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Christian Carey

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Q2 Music - WQXR
New York-based online station devoted to the music of living composers.


Q2 to you too

WNYC’s acquisition of New York radio’s stalwart WQXR was a win/lose proposition. Win, in that a major classical station would stay alive; lose in that the new assigned frequency (which can conflict with a powerful Connecticut station on the same frequency) and reduction in broadcast power (from 6,000 watts to only 600 watts) reduces its reach by some millions of potential listeners. Not that it matters much to me, parked on my hiney here in Houston; I and so many others simply go online to hear the station’s stream, anywhere and anytime.

And a further win: Besides the station’s main — and predictably staid — broadcast stream, WQXR also carries another, different  internet-only stream called Q2. The music there reverses the current classical-radio standard: i.e., instead of mostly old and safe with a few tiny nuggets of the new, Q2 plays quite a bit new with far fewer chestnuts from classical music’s Ancient Dead Guys Club.

In the past few hours of this morning you could have been listening to Glass, Rautavaara, Ter Veldhuis, Torke, Greenstein, Part, with a just bit of Falla, Palestrina and Chopin sprinkled through for good measure. I know this because they have a great real-time updated playlist page, so you’ll never have to wonder what that work you just heard was. Q2 is just finishing a week-long Steve Reich celebration, and while you’re a bit late for the music you can still read and hear all kinds of interviews about the music from a range of artists, as well as tons from the “old man” himself.

Q2 also has a blog, “Do You Q2“, where you can learn about what’s on any number of musicians minds, and generally stay abreast of upcoming features.

Perfect? No; the new music programmed generally skews closer to the middle of the new road, while I — and I’m sure quite a few others — might like a veer toward the edge more often (or occasionally even off the path altogether!). But still, Q2 should definitely be a daily stop for new-music lovers.


Comment from Richard Mitnick
Time: December 17, 2009, 2:53 pm

Q2 is actually the successor to wnyc2, erected and built out by George Preston and Brad Cresswell. I spent many hours badgering George about the music choices and he responded. I guess I was the only one screaming for less pedestrian faire. Eventually, the influence drifted into Evening Music and Overnight music.

We have lost the battle for now in the 105.9 programming, but, one does hear glimmers of hope. “We” have kept Terrance McKnight and David Garland for Evening Music and the brilliant Nadia Sirota, the next world’s greatest violist, along with Helga David in the Overnight music chair.

The Steve Reich project borrowed a lot of the dynamics from the John Cage project which ran some time a go.

Q2 streams at 128kbits. The 105.9 stream, which started as 32kbit mono is now, thankfully, at 128kbit stereo.

Comment from Christian
Time: December 17, 2009, 5:33 pm

Last night Q2 broadcast the premiere of Reich’s Mallet Quartet. Fantastic for them to get the broadcast rights to a new Reich piece ‘hot off the presses.’ True, 105.9 hasn’t yet balanced the programming in a way that will keep both WQXR stalwarts and WNYC’s listeners happy; but this is no mean feat.

When I’m on campus in Princeton, the reception goes in and out. Hopefully some signal boosting is on the way?

Comment from Richard Mitnick
Time: January 11, 2010, 5:52 pm

I know this post is old, but I did not know where else to put this. Staring today January 11, on Q2, we have Nadia Sirota, the Ne York New Music phenom violist, “hosting” from 12:00-4:00 AM and PM every week day (one program each day is a repeat, I do not remember which).

While this stream has recently been rather eclectic, with both newer and older “Classical” music, Nadia speaks of some amount of emphasis on New Music, maybe finally backing up that slogan “the music you crave”.

Let’s all wish Nadia well.

Comment from Steve Layton
Time: January 11, 2010, 6:20 pm

Good news, Richard, thanks. Go Nadia!!