Classical 101 | WOSU Radio

Classical 101

Classical 101 is Central Ohio’s source for 'round-the-clock classical music. Our hosts provide insight into classical music news from Columbus and around the world.

Explore concert previews, book and album reviews, arts features, web-exclusive playlists and archived audio and video of local and visiting musicians. Listen your way through our podcast archives of Opera Abbreviated and the Mozart Minute for a deeper dive into the music we play.

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John Rittmeyer Recalls the West-East Connection

May 27, 2009

I saw the Cleveland Orchestra on a public-school field trip when I was around 12, and the Beatles in 1966 (who actually got me actively interested in music).  But there was a West-East connection that I only became aware of years later that may have influenced my eventual love of classical music. After I came to Columbus to attend Ohio State, I began listening to WOSU-FM while studying because classical music seemed like good background stuff to have on.  Well, I had one of those big A-ha!

Conductor George Manahan makes his second trip to the Ohio Theater May 29 and 30, conducting the Columbus Symphony in an all Beethoven program: Leonore Overture No. 3 Piano Concerto No. 3 with Orli Shaham Symphony No. 5 The May 30 performance will be broadcast live over WOSU 89.7, as are all Columbus Symphony Classical Series concerts. I'll be on hand for pre-performance talks one hour before concert time. I hope Mr. Manahan will be joining me.

Grieg's Greatest Hit?

May 21, 2009

I aired a performance of one of classical music's best-known works this morning: Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto.

From Beethoven to Hovhaness

May 21, 2009

The 20th century American composer Alan Hovhaness used nature as a symbol for the spiritual longing for the divine in his Symphony No. 2, "Mysterious Mountain."  This work from 1955 expresses this aspect of the composer's spiritual philosophy.

The sound of jazz will echo within the walls of the Lincoln Theatre for the first time in some fifty years when Byron Stripling and the Columbus Jazz Allstars perform there Thursday June 4th.

The Reverie Harp

May 20, 2009

Thought you could never play an instrument? Have a stressful day and can't unwind? At a loss how to cheer a shut-in or a fretful child?  The Reverie Harp just might be your ticket to personal enjoyment, relaxation, and good deeds. Created and designed as a musical therapy instrument for people of all ages, it requires no  musical training to play. None.

The Cincinnati Opera opens its 2009 season on June 11 with Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. This season has a "Spanish" theme. Other operas being performed this summer are Verdi's Don Carlo, Carmen and Osvaldo Golijov's stunning recent opera, Ainadamar, based on the love between Federico Garcia Lorca and Margherita Xurgu. Evans Mirageas became Artistic Director of Cincinnati Opera after a long and distinguished career  in radio, based at WFMT, Chicago.

There is a belief out there that you've gotta have maximum talent to make it to the top. Hogwash. What you really need is the flow.

Laugh all you want, but as I get older it is more in my nature to be shy and introverted. But I got over that long enough in the winter of 2006. It was Joan Sutherland's 80th birthday and I wanted to interview her. Hers was the greatest voice I ever heard live, period. I heard Pavarotti, Domingo and Leontyne Price. I heard Richard Tucker, Maria Callas, Birgit Nilsson, Renata Tebaldi and Franco Corelli. They were old and I was young. They were sensational and I'll never forget them. But Joan Sutherland had it all.

In the early 1980s I put myself through graduate school at NYU by working in the classical records dept. at Barnes and Noble on Fifth Avenue. Back then it was records, thank you very much. Not CDs. In 1981 the new craze was all digital recording. RCA Red Seal was celebrating this new technology with a brand new recording of Messiah, just in time for the Christmas rush. Richard Westenburg conducting Musica Sacra, a fine New York based choir. Musica Sacra performed Messiah every year in Carnegie Hall. They were very high profile.

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I had been disappointed that the 70th anniversary of Marian Anderson's 1939 Easter Sunday concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial had passed unnoticed. I got over it.

Daron Hagen’s opera Shining Brow rehashes the story of the most sordid episode in the life of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The opera’s world-premiere recording, released this year, took me back into one of my great passions—American architecture—and made me wonder why I want to hear Wright’s tragic story yet again.

I should always have such problems. In planning a broadcast of Opera Columbus's recent production of Puccini's Turandot, I found myself with about ninety minutes of leftover air time. Usually I try to play a lot of the new release aria CDs, and lately there have been some sensational titles from Christine Brewer, Marcel Alvarez, Elina Garanca, Juan Diego Florez and more. But for Turandot I thought, this is Puccini's last opera. Why not play his first?

ProMusica Chamber Orchestra introduced the new name of the Columbus Zoo's baby elephant, Beco, with a rousing performance of Henry Mancini's Baby Elephant Walk on Mother's Day. As you would expect, the large crowd at the zoo's amphitheater was made up largely of children who played with the zoo's mascots while awaiting the announcement.