Du Yun on Q2

The latest addition to Q2′s programming schedule is Olivia Giovetti’s “The New Canon.” Yesterday, she featured youngish indie classical composers alongside downtown composer Julia Wolfe (the embed player featured a free download of the latter!). The music was great fun but the highlight was an interview with composer Du Yun on her latest, more pop-oriented, release Shark in You (New Focus).

I’ve previously enjoyed Giovetti’s writing for Time Out and her blog, but she’s also a fine interviewer and an entertaining broadcast presence. I’m looking forward to many Monday mornings of “The New Canon.”

Project 440 winners announced

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra announced the winners of the Project 440 competition tonight. The four winners will create new works for Orpheus to be premiered in 2012.

They are:

Alex Mincek

Clint Needham

Andrew Norman

Cynthia Lee Wong

It was quite  a rigorous vetting process with some very talented competition. Congratulations to all!

Parker from Orpheus to WQXR

Graham Parker, VP of WQXR

For the past eight years, Graham Parker has been the Executive Director of Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Now, he’s going to work for New York’s classical music radio station.

It was announced today that Parker will be the new Vice President of Classical WQXR 105.9 FM and WQXR online. It appears that he’s been tasked with helping the station to develop its brand identity. For those who aren’t “New Yawkers,” this may require some explanation.

In 2009, New York’s National Public Radio Station WNYC acquired WQXR from the New York Times. WQXR’s frequency, 96.3 FM, was in turn traded to Univision’s WCAA, moving the classical station further up the bandwidth to 105.9. For those of us out in the ‘burbs, this has made it more difficult in many areas to get the station. Coverage routinely goes in and out on my commute down to Princeton as I get further from the city.

While signal weakness has been a concern for many listeners, there have been other growing pains associated with the move as well. Some of the music programming previously on WNYC, which was considered the station for more cutting edge fare, has been moved over to WQXR. Some longtime DJs from WQXR were kept on; others were let go to make room for their counterparts on WNYC. As a public radio station, WQXR also jettisoned commercials and religious programs.

The marriage of mainstream classical and public radio’s eclecticism has been a challenging balance to negotiate. The station’s 2009-’10 programming doubtless left a number of longtime WQXR listeners unhappy at the increased incorporation of new music into its mainstream broadcasts. WNYC listeners who hoped for the eclectic and innovative types of music heard on programs such as Soundcheck and New Sounds to be writ large on the rest of the schedule have probably been bummed out too. They’ve been subjected to far more Vivaldi and Telemann than they consider healthy!

A bright spot has been the station’s online new music programing at Q2. This week, they’re spotlighting the music of Xenakis. While one understands that this probably isn’t their best bet for “drive-time” fare, its too bad that more of Q2 hasn’t infiltrated the airwaves.

One hopes that enlisting Mr. Parker helps the station to find its footing and reassert the importance of classical radio – contemporary music and repertory favorites alike – in New York.

So, Sequenza 21 readers, its your turn. What should Parker focus on to make WQXR a better station?

A) Better signal quality/range/accessibility.

B) A more coherent vision for music programming.

C) Local identity and live events.

D) Limiting the amount of Vivaldi bassoon concerti played during any given four-hour period to no more than three.

E) More Nadia Sirota, all the time.

Bjarnason LPR show streaming on WQXR

For those of you who missed Daniel Bjarason’s gig on March 3, 2010 at LPR; or for those who want to re-experience what was widely touted as a humdinger of a show, WQXR is streaming it in its entirety online. Isn’t the internet grand?

Jacob Ter Veldhuis feted on Q2

This in from Nadia Sirota and the gang at WQXR’s Q2:

Listen in to Q2 now through Sunday to JacobTV on the Radio: a 5-day celebration of the omnivorous creative world of the game-changing Dutch composer, JacobTV. Festival features include:

  • JacobTV as DJ, introducing many of his seminal works (full archival versions to 20+ pieces available on-demand)
  • Full on-demand concert audio from Ethel Plays JacobTV: a recent New Sounds Live performance from Merkin Concert Hall with the string quartet Ethel
  • Hours of rare, never-before-heard recordings from live concerts and private recordings
  • Videos from upcoming pieces, recent collaborations, documentaries, and live performances
  • A limited time download of his break-through Grab it! inspired by the documentary Scared Straight!



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