Archive for the “Radio” Category

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.

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“Classical Discoveries” host Marvin Rosen (WPRB, 103.3 FM, or always streaming online, too) reminds us that he’s got a special added edition of the show Tuesday morning from 5:30 to 8:30 AM EDT. The program will include the Symphony No. 5, “Western Hemisphere” by American composer William Grant Still (1895-1978) , Pipa Concerto by Chinese composer Xiaogang Ye (1955- ), Concierto para violonchelo y orquesta by Mexican/American composer Samuel Zyman and much more.

On Marvin’s regular Wednesday show (same early-bird hours) you’ll hear the American broadcast premiere of From Ancient Times for wind ensemble (2008) by Belgian Composer Jan Van der RoostRiver of Sorrows (2006) by the young American Composer Todd Goodman, and The Phoenix (2002) for voices and chamber ensemble by American Composer Patricia Van Ness. There will also be music by Latvian composer Rihards Dubra, Portuguese composer Joly Braga Santos, and many others.

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Apropos our earlier news about the cutbacks to Marvin Rosen‘s “Classical Discoveries” and “Classical Discoveries goes Avant-Garde” programs on WPRB radio:  I’ve just received the good word from Marvin himself that — due in large part to all your messages of support —the station has decided to keep “Classical Discoveries goes Avant-Garde” in the schedule, each Wednesday from 11AM until 1PM ET. Marvin also writes: “I’ve been asked by the Classical Director to let you all know how WPRB feels. Please see her quote to me below”:

“Please thank your listeners for me and for the whole of WPRB management, for letting us know what they think and for showing support for the programming they love. It’s well-deserved.”

“P.S. – I would like to remind you all that the WPRB Listeners Survey is still on until the end of this month.  This is your opportunity to express your preferences in the programming and give your opinion. I would like to thank Sequenza 21 readers for overwhelming  support.  It is incredible to see the power of the written word. These 2 extra hours for more modern works is exciting news for me and hope for everyone else!” — Marvin Rosen

Go team go! Way to make a difference. (The show resumes next week, and remember that even if you can’t listen through the air you can still catch it anywhere in the world with WPRB’s live internet audio stream.)

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Wasn’t it just a couple weeks ago we were singing praises to WPRB’s Marvin Rosen for his annual all-day, all-modern radio marathon — not to mention how great his year-round advocacy for promoting new and lesser-known music in general was?

So imagine the shock to learn just this week, that WPRB is suddenly cutting Marvin’s regular Wednesday 5:30AM to 11:00 “Classical Discoveries” show to run only from 6:00 to 8:30, and deleting his afternoon “Classical Discoveries Goes Avant-Garde” program altogether!

For more than a decade Marvin has been sharing his wide listening experience and deep enthusiasm with all kinds of listeners; not only in New York, but through internet streaming with fans from Seattle to Singapore to Seville. And with some room in the airspace to be able to range fairly freely, offering up things like guest composers in the studio, and deeper explorations of everything from “Music of Jewish Insipration” to “The Negro Speaks of River – Music for Kwanzaa” to “Spotlight on Women Composers”. His own connections with the classical community are strong; this is the guy after all, that just two days ago spent the morning with composer Derek Bermel, and that afternoon had George Crumb in the studio for an 80th-birthday celebration! To think that a public radio station would trim all that good work connecting living music with its audience to little more than a shadow seems more than misguided.

I know there are a lot of you out there, who at some time or other have encountered something truly wonderful thanks to a regular or even chance listen to Marvin’s show. WPRB is still a public radio station, reliant on your opinions (and your dollars). If you’re one of those many who’ve been on the receiving end of the good that Marvin spreads, maybe make a little effort on his behalf and write directly to the station and make your voice heard: whether to the Program Director (program@wprb.com) or to the Station Manager (manager@wprb.com), let them know how you feel.

In Marvin’s own words from his website:

“I try to prove on every show that there is much beautiful music of our time that deserves to be heard. Composers are working hard today. Their works deserve to be presented to the public. Listeners often tell me that they didn’t know that new music could be so melodious and beautiful. Although I play recent works by well-known composers I emphasize the little-known ones that are recorded on the small record labels. I will periodically invite various composers to be guests on my program. Sometimes a program will have a particular theme as, for example, ‘Music by Turkish Composers’ or ‘Music composed in the 1990s’. ‘Classical Discoveries’ seems to be the answer for all who are just simply tired of the boredom that appears on so much classical radio today. Personally, I feel, that this type of programming may be the answer if classical radio is to survive in the future. Classical music is a great thing. It should not be allowed to go to pot.”

No it shouldn’t Marvin, no it shouldn’t.

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Well, that is if the time happens to be this Tuesday September 08 from 7:00pm EDT, ’till 7:00pm EDT Wednesday September 09, and you pin your ear to Princeton’s WPRB (103.3FM). I’m just reminding you of what Elodie Lauten has already so nicely plugged a little while back on her own blog: that it’s once again time for radio host Marvin Rosen to serve up his annual Classical Discoveries Marathon.

And by “all new”, I don’t mean just the stock & standard 20th-century stuff; this year’s adventure is titled “Viva 21st Century – American Edition” — music by almost 100 composers alive and working in the here and now! It’s safe to say that there’s just about nothing else on the airwaves that can match that achievement, so you’ve got every reason to be there and not be square.

If that’s not enough, on Wednesday September 16th Marvin is hosting an 80th birthday celebration of George Crumb. From 11:00am till 3:00pm Crumb himself will join Marvin, along with Orchestra 2001 conductor James Freeman. And just prior, from 8:30 am until 11am, Marvin’s guest will be composer Derek Bermel.

Tune in and hang on; your crash-course in what’s been happening the last 8.5 years is about to begin! Infinite thanks to Marvin and his commitment to the cause of our new music.

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Received this from reader Richard Mitnick as a comment on another post:

Sorry-

I searched all over S21 for a place to simply ask a question.

I want to know if there will be any response from S21 on WNYC taking over WQXR.

What I think I posted at my own weblog, http://richardmitnick.wordpress.com.

But, I am not a professional. It would seem to me that WNYC, John S., David G., and certainly Nadia S. would be very important for New Music; anything smacking of the mediocrity of WQXR should be anathema.

So, will there be any comment? Sorry to put this here, I found no better place. >>RSM

Well Richard, now there’s this post for all the appropriate angst and hand-wringing. What about it, people, is this great or awful?  On the one hand, the New York Times definitely couldn’t afford to keep it running, and in that sense WNYC saves the day. But the change of WQXR from a commercial to a public radio station might be the start of something less good; if they follow the path of most other previously-all-classical public stations, the tendency has been to eventually lose some of the local or unique classical content for more “NPR”-ish offerings. WNYC might also look to offload some of its own stuff to WQXR as well, who knows? Public donations will need to cover both stations too, and that slice of the discretionary-income pie might not be able to expand to cover everything down the road.  The other big issue is power: the frequency they’re moving to is a weak one, with nothing like their current reach. It would seem to me to be a “cross your fingers and wait” kind of thing. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times“…

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