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

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.

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
OAMusic

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 / mohammedfairouz.com

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 wosu.org/requests, 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.

Vimeo

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.

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