Classical 101

Classical 101 is the only classical music station in Central Ohio. The Classical 101 hosts provide insight into classical music news from Columbus and around the world. 

We also present a series of podcasts as well as archived audio from musicians who perform live in our studio

Elena Urioste with her violin
Alessandra Tinozzi / elenaurioste.com

Classical 101 has been the broadcast home of the Columbus Symphony since long before I got here in 1991. I was delighted to inherit responsibility for these broadcasts about 20 years ago. The recordings are made by Ed Thompson, and the broadcast preparation is by WOSU's own Kevin Petrilla and Eric French.

Join me and your orchestra (and chorus) Sunday afternoons at 1 on Classical 101, beginning this Sunday, April 2. You can also stream the broadcast online.

Wes Kroninger / Columbus Dance Theatre

Tim Veach is one of my favorite on-air guests. Veach is the founder and artistic director of Columbus Dance Theatre. He's a complicated mass of creativity, brilliance and charm.

He has plenty of political passion that warms the heart of this old leftie from Boston. I've had to caution Veach before air time. Thankfully, I need do no such thing—quite the contrary—in admiring his onstage work.

Columbus Dance Theatre's production of Courage​ opens this weekend at CDT's Theatre, 592 E. Main St. Showtimes are at 8 p.m. Friday, March 31, and 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday, April 1.

The Ohio State University Opera and Lyric Theatre presents Giacomo Puccini's s La Rondine "The Swallow" in Mershon Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 31 and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 2. Mark Lane Swanson conducts. The production is staged by Opera and Lyric Theatre director A. Scott Parry.

James Poulson / Daily Sitka Sentinel

Over the years, many musicians have taken classical music into venues that seem a little out of character.

Cellist Zuill Bailey has performed more than once with Alaska's acclaimed Hiland Mountain Correctional Center Women’s Orchestra, formed in 2003. On HBO's Oz, Bailey played a cellist who was serving a jail sentence, meaning Bach could be heard throughout the cell block.

color photo of the members of Monarch Brass standing outdoors and holding their instruments
Jan Duga / myiwbc.org

“The monarch butterfly is fragile and yet can fly 2,000 miles to get from point A to point B,” said Susan Slaughter, former principal trumpeter with the St. Louis Symphony, in a recent phone interview. “It’s beautiful to look at, and the sound that we want to make is a beautiful sound.”

As the first woman ever appointed principal trumpet in a major American orchestra, Slaughter knows all too well how far point A can be from point B for many aspiring professional women brass musicians. She founded the International Women’s Brass Conference and Monarch Brass to help women brass instrumentalists on their sometimes treacherous journeys in the profession.

Allan Warren / Wikimedia Commons

Mary Rousculp Hoffman became program director of WOSU-FM in 1966.

By the time she retired over 20 years later, Mary had interviewed many of the world's finest classical artists during their visits to Central Ohio. The Mary Hoffman Archive includes interviews with Thomas Schippers, Maria Callas and Vladimir Horowitz.

In May 1972, Joan Sutherland was in Columbus for a concert at Mershon Auditorium.

A scene from Mozart's Idomeneo opera
Marty Sohl / The Metropolitan Opera

The Metropolitan Opera's next performance of Mozart's Idomeneo will be seen Live in HD in cinemas all over the world at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 25.

Opera Abbreviated presents a 10-minute podcast, giving you my take on this great opera seria.

color photo of the members of Genghis Barbie with their horns
Spencer Lloyd / genghisbarbie.com

It’s 2009, and the Great Recession is draining bank accounts and devouring dreams everywhere. In New York City, four freelance French horn players suddenly find themselves out of work and wondering what to do next.

“It kind of came to me in this random moment—I was like, ‘Oh, my God, we have to have a horn quartet with these four people and play pop music.’” 

Roger Rich / 2cellos.com

Upon discovering 2Cellos, you might be tempted to consider the duo a one-trick pony. They are well-known for performing powerful arrangements of songs by artists ranging from Michael Jackson, Avicii and Mumford & Sons to Guns N' Roses, Led Zeppelin and AC/DC.

But they play sold-out houses of all ages around the globe, and for good reason—they can flat-out play. I watched the duo's sound check when they were in Columbus and FELT their music as much as I heard it while standing in the BACK of the house.

Travis Anderson / jakerunestad.com

This month, Capital University is hosting Minneapolis-based composer and conductor Jake Runestad for a residency that culminates in a March 25 performance. The concert marks the premiere of Runestad's latest choral work, Please Stayinspired by stories of overcoming depression and choosing life over death—as well as the first annual Young Choral Artists Festival.

In music, a coda is a passage that brings a musical composition to an end. This is the coda to a musical saga — the story of the Stradivarius violin that was stolen 37 years ago from my late father, violinist Roman Totenberg, and recovered in 2015.

That violin, made by Antonio Stradivari in 1734, was my father's "musical partner" for 38 years as he toured the world.

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.

color photo of the feet of the members of Stiletto Brass - all in red high-heeled shoes
stilettobrass.com

"I think there are some assumptions about the ability of a female brass player versus a male brass player," said Stiletto Brass Quintet hornist Misty Tolle, in a recent phone interview, "and that when you walk in as a woman, part of what you walk in with is this knowledge that you have to be that much better than the person that you’re competing against if they are a man."

