Christopher Purdy

Classical Host

Host of Music in Mid-Ohio, Musica Sacra, Opera and More 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

Opera News Features Editor Brian Kellow has written a biography of Broadway legend Ethel Merman (1908-1984), titled Ethel Merman: A Life. Kellow discusses the dramatic life of the lady whom George Gershwin advised to "never take a singing lesson," the star of Girl Crazy, Anything Goes, Annie Get Your Gun, and Gypsy. Her Broadway life came up roses for decades (though her private life was less so).

Baritone Nathan Gunn's new CD Just Before Sunrise is a collection of standards by Jimmy Van Heusen, Tom Waits, and Billy Joel, combined with new songs by Ben Moore, Gene Scheer, and Sting. It's a winner, neither full classical nor pop nor crossover, but a new expansion of American song.

Norman Lebrecht is a widely-read commentator on music, culture and politics. He hosts Lebrecht Live for BBC3 and writes a column appearing each Wednesday in the London Evening Standard. Lebrecht’s latest book, The Life and Death of Classical Music, is a top seller in Britain and is published in the U.S. this week.

Alessandro Siciliani, Conductor Laureate of the Columbus Symphony, grew up amongst Italy's great concert halls and opera houses. He shares his impressions of conductor Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957). Over a long career, Toscanini was Music Director of La Scala, Milan, the New York Philharmonic, and the NBC Symphony Orchestra. Toscanini's many recordings are well over sixty-years-old. Maestro Siciliani discusses his favorites among the vast Toscanini archive, and how the great conductor demanded perfection from everyone, especially during rehearsals.

Soprano Licia Albanese shares her memories of the great conductor Arturo Toscanini Mme Albanese sang Mimi in La Boheme and Violetta in La Traviata on Toscanini’s broadcasts with the NBC symphony in the 1940s. These recordings have never been out of print. She sang at the Metropolitan from 1940 to 1966 and continued her career for years afterward. Today, at 94, Albanese gives master classes for, and financial assistance to, young artists through the Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation.

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