 8:00 PM on Classical 101. book cover

I had never heard of Julius Eastman (1940-1990) until I turned to last Sunday's profile of this enigmatic composer by Zachary Woolfe in the New York Times.


Verdi's Messa da Requiem is performed by the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Rossen Milanov in the Ohio Theater, October 28 and 29 at 8 PM The choral director is Ronald J. Jenkins.

Today's podcast host, Will Waters, 16, is a home-schooled junior in high school from Dublin. His interests include fencing, rocketry, and music. As a school project, Will has prepared a podcast promoting the upcoming performances of Verdi's Requiem in Columbus. Listen here:


The Metropolitan Opera presents Mozart's Don Giovanni, live in HD in movie theaters worldwide on Saturday, October 22nd at 1:00 PM. 

Amazon,book jacket image

Many years ago I attended a concert in Boston's Symphony Hall by the pianist Van Cliburn. I remember lines at the box office, people trying for last minute standing room, and risers of overflow seating on the stage, not far from the polished Steinway.  This was not a crowd for Frank Sinatra, or Mick Jagger or Maria Callas (it was 1973.)  But it was the crowd for a six foot four pianist from Kilgore, Texas with the funny name, Van Cliburn.

The Metropolitan Opera

The Metropolitan Opera begins a new season of live in HD transmissions from the Met stage in New York to cinemas worldwide with their new production of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, Saturday October 8th at noon.

First Congregational Church, Columbus, OH

First Congregational Church at 444 E. Broad Street will present Mozart's Requiem, sung by the First Church Choir conducted by Kevin Jones, this Sunday, September 11 at 4:00 p.m.  Admission is free. 

The music program at FCC has always been superb. Anyone looking for beautiful music in a beautiful setting, offering a connection and contemplation on this date, would be well served by attending this concert. Thank you, Kevin Jones and colleagues.