Assumptions like this one are what the all-female Stiletto Brass Quintet is helping to dispel by simply existing—by being a professional women’s brass ensemble that reaches school-age and adult audiences with music ranging from classical to jazz and beyond.

black-and-white photo of Isaac Stern playing a violin
Rob Bogaerts/Anefo / Wikimedia Commons

Mary Rousculp Hoffman became program director of WOSU-FM in 1966.

By the time she retired over 20 years later, Mary had interviewed many of the 20th century's finest musicians. Elsewhere on this blog you'll find Mary's interviews with Vladimir Horowitz, Maria Callas and Thomas Schippers.

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.

newalbanysymphony.net

The New Albany Symphony Orchestra presents Casey at the Bat and concert favorites in a 45-minute sensory-friendly performance, perfect for anyone wanting a more relaxed concert environment. Young families, persons on the autism spectrum and those with dementia or Alzheimer's will find a comfortable and welcoming environment.

Arrive early, dressed in your favorite team jersey, for hands-on activities, Cracker Jacks, an instrument petting zoo and communication cards in the lobby. The show starts at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 11 at the McCoy Center for the Arts, located in New Albany.

cover of Halévy: La Juive CD release from Sony Classical/RCA
amazon.com / Sony Classical/RCA

Sony Classical has just released a CD of a recording more famous for being out of print than available: selections from Fromental Halévy's La Juive "The Jewess," recorded in London in 1974, with Richard Tucker, Martina Arroyo, Anna Moffo and Bonaldo Giaiotti. Antonio de Almeida conducts.

These were marquee names to music lovers and record buyers in the 1960s and 1970s. They are all heard with great pleasure 40 years later.

color photo of the members of Seraph Brass dressed up and sitting with their instruments on a sofa
seraphbrass.com

“How cool would it be to have an all-female brass group that’s touring? And imagine young musicians seeing that on the stage.”

That’s the question that inspired trumpeter Mary Elizabeth Bowden to start the all-women’s brass ensemble Seraph Brass.

color photo of the ProMusica String Quartet performing in the Classical 101 studios
ProMusica Chamber Orchestra Instagram

This morning the ProMusica String Quartet—violinists Heather Kufchak and Will Manley, violist Brett Allen and cellist Cora Kuyvenhoven—joined me on Classical 101 to chat about ProMusica's Saturday performance and to play highlights from a couple of the works on the program.

Pixabay

ProMusica Chamber Orchestra offers an unusual instrument combination this weekend at the Worthington United Methodist Church. It's not often you hear a quintet made up of a bassoon and strings, but it works to great effect in this tasty program.

The string quartet—violinists Heather Kufchak and Will Manley, violist Brett Allen and cellist Cora Kuyvenhoven—will be on Classical 101 at 9 a.m. Friday to chat with me about the Saturday performance and to play highlights from two of the works on the program.

the four members of the Doric String Quartet with a red background
doricstringquartet.com

They’ve taken the world by storm. This weekend, they’re coming to Columbus. Be here when it happens.

The London-based Doric String Quartet is recognized as one of the finest quartets in the world. Join me at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 4 at the Southern Theatre for a live, face-to-face interview with the members of the Doric String Quartet, right before the group’s 8 p.m. concert for the Chamber Music Columbus series.

Can you play the ocarina?

I'm supposed to know about these things, but I admit I had to go online and find out more about the ocarina.

Why? Well, I can't play the ocarina.

But Sean Flynn can play the ocarina, and it all began with his love of Nintendo video-game series The Legend of Zelda.

Here, Sean plays his three ocarinas of varying sizes, shapes and sounds in the Classical 101 music library:

color photo of pianist per enflo sitting at a piano
enflosmusik.one

According to the American Mathematical Society, music and mathematics speak similar languages.

black and white photo of Orlay Alonso
OAMusic

Musica Cubana returns to Classical 101, Sundays in March at 1 p.m. The first broadcast is this Sunday, March 5.

The four-part series of one-hour programs is curated and co-hosted by local pianist Orlay Alonso. We received great responses from its initial run last fall. During the four Sundays in March, Alonso will present the sounds and rhythms of Cuban music on Classical 101.

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.

color photo of person reading a book on a hammock
Pixabay

Maybe you’ve dipped your toe into classical music and liked it. Are you ready to venture a little deeper into the pool?

A number of years ago, I remember playing Debussy’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun” and commenting on air that it always made me want to curl up in a hammock under a sunbeam with a good book.

Recently I was reminded that Mozart wrote his final opera, Die Zauberflöte "The Magic Flute," as entertainment for a suburban theater outside Vienna. He expected the audience to be engaged, energetic and joyful. After all, those elements are clear in Mozart's music, and Emanuel Schikaneder's Theater auf der Wieden included a tavern and a casino. Between wine, billiards and Mozart, a good time was had by all.

No wine and no billiards, but Opera Columbus did a smashing job last week with an abridged Magic Flute adapted for kids.

color photo of Mohammed Fairouz in front of ivy
Samantha West / mohammedfairouz.com

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.

Classical 101 went to the picture shows Thursday morning with brand-new music written by a Central Ohio composer for a classic Charlie Chaplin film.

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