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

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.

Wikipedia, public domain

Samuel Barber's Antony and Cleopatra was commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera for the opening of the new opera house at Lincoln Center in 1966. The opera's world premiere, fifty years ago, was reviled by the newspapers and judging from the opening night broadcast, enjoyed by the audience. 

Boston Lyric Opera blog

Complete with the seemingly required bari-hunk pictures, my hometown does opera proud by declaring "Forty Days of Opera" on behalf of the Boston Lyric Opera. This dovetails nicely with BLO's fortieth anniversary season.

Opera News

OPERA NEWS magazine, published by the Metropolitan Opera Guild, celebrates its eightieth anniversary in 2016. So, I had a conversation with Opera News Editor-in-Chief  F. Paul Driscoll to discuss the occasion.

Sixty years later, Deborah Kerr still gets the glamor, but the singing voice in this iconic clip belongs not to her, but to California born soprano Marni Nixon who died July 24 at the age of 86:


Not even in the most far-fetched opera could anyone invent Florence Foster Jenkins. The only diva unafraid to play this vocal phenomenon, this leading light of musical society in the 1920s, is a diva known more for her acting chops and stunning looks than for an ability to sing Norma or Tosca; Meryl Streep.

artist's webpage

My late father was an amateur big-band style singer with what used to be called a "Whiskey Tenor" type voice. One of his great hits was a World War II era ditty called that went: They were doin' the mambo....what the heck is the mambo?

They really did sing heck rather than anything saltier on those U.S.O. tours seventy years ago.

Barbara Cook is one of those singers who puts words and storytelling first. That's one reason why, at the age of 88, and confined to a wheelchair, Barbara Cook can still make you laugh yourself insensate, cry yourself a thunderstorm, or just sit and think and wonder when this lady sings.

This past weekend I went to my first ComFest.

I was interested to read in last week's Columbus Alive that ComFest awards financial grants to arts projects in the community. The weekend festival in Goodale Park is but one facet of ComFest's works., album cover

  Today is Anna Moffo's birthday. She is an American soprano, born on this date in 1932 in Wayne Pennsylvania. She died in New York in 2006.

Orlay Alonso Facebook artist's page

There I was, minding my own business in my office at WOSU, surrounded by CDs fresh from the School of Music at The Ohio State University. I was beginning to put together a new season of Concerts at Ohio State, and at the top of the pile was the doctoral recital given by a young pianist I didn't know. Generally-and don't tell anyone - I listen to the first three minutes of performance intended for broadcast, insuring robust musicianship and broadcast quality engineering. After that I move on, until later. 

Not this time.