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 music 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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Every fall and spring day after school the girls walked downtown together to their perch atop the hillock on the lawn of the government building across the street from the theater.  As they walked, they'd chat about the day’s events, which boy was cute and which wasn't, why they soooooo hated Mr.

Here's an interview I did with George Manahan, who is one of several conductors being looked at and listened to as a potential Music Director for the Columbus Symphony. He begins by talking about Beethoven's 5th Symphony, and goes on to describe the way his career developed as an opera and symphony conductor. (As a conductor, period, one should say.) Manahan comes to Columbus after serving long appointments with the New Jersey Symphony and the Richmond Symphony, where he served as Music Director for many years.

The Crystal Baschet and Other Musical Oddities

May 28, 2009

Glass rods amplified by plastic aluminum piano...a piano inflatable banjo. These are just a few of the many pieces of art which defied the American definition of art as put forth by Agent Sam Lacher, who was at one time the Arts Section Director for the U.S. Customs Department.

Beverly Sills at 80

May 28, 2009

May 29 is - okay would have been - Beverly Sills' 80th birthday. She died in July, 2006. Thirty years after her last performances, it's easy to forget the extent of her fame as an artist. In her later years she became a slightly over exposed TV personality. She served as General Manager of the New York City Opera, later as Chairman of the Metropolitan and at Lincoln Center.

Music From Crystal Clear Glass

May 28, 2009

Yesterday I had a trip down memory lane...America's and mine...and I took three family members along for the ride. One of Colonial Williamsburg's foremost musicians, Dean Shostak, presented a multimedia concert on instruments made of glass. Yes - fragile, clear, breakable glass.

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.

Columbus Jazz Orchestra to Help Christen Lincoln Theatre

May 21, 2009

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.