John Rittmeyer

Classical Afternoon Host

John Rittmeyer grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, but didn’t discover how much classical music meant to him until moving to Columbus to attend OSU. It began by listening to WOSU-FM while studying at home. As an English major, classical music provided a great background while reading literature, but after awhile the music became as interesting as what he was reading. Thus began a serious avocation, with a growing collection of classical music and reference books, that eventually led to a job in Public Radio to share his love of music with other people.

He’s been doing this now for 22 years at WOSU as a classical music host. John is Classical 101′s afternoon host. He also is the host of Symphony @ 7, weeknights at 7 p.m. and Fretworks, a show dedicated to the classical guitar, which can be heard Saturdays at 7 p.m.

Little-known facts about John: A seed for the future classical music lover may have been planted in the fifth grade in Cleveland by a public-school bus trip to Severence Hall to hear the Cleveland Orchestra in a matinee concert for young people. But the seed didn’t begin to sprout until John saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show and later saw them perform at Cleveland Stadium in 1966.

He started to play the guitar, and an interest in being involved with music began. However, it would take some years longer to fully blossom into a love of Beethoven, Bach, and Mozart and the music tradition they represented.

Ways to Connect

black and white photo of Elisa Citterio with violin
Monica Cordiviola / Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra

The highly regarded period-instrument ensemble Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra has a new music director. Elisa Citterio has stepped into the position formerly held by Jeanne Lamon since 1981.

Itzhak Perlman Facebook page

Itzhak Perlman celebrates his 71st birthday this week.

Since appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1958 when he was 13, Perlman has become the world's best-known violinist. Like Yehudi Menuhin or Jascha Heifetz earlier in the 20th century, Perlman's name became synonymous with excellence on the violin.

Marcio De Assis / Wikimedia Commons

For a number of years now, Venezuela's Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra has been a bright light of the country's cultural and artistic life. Its social value in helping talented young people, some from extreme poverty, develop themselves and find a path of purpose via classical music has also been widely applauded.

This government-supported program is a truly fine example of how art can improve lives. But therein lies the problem—the message from the government often is, don't bite the hand that feeds you.

It was recently announced that the orchestra's four-city U.S. tour has been abruptly canceled, after conductor Gustavo Dudamel wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times that got him and the orchestra in trouble.

Prague, Czech Republic
Pixabay

Mozart's opera The Marriage of Figaro wasn't quite the great success he hoped it would be when it premiered in Vienna in May 1786, but when it was performed in Prague in December of that year it was a big hit.

When he was invited to that city the following January, Mozart not only enjoyed experiencing the appreciation of audiences there, he also brought along a new symphony he thought they might enjoy.  It came to be called the Prague Symphony.  And enjoy it, they did. 

Rainy Day Instruments / Etsy

Classical 101's musical instrument drive, Replay!, continues until 4 p.m. Friday. It's designed to get musical instruments into the hands of young people in Columbus by collecting donations of instruments no longer needed or being used. The response has been fantastic, so thank you and keep them coming.

With all the great stories of first experiences with music and musical instruments we've heard this week, I tried to recollect my first memories of music. Up until then, I had pretty much forgotten about what actually must have been my first musical instrument—a Mickey Mouse guitar!

Louis Kahn Estonia Foundation Facebook page

Anyone want to buy a floating concert venue that looks like a spaceship?

As recently reported in the Chicago Tribune, cellist Yo-Yo Ma is on a mission to save an unusual music-related architectural anomaly: Louis Kahn's floating concert hall, Point Counterpoint II.

Ma made the plea in The New York Review of Books, responding to a review of "A Mystic Monumentality," about the American architect Kahn.

bopsymphonia.org.nz

English composer Gustav Holst took us on a musical journey across the solar system, from Mercury to Neptune, in his symphonic suite The Planets.

In an unexpected part of our own planet, more down-to-earth original manuscripts by Holst that were missing for more than 100 years have been found in New Zealand.

And they were almost thrown out.

color photo of Elbphilharmonie concert hall in Hamburg, Germany
Christoph Behrends / Flickr

Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in D Minor "Choral" is one of the crown jewels of the symphonic repertoire, and it has, from very early on, been recognized as such.

The crown jewel of Hamburg, Germany's cultural life at the moment is the newly opened Elbphilharmonie concert hall which, when you come to think of it, looks somewhat like a crown.

Felix Broede / kentnagano.com

Just recently, it was announced that conductor Alan Gilbert will be leaving the New York Philharmonic to go to Hamburg, Germany. Now it looks like the music director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Kent Nagano, may be spending more time in Europe as well.

Alan Gilbert conducts the New York Philharmonic
Chris Lee / New York Philharmonic

After eight years as the music director of the New York Philharmonic, Alan Gilbert is leaving to become chief conductor of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra.  

Interestingly, just as the New York Philharmonic's home, David Geffen Hall, is about to undergo a major renovation, Gilbert is moving into a shiny new facility in Hamburg, Germany.

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