Classical Music with John Rittmeyer

Weekdays 2-6 p.m. on Classical 101

John Rittmeyer will ease you through the afternoon and evening from 3 to 7 pm.

Longtime Classical 101 afternoon drive-time announcer John Rittmeyer hosts his final broadcast Friday, Dec. 29, before heading into retirement after 30 years at WOSU.

Max Pixel

What I'm calling An English Pastorale is an hour of music I've selected that I hope will suit the mood of the holiday season without sticking exclusively to Christmas music. Think of it as a brief break from some of the familiar carols and tunes we hear so much this time of year.

An English Pastorale airs at 7 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 24 and 2 p.m. Monday, Dec. 25 on Classical 101.

color photo of John Rittmeyer taking at the microphone
Jennifer Hambrick

The afternoon announcer with the warm voice and the calm, gentle demeanor — on and off the air — will be signing off from Classical 101 for good at the end of December.

Classical 101 afternoon host John Rittmeyer is retiring after more than 30 years at WOSU. The friendly voice you’ve heard at the end of your workday, during your evening commutes and while you settle into your evening at home has been a steady companion for thousands of listeners through the years.

Joseph Karl Stieler / Wikimedia Commons

The series of all nine symphonies by Ludwig van Beethoven concludes Thursday evening on Symphony @ 7 with the Choral Symphony. This great work wraps up what is regarded as the most influential cycle of symphonies by any composer.

Beethoven monument in Bonn, Germany
Axel Kirch / Wikimedia Commons

It was quite a profound transition for a young Ludwig van Beethoven to go from being a celebrated virtuoso pianist not long after he arrived in Vienna from Bonn, Germany, in 1792, to feeling increasingly socially isolated by the hearing loss that would ultimately end his career as a pianist — but thankfully for us all, not as a composer.

Dashon Burton /

This Friday or Saturday evening, you can hear Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony at the Southern Theatre, performed by the Columbus Symphony and conducted by Rossen Milanov, and then take a guided nature walk on Sunday afternoon.

Violinist and composer Caroline Shaw, whose composition Lo will also be performed at the concerts, will lead the Beethoven-inspired nature walk beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Scioto Audubon Metro Park, just south of downtown Columbus.

Julius Schmid / Wikimedia Commons

This fall on Symphony @ 7, Thursday evenings on Classical 101, I'm presenting all nine Beethoven symphonies (one each week), culminating with the Choral Symphony at the end of November.

To round out the hour, I'm also featuring some of Beethoven's contemporaries — composers who were relevant to Beethoven and his music: Ignaz Pleyel, Muzio Clementi, Johann Hummel, Luigi Cherubini and, of course, Haydn and Mozart.

Lucasfilm / The Walt Disney Studios

Star Wars: A New Hope, the 1977 George Lucas film that began a whole new era of outer space swashbucklers, will be shown Friday, Oct. 6 and Saturday, Oct. 7 at the Ohio Theatre. There's nothing necessarily unusual about the screening in itself, since Star Wars is a bona fide classic. What is perhaps not so common is that the Columbus Symphony will perform the film score live along with the movie.

Robert Markowitz / NASA

Julie Payette, a former member of the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir who became an astronaut, is now the next Governor General of Canada. The Governor General of Canada is a largely ceremonial position, but an important one as the representative of the Queen in Canada.

Universal Pictures

With The Vietnam War documentary series by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick set to begin at 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17 on WOSU-TV, I thought I'd conclude my three-part music-related reflections of that era by briefly presenting some of the most striking examples of the use of classical music in Hollywood films about the Vietnam War.