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.

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Cincinnati Ballet YouTube

If someone tries to tell you that going to the symphony to hear orchestral music is for "old dinosaurs," show them this video of a T-rex conducting. That should change their tune.

Graeme Richardson / Ice Music

Some of the "coolest" music being made this time of year is heard at a mountaintop ice igloo concert hall in Lulea, Sweden, presented by the ICEstrument Orchestra.  

The instruments are made of ice, and the music is played at subfreezing temperatures so the instruments don't melt. This is apparently not much of a problem at this northern latitude.

carnegiehall.org

German bass Kurt Moll has died at the age of 78.

It was Moll's voice that most entranced me when, many years ago, I bought my first opera recording, Mozart's The Magic Flute. The sound of his deep and resonant voice as the fatherly and wise Sarastro impressed me so much. It made me realize that it isn't all about just the tenor and the soprano.

color photo of Olivia de Havilland as Maid Marian and Errol Flynn as Robin Hood in The Adventures of Robin Hood
Warner Bros. Pictures / Wikimedia Commons

The first Academy Awards given for music in films, a practice that began in 1934, named only the head of the music department of the studio instead of the individual composer.

Max Steiner (see the first in this pair of blog posts), who wrote the music for King Kong (1933), was the head of the music department for RKO Pictures when his score for the 1935 film The Informer won that year, so technically he may have been the first composer to be named for the awards.

black-and-white photo of Fay Wray as Ann Darrow in 1933 King Kong film
Radio Pictures / Flickr

With the Academy Awards coming up this Sunday, I got to thinking about music in movies. This first of two blog posts offers a few personal—and maybe quirky—reflections on music from the early days of sound movies and a few old classic films that made innovative use of sound, especially symphonic music from three very talented composers.

Johann Sebastian Bach
Portrait by Elias Gottlob Haussmann / Wikimedia Commons

If Ludwig van Beethoven's longing for love was not completely fulfilled in his life, except through the great music he left us, there were other composers who were perhaps a bit luckier in love during their lifetimes.

Wikimedia Commons

Ah, "the sad heart of love." As we approach this year's St. Valentine's Day, I've been wondering, how much great music is inspired by love? Of course, music can be inspired by many things, but love is certainly one of the most interesting and humanly engaging musical themes.

This photo is lended as courtesy of Andy Earl of Mercury Classics

Just as he was about to begin an international tour, Milos Karadaglic, a major star of the classical guitar world, has been forced to cancel and stop giving public performances, at least temporarily.  He is suffering from a physical condition of his hand that interferes with performing, and his doctors urged him to take a lengthy break from playing.

Wikipedia

Will surprises never cease?  Recently singer-songwriter Bob Dylan received the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature.  Now composer Philip Glass won the 2016 Tribune Literary Award in Chicago.  

Wikipedia

Members of the Cleveland Orchestra lent their prestige and skill to inspire the home-team crowd by performing the National Anthem at the opening of game 7 of the World Series this week--but the Indians still lost.

